When I was a kid, my parents would take us on vacations every summer.  I looked forward to the road trips and discovering what treats Mom and Dad had in store for us.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized how much work my parents put into planning our vacations.  First, they’d come up with the destinations, then they’d go to the AAA office and obtain the necessary updated maps (this was the 70’s and 80’s so no GPS.)  Utilizing the maps, they’d plan out the best route to all of the places we were going to visit.  Part of the planning included figuring out at which places we’d stop and in what order, how many days we’d stay in each city, the attractions to see and most importantly, they made sure that all of this traveling and site-seeing would fit into the two weeks Dad had set aside.

In the pursuit of a writing career, it’s always a good idea to plan your journey by setting realistic goals.  Just sitting down and saying “I want to write a novel” may not get you to the finish line of publishing.  You need to know exactly what you want to accomplish in your career and what it will take to get there.

Because I’m such an anal retentive individual, setting goals for me is enjoyable.   I sat down and figured up my long-term goals, mid-term and short-term goals.  Once I put this in motion, I could see the steps I needed to take in making my dreams a reality.  The steps included educating myself on the craft and business, building myself as a brand, networking, scheduling writing time, the wisdom of publishing first as a short story writer and other related goals.

My short-term goals encompass all the things I need to complete during a quarter, month and week.  Yesterday, March 9th I sat down and updated my 2nd quarter/monthly goals based on what I’d accomplished and learned during the first quarter.  Each Monday, I write my weekly goals.  At the end of each quarter, if I’ve achieved all of my goals, I celebrate (involving lots of chocolate)

These short-term goals are geared towards whatever it is I need to achieve by the end of the year, the mid-term goals.  At the end of the year, if I’ve reached the mid-term goal, there will be another celebration (yes, I plan to celebrate twice at the end of the year).

Once I accomplish each of my long-term goals, which can be as far out as five, seven or ten years, I will again celebrate.  One of the ways I will celebrate is by coming up with another long-term goal to replace the one I just completed.  This way, I won’t reach all of the ones I currently have and then get lost in a void.  That to me would be like taking a road trip without a map/GPS, no knowledge of where you’re going and getting stuck in the Badlands:  DEADLY.

If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to stop and figure out where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.  And once you’ve reached your first short-term goal, let me know so I can celebrate along with you.

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