Category Archives: Goals

Get Set for Success!

by Vanessa Preston

Whether you have been writing for years or weeks, if you’re looking to take your writing to the next level there are 3 things you can do to set yourself up for success:


It’s fun exploring all of the possibilities in writing (endless, exciting, inspiring possibilities) but there is also a time to commit to seeing a particular project through to completion.  And there IS a way to set a goal that maximises your chances of succeeding.

Make sure your goal is SMART … Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-sensitive.
Kacie Berghoef explains the concept beautifully here, or you may like to read here about the origins of the SMART goal-setting technique.

For example, during this challenge my SMART goal is to:

  •  Write a particular new non-fiction ebook (Specific).
  •  Finish the first draft (Measurable) by the end of January (Time-sensitive).
  •  I have written the outline and don’t need to do much research on this topic, so I believe it is possible to achieve my goal within the timeframe (Realistic).
  •  I am the person who will be doing the writing for this book … I have a plan of action and I know what I need to do each time I sit down to write (Assignable).

Step 2:  BELIEVE

If your goal is SMART, it’s time to believe you can achieve it!

It’s possible to replace your limiting beliefs with quiet confidence.  Believe you can do it, then act accordingly.  It’s that hard, and that easy.

If believing in your ability to reach your writing goals is hard for you, you’re not alone.  I used to struggle with crippling self-doubt.  I thought that to pursue my dreams with confidence was prideful and vain.  Now I believe that it’s ok to embrace who I am, share what I’ve learned and do my best to make a difference in whatever humble ways I can (one of those ways is through writing, yay!)

If you can relate to this, stay tuned … one day soon I’ll be sharing links to some resources and mentors that have helped transform my mindset in ways that are authentic and perfectly aligned with my values, personality and passions.

Step 3:  CREATE and COMMIT

Create the conditions you need to succeed.  Do the simple things, like making sure you have plenty of pens and paper, and that your laptop is charged.  Then take a moment to brainstorm what else you need, and how you can get as close to that as possible.

For example, at the moment what I need in order to succeed is:

  •  Self discipline around time – I need to act like the prolific, published author I aspire to be, planning ahead and choosing wisely how I use my writing time each day, taking care not to spend too much time writing at the expense of my other priorities.
  •  Space – I can easily organise my desk and I’ve already prepared a bag with essential supplies for writing when I am away from home.
  •  Energy – it’s time to put my good intentions into action with nourishing food and adequate sleep;  self-discipline seems to be a theme for me!

Create the conditions you think will give you the best chance of achieving your goal, then make the most of the days when things go according to plan.

And because life isn’t perfect  …

Commit to doing whatever you can when things don’t go according to plan.  My contingency plan for busy days is to squeeze in two 5 minute writing sessions and a 7 minute sprint.  I have also made a list of the biggest challenges I am likely to face and possible ways to deal with them.  Perhaps I’ll share more about that another day.

Set yourself up for success, then dive into your writing project!


I wrote this pep talk for the “17 in 17 Writing Challenge” I am running on Facebook.  The purpose of the challenge is to establish a more consistent writing habit by writing on a specific project, for at least 17 minutes, every day for 17 consecutive days.  Not too daunting, but a pivotal step in creating a sustainable writing practice.   If you like the sound of the challenge and want to join in just follow the link to the Facebook group, and click ‘join’.


Break and Back

by Vanessa Preston

I’m back after a break from my normal life.  A week away from writing too, as it happens.  I thought surely I could squeeze in a little writing and painting here and there.  I worried that a break from my new routine might be painful and possibly dangerous.

What if I became lazy and disillusioned, or lost interest in my book?

As it turns out, I didn’t have time to miss writing!
And I didn’t end up despising my book.

My family spent almost a week at Kid’s Camp, and my main role was assistant activity leader.  No internet or computer.  Falling into my dormitory bunk at night exhausted.  Up at dawn to help cook breakfast.  Barely enough time to send a text message.  Any breaks were dedicated to having a shower or nap (not a tranquil nap, more a collapse-amidst-the-chaos kind of nap).

It was fun working with friends and being surrounded by happy (boisterous) children.  New sights and sounds and things to talk about.  Most meals (delicious and healthy) cooked for me!  And I am relieved to report that none of my fears about the demise of my writing dreams materialised.  By the time I got home and had a shower and a nap, I felt excited, confident and ready to press on.  Whew!

Back in the saddle …

I finished my first, handwritten draft of ‘Writer’s Apprenticeship’ before packing for camp, so that was the first goal achieved.  Yay!  Now it’s time to type it into Scrivener and start polishing:  editing, adding links, quotes and anecdotes, checking references and so on.  I am still planning to have it ready for sale on Kindle by 1st November this year.

A new spark … 

Coming home, I also started to feel a glimmer of enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo 2016, which I had (quite decisively) planned to skip.  Fiction-writing and I have had an on-again, off-again relationship, and I had intended to stick with simply writing and publishing my non-fiction book.


I started to play with new ideas, and let my pen do the talking, and before I knew it a new story had been born!  I am journaling the prewriting phase (aka NaNoPrepMo) on  InkyWings Facebook.  I have no idea what to call this story for now, but the temporary working title is ‘BeWILDering’.

Onwards …

After my week away from writing I have a fresh perspective and a new appreciation for the creative time my lifestyle allows.  The learning curve I’m on is steep but exhilarating.  October will be spent preparing one book for publication, planning a new novel, and playing with pencils, paint and pastels to bring some visual ideas to life.