Do Your Writing Goals Meet The Criteria?

While many of you have been navigating the #ds139 "Writer's Block"NaNoWriMo challenge this month, I can’t begin to tell you how many pages I’ve crumpled up while navigating my own challenges, but that’s life.

At any rate, I’ve decided to stop fretting so much and set new goals, only this time make them more sensible, otherwise, I may be the interesting story you read about in tomorrow’s morning newspaper.

In my past life, I was a nurse, and we prepared a plan of care (POC) for every patient, which included stated goals to be achieved before the patient was discharged.

Each goal had to meet the following criteria:

  1. It had to be specific to the patient.
  2. It had to be measurable-“the patient would be able to …. before discharge”.
  3. It had to be achievable – We had to be certain, based on the patient’s condition, the patient could accomplish the goal.
  4. It was a realistic goal- based on the patient’s condition
  5. The goal was attainable – based on the time frame the patient would be in the hospital.

This got me to thinking, why couldn’t I apply the same concept to writing? Life may be throwing a load of crap my way, but I could still set goals for myself based on these same criteria. Once I realized establishing goals was no different from one discipline to another and that I could use something so familiar to me, a load was lifted from my mind. It became easy to apply this to my writing, and I immediately put a POC, of sorts, in place for my writing. You can too.


  1. Goals are not written in stone, they can be renegotiated; don’t panic.
  2. They need to be specific. Make the goal specific to the project.
  3. They should be realistic. Don’t set out to write a novel, when you know you only have time to write a couple of short stories.
  4. Goals must be measurable. Establish a word count per day or a story per month, for example. You must be able to have something to show your goal was completed.
  5. They should be attainable. Set a time frame in which your goal will be completed and stick to it.

Make yourself accountable by writing your goals down. You can list your goals, paste them on a mirror, computer monitor, or make them your computer screen saver, whatever works as a daily reminder. Index cards work well for me.

Goals give you something to work toward becoming your own daily prompt.

Do your goals meet the criteria?  Leave a comment and let me know.

 Related Articles


Setting Effective Writing Goals by Moira Allen

Setting Your Writing Goals by Sharon Hurley Hall

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