Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time. So let’s say you’ve never had anything published but you want to be a writer. You aim to publish a best-selling novel with a major publisher within a year. Whether you aim at nothing or aim unreasonably high, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results.
You want to be brave and dare to achieve great things, but you don’t know where to begin. Is it faith to believe you can become a best-selling novelist within a year, or is it presumption? On the other hand, maybe you feel arrogant to suppose you can ever become a published writer. Maybe you don’t even know what kind of goals are reasonable for an unpublished writer.
Do you have a strong desire to write? Are you willing to work at your craft? Are you willing to persevere in spite of rejection? Are willing to study the market to make sure you are submitting manuscripts to appropriate editors? If so, writing for publication is probably a reasonable goal for you.
So what would you like to write someday if you could write anything you wanted? Think about that until you come up with a specific, if daring, answer. Then write that down. That is your long range goal.
What smaller steps do you need to take to get to that long range goal? Write them down. They are your short range goals.
Here are some examples of good long range writing goals:
- Publish a series of children’s fiction books.
- Publish Bible study books.
- Publish 100 articles by various publishers.
- Publish programs, curriculum or ministry ideas.
Here are some short range goals to begin with:
- Read a book about writing for publication. I recommend An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr.
- Choose 5 publications that you are interested in writing for. Study their websites and their publications to find out what free-lance articles they accept.
- Write an article or short story targeted at one of those publications. Rewrite until it displays your best effort. Submit it according to the publisher’s guidelines.
- Submit one article or short story a month to a publisher.
- When you receive a rejection notice, read and consider any comments the editor may have made. Rewrite if necessary and submit it to another publisher.
Some people dream about becoming published writers for years, but never submit their first article. Others quit after their first rejection. Those people may be talented but their dreams usually take them nowhere.
On the other hand, ordinary people who set goals, work at them, and don’t give up, become published writers. They may never become rich and famous but they reach their goals and their words influence thousands of readers.
I want to help you become a published writer. For more on how to get started in publication, read my next article.