Being a writer is challenging, and many novice freelance writers struggle to understand how writing helps them achieve their goals when paychecks may be few and far between. Defining one's goals and incorporating writing into achieving them, however, can be a rewarding and ultimately profitable experience.
Defining Your Life Goals
The first step toward using writing to achieve your life goals is to define those goals. To do that, you need to understand the types of goals you want to make and the steps you should take to reach them. Writing can be an important part of the process along the way.
Different types of goals that writing can be a part of include:
- Financial Independence: Whether you are interested in becoming a self-sufficient writer whose only livelihood is putting pen to paper or you simply want to increase your earning potential by being a sideline freelancer, knowing how to write effectively and using those skills can help you achieve financial independence.
- Self Employment: If you want to escape the drudgery of a traditional job and the scrutiny of a boss, writing may be just the thing for you. While not everyone possesses the motivation and determination necessary to be successful as a career writer, writing can be a profitable, even lucrative career choice for self-employed individuals.
- Travel: Travel writing is the crown jewel of freelance writing. Many writers dream of being able to write articles, books, and stories about exotic travels. Even if you aren't interested in travel writing, however, being a freelance writer can help you achieve the life goal of extensive travel because you can set your own schedule and work habits to match your travel plans.
- Parenting: Working at home is perfect for many parents who want to stay at home with their children, but may not have the financial resources to do so. With just a computer, telephone, and some writing skill, however, a stay at home parent can easily augment other income or fully support their family with the earning power of their words.
- Fame: Celebrities, athletes, and musicians are popular figures, but a writer can be famous as well. Even if you aren't the next great novelist, seeing your name in print can be a self esteem boost and a positive influence on your life.
- Education: It is easy to share what you know with others if you know how to write. From simple how-to articles to lengthy nonfiction manuscripts, writers can share knowledge with thousands of readers and help them improve their lives and achieve their own goals through the written word.
Setting Your Goals
Once you understand what goals you hope to accomplish through writing, it is possible to set those goals to match your writing ability.
- Define your goals as precisely as possible. If you want to be self-employed, for example, be realistic about how long it may take you to achieve that goal and what type of lifestyle you want to support.
- Break your goals into steps. A life goal can be overwhelming. If it is broken down into manageable steps, however, it will seem much easier to achieve. Ideally, the length of time to achieve one step in your goal should be no more than 12 months so you can assess your progress every year.
- Choose rewards for meeting steps. Because a larger goal may take years to achieve, it is important to have interim rewards for your efforts. These may be simple things such as a vacation or purchasing something you crave, or they may be more elaborate rewards as you achieve more and more.
- Don't get discouraged. Life goals are large, long-term objectives. Even if you miss shorter deadlines, evaluate the progress you have made and celebrate your continuing successes.
Using Writing to Achieve Your Goals
Once you have set your goals and defined both the steps and rewards that will lead you to them, it is time to define how writing helps achieve life goals for your specific situation. Not every type of writing will help you meet every goal, and choosing the best type of writing for your objectives will lead to better success.
These goals can include weight loss, emotional recovery, stress management, relaxation, etc. Essays, memoirs, and journaling can help with personal goals, letting you express your thoughts, desires, and progress without judgment or criticism from editors or readers.
These goals can include debt reduction, employment self sufficiency, paying for travel or education, etc. Writing non-fiction articles for newspapers, magazines, and Web sites is the surest way to meet your financial goals.
Fame and Notoriety Goals
These goals can include celebrity status, name recognition, giving out autographs, etc. Screenwriting for movies and television shows, writing novels and non-fiction books, and writing articles for popular national magazines can help you become a star.
Pleasure Writing Goals
Any type of writing can be done simply for the sake of enjoyment, but novels and personal journals are the easiest and least stressful ways to enjoy writing for writing's sake.
To put together writing with your life goals, you need to follow four simple steps:
- Define your goals and steps to reach them.
- Match your goals with the best writing type to reach them.
- Learn how to write effectively to reach your goals.
Writers don't wonder how writing helps achieve life goals; they already know that learning to express yourself in print can take you places you never imagined.