Set Your Writing Goals: Day 2 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

Welcome to Day 2 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge! If you missed Day 1, click here to get caught up. Yesterday was a pretty successful beginning. Most people were able to post comments on the post, which is the right thing to do. So let’s take it to the next level today!

(By the way, for anyone who wants to chat about the challenge on Twitter, we’ve created a hashtag: #platchal — you know, short for “platform challenge.” It was a challenge figuring it out.)

Set Your Writing Goals

For today’s platform-building task, set your writing goals. There are some people who believe in just charging blindly forward, but I believe in taking a moment to consider goals. And here’s why: It’s hard to know if you’re finding success if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Or put another way: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’re there?

So put together a couple lists:

  • One list should be short-term goals. These are goals you can accomplish within the next year. It’s okay to get ambitious, but try to keep them semi-reasonable. For instance, if you’re an unpublished writer, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature is probably not a reasonable short-term goal. But maybe getting published in a literary journal is.
  • The other list should be long-term goals. Feel free to knock yourself out with ambitious goals here. Dream a little. But also include reasonable goals that you might accomplish eventually. As an example, I once set a goal of getting a full-length collection of poetry published, and it happened 18 months later!


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Here are some examples of my writing goals:

These examples are only some of my goals. Some are too crazy to share with anyone but my wife.

Short-term goals:

  • In October, complete the October Platform Challenge.
  • Finish judging the 2015 April PAD Challenge on my Poetic Asides blog.
  • Submit one packet of poems per week through the end of 2015.
  • Start assembling the Writer’s Market 2017. (Call for submissions here.)
  • Start assembling the Poet’s Market 2017. (Call for submissions here.)
  • Lead workshops at Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference in April 2016.
  • Etc.

Long-term goals:

  • Publish second full-length poetry collection.
  • Raise 5 happy and healthy children into 5 happy, healthy, caring, and self-sufficient adults.
  • Continue to learn how to be a better husband and human being.
  • Become debt free and financially independent.
  • Win Poet Laureate of the Universe honors. (Create the post if it doesn’t exist yet.)
  • Might as well throw in a Nobel Prize or two, right?
  • Etc.


Some writers may ask what defining yourself and creating goals has to do with platform development. I maintain that these are two of the most basic and important steps in the platform-building process, because they define who you are and where you want to be.

A successful platform strategy should communicate who you are and help you get where you’d like to be (or provide you with a completely new opportunity you didn’t know existed). If you can’t communicate who you are to complete strangers, then they won’t realize how you might be able to help them or why you’re important to them (or a friend). If you don’t have any goals, then you don’t have any direction or purpose for your platform.

So define yourself as a writer, set your writing goals, and then, come back tomorrow for Day 3 of this challenge!


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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244 thoughts on “Set Your Writing Goals: Day 2 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

  1. azlatic

    Day 2 finished, several nights ago. I loved the two lists. By breaking it up into short and long term, suddenly it didn’t all seem so insurmountable. And it was amazing how empowered I felt seeing my goals in writing, typed by my own hands. I had forgotten how important it is to formalize goals.

  2. L.C. Rooney

    Short-term goals:
    1. Complete first novel in my mystery series.
    2. Edit manuscript.
    3. Send query letters to agents I identify as a potentially good fit for my work.
    4. Hire agent.
    5. While agent is shopping my first book, pick up again with second novel in the series (first chapter was written almost three years ago, before I realized it wasn’t actually the first book in the series).
    6. Take long-awaited cross-country car trip to see some of the western national parks and visit with family in Washington State.

    Long-term goals:
    1. Complete books 2 and 3 in the series.
    2. More traveling.
    3. Be nominated for an Agatha, an Anthony, a Macavity, and/or other awards in my genre.
    4. Buy the waterfront home my husband and I have been dreaming about.

  3. Brazenbookbug

    Hi. My name is Traci, if anyone’s looking. While I’ve been following you here sporadically this first week, I’ve been silent, because Rule Number One in building a platform is to stay very quiet. Amiright? Amiright? Day Two = done.

  4. Poet Ariel

    Onto Day 2(late)
    Short-term goals:
    In October, complete the October Platform Challenge.
    Do daily writing Poetry practice to reawaken the brain muse.
    Update each blog.
    Start a writing journal blog
    Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2016
    Prepare for November’s Poem-A-Day challenges.
    Increase Blogs’ traffic.
    Move to page 2 or 3 of Google search.

    Long-term goals:
    Prepare 2 poetry manuscripts.
    Edit “Leaf On The Ground” fantasy novel and submit.
    Start sequel to “Leaf On the Ground”
    Self-publish poetry on Amazon
    Find way to make money with poetry.
    Be able to afford to send out submissions.
    Be a publish author of poetry & fiction.
    Have a popular book(s) of poetry. Be on “Top” list.
    Attend next year’s OPA Poetry conference
    Develop a poetry workshop.
    Be asked to host a poetry workshop.
    Be known as THE poet Ariel. Spotlight myself out from the others.
    … now onto Day 3

  5. 1876

    Short term goals
    Complete my cover and Publishzer platform for my first book Taste of History – Catsup of the Victorian Era.
    Finish my Author Bio
    Set date of book release
    Publish book
    Combine Catsup sample package with book for direct to customer sales
    Complete challenge
    Long term goals
    Finish manuscript of novel cookbook Knife’s Tell by end of year
    Have editing done by February
    Put final touches on cover design
    Organize marketing plan and campaign for Publishzer crowd funding
    Do presale and send to printing
    Package with new Catsup for in store sales

  6. pcbanda

    Day 2 done in green and red…on poster. I actually realized how little planning I’ve done for my writing apart from dedicating writing time…*cheeky grin* I definitely have a more complete plan for my writing now.
    Onto day 3!

  7. Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi

    Short-term goals:
    -complete this challenge
    -submit to at least one journal per week
    -grow a greater online presence
    -revise the poems calling me back
    -become a greater presence in the literary DFW

    Long-term goals:
    -earn an MFA in poetry
    -teach high school English, and then teach on the university level
    -complete a better manuscript (and send it out) — better yet, get it published
    -host a reading series
    -get into Rattle, Pank, Muzzle, Kinfolks, and/or Poetry
    -become a resident of Cave Canem
    -feature my personal work at a reading series outside of Texas

  8. Sherlock

    Short term: Complete this October challenge and keep up better!
    I am also working on several articles and I want to finish at least three within October.
    I want to find better and more challenging articles to post on my blog

    Longer term: Branch out to some other magazines with articles but also continue to regularly write law enforcement articles.

    My goal is to complete at least an outline of my novel by the end of the year.

  9. mongiwa

    short term goals
    complete platform challenge
    write 5 pages each day of my novel
    compile a list of new and old poems
    be happy daily.

    long term goals
    get healed
    travel around the world
    publish and sell my first novel and books
    be a best selling international writer
    create my own writers blog ,website and facebook page
    be prosperous and wealthy
    publish my own governance emagazine
    get married to a loving, faithful, wealthy god fearing and generous guy

  10. Kim

    October 5, 2015

    Goals as a Writer:

    Short Term Goals:
    1. Revise and edit first draft of novel, already completed this year.
    2. Polish it and get it ready for submission.
    3. Continue to write on three other projects, every day, and/or on first draft of current manuscript, for at least an hour or two, or more.
    4. Research literary agents/publishers and decide to whom and where to send manuscript.
    5. Submit to short story and poetry contests, at least to five in the next year…no fear.
    6. Get published in a literary journal.
    7. Count my blessings.
    Long Term Goals:
    1. Finish writing and submit second, third, maybe fourth novel and more…etc.
    2. Become financially healthy and debt free and independent, so my husband can retire from the grueling job he goes to everyday to take care of us.
    3. Visit our grand kids, kids and mothers more often.
    4. Buy that log cabin we want out in the country.
    5. Win several writing contests.
    6. Be published in several literary journals, magazines, blogs and books.
    7. Win the Nobel Prize!!!

  11. apayne56

    Short Term Goals:
    1. finish current lessons on

    revising first draft of novel.
    2. revise next two books
    3. Get ready to write next three

    books in Nov and Dec
    4. Start revising next three books

    in March.
    5. Get cover art for all 6 books
    6. Get copyediting done on all 6

    7. Ready to publish in October.

    Long Term Goals:
    1. Learn how to draw enough for

    children’s books
    2. create the story boards for

    children’s book series and get

    them ready for publication.
    3. finish several devotionals.
    4. finish parenting book series.
    5. allow my husband to retire with

    writing income.

  12. stephaniecain

    I make a list of writing goals for the next year every December. Then I revisit that list in March, June, and September. I never hit everything on my list, but making the list sure helps!

    What I have left for this year’s list (short term):
    – Reading & signing in October & November
    – Finish editing local history nonfiction book
    – Finish revising my YA epic fantasy for submission
    – Figure out Patreon
    – Plot out YA epic fantasy idea to write during NaNoWriMo and post as serial on Patreon
    – Submit to Sirens Anthology
    – Create Writing Goals list for 2016

    Long term:
    – Keep writing two novels a year.
    – Get out of debt.
    – Move somewhere without winter (within the next 10 years)
    – Make a full-time income from writing.

  13. Carli Fierce

    Initially, I had written out this really long list that looked fantastic, but realized I needed to be more realistic. Here’s the edited version.
    Short-Term: Do every single day of the October Writers Challenge
    Long-Term: Update my blog by the end of the year, and make more videos.
    The End.

  14. clpauwels

    Short-term goals:
    • Regular blog posts (2 per week)
    • Finish Brother revisions and submit to DW
    • Find an agent for Fatal
    • Explore lurking NF book idea
    • OHC grant application
    • Update website home page
    • Complete Blackboard training course
    Long-term goals:
    • Publish one book per year (18 months?)
    • Skype with each kid at least every other week
    • Resolve health issues
    • Become debt free and financially independent

  15. TWMyth

    I. Did both writing and non-writing goals.
    Here are just a few:
    St goals: – finish October platform challenge
    – Run my new ad
    – continue my first novel where I left off

    Lt goals- finish,publish, and sell my first fantasy novel
    – create weekly ads to promote my website
    – live off my writing and use the extra money to record my music (originals)

  16. chooky

    Short Term:
    Create video trailers for my three books and upload to YouTube.
    Get my books into Koorong and Word, the two biggest Christian book chains in Australia.
    Set up local book signings and book parties.
    Keep my blogs current.
    Submit at least one piece to a writing competition each month.

    Long Term:
    Become debt free and financially independent.
    Complete the books for which I have notes at various stages of development.
    Build my imprint, Birdcatcher Books, into a true publisher.
    Become recognized as a speaker and writer.

  17. Believer1950

    short-term goals
    Sign up for one online class
    Complete the Short story book
    Complete book four of series
    long-term goals
    Complete the inspiration book

  18. Jennifer V

    Short-term goals (by June 2016):
    Travis Eldritch Series Goals
    • Write, edit, publish stories 6 to 12 of my Travis Eldritch series
    • Create and execute a market plan for my Travis Eldritch series
    Too Dark to Read Podcast Goals
    • Finish book 1 on my Podcast
    • Create and execute a market plan for my podcast
    • Edit book 2 for Podcast
    • Find better way to record Podcast
    • Edit book 3 for Podcast
    A Goofy Idea
    • Write 100,000 words of storymorph story
    • Have 20 chapters critiqued
    • Post on A Goofy Idea
    • Create and execute a market plan for my podcast
    Learn how to market books
    • Read helpful books
    • Take small steps
    • Go big! Try to reach 100,000 words (that’s only 3,300 words a day or 1.5 hours)
    • Set up writing events and word wars with LCWG
    Other writing projects
    • Finish Platform Challenge
    • Finish Udemy writing classes
    • Dabble in WIP as ideas arise

    Long-term goals:
    • Be a prolific published paid writer
    • Start a Youtube channel
    • Become a confident guest poster
    • Have an enthusiastic fan base
    • Pay off all debt, repair cars, get a solid financial footing
    • Succeed in being weird

  19. jackikellum

    Day 2 Lists of Goals
    Short-term Goals
    1. Complete the Writer’s Digest October Challenge
    2. Write at least 20 blog posts, in response to the WordPress Daily Prompts
    3. Enter the Writer’s Digest 2015 Annual Competition
    4. Illustrate at least one picture book that I have written
    5. Submit the completed picture book for publication
    6. Begin to format, illustrate, and visualize my memoir
    7. Begin to format, illustrate, and visualize my gardening journal
    Long-term Goals
    1. To have several picture books published
    2. To have at least one memoir published
    3. To have at least one gardening book published

  20. lm2

    Short term goals:

    Complete October Platform Challenge
    Develop content calendars for my blogs for next 3, 6 and 12 months
    Repurpose and resubmit previously published articles
    Develop and implement social media strategy

    Long Term Goals:

    Publish 2nd and 3rd books (and 4th, 5th and so on)
    Get picked up by an agent
    Become nationally renowned speaker
    Become financially independent on writing and speaking income
    Able to devote time and money to causes I believe in

  21. Curious Cat

    Some short-term goals
    -Complete October Platform Challenge activities every day
    -Write every day
    -Finish my first book by November 30, 2015
    -Publish my first book
    -Develop steady income in order to not need financial assistance anymore
    -Stay on track with the translation project
    -Create the perfect writing spot/environment and routine in my home
    -Become empowered, independent, and learn to listen to MY intuition

    Some long-term goals
    -Write several successful novels and memoirs
    -Become financially independent and debt-free
    -Have my books made into successful movies
    -Become healthy and have a balanced life
    -Help others become empowered, independent, and learn to listen to THEIR intuition

  22. Ency Peterson

    So, short term goals:
    Do each day of the Oct challenge
    Blog at least once a week
    Get an idea as to what to write for NaNoWriMo

    Long term goals:
    Finish a story
    Get a story published

  23. Diane Holcomb

    My Short-term Goals:

    Finish the October Platform Building Challenge
    Master, finally, this thing called plot
    Submit a short story to literary magazines
    Rewrite my first novel
    Blog every week
    Build my copywriting website
    Seek clients for my copywriting biz

    My Long-term Goals:

    Become financially independent as a copywriter
    Buy a house by the ocean
    Publish my fiction with a traditional publisher
    Win a short story contest in a literary magazine
    Publish “The Best of Squirrels in the Doohickey”
    Get noticed by a major publisher for my humor writing
    Start tap dancing again

  24. Tricia Schneider

    Short-term goals:
    • In October, complete the October Platform Challenge.
    • Write blog posts for October
    • Finish revisions for Zombie WIP
    • Finish writing A Christmas Kiss
    • Prepare outline for NaNoWriMo

    Long-term goals:
    • Write & publish 1-2 novels a year; plus 1-2 novellas
    • Win a Rita award
    • Attend Writing conferences as a guest & speaker
    • Hit the Bestseller lists
    • Write for a TV show OR have a movie made from one of my books
    • Become debt free and financially independent.

  25. smgood

    Short-term Goals:

    1-complete October Challenge
    2- Edit and submit short story to three sites
    3- Complete the three short stories in progress
    4- Complete outline of novel
    5- Complete schedule for upcoming blog posts

    Long-term Goals:

    Complete my novel (40,000 words so far)

  26. EdgarAllan

    Short-term Goals

    Find an agent and publisher for my novel. If there are no takers, self-publish
    Write and publish 5 short stories on Kindle
    Write and publish 5 short nonfiction books on Kindle
    Promote my website and blog
    Develop steady income writing

    Long-term Goals

    Become a bestselling author in my field
    Make my living as a writer
    Marry the girl of my dreams
    Be a force for good in my family, community, country, church, and the world
    And hey why not? A Pulitzer or two.


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