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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 For instance, if you're an unpublished writer, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature is probably not a reasonable short-term goal.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.

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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!

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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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