Everyone, in some way, shape or form sets goals. Maybe it’s a resolution to eat better or the goal of write 1,000 words a day. For me, it’s to bring more diversity into publishing and continue to build both my upmarket and nonfiction lists. And eat more fruit.
Goals are great. I’m a big believer and I have seen the fruits (pun intended) of setting them. It was once a goal to have BookEnds Jr, a strong SFF list, and sell a book set in Alaska (I have two).
But I didn’t achieve my goals simply because I set them. I achieved goals because I took each one very seriously, and worked to make it happen.
And because I refused to see any alternative.
Setting a Backup Plan
Each and every time I set out to achieve new goals–whether it was starting BookEnds or training for sports competitions–I never gave myself a backup. There was never an alternative to BookEnds, never a thought of what I would do if I failed. I never gave myself the option to fail.
Setting a backup plan implies that maybe you aren’t as “all in” as you should be. Setting a backup plan gives you an out, a reason to quit, or the excuse to not work as hard as you might need to.
A backup plan means you plan to fail. No backup plan means you have no choice but to win.
How You Approach Goals
When I started BookEnds I thought of myself as an agent from the start. I wasn’t “just starting.” Everything I did, every decision I made was made as if I’d been in the business already for 20 years. I thought to myself, what would they do at Writers House or Curtis Brown? And then I acted as if I were an agent at one of the biggest and oldest agencies out there.
Of course, the best part is that I never worked at any other agency so what I thought, whether true or not, is the way I ran my business. It seems to be working.
How you approach your goals is more important than actually setting them. Writing them down is not enough. If you really want goal-setting to work you need to take your goals seriously. If your dream is to be a bestselling author you need to look at your goals and think, what would a bestselling author do. Would they quit after their first rejection? Well clearly they didn’t because every author has been rejected.
Does a best-selling author publish everything they write? Nope. There are some real clunkers buried deep in every author’s harddrive.
You know what else a bestselling author does? Creates a dedicated workspace to their job–writing. They treat writing time as important, necessary and a priority. And they create a support network–people who encourage, give the raw truth, and support every step of the way.
Goals are huge, setting them is important, but nothing is as important as how you treat and approach your goals. Anyone can say they want to write a book, only those who take the necessary steps to make it happen will.