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How to set a writing goal

Do you actually have a clear goal? And if you do have a goal, then are you any closer to it?

Because I don’t want you to hang about too long before taking some action. You may be hanging around for years. So you need to mix the dream with some really practical steps to get your book down on paper and to start the journey to getting published. ​


I am going to outline the very real steps it takes to get published .... see if you are stuck at any of these places.

  • Still sitting on a dream / idea of a book

  • Struggling through the sticky middle

  • Stuck on 40,000 words

  • Sitting with your first draft in a folder

  • You sent out your book to publishers before really crafting it (too soon too soon!) and got a lot of 'no's'

  • You sent it to only 4-5 publishers and stopped because you heard nothing back

  • You think it's rubbish.

  • You have a better book idea than the one you are working on.

If you want to get published you have to have a plan, as well as the follow through.

I like to see the writing process as having a few necessary steps. Each of these take a long time. And I mean loooooong (and that often surprises writers). Most books I send out take 4 – 6 months to even get a ‘yes we will look at more’ or a 'no' REPLY. The 'no' often comes faster than the 'yes'.

No, it's not for us

No, our book list is full for next year

No, we are not going to take you up on on this. Good luck.

As an author you need to work backwards and you will see it will take you close to two years from your idea to publication. There are no real shortcuts.

But then you are in it for the long haul right? Writing a book is not a passing fancy. It is a big thing. If it’s just a whim, well then you will quit after about 20,000 words when you realise what it really takes. It takes tenacity, perseverance and staying power.

Step 1: Get clear on your genre and story

Step 2: Bash out your first draft

Step 3: Take a bit of a break

Step 4: Rewrite and edit like a boss

Step 5: Craft your book one last time.

Step 6: Prepare all those pesky documents you need to submit a book to publishers

Step 7: Send it out to at least 20 publishers. Cry a bit. Want to give up.

Step 8: Wait for up to a year, and keep sending while you wait.

Writing a book is a calling and if you hear the calling you will walk the entire path to the end. Don’t give up on any of these steps.

There are so many articles and videos on the craft of writing on this site. Feel free to browse. If you want regular updates on publishers calls for submissions and writing tips sign up to the newsletter below.

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