Dreams vs. Goals: Setting Goals to Make Your Writing Dreams Come True | Kaye Dacus | Skillshare

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Dreams vs. Goals: Setting Goals to Make Your Writing Dreams Come True

teacher avatar Kaye Dacus, Author / Editor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Part 1: What Is Your Writing Dream?

    • 3. Part 2: Give Your Dreams Marching Orders

    • 4. Part 3: Get SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable)

    • 5. Part 4: Risks and Rewards

    • 6. Part 5: Tangible Goals on a Timeline

    • 7. Conclusion: What If I Fail to Meet My Goals?

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About This Class

We all have dreams—things we want; things we hope for.

But will the dream of “being a writer” actually get you there? Is it something that’s as nebulous, as insubstantial, as the stories that run through our heads when we’re asleep? Or is the dream attainable?

Dreams are hopes. Dreams are wishes. Dreams are visions of an outcome . . . without a visualization of the steps needed to reach that outcome.

Goals are what we need in order to figure out how to reach the end we’re dreaming of.

You may be a best-selling author or just getting started with your writing. You may dream of getting published by a big New York publisher; or you may want to self-publish. In this course, you’ll turn your dreams into specific goals . . . and then use those goals in order to work on making your dreams come true.


Meet Your Teacher

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Kaye Dacus

Author / Editor


Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, and B&H Publishing. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and is a former vice president and president of national and regional writing organizations. Kaye lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, where she is a full-time academic editor for a major university and occasional adjunct composition and literature instructor for various colleges and universities.

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Kate Vegas, all their an editor for more than 20 years. Today we're here to talk about setting goals to help make our writing dreams come true. Now we all have dreams. We all have things that we want things that we hope for. But will those dreams, especially that dream of being a writer, actually ever come true? Is that something that's as insubstantial as nebulous as those stories that run through our head at night when we're asleep? Or is that dream attainable? Dreams are hopes, dreams or wishes, you know, Disney song dreams or visions of an outcome without a visual ization of actually how to reach that outcome. Now you may be a best selling author, or you may just be getting started writing. You may dream of getting published by a big New York publisher, or you may want to self publish your work. In this course, you will learn how to take those writing dreams and turn them into specific, actionable goals in order to help you reach your writing dreams. Let's get started 2. Part 1: What Is Your Writing Dream?: beyond the sometimes bizarre movies that play out in our heads when we're sleeping. Beyond the fleeting fantasies that flitter through our minds when they're wandering, what are dreams, dreams, air, those cherished hopes, the ambitions, the aspirations that can both in rich and enrages. They enrich us by giving us hope that there's something beyond what we currently have or what we currently are. But they can also enrage us by being seemingly out of reach. So what about dreams when it comes to writing, what is your dream and how do you make it happen? In this course, we will go over the smart method of organizing your thoughts, creating step by step goals, setting deadlines and determining timelines and revising everything is necessary in order to get from dreamer to achiever. There will be two assignments with each video, one for group discussion and another for your course project. So you'll want to make sure you give yourself enough time for contemplation and writing after each video as an introductory discussion post, tell us how long you've been writing and what you're writing Dream is. Remember. There may be a lot of people here who have never done this before, who? Maybe just starting out on their writing journey. So let's make sure that we're supportive and encouraging of each other. Then, for your course project toe work on throughout the course, Create a Dreams and Goals journal. It could be a physical notebook or one of those blank journal books. We all like collecting them. Come on, or you can do it on the computer or even on your blog's. However, you are comfortable doing it. Your first project assignment is to write down your wildest writing dreams. You can share a photo of it in the discussion as you if you like. I will say that what you post in the discussion group and what you write in your dream Journal may be vastly different. Your dream journal is a place for really digging into your wildest dreams. The things that are you may feel like are pure fantasy things that may never actually be achievable. However, it's a place for you to get it all out on paper in words so that you know what they are specifically. You may not want to share those in the discussion post you may not ever want to share those with anybody. The Dreams and Goals Journal is just for you. The discussion is for you to be able to connect with others who are going through the same , cross us connect with other writers and learn from each other again. Let's try to be as encouraging to each other as possible. Well, in this session, with a thought from somebody who probably encouraged all of us to drink, all our dreams can come true. If we have the courage to pursue them. I hope this course will give you that courage. 3. Part 2: Give Your Dreams Marching Orders: Welcome back to Dreams versus goals. Last time we left off with a quote by Walt Disney, which said, All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. In Part two, we're going to look at how we can courageously pursue our dreams by giving our dreams marching orders. Do you dream of being a writer or do your dreams lead you to actually write when you tell others that your writer, one of the things you'll hear most often is I have this story I've always dreamed of writing, and then this is usually followed up by but an excuse for never doing it. Or you should write it for me. I have had more than one person say to me, I want to be a writer, but I hate writing. What advice can you give me? My answer is always very simple. Try dental school. You can dream all you want to about writing. You can stare at a wall and make up all the stories you desire. You can picture yourself standing up in front of a room of hundreds of riders of publishers and accepting the Nobel Prize for literature or the Pulitzer or whatever writing award it ISS. Don't stop dreaming, even if those dreams seem impossible. Having dreams, being visionary, cherishing hopes, having aspirations, thes air all necessary toe living. Don't ever stop doing this. But just us having a dream of being a millionaire won't fill your fridge or fuel your car. The dream of being a writer won't fill the blank page or get you published. Dreams are not reality. If you never actually write anything, you'll always just be a dreamer and not a writer. Writers are people who put words down on paper, lots of words, millions of words if you want to be a writer and not just a dreamer than it's time to stop just being the noun a writer and start actually doing it. Writing in the introduction to this class, we looked at the definition of dreams, dreams or hopes, dreams or wishes, dreams or visions of an outcome. But they don't have the steps needed to reach that outcome, and that's where goals come in. Goals are results, achievements, aims, ends, targets, intentions in short goals or what we need in order to figure out how to reach the end we're dreaming off. So it's a dream to say I want to be a traditionally published author. Great. Now what part of that dream can you actually control or influence? What can you realistically do in order to move toward the fulfillment of that dream? In other words, what action can you take to pursue making your dream a reality? A goal is a dream with marching orders. The difference between goals and dreams is that goals come with actionable steps and measurable results. You need both long term and short term goals driven by your overall dream. But unlike dreams, goals need to be realistic and personally achievable. Wait a second. What does personally achievable mean? Let's look at the dream of I want to be a traditionally published author. It's fine, wonderful to dream of becoming a traditionally published author in other words, being paid in advance and royalties so that a traditional publishing house can also make money. By selling your book. It gives you an end toward which to set goals. However, aside from setting goals for daily or weekly or monthly word counts, learning everything you can about the craft finding and working with critique partners attending conferences, pitching your work to editors and agents polishing your manuscript as well as you can. There's one major part of the equation that you cannot control. You cannot control the decisions made by publishers to reject or accept your manuscript. You have now taken away your own ability. Control whether or not you achieve your goal. That's what's meant by realistic and personally achievable by setting goals for ends that are out of your control. Success is also out of your control. You dream of being a traditionally published author. Your goal is to do everything within your ability to create a publish ready manuscript and pitch it to editors. So dream away. But then step back into reality and look at your dream to see what parts of it you personally can achieve. Which brings us to the assignment for Lesson two. For your discussion post. Answer the question. What is one major aspect of your writing dream that is out of your hands, something that you have no control over? Then in your dreams and goals journal? Look back at all the dreams you wrote down last time and choose one specific writing dream to work on. Create a two column table and write down everything you can control in column one and everything that you cannot control. That depends on others in Column two, and you can share a photo of this in the discussion or as your project, if you'd like to. So say, for example, your goal is make extra money by self publishing. My novel things that would be in your control would be getting your novel written. Doing the rewrite, getting critiqued partners, finding a professional editor, getting a professional cover, designed marketing, determining how to distribute and then things that would be out of your control would be unexpected. Events that interfere with your writing time or cover design and art costs more than you expect or you get negative reviews. That's if people actually buy your book to begin with. Try to think of all the tiny cause and years that go into making your dream happen and figure out which of these two columns that goes into will in this lesson with a thought from humorist Arnold H. Glass. Oh, success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. Now go get lit. No, wait. That's not right. Go out there and fire up your writing. See you next time 4. Part 3: Get SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable): Welcome back. Last time we looked at the difference between dreams and goals and how we need to set ourselves on fire. But instead of playing with matches and risking a conflagration, let's get smart about goal setting. People have made multiple fortunes by teaching others how to set and achieve golds. One of the most popularly taught structures is smart, but what does this acronym mean? Well, because so many have adapted it for their own purposes. Each letter can mean many different things because we're setting goals for writing these air, definitely going to be significant, and they should stretch us out of our comfort zones. But unless we get specific with our goal setting, the goals won't be much more than dreams worded differently. Your goals can be both meaningful and motivational, but they also need to be measurable. So we'll be looking at how to set up ways in which to measure our goal attainment. There are so many things that Achon stand for. It was hard to narrow down this list, but we did talk about this a little bit in a previous video. We want to set goals that are authentic, that are action oriented, but especially that air personally achievable. Our goals do need to be realistic, reasonable and results oriented, but they're also going to be risky without the risk of failure. There is no way to measure success. Tangible and trackable goals are great for us. As writers, we can create storyboards with Post it notes, pictures and diagrams. We contract word count and time spent writing, but more important than those is creating goals with specific timelines. So that's the overview of the smart method of gold setting that will be using. But for now, let's get specific. The first writing goal I ever articulated for myself was at the age of 30 shortly after I attended my first writing conference, That Goal Waas. By the time I turned 35 I want to be well on the way to getting published. Then I joined a national writers organization and took some workshops. A few months later, I sat down and refined that vein goal with some specific details. By the time I turned 35 I will finish at least three complete manuscript, join a local writing group, attend a regional or national writers conference every year, find critique partners enter contests, pitch to at least two agents and three publishing houses. Setting goals with specific steps gives us a way to measure the our success. So if we start out by saying I want to be well on my way, it's a vague goal. There's no specific measure of success well, on my way has no specific benchmarks, no way of knowing if the goal has been met or not. If we then set a goal that says I will do X, then why then? Z? These specific goals have a built in measure of success, these air items that could be checked off of a list as their accomplished. I gave myself five years with very specific steps to accomplish, And not only that, I made sure that they were steps that I personally can achieve. So how were these specific, measurable goals achieved? Well, the first part of the goal was that I wanted to finish at least three complete manuscript. Over the course of five years, I completed four manuscript and had two more started. I wanted to join a local writers group in your three after my writing work National Writing Organization's annual conference was held in my city. I started my own local writing group because there was not one available at the time. I wanted to make sure I attended a regional or national writers conference each year. Not only did I attend my organizations National Conference each year in the third year I started volunteering. And then in the fourth and fifth years I worked as an elected officer, so I helped coordinate the conferences. I was very involved in what was going on. I wanted to find and work with Critique partners in the second year of this five year span , through networking, through making friends through, getting to know people at the National Conference and through my national writing group, I found Critique Partners that I worked with for years. I wanted to enter writing contests in the 1st 3 years I entered the manuscript that I had completed in the contests, and then I realized my manuscript might not quite be contest ready. But in your four after, I had not only finished the manuscript that I spent more than a year on, but it was also my master's thesis novel It Finals in an unpublished author contest I also said that within five years I wanted to pitch to two agents and three publishing houses. In my second year, I very boldly pitched a manuscript that was not even completed to an editor. And then I realized that that was not a good idea. The fourth year I pitched that finalised manuscript to two agents who, my new through this writing organization that I had been an officer with and both asked for full manuscript in your five. After I had signed with one of those agents, I pitched two different manuscript to two different editors. I had specific, measurable, achievable items, and I completed each one. Setting a goal is a lot like writing a book or eating an elephant. You must break it down into small pieces so it doesn't overwhelm you, and you must write your goals down. Writing them down makes them more rial E, and it gives you the opportunity to review them from time to time to remember their specifics. If you don't write your goals down, how will you know if you've achieved them? Start with a specific long term goal, such as by this far off future day. I will have a published ready manuscript submitted to agents and editors, then break it down into more specific short term pieces. I will write 1000 words a day. I will find and work with critique partners. I will join a national writing organization. I will attend the conference and so on. Now it's time to start getting specific with your own measurable, achievable goals. For the part three discussion, answer the following question. What are three specific, measurable, personally achievable steps that you can take this week in order to start working towards your dream, then your dreams and Goals Journal has two parts. First, take five minutes to free right about your writing dream, starting with the prompt as an author in five years, I see myself. What is your five year writing dream? Write it down, then for part two. Analyze that dream statement and start breaking it down into specific, measurable, personally achievable steps. Remember, you can always share a photo of your journal as your project in this, or you can share a photo of it in the discussion or you can keep it all to yourself. It's all up to you will close a session with a thought from Lawrence. Peter, if you don't know where you're going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Let's make sure that we know where we're going and start planning the road map to get there . See you next time. 5. Part 4: Risks and Rewards: welcome back in part, for we're going to continue our smart goal setting by getting risky and then reaping the rewards if you'll recall. Last time we looked at the overview of what smart goal setting is in Part three, we looked at setting specific, measurable and personally achievable goals. This time we're going to cover are by looking at, have take risks while still being realistic, reasonable and results oriented with our goals and then reaping the rewards. The only way to be sure you never fail is to never try. If you never sit down to write, then you'll never face the very real possibility that what you think is a great story isn't or that you don't actually like writing or that you're just not good at it. Sitting down and setting goals, writing them down, making them specific. Determining ways to measure your success, and realizing that there's a lot of work that goes into achieving these goals leads to the fear of failure. But how much more of a failure is it? Not toe have goals if you never try? Isn't that as much of a failure as trying and not getting it right? The first couple of times setting goals again, especially writing them down and making sure they're things you can actually achieve makes them rial. This is no longer a dream. This is something you can do instead of passively dreaming of being a writer. You're challenging yourself to actively, right, and doing something new or different is always scary. I've said it a few times now, but it bears repeating. You need to write down your goals, but even though you've written them down, don't look at your goals, whether their long term or short term as written in stone Circumstances change. Golden timelines need to change to accommodate them. Keep your written goals somewhere. They're easy to refer back to write them in the journal you started for this class, write them in the notebook that you keep to jot down story ideas. Write them in a private or public blawg post on your website. Just make sure it's somewhere you won't lose them if you need extra motivation or reminders . In addition to writing them somewhere like that, go to the dollar store, get some posterboard and magic markers and make yourself a poster toe. Hang on your wall so that you have a visual reminder regularly. If you don't write down your goals, how will you remember the specifics of them? How will you know how to measure your success? How will you know if you've achieved your goals? It may sound simplistic and somewhat childish, but there's something very satisfying about checking or crossing something off of it to do list. And if you take the risk to attempt your goals and then achieve them, you know that you've reached a point at which you can reward yourself. When you first start looking at turning your dreams into specific, measurable, achievable, risky goals, you may be tempted to tell everyone you know it's exciting to start a new venture. We want external emotional support in order to stick to our process, even the gold studying process, much less the writing part of it. However, there are some things that probably shouldn't or don't need to be shared. Writing is, after all, a solitary endeavor. Sometimes, though, we need accountability to help us meet our goals. This is when we need to carefully analyze who the people are that will support and encourage us people who will help us celebrate our successes and support us when we feel like we failed. There are multiple levels at which to consider the ramifications of sharing. These could be family members. Friends critique partners you're writing group on your blogger or on social media. It's a very personal decision whether or not to make public a goal, a set of goals or even a dream. Most self help books and inspirational speakers encourage you to share your dreams and goals with others so that you have supporting accountability. But when it comes to writing and the dream of being published in whatever form that takes, you have to weigh very carefully first with whom you share it. And second, if you're strong enough to handle the risks that come with sharing this particular part of your life with others, when we share our dreams and goals about writing with others, we make ourselves vulnerable to criticism for the goals themselves or for thinking we could achieve them. Or we open ourselves to ridicule if we don't reach the goals or if we have to change them when our circumstances change. So be sure that if you go public whether to one person or hundreds through a blogger on social media, you know that you will be able to handle any negative comments that may come your way. Don't go public and then let the naysayers keep you from working on achieving your goals if you need to keep it private. And then one day you can surprise everyone with your writing success. Which leads us to this part's activities in the discussion area. Let's talk about the risks of gold studying in what ways consenting, specific writing goals be risky for you. Do you plan to share your goals with others? How can you reward yourself for meeting and overcoming risks, then for your dreams and goals? A journal. Take five minutes to free right from the following prompts. The biggest risks on taking by pursuing this dream are you may want to take what you share in the discussion and expound upon it in your journal, then come up with a plan for facing those risks and overcoming them. You may also want to think about ways you can reward yourself by meeting each deadline or goal well in this part with a quote from the hockey great Wayne Gretzky you'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Now go out there and take your shot. Don't throw it away from fear of taking a risk. So you next time. 6. Part 5: Tangible Goals on a Timeline: Welcome back in Part five. We're going to round out our smart goal setting by setting timelines we covered S M A and R in parts three and four. Now let's wrap it up by looking at how to set tangible goals and track them with a timeline . Writing down your goals makes them tangible, and it gives you the opportunity to review them from time to time and remember their specifics. If you don't write down your goals, how will you know if you've achieved them? Go back and look at the specifics of your goals and the short term and long term steps you need to accomplish in order to achieve them. Here's an example of breaking down the goal of complete revising Pitcher novel in 12 months . This shows short term, medium term and long term goals, and these still need to be broken down into more specific steps. You may already use a daily, weekly or monthly planner or the outlook in calendar Gmail or even an old school paper one hanging on the wall. It's time to pull it close or open it up and start figuring out specific dates for when your steps should be completed. This is where already using a bullet journal or a planner comes in handy, since it's just adding these things to your plan. But you can print calendar pages very easily and stick them into a notebook or a folder or is mentioned. Just use a cheap wall calendar or your email calendar for setting your timeline and deadlines again. Just make sure it's something you can keep up with and refer to easily. I created my own personal life planner this year, which includes a grid in which I set my writing goal for each day at the beginning of the week, and then I track it at the end of each day. I also use this page to set rewards for myself if these goals are met and that is right under the goals grid, so I see the potential rewards every day. While your goals should be challenging, you don't want to make them impossible to achieve. Remember, you will have other stuff going on in your life while you're writing, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for everything. It's easy for me to say that I can write 1000 words per day and have a completed 90,000 word draft in three months. I've done it before, but for most people, that isn't realistic. If you aren't already in the daily writing habit, it'll be even harder. The easiest way to get discouraged and quit is to set unrealistic timelines for yourself. Don't set yourself up for failure. Take stock of your life. How much time can you? A lot each day to writing. How long will it take you to develop your story or idea before you can start writing? What's a realistic expectation to put on yourself for how many words you can produce in a week or a month? Do you actually have time to write every day? If not, what days can you write on and so on? Then, even if it seems silly, cross each item off the list as you complete it. It may seem daunting at first all these small steps that go into working to achieve the dream of becoming a published writer. But once you start seeing mawr and more items crossed off as completed, you'll realized just how much you've accomplished and how successful you already are, which leads us to this part's activities in the discussion area. Talk about working on a deadline. Do you do well with the timeline in due dates, or are you a last minute person? How will setting a timeline affect your motivation to write? Also, how can you reward yourself by meeting the due dates for your goals? Then in your Dreams and Goals Journal, create a three part list of short, medium and long term goals like I showed you a couple of slides ago. Then get out your calendar and set the timeline in due dates. For all of your goal tasks and steps, we will in this session with a quote from me Que dickus Ah, goal without a timeline is like tea and tea without a detonator. It has lots of potential power, but it will never achieve much. Now go out there and set some tangible explosive timelines. See you next time 7. Conclusion: What If I Fail to Meet My Goals?: congratulations. You've gotten smart about goal setting, and now you're ready to start meeting and achieving your goals. But wait, you say, What if I fail? What if my goals change? One of the reasons I believe most dreamers Air hesitant to actually sit down and go through the goal setting process is not only because doing that makes it more concrete, more rial, but also because by defining exactly what it is we want to accomplish, we're defining exactly the ways in which we can fail for anyone who set a self imposed deadline and missed it. For anyone who stated a certain number of words to be written every day and not done it. For anyone who submitted manuscript, stow editors or agents and been rejected for anyone who's joyously told family and friends that we've decided to write novels and get them published on Lee to have those same people lose faith in or even Marcus when we can't show tangible results, we know what failure feels like and we don't want to be there again. However, by breaking the dream down into a personally achievable goal with short term and long term actionable steps, you have more opportunity to show how you've succeeded when you or others around you deride you and call your a failure because you still aren't published. Every word every page you write is a tangible result. Sure, it's not published, but remember, it may be your dream to be a published author. It's your goal to do all of the work that gives you the ability to chase that dream. And if you do the work, if you write the manuscript, work with critique partners, go to conferences and workshops, rewrite and revise, edit and re edit. Do your market Research inter contest network and get those appointments to pitch your work . Then you're successful because you've met all of your goals and you've done everything you can to chase your dream. As I've said before, just because you've written your goals down, even if you used PIN doesn't mean that they're written in stone. Circumstances change issues arise. It becomes apparent that timelines you set don't work. Then by all means reevaluate and, if necessary, change your goals, timelines and deadlines. But when you change them, make sure you write the new and revised goals down, too. After all, how Will you measure your success if you don't have it written down so you can cross it off the list? Think of your goal setting like a living, breathing entity. As you move through your projects and steps, your goals and timelines will necessarily need room to grow and mature. Working with them instead of fighting against them is the best thing that you can dio, which leads us to the final activities for this class in the discussion. Wrap up your experience with goal setting The Smart Way. How has this course changed? How you think about goal setting to those writing dreams seem closer to reality now. There's no specific assignment for your dreams and goals Journal. Just keep working through your goals, revising and changing them if necessary. And soon you'll see just how successful of a writer you can be will conclude with a quote from author J M. Power. If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. Now that you're awake, go out there and work your goals in order to try to make your writing dreams come true.