It goes without saying that setting goals in any endeavor — a new relationship, a business, a personal pursuit, etc. — is one of the most important things you can do to help you succeed. Goals keep you on track, give you focus and help you make important decisions.
The same goes when it comes to writing and publishing a book. Many authors just feel they have a book inside of them and they need to write it. Others feel they should write a book to help grow their business or increase their credibility. Regardless, if you know you want to write a book, it’s important to get clear on why you want to do it in the first place.
Doing so will give you more clarity, which will not only make the writing process easier and more rewarding, but help you make every decision along the way, whether it’s narrowing in on your target reader, coming up with crucial plot lines, or deciding which publishing path to take.
The most important part of defining your why is being super honest with yourself. There are no right or wrong answers, and you might have more than one reason for wanting to publish.
We’ve been working with authors for a decade, and we’ve noticed that most of their motivations for writing fall into a handful of categories. Based on this, we’ve come up with some guiding questions below, to help you find clarity around your goals.
Ask yourself honestly:
Have you always wanted to write and publish a book?
Do you want to be known as a published author?
Do you have a cool/inspiring/crazy/unique story to tell?
Do you want to make the world a better place?
Do you want to establish your authority in a particular field?
Do you want more leads for your business?
Do you want to raise awareness?
Do you want to become a professional writer/author?
You can use these questions to help you narrow down your author goals, keeping in mind that whatever your goals are, they’re valid. The clearer you get on your why, the easier your publishing path will be. But this is just a starting point!
Take a closer look at the ones you said “yes” to. It might sound silly, but spending some time on this will only benefit you as you continue on your author journey. It might help to journal or free-write about each one, or spend some time coming up with your own leading questions to reflect upon.
Okay, now that you’ve answered all the questions and spent time reflecting on the ones that resonated with you, try to narrow it down to your single most important reason for publishing. I know, I said you could have more than one! But it will be helpful to rank them, if you do have several, so you can clearly refer to the single most important one when a tough decision arises.
Got it? Great.
Now that you’re clear on why you’re writing your book, it’s time to get writing! Don’t forget to set yourself up for success by creating some goals for writing as well. These might be based on time spent with your butt in the chair, or word count or page count. Perhaps you just want to write one day per week, or once per month. Whatever you can fit it, identifying your goals and sticking to them will help you stay motivated and on track.