How to produce the better ebook with these tips

 Goals, projects, tasks and deadlines

What are your long-term goals and vision?

It is often said that most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year yet underestimate what they can achieve in ten years. It is also said that it takes ten years to become an overnight success.

You may dream of generating a full-time income from your writing, you might see yourself holding your bestselling novel in your hands, you might imagine your book being adapted for the big screen or you might wish you could travel the world writing a blog. Whatever you dream of doing or achieving write it down. Do not censor or restrict your vision. At this stage you might not have any idea how you are going to get there and you may not have any idea how, or even if, you can develop the skills and knowledge needed, however, do not think your dreams are unrealistic or that you need to scale them back.

Young man reading a book with alphabet letters coming out of the book

Write down short statements or paragraphs about how you see your ideal life – where you will be living, the income you will have, attending the screening of your film – include everything. This is your vision. Ensure you save this either in a journal or diary; you could even place this on your wall to remind yourself every day where you are heading.

Revisit this vision every month to motivate yourself to get your writing done. Revisit your vision every year when you undertake an annual review and plan for the year ahead to ensure that your goals are taking you towards your vision.

Remember, there was a time when many people dreamed of flying to the moon. One day someone decided this was their vision and made it their goal – a man would walk on the moon. At the point in time when the goal was set getting a man safely onto the moon was impossible – the skills, knowledge, experience and technology did not exist. And yet, after many years of working towards that goal, after many setbacks and failures, by using the skills of many teams of people, this vision was realised. You too can realise your vision and achieve your goals.

Define your writing goals

You are now ready to create the goals that will enable you to progress towards your vision. What do you want to achieve during the next year? What about the next three years? Write three books, undertake a writing course, set up a blog, use social media to engage with readers, create a website, enter a writing competition, write a newspaper column or speak at a writing festival?

Allocate an afternoon or evening to examine what you hope, and intend, to achieve. Use a large sheet of paper and either make notes or create a mind map to record your thoughts. You may not yet know how you are going to achieve your goal, write it down anyway, at this stage it doesn’t matter how you’re are going to do this, planning comes later.

Select no more than three of these goals to work towards during the next month, these goals will now become your projects, note they may take longer than a month to complete. Put the rest of the list to one side for now.

Make your goals SMARTER

You may already have come across writing SMART or SMARTER goals and targets -making your goals/objectives/targets Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, along with Evaluate, and Record/Review. If you attend a presentation or read an article on creating SMART(ER) goals and SMART working practices you may find that there is some variation on the words used, this is not important as the essence is still about improving productivity and achieving your goals.

Start by writing your goal as a positive statement (state what you will do rather than what you won’t), in the first person (use I will because these are your goals) and apply a deadline. For example, I will complete a book by 24th April. Now check if this goal is SMART (you evaluate and record/review as you complete tasks).

Specific – what does complete a book mean? How many words are you planning to write? Does complete mean with a cover and description? Does it mean published? These are your decisions. If you intend to write an 80,000 word book and aim to find a traditional publisher you will need to produce a book written and edited to a publishable standard. You won’t need a cover as the publisher will organise one. You will need a synopsis and letter to send to prospective agents and publishers. In this case your goal might be written as I will complete an 80,000 word book, edited to a publishable standard and complete with a synopsis and letter by 24th April. If you were to self-publish you would need a cover and description.

Measurable – how do you know when you have achieved this goal? In the example above it is clear that once the book is written and edited to the required length and you have written the synopsis and letter you will have achieved your goal – it is therefore measurable.

Achievable – can you actually achieve this goal with the available resources including skills and time? If not you will need to improve your skills, increase your productivity, create more time to write or revise your goal.

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