Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at jill@jilliankent.com and explore her website at www.jilliankent.com, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is http://www.nami.org/

The Well Writer
Jillian's guest this month: Kathi Lipp

Goal Making for a Struggling Writer (or What the Writing Books Never Tell You)

Kathi LippAs you log on to your computer this New Year, you’ll be bombarded on Facebook and Twitter with dozens of links to “Making Goals for the New Year!” articles that all say basically the same thing: When making goals, be realistic and make sure that your goals fit in with your lifestyle. Attainability is the key to making your plans a reality.

But you, my friend, are a writer. You gave up on sensible and realistic the first time you uttered the phrase, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.” So I would like to offer you this handy Guide to Goal Making—The Writer’s Edition

Make Short, Stupid Goals

To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein

Stupid goals are the reason we all love a good NaNoWriMo Challenge. Writing 50,000 words in thirty days? Crazy. But sometimes a little crazy is what is required to get things done. No, you shouldn’t create a list of long-term writing goals that induce you to spend copious amounts of your latest advance on Monster Energy Drinks and make you question whether showering on a daily basis is required. But some stupid short-term goals will keep you focused and create some fire around your writing:
• Get one hundred new “Likes” on your Facebook page in a month (giveaways of books and Godiva may be involved)

• Write 10,000 words in a weekend (I didn’t say they had to be good words)

• Query thirty editors in thirty days

• Get together with two other writer friends and brainstorm fifty ideas in a day for each of your works in process

When you’re in a writer’s rut, do some short-term “stunt writing” to get your pulse pumping and your fingers flying.

Take out a calendar and plan one short, stupid goal a month. Switch between writing and marketing so you can spread out the crazy.

Public Humiliation Goes a Long Way to Getting Your Book Written

People who won’t post their writing goals on Facebook are the same ones who scraped off the Christian fish symbol from the back of their used minivans; they don’t want to be caught over the speed limit or under word count.

But while peer pressure is bad in junior high school, it’s a necessary evil when writing novels aimed at junior highers.

I say post your short, stupid goals for the world to see. Ask others to hold you accountable, to cheer you on as you get closer to your word count. Just the fear on having to admit that you didn’t make goal will be enough to push most of us to stop checking our Klout Score every ten minutes and actually get that chapter written.

And if public floggings have no effect on you, how about the possibility of losing some cold, hard cash? My writing buddy Katie Vorreiter was part of an accountability group in which not only was the potential for ridicule high, so were the financial stakes: “We Winklings used to put money on the table—5000 words this week or pay each of the other four group member $10 each (or however much would hurt). It was a great motivator, and the amazing thing is no one ever had to pay.”

The Me ProjectBe a More Productive Writer—Watch More TV

With short, stupid goals, you need some instant gratification as a prize. To get out of a writing rut, reward yourself with Real Housewives of New Jersey (or whatever bad TV motivates you) for every five hundred words written. (Plus you'll be inspired to get back to work knowing the dialogue you create will be more believable than anything that comes out of the mouth of reality TV personalities.)

Writing isn’t a marathon. It’s a series of short, breathless sprints with the reward of Starbucks and Project Runway at the end to keep you motivated.

Kathi Lipp is a national speaker and the author of four books published by Harvest House, including The Husband Project and The Me Project, with five more books coming out in the next two years. Kathi’s articles have appeared in dozens of magazines, and she is a frequent guest on Focus on the Family radio and TV. Find out more at http://www.kathilipp.com.

She and her husband Roger are the owners of http://www.ThePlatformBuilder.com, helping authors develop platforms that a publisher can’t help but love.