Rethinking 2020 Writing Goals

We’re in the middle of 2020. The final edits on my novel should have been done by now. They aren’t. Here’s how I’m picking up the balls I dropped.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Mallika Kamat

And I didn’t want to. I’d persevered for so long, now it was time to rest.

Make an honest appraisal

How much progress have you made on each of your goals?

My new top 3 goals

I only have 6 months to achieve or make significant progress on the goals I choose. So I decided to put the full thrust of my attention on what really matters.

Frame a goal that’s within your power

You don’t control outcomes but you can control your output.

Don’t shoot for the stars

We’ve all heard of shooting for the stars, but that’s not really actionable, is it?

Don’t aim too low

“It’s far more dangerous to fly too low than too high, because it feels safe to fly low. We settle for low expectations and small dreams and guarantee ourselves less than we are capable of. By flying too low, we shortchange not only ourselves but also those who depend on us or might benefit from our work. We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it.”

- Seth Godin in The Icarus Deception

Will I be happy at the end of the year after achieving this?

When it comes to your goals, aim for the Goldilocks condition — neither ridiculously high nor too humble, but just right.

Operationalising Goals

If you don’t operationalise your goals, how will you achieve them?

Specify the metrics

Choose the right metrics for your goals. How will you know when it’s done?

“I want to be a writer.” — Too vague.

“I want to write and submit 3 short stories in the next six months.” — Specific.

Break it down

Good, now go ahead and choose the right metrics for your process. How will you know that you’re putting in the work every day?

Your process should make achieving the goal almost inevitable.

Keep your goals visible

Out of sight, out of mind.


Even if I failed to hit the mark for a day, or even a couple of days, I could pick up the slack on other days.

Seeing my progress at a weekly level also helped me have more self-compassion when I didn’t meet my own expectations; there was too much going on that week.

This in turn helped me stay the course, even when it wasn’t going so well.

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

— Peter Drucker

Computer Engineer. On a wild adventure to become a published author. Love my writing? Get the newsletter here:

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