Episode 024 – Turn Your Writing Goals Into Daily Actions

That’s right, Navigators, it’s time for my favourite topic! Many of us set goals, but few of us actually achieve those goals. We can get derailed so easily along the way. This week, I share my top tips for taking meaningful action towards achieving your goals so that you can confidently tick them off your list.

If you’d like more detailed help with making an achievable plan for 2024, check out my book, Goal Setting for Writers at ⁠www.books2read.com/goals⁠

For direct coaching with me for the new year, sign up at ⁠www.patreon.com/hollylyne

*Affiliate links may be included. You never pay more, but I may make a small commission on your purchase. This helps to pay for the running of this site.

Infographic containing summary text of article. Text reads:
    Actionable Steps: Break big goals into smaller milestones and create specific task lists or focus on one task at a time to avoid overwhelm.
    Time Management: Prioritize important tasks, use time-blocking, minimize distractions, and adapt scheduling to your productivity rhythms.
    Goal-Focused Techniques: Use visual reminders, mental cues like password changes, and regular reviews to keep goals at the forefront.
    Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge small wins to maintain momentum and commitment to your goals.
    Flexibility in Planning: Adjust plans as needed and stay open to changes for a balanced approach.
    Daily Routine Integration: Incorporate goals into daily routines, ensuring consistent progress towards your 2024 vision.

Listen now wherever you stream podcasts.


Hello Navigators, and welcome back to Writer Roadmap. I’m Holly Lyne, and in our last episode, we explored the exciting process of setting our big, juicy goals for 2024. Today, we’re diving into the next step – turning those lofty goals into daily actions. How do we break down these ambitious visions into manageable tasks? How do we ensure each day contributes to our larger aspirations? Let’s get into it.

Turning Goals into Actionable Steps

Transforming our grand goals for 2024 into daily actions is where the magic happens. Let’s break this down into a process that’s both manageable and motivating.

Break Down Big Goals: Start by deconstructing your major goals into smaller milestones. For instance, if your goal is to write a novel, consider milestones like completing the outline, finishing each chapter, and then revising. Each milestone should be a step that moves you closer to your ultimate goal.

Create Task Lists: For each milestone, create a list of tasks. If the milestone is to finish a chapter, tasks might include researching specific elements, developing character arcs, or writing certain sections. These tasks should be specific and clear, such as ‘write 500 words of Chapter 1’ or ‘research 1920s fashion for character design.’

Alternative Strategy for Overwhelm

However, not everyone thrives with a detailed task list. If seeing a long list of tasks feels overwhelming, try a different approach.

Focus on One Task at a Time: Instead of working from a long list, choose one single task to focus on each day or writing session. This could be as simple as ‘write for 30 minutes’ or ‘develop character backstory.’ This method reduces overwhelm and keeps you focused on the present action.

Use Thematic Days: Another strategy is to assign themes to each day. For example, Mondays could be for research, Tuesdays for drafting, and so on. This way, you have a clear focus for each day but not an intimidating list of tasks.

Incorporate into Daily Routine

Once you have your tasks or focus areas, incorporate them into your daily routine. Dedicate specific times for writing-related activities, and try to stick to these as closely as possible. For many people, consistency is key to making gradual, steady progress towards your goals.

Adjust as Needed: Be prepared to adjust your plan. Sometimes a task might take longer than anticipated, or life might get in the way. Flexibility in your approach will help you stay on track without feeling overwhelmed.

By breaking down your goals into smaller steps or focusing on one task at a time, you can make consistent progress without feeling bogged down. Remember, every small step is an integral part of the journey towards achieving your big goals.

Time Management Suggestions

Effective time management is crucial when transforming your goals into daily actions. It’s not just about finding time; it’s about making the most of the time you have. Here are some tips to help you manage your time more effectively:

Prioritize Your Tasks: Start each day by identifying the most important task related to your writing goals. Tackle this task first, as it’s often the most challenging and the most rewarding. This technique, often called ‘eating the frog,’ ensures you make significant progress.

OR Pick Low-Hanging Fruit: Some of us need a warm up, an easy win before we can face the ‘frog’. If this is you, then pick a simple task to help you get the ball rolling and tackle the more daunting task once you have momentum.

Use Time-Blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time to different tasks or aspects of your writing. For instance, you might block out an hour in the morning for creative writing and another hour in the evening for research or editing. Time-blocking helps in creating a structured, balanced schedule.

Minimize Distractions: Identify what typically distracts you during your writing time and find ways to minimize these interruptions. It could be turning off your phone, using apps that block social media, or setting up a dedicated writing space where you’re less likely to be disturbed.

Set Timers and Deadlines: Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (writing for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break) to maintain focus. Setting timers can also create a sense of urgency and help you stay on task.

Flexible Scheduling for Varied Rhythms: Recognize that not everyone’s productivity peaks at the same time. If you’re a morning person, schedule your writing for early in the day. If you’re more of a night owl, plan your writing sessions for the evening. Tailor your schedule to when you feel most creative and energetic.

Regular Breaks for Sustained Productivity: Don’t forget to schedule breaks. Regular short breaks help maintain high levels of focus and creativity. They’re not a deviation from work; they’re an integral part of sustained productivity.

Review and Adjust Weekly: At the end of each week, review what you’ve accomplished and what didn’t work. Use these insights to adjust your schedule and strategies for the following week.

In my Patreon group, we have weekly accountability every Monday. We check in with each other, we celebrate what went well the previous week, we acknowledge what we need to do in the coming week and we cheer each other on. If that’s something that you feel you would benefit from, find out more at patreon.com/hollylyne

By integrating these time management strategies into your daily routine, you’ll be able to make steady progress towards your goals without burning out. Remember, effective time management in writing is about quality, not just quantity.

Keeping Goals Front of Mind

Staying constantly aware of your goals ensures they’re always guiding your actions. Here are some strategies:

Visual Reminders: Place your vision board or a list of your goals in your writing space or set your phone and computer wallpaper to be an image that represents your goal.

Mental Cues: We all know that internet security includes changing your password regularly. So, how about this January you change your passwords to be something connected to your goal so that every time you unlock your computer or login to your most used sites, you have to type in a reminder of what you’re working towards?

Regular Reviews: Set aside time each week to review your progress and adjust your actions accordingly.
Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate when you complete tasks. It keeps the momentum going and reinforces your commitment to your goals.

Incorporating your goals into your daily routine might seem daunting at first, but with these strategies, you’ll find that every day you’re moving closer to your 2024 vision.

Thank you, Navigators, for joining me on this journey of making our writing dreams tangible realities. If you’re looking for more personalized guidance or a community to share your progress with, check out our Patreon at patreon.com/hollylyne.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Writer Roadmap and share this episode with your fellow writers. Until next time, keep breaking down those goals, managing your time wisely, and writing your story—one day at a time.

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

Leave a Reply