Strong goals are the key to hitting those word counts and publishing your book. When it comes to setting quarterly goals for writers, I have a few tips and tricks that will keep you on track and productive.

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a pack of highlighters, planning stickers, and the Write Words Get Paid Planner on a marble background with the text "quarterly goals for Writers"

(Speaking of goals, sometimes you have to move some stuff to make room for other stuff. For that reason, this will be my last blog post until August. I’m diving into novel edits to get my manuscript ready for Pitch Wars, and I don’t want to split my focus. I’ll still be posting videos to YouTube, but not on the same schedule. So, keep a weather-eye out for me in August, or follow my zany editing adventures on YouTube and Instagram.)

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to goal setting, and I recommend that you don’t try to follow everything someone else does. Everyone is in a different season of life, and we’re all trying to do different things in our careers.

And our brains all work differently. It took me a long time to figure out what worked for mine. But these tips are pretty universal and can be adapted to work with different planning systems or lifestyles.

And if you want to see them in action, check out today’s plan with me video. Isn’t that Write Words Get Paid Planner just the best? And I know you’re jealous of those Zebra Mildliners…They’re great.

How did I come up with those goals? Well, I used these tips that I recommend when it comes to setting quarterly goals for writers.

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Quarterly Goals for Writers

001: Think big picture, but break it down.

You can get a lot done in 90 days. But you can’t get a big thing done in one day.

So, when I set a quarterly goal, I try to think of something that may take 90 days to complete. That could be the first draft of a novel. It could be creating an ecourse. It could be a marketing plan.

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But I know that I can’t do a single one of those things in just one day.

I try to think about the big things I want to accomplish, and then I break them down into the little tasks that make them up.

Don’t overthink this step. Just try to break up tasks into one or two day chunks. You could even break it into weekly tasks, and sometimes I do that too.

Basically, I have to think about the task and how to logically break it down. So, for writing it’s usually in thousand-word chunks. For social media, it’s usually into weekly chunks. And for videos, I consider the completion of one video to be the chunk.

Do what works best for you, but make sure you’re breaking things down and giving yourself time to complete the individual parts.

002: Focus on whole projects.

So, I know I just told you to break stuff down. And you should.

But you also have to focus on whole projects.

I like to tackle one thing at a time. So I may take a whole month and just bash out a draft to a novel. Or I may take a week and just write all my blog posts for the quarter in that time.

Focusing in on a particular thing really helps me build momentum, and I can mark more and more things off the list as I do them. Plus, it’s like a big task-batching session. So, I’m always in the mindset of that particular thing, and I can keep pushing without having to reset every time I move to a new thing.

003: Let the goals match the quarter.

I used to work for the worst company in the world. (I’m sure many people can say that, and it doesn’t even matter that we aren’t talking about the same companies.)

They would keep adding work, and no matter the time of year, people were working over time, and the CEO kept telling us we had to do more and more and more.

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And it didn’t work like that. Because in the summer, so many people would go on vacation. And in the winter, around the holidays, people would take time off.

But they never changed the goals to adjust for that, nor did they hire enough people to make it all possible without burning everyone out.

So, now, when I plan, I make sure that I give myself grace when I need it.

I don’t expect myself to sit in front of a desk all day when it’s the last quarter of the year, because I know I’ll be attending parties and family gatherings. I also know I won’t have the ability to do that much work at that time because no one really wants to.

And in the summer, I try to pick goals that let me work outside or can be done around a schedule of traveling and other stuff like that.

But first and third quarters? IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG.

So, when you’re planning out your writing quarter, take all that into account.

004: 90 days isn’t as much time as you think.

Hi. My name is Marisa Mohi and I’m a workaholic. I regularly believe I can do more work in the time there is than I actually can.

This is something I’m working on, but I have to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, or even 90 of them.

So, when it comes to planning I have to think about how much time off I’m going to need. I’m pretty terrible about assuming I can work every single day, and I know that’s not true. So I try to work in a few down days every single week.

And I also know that I will have sick time or emergencies that come up. So I need to give myself some space to accommodate those by not planning every single second of the quarter.

In the long run, productivity is always a work in progress, and I know I need to adapt my approach for wherever I happen to be in my life at that time.

So, know that you have three whole months can feel like a ton of time. But remember to think about all the things that are happening in those three months.

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And allow some space for self-care and to just be a person.

005: Give yourself time and space to iterate.

At the end of every single quarter, I like to think about the things that worked and the things that didn’t. There are usually a lot of things that worked well, and a lot that didn’t.

So I journal about them, and figure out what I need to change for the next time around.

Remember when I said that productivity was a journey? Well, here’s where you’re doing the moving and shaking to get a little further.

Figure out the changes you need to make, and know that a step forward can sometimes feel like a step back.

For example, you may feel like taking time off isn’t getting you to where you want to be. But in the end, you need that time off to take care of yourself.

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Need more planning stuff? Check out this post on how to make time for all the things or this one on how to make time for all the things. And if you’re not sure on where you should start with planning, I recommend looking into tracking your time so you can make some changes that work for you.

How do you set quarterly goals?

What tips and tricks do you have for setting the perfect quarterly goals? How do you tackle projects? Are you also a workaholic? What helps you break down tasks? And if you need a copy of the planner I’m using, you can get the Write Words Get Paid Planner right here.

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