10 Goal Setting and Time Management Tips for Writers to Kick off the New Year

This is a guest post by Lisa Sullivan


WritingHappy 2016, fellow writers! A new year brings new writing goals and ambitious plans to achieve them. To help you along, here are some goal setting and time management tips for creating  and achieving your 2016 writing and time management goals.

1. Eliminate distractions.

  • If you sit down to write, then write. Do not use writing time to check social media, websites, email, text messages, Angry Birds, etc. Do not let mindsucks, timewasters, and energy drains tempt you away from your writing. Set clear boundaries with people and pets to let them know that writing time is writing time.

2. Separate writing tasks.

  • Multi-tasking (switch-tasking) is proven to be unproductive, so focus on one writing task at a time. Schedule prioritized time for brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, proofing, planning, promotion, research, business/admin, etc. Draft, revise, edit, and proof when you are freshest. Promote on social media at peak times to maximize return.

3. Organize your space.

4. Empty your mind so you can focus on writing.

  • When something besides writing is on your mind, it clouds your productivity. Deal with it then get back to writing, even if it takes days, weeks, or months to resolve. Journal about it, talk it out, or workout to clear your mind for a more productive writing session. Similarly, take frequent breaks – the mind focuses best in 20-minute chunks.

5. Set goals that are not just achievable but motivational.

  • Goal setting is not the same as goal achievement, and goal achievement (in my lexicon) is not the same as goal accomplishment. Goal achievement, in a nutshell, means you visualize where you want to end up then plan and strive to complete incremental tasks to get you there. To stay on the path of completion, you must believe you can achieve, make a reasonable plan, and commit. Goal achievement is the logical conclusion to the milestones you have completed on a prescribed path. Goal accomplishment, on the other hand, is emotional and thus more powerfully motivating. What pleasurable, emotional feeling will you get as a result of completing your writing exercises? Holding your book in your hands? Getting accolades, awards, or royalties for your work? Connecting with your readers? Leaving a legacy? Starting a new career path? Doing something you’ve always wanted to do? Finishing something you started a long time ago? Overcoming barriers or fears? Dispersing your message to the masses? Making yourself/your mom/your spouse/your kids proud? Whatever that emotion is for you, pinpoint it and hold fast to it because it will best lead you to goal accomplishment (in contrast to goal achievement). Emotional motivation is a much more forceful predictor that you will reach the end of that long, lonely writing path than setting word count goals and deadlines will be. The bottom line is, you know you can do itso ask yourself why don’t you or why will you?

6. Associate with supporters.

  • Beware! Some people in your writing circles wear masks of amity, but their face underneath is one of enmity. To them, getting published and selling books is primarily a competition, and YOU are their rival. …Ditch those people! They do not want to help you achieve your goals at all. Associate with those who are genuinely supportive of seeing you achieve your writing goals, and help or thank them profusely in return.

7. Strike while the iron is hot.

  • Does a great idea strike you while bathing or driving along the highway? When, without warning, the next scene of your WIP starts to fill your mind, stop what you are doing (if you can) and capture it – and keep going with the moment until your imagination iron cools. You never know:  that brilliant idea may never strike again or in the same way later. There’s no reason to wait for a scheduled writing time to make great progress. (Just ask Bob Dylan.) Write it down, type it up, or leave yourself a voice mail message right then and there. So what if you are the one who looks like you are talking to yourself in the car but, unbeknownst to all, you are recording voice memos on your smartphone about a new scene idea or character brainstorms? If it helps you reach your writing goals, then do it.

8. Take care of yourself.

  • Be well rested, healthily fed, and free of stress to be the most productive writer you can be.

9. Deal with Writer’s Block.

  • Either plow through it (i.e., keep writing) or give your mind a break – the words WILL flow again. On the other hand, are you truly suffering from Writer’s Block? Maybe you are procrastinating. In that case, read my book for more tips on how to overcome procrastination.

10. Stay dedicated.

Now, go forth and write your novel! Make it happen this year. Enjoy the journey with smiles and good times. Best of luck to you in 2016!
© Lisa A. Sullivan, 2016

Lisa SullivanLisa A. Sullivan is an award-winning trainer and recipient of the American Society for Training and Development West Virginia Chapter’s Workplace Learning Professional of the Year and the Federal Executive Association of the Eastern Panhandle’s Manager of the Year Award. She is also owner of publishing house LASBooks,  the author of the Time Management Workbook, a blog, and four other books.  Her fiction work has finaled five times in different contests over the years.

Join her free Time Management Workshop at the Hedgesville Library in Hedgesville, West Virginia, Saturday, January 30, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LASBooksWV.

2014: A New Chapter, Onward & Upward

FireworksIt’s January 1st of a new year, so it’s time for me to set my professional expectations for the 2014. But first, a bit of reflection on 2013.  For 2013 my goals were simple:

1.) Finish 3 full length manuscripts
2.) Submit to a publisher/editor
3.) Continue to build on my author platform

I did not complete #1, but I did start a couple of new wips AND both finished and published a short story last year.  I didn’t complete #2 either because I didn’t think either of my wips were “submit” ready yet.

Now, goal #3 I  think I made the most progress on in 2013.  I did several things over the course of the year designed at getting my name out there, including  an author Meet & Greet .  This was a very fun event that one of my critique partners hosted for me.  The best part (besides the awesome concert I was lucky enough to be included with) was introducing myself and Seven Dress Sizes to people genuinely interested in this collection and the themes explored. Robin is the best, check out the professional poster she designed for me. 🙂

Meet & Greet 1


Meet & Greet 2











I also had the pleasure of appearing on authors Chudney Thomas, Lisa Sullivan, Tigris Eden, and Candace Shaw websites in 2013, not to mention a feature in  USA Today  with one of my critique partners.  But, it doesn’t end there! I secured my first major conference workshop in 2013.  I will be teaching my Social Media workshop in 2014 at Romance Slam Jam.  I really cannot wait!  Gonna be good times in New Orleans!

Now, on to my goals for 2014.  My overall theme, both professionally and personally, is A New Chapter, so all my actions and specific goals for 2014 revolve around me exploring, moving into, and succeeding in this new chapter in life I’ve decided to write. So here goes:

  • Finish 3 full length manuscripts
  • Read 2 craft books
  • Be more visible (more networking, more PR, more teaching)
  • Submit at least 1 finished story to an editor or publisher 

Discipline shall be my ink, a new chapter my reward.

Happy 1st Release Day To Me

Well the day has arrived! My very first story is now available for sale! WOOHOO!!


Kindle Format:

I was asked to be a contributing author in the Seven Dress Sizes story story collection by 7 DS Books.  I was very drawn to the collection’s theme because, like most people, I, too, have fallen prey to what society deems as beauty and how I don’t measure up to it.  Standards of beauty vary from country to country, industry to industry, and culture to culture, and it seems everyone (women, men, young adults, children in some cases) are always striving for “beauty and acceptance”, but usually falling short because, by and large, the standard is a moving target.  What one deems beautiful, another deems unacceptable.    The thing I like about this collection is that  it showcases seven different stories about seven different dress sizes, all of whom struggling against the “beauty standard”, but ultimately learning to accept themselves as they are and not be bound by their number.

There will be more to come on this topic, so I won’t dive too deep today.  Instead, join me in the excitement that is my very first release date and story in publication!  The collection is available in both ebook and traditional print via Amazon.  For additional detail and purchasing, please click Seven Dress Sizes
or click the book cover above.


Seven Dress Sizes

7 dress sizesWhat is a woman’s worth ? What is beauty? Depending on culture, commercialism, family, or our peers, men and woman have allowed society to dictate a woman’s worth based on nothing more than the outer shell of her existence.

There is no perfect number. No measurement or shape is safe under the judgmental eyes of the world.

No eyes can judge a woman as harshly as her own.

Seven Dress Sizes takes you into the lives of seven different  modern women.  All struggling, in a full scope of shapes and sizes, to find the key to unlocking self worth, acceptance of  their personal beauty, and natural confidence.

I Have a Book Cover!!!

Today is indeed a good day! (for the record, “indeed” is my new it word. I’m reliving my SG-1 days– I LOVE me some Teal’c, but that’s really neither here nor there.)

Anywho, on to the exciting news. I got a sneak peak at my book cover today!! Yes, my dream of becoming a published author has been realized!. I posted a while back about being invited to contribute a short story to an anthology pub’d by 7DS Books . Well, I did it and the book is set to be released on May 7th, just in time for Mother’s Day.

This collection is all about women and how they overcome being defined by  society by one number, their dress size– be it large, small, or somewhere in between.

Here is the cover, my very first!!! (yes, I am well passed excited at this point-lol) 🙂

7 Dress Sizes