Writer’s Goals and How To Get There (IMHO)

As a life coach, I talk to clients often about goals. I start with this question: What do you want that you already have?

My answer might be: “I have a life coaching blog that I love and am excited about every time I post to it.”

I used to ask clients simply: “What do you want?” but I found people always listed only the things they didn’t already have.

“Who cares?” you might ask.

I care because the important part of the answer to these questions is not the actual answer; it’s how the answers make you feel.

What do you want? A three-book deal with a major publishing house.

How does it feel to want that? Lousy since I don’t think I’ll ever get it.

When we want things from a place of lack, we take very different actions than we do when we want things from a place of abundance.

My “lousy” feeling translates to feeling defeated, inadequate, or hopeless.

When I feel defeated I’m not usually motivated to write 2000 words before I go to bed tonight.

If I feel love and excitement, as I do when I think about my (already in existence) blog, I have so much more energy for writing. 2000 words. Hell, yes—I can do that.

If you’ve lived on the planet for any length of time, you’ve had lots of practice wanting what you do not have. How much practice have you had wanting what you already have?

If you haven’t thought about all the things you want that you already have, it’s time to start.

Here are a couple of things I want, as a writer, that I already have:

  • I want a computer that works great and has a long-lasting battery. Wow! I have that. Feels great.
  • I want a critique group filled with people who are serious readers and writers who are also fun to be around. Got it! Feels amazing.

What do you want that  you already have? ___________________________________________________________________



How does it feel to have that thing you want so much?





Once you become more aware of those great feelings, you can start shifting how you feel about the goals you have that you haven’t yet achieved and clarifying new goals.

If you can’t make that shift and your goals don’t feel good, here are some more questions to ask yourself about each goal:

  • Why do you want it?
  • What would you believe if you already had it (whatever “it” is?)
  • What’s preventing you from believing it right now?

In my example about the three-book deal, my answers are:

  • I want it because it would be so cool to be an established author.
  • If I already had a three-book deal, I’d have to belief that writing is my first priority in life.
  • What’s preventing me from believing it right now is the fact that my son is my first priority in life right now.

This is great information to know. I don’t have a three-book deal because writing is not currently my first priority. When my son is a little older and in school, I will be able to make writing more of a priority. At that point, a three-book deal is much more believable to me.

Going through that process turned my lousy feeling about my goal into a peaceful feeling. It’s all happening as it should. It makes me realize that all my small goals of writing every day (something—anything!) and blogging regularly are all steps on the path to my (much larger) goal.

How do you feel about your writerly goals?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: is a mother, writer, blogger, life coach, and family physician. I’m working on accepting where I am right now as a writer and taking baby steps toward my many and varied writing goals!

By the way, I’m way behind on NaNo, but I’m not as far behind as my official count shows. I’ll get there!

18 thoughts on “Writer’s Goals and How To Get There (IMHO)

  1. I need a “love” button for this one. What a novel idea! To want what we already have! So simple, and SO AWESOME. This advice would be useful in so many aspects of life, and I think I am going to use this as a writing prompt for myself tomorrow and any time I’m feeling low about my writing. Thank you Diane!

    • Hi andrea,
      I’m so glad you liked the blog post. I use this practice of wanting what I already have in every area of my life and it has made a real difference in my day-to-day life.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • Hi remodelingpurgatory,
      Great name! You are welcome! Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to forget all the things that we wanted once we actually have them?

      Happy writing!


  2. Reblogged this on Lori Ericson, Author and commented:
    This is truly inspiring for a writer, but also as we enter this insane commercial season. “What do you want that you already have?” Think about it all in those terms and don’t wish the joyous Christmas season away standing in a line at the local mall!
    What do I want that I already have: a wonderful, caring and truly supportive husband; two healthy and smart daughters, now grown and making me proud daily; my first novel that I’m more confident in daily as I make final changes, along with the feeling that I’ve finally found my writer’s voice; all my supportive writer friends; my health; my job that supports my life and keeps me connected with good people; good friends and people who care about me; and, I have to mention again my absolutely adorable husband!

    • Hi Lori,
      Thanks for your comments and thanks for letting us know what you want that you already have–isn’t it a great exercise! Definitely an antidote to the craziness of the “commercial” holiday season.

      Best wishes for a holiday season filled with things you want that you already have!


  3. This is fantastic, just the sort of mindset people should have. I have been feeling down and this helped bring things into a better perspective. For instance, I want someone who is a constant source of company, mental stimulation, and support–not to mention an editor for my novels. I have that already with my sister. Thank you for a wonderful blog. Just in time for black Friday : )

    • Hi literaryliason,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. What a wonderful support you have in your sister–and an editor, too! I’m lucky to have the same support in my sisters and it feels great!

      Happy Black Friday!


  4. Thinking of what I have that I want- does make a difference. So simple and effective. It makes one refocus his or her energies on what really matters. It also inspires action and improvement… Thanks!

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