Aiming for the Stars: to Boldly Go Where no Blogger has Gone Before.

Aiming for the stars.

Now there’s a lofty goal. Aim high. If your aim is too low, you might just surprise yourself and hit the target, so aim high. I set high goals with my writing and my blogging, as well as many other aspects of my life.

Are Your Goals Measurable?

An important reminder about setting goals: they must be measurable. If I say “My goal is to be a better writer” that is not really a goal. How can it be measured? It is a worthy ambition indeed but not really a goal. If instead I said, “My goal is to write a post on my blog every day for a year,” I’m setting a measurable goal. At the end of the year I can test that goal and say, “Whoops. Only 23 posts – bit short on that goal!”

Take a Long Term View

Setting goals for today, this week and this month are important in many aspects of life. For the serious writer and blogger they are crucial. Without clearly defined short term goals I tend to mess around with this and that and don’t really achieve much. Staying focussed is all important. It gets things done.

Too often though, I get too focussed on the immediate, and don’t keep a big picture view in mind. I read somewhere many years ago that most people, when setting goals, vastly overestimate what they can achieve in a month, or a year, but vastly underestimate what they can achieve over five years. Writing and blogging are long term projects. You can’t write a best selling novel in a week (well most of us can’t). You can’t have successful blog in just a month. Take a long term view. Be in it for the long haul.

Group Writing Project

Darren Rowse at ProBlogger has us at it again. This week’s project is on developing goals for a blog. Two weeks ago many contributed to his challenge to write about The Habits of Highly Effective Blogging. I’ve had some interesting and worthwhile feedback from my contribution here on my birding site and also on some follow-up articles on this blog. I’ve been thinking seriously about my long term goals with my blogs (I currently have three – see the others here and here).

Where am I heading with these blogs?

What do I hope to achieve?

What stars am I aiming for?

My Stars – or the blogging goals I’d like to achieve by the end of 2008.

  1. Posts: To have written 1000 posts in each of my three blogs by the end of 2008.
  2. Income: To have a certain level of income (not for publication) per month by the end of 2008.
  3. Plan: To draw up a plan of what I want to blog about over the next three years.
  4. Comments: To respond to all genuine comments from my readers.
  5. Links: To make at least one link every week, more if possible.
  6. Read: To read at least three blogs of other bloggers every day.
  7. Community: To develop a community of loyal readers of my blogs by engaging them in conversations through comments, links and emails.
  8. Accountability: To be accountable to myself (through regular posts, links comments etc) and to my readers (through traffic and comments).
  9. Content: To write posts that will be of interest to my readers leading to increased traffic to and comments on my sites.
  10. Enjoyment: To maintain a sense of enjoyment through all of my writing.

Wait a minute, I hear you saying. You’ve broken your own rule about goals being measurable. Some of these goals will be hard to measure, so they will need to be refined, reworked and modified as I go along. I need some thinking time to work through the issues.


12 Responses to “Aiming for the Stars: to Boldly Go Where no Blogger has Gone Before.”

  1. personal development says:

    “I read somewhere many years ago that most people, when setting goals, vastly overestimate what they can achieve in a month, or a year, but vastly underestimate what they can achieve over five years”

    When I read that, I imediately wrote a 5 year goal down. I think that statement is true. I think I’ll readjust my goals to better fit a realistic 5 year plan.

    thanks for the insight.

  2. andy fossett says:

    those are really comprehensive and specific goals. best of luck to you.

    for me, it would be a little too ambitious to expect that i could plan my next two years of blogging, but i have definitely found a lot of value in planning a couple of months in advance. it gives me a chance to blog relevent ideas in temporal proximity and schedule around relevant events in the real world.

    1000 posts is a marker i also hope to achieve, but it’ll likely take me quite a bit longer than 2008…

  3. Trevor says:

    Don’t forget the little goals too – like daily, weekly monthly etc. It’s the little goals that keep us accountable to ourselves on a regular basis. Even the longest journey is accomplished one step at a time. Over 5 or 10 years all those little steps add up to a great deal. keep the long term vision in mind – but it is only achieved one word at a time. When I look over my body of writing – and now my blogging – it always amazes me what I have done. It is not insignificant.

    Go for it.

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Andy, thanks for the comments. You have highlighted an important factor – make your goals achievable and personal. You have realised that MY goals are not YOUR goals. You adapt the ideas of others to suit your situation. I’m a retired teacher so I have the time and energy to write all day if I so desire. I don’t have the constraints of employment to hinder my writing.

    1000 posts is an achievable goal – so go for it. It does not matter if it takes 5 years, or even ten, provided it is compatable with your other goals, especially your non-writing or non-blogging goals. In other words – not only get a life but have a life.

  5. Eric says:

    Hi Trevor,

    This is an interesting post that connects with the work I’m doing on the good habits that students need and how they can acquire them. I’ve added a link to it on my own blog, here.

    Good luck with your goal-setting!

    Eric MacKnight

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi there Eric – thanks for the comments and the link.

  7. John Pooley says:

    It should read; To Go Boldly – not – Boldly Go. Adverb after verb! Cheers.

  8. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the comment John. The rule you state is correct – but like so many rules in English grammar it is quite often ignored or broken for whatever reason.

    In breaking this particular rule I defend my action in three ways:

    1. The title was deliberately chosen as a reference to Star Trek. The title was a deliberate pun on the catch cry of the series. Titles are important to search engines in the blogosphere and this was deliberately chosen to attract attention. This deliberate choice is entirely consistent with the whole intention of the posting; just like the Star Tekkers I am going into unchartered territory and I intend going with courage and determination.

    2. In breaking the rule I am of the opinion that “to go boldly” is a much weaker use of the language, even if it is incorrect. By putting the word “boldly” first places the emphasis on the courage and determination of the characters in the Star Trek series rather than merely on the “going.” So too with my blogging.

    3. In my humble opinion, to write it correctly as you suggest is less poetic.

  9. John Pooley says:

    Point taken.

  10. Trevor says:

    Thanks for that John. Perhaps you could proofread the rest of my blog pointing out errors contained in my writing. Only joking.

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