Writing Goals in 2024


S.C. Farrow

1/14/20245 min read

fireworks above an open book
fireworks above an open book

Now that we’ve watched the fireworks and nursed the hangover that marked the start of another new year and a new decade, if you subscribe to that way of thinking, it’s time to start giving some serious thought to our writing goals and plans for the coming year. Goals and plans might include starting a new project, finishing a work in progress, brushing up on your current knowledge and skills, joining a writers’ group, sending something out to an agent or publisher, or starting your own blog. Who knows, the world of fiction writing really is your oyster.


Why do you want to write? It’s not a hard question but surprisingly, it’s a question that not every aspiring writer can answer—or is willing to answer. Before committing to anything that’s going to take valuable chunks of your time and effort, figure out why you want to write (in general) or why you want to write that particular thing.

Maybe you want to write a poem about love. Or about money. Or about the love of money. That’s fantastic. But what is it about love or money that makes your heart race or your toes curl? What is it that you want to share with others who also enjoy love or money?

Maybe you’re mad because the network cancelled your favourite TV show. Or that the hero didn’t get the object of their desire. Maybe, you simply didn’t want the show to end. No need to worry; your favourite character can always live on in fanfiction. And who knows, maybe one day the reimagining of someone else’s story might even make you a billionaire. Just ask E.L. James.

What about the destruction of the rain forest? Does it make your blood boil? Great! Turn that anger and frustration into a gripping sci-fi, a political thriller, or a gut-wrenching drama. George R.R. Martin turned the War of the Roses into Game of Thrones. Tolkien turned his WWII experience into Lord of the Rings. I turned my experience of being a vocalist into a story about Melbourne’s 1980s music scene.

Fiction writing, and even some non-fiction writing, is about capturing emotional moments in time. Whatever makes you mad/happy/afraid/excited will also make your readers mad/happy/afraid/excited. The reason you want to write doesn’t have to be lofty or world-changing. You can simply write for your own enjoyment. The point is that writing should be meaningful to you, even if it is just for you.


Committing to the writing process means committing to putting words on paper. And the only way to do that is to Write One. Word. At. A. Time. Write one word, then another, then another. Some people get hung up on the number of words they feel they should be writing every day. Worse, some people believe you should aim to write a thousand or two thousand words a day. I don’t believe in that. Writing is not a race. Unless you’re a journalist who is rushing to meet a deadline or a blogger who’s commenting on the latest news story, time is probably not of the essence.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather create four to five hundred well-crafted words than a thousand words whose only future is lining the bottom of the bird cage. However, that’s my choice. If you want to chunk out a thousand, or even two thousand, words a day, go right ahead. That’s your choice.

The bottom line is, we all have jobs. We all have family. We all have other commitments. Sometimes, it’s just not possible to write a thousand words a day. However, you should try to write something every day, even if it’s just a single sentence. When I worked a corporate job, I wrote during my lunch hour. When my children were small, I wrote after I put them to bed. If I’m on the road, I record ideas on my phone—hands free, of course. Your writing muscle is like any other muscle in your body—it needs to be exercised regularly.

If you really want to be a writer, you will find a way to exercise that muscle daily and commit to the writing process.


Good writing is ninety-five percent technique and five percent talent. Okay, that ratio might be a little skewed, but you get the point. Technique is important. It’s fundamental to good communication. You write because you have something to say. As such, you need to practise good technique so that readers can clearly understand your message.

That means checking your spelling, following the rules of grammar, understanding the demands of your favourite genre, knowing how to develop character, following the logic of plotting, etc.

Something that I’m not very good at is world building, and whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction good world building is an essential part of developing a quality narrative. The world you build is the stage upon which everything, and I mean everything, is set within your narrative.

Before starting my novel, I knew I wasn’t very good at world-building, so I researched tips, tricks, and techniques for creating worlds that would give my readers a truly immersive experience. I won’t say that I’m now an expert at world building, but researching and practising world-building techniques certainly helped me to get better at it.

Don’t try to improve on everything all at once. Doing so could overwhelm you and put you off writing for months! Focus on just one thing and work at it until you see improvement. Once you start incorporating this new knowledge into your work, you’ll no doubt be inspired to write more!


Evidence suggests that people who read fiction are more empathetic than people who don’t read fiction. Very simply, this is because, despite the contrivances of a fictional text, the reading experience helps to put us, metaphorically, in someone else’s shoes. From this position, we can experience worlds and situations that are unfamiliar to us—the good, the bad, or the ugly.

Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.

~ Nikki Giovanni

Emotions are intangible. You can’t hold them in your hand. You can’t feel them on your skin. You can only feel them in your heart and process them in your mind. With that in mind, how do we describe being in love if we’ve never been in love? How do we describe the pain of betrayal if we’ve never been betrayed? How do we describe passion if we’ve never felt passion?

Am I suggesting that in order to write a story about a master criminal/killer (from the criminal/killer’s POV), you need to experience what it’s like to kill? No, I’m not suggesting that at all. However, I am suggesting that it would be helpful to know what the emotion behind the act feels like. What emotion is the character experiencing in the moment of committing the criminal act?

There’s no question that imagination and empathy can help you to describe intangible emotions. But there’s also no question that experience helps to give description a greater sense of authenticity.

Method actors are renowned for their stellar performances because they put themselves in their character’s shoes. As writers, we too should add to our collection of experiences. Don’t live a life of fear. Don’t live a life of regret. Challenge yourself to undertake at least one new experience this year. It doesn’t matter if you fail at it. The point is to get the experience.

Whatever your writing goals are this year, remember… All it takes is one word at a time.

  • Writing goals

  • Fiction writing

  • Writing process