How To Use The 20 Step Method For Goals

A goal is a dream with a plan. 

How are you at making plans?  Sticking to them?  The reason goals fail, resolutions fail is because people make them nice and vague.

That’s why you need a plan and not just a goal.

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Being Vague

Example: “I’m going to write and publish a novel.”

Great! … How?

If you have “Write a novel” on your goal list without any thought as to what you need to do, you may find you struggle a bit.

It’s another reason “To Do” lists fail.  We add dozens of things to our to-do lists thinking well they aren’t many things on it… forgetting that some of those “To Do’s” are actually big jobs that will take a lot of time.

There’s a tip that says you give every goal 20 Steps.

If you break your goal down into manageable pieces you will have a better chance at succeeding at it.

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20 Steps

Think about how you can break your goal into pieces.  Let’s take the above as a (broad) example:

Step 01 – Brainstorm the novel’s plot

Step 02 – Outline novel

Step 03 – Create character profiles

Step 04 – Write 1st draft (and start building a platform eg website)

Step 05 – Edit 1st draft

Step 06 – Write 2nd draft

Step 07 – Edit 2nd draft

Step 08 – Take a break from the manuscript to get a clear head

Step 09 – Work with critique partners

Step 10 – Write 3rd draft based on feedback from CP (let CP re-read)

Step 11 – Work with Beta Readers

Step 12 – Write 4th draft based on feedback from BR (let BR re-read)

Step 13 – Edit, polish and make the manuscript perfect

Step 14 – Send Manuscript to an editor for checking

Step 15 – Make changes to the manuscript based on feedback

Step 16 – Write Synopsis and query letter

Step 17 – Research publishers/agents

Step 18 – Check out publishers/agents submission guidelines and send as required

Step 19 – Continue building your platform and following

Step 20 – Start working on next book

Firstly, these are just an example, of how you COULD use your steps.  Also, the steps aren’t meant to be done quickly or all within the same time-frame.

Some, such as “plotting novel”, could take months/years. Whereas others like “researching publishers” could take just a few weeks.

Secondly, you don’t always have to follow the steps in order.  For example, you could be building your following/platform before the manuscript is finished.

In fact, I’m all for doing that – as I said in my post Things You Should Be Doing Now.

The idea of making up 20 steps is just to give you ideas of how to achieve what you want. Rather than seeing the whole thing and being overwhelmed, you break it into steps. Each of the 20 steps can then be broken down again.

For example, Research publishers could be broken down into the following steps:

  • Check favourite books (in the same genre) and make note of publishers
  • Read The Writers Handbook for publishers who deal in my genre
  • Check the website of each publisher
  • Create a spreadsheet for corralling the information on possible publishers (I do love my spreadsheets)

Sometimes a big goal needs to be broken into pieces.  It can help give a clear picture of what you need to do.  Also, make a note of the steps then take some time to re-arrange them into the correct order.

Have you ever used the 20 Step Method?  Or do you have your own method?

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Happy writing people!

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6 thoughts on “How To Use The 20 Step Method For Goals

  1. tira

    I have never seen the 20 Step Method. While looking up information on your “Master List” I came across this post. I hope to add it to my writing routine. Well done.

    1. lol yeah, I used to just see this big goals and lunge at them…which didn’t work at all. I think 20 steps is a good number without being to busy.

    1. Thanks Pearl. Yeah, I like the idea of small pieces – I find big goals can be so overwhelming so I end up just sitting there staring at them with no clue how to begin.

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