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Lucinda Literary Challenge, Day One: Goal-Setting

When you embark on a road trip, you usually do so with a map in hand and a clear idea of where you want to go. Writing and publishing a book is no different. To get the most out of the Lucinda Literary Challenge, we want you to take a look into the future.

Last week, we challenged you to a week of productivity exercises intended to inspire progress in your book journey. At the end of this week, you will leave with a sense of accomplishment for making headway in your book, and three randomly selected participants will win a chance at representation. For Day One of the challenge, take some time to think about where you’re going.

All of us, and creatives in particular, face insecurity and indecision. But it’s critical in your pitch to show authority and certainty. Why? Because when agents and publishers take the financial risk of signing a first-time author with no track record to stand on, certainty in one’s work is a hidden attribute that you may not have thought of, but one that cannot be discounted. By outlining what you hope to offer, or what a reader will gain, you can better understand why you are the best person for the job: a person with authority.

When creating goals, keep them tangible, timely, and personal. If you’re writing a self-help book about happiness, you might say “making people happy” is your top goal. Although this is an important goal to have, it isn’t one that you can return to throughout your journey as a mile marker, nor is it one that you can ever “check off.” Think of a more objective or measurable goal, and choose a feasible time frame in which to achieve it.

It’s crucial that you have control over the outcome of this goal. Here’s an example:

Before: My goal is for [Agent’s Name] to sign me within the next month because I admire their work. Although this goal is tangible, timely, and personal, it is contingent on the opinion of another person, something that is (regretfully) out of your control.

After: My goal is to submit my query or proposal to [Agent’s Name] within the next month because I admire their work. Now, whether or not you achieve this goal is something that you have complete agency over.

Give it a shot: outline three to five goals and then share them on the Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, using the hashtag #LucindaLiteraryChallenge and tagging two friends to confirm your entry. Maybe one of your goals will be to complete all five days of the challenge to increase your odds of winning the grand prize: a chance at representation and our expert feedback on your work!