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Good writing skills are becoming more critical, particularly in finding and maintaining a good job. As a writer, you are faced with several challenges. This has to do with your overall writing skills, not just with the profession in general.
A lack of vocabulary, issues with plagiarism, insufficient reasoning and cognitive skills, a lack of feedback, poor grammar and spelling, and a lack of research skills are problems you may face.
However, setting SMART goals is one thing that can help you significantly improve your writing skills. This article discusses SMART goals for writing skills.
SMART goals can help you set precise goals you can measure in realistic ways to monitor your progress over time.
What You Will Learn
What Are SMART Goals?
To set usable SMART goals, knowing what they are is crucial. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Relevant, and Time-Bound (or Timely). These are five parts of a greater goal.
If you focus on the five letters of this acronym, setting and achieving goals becomes easier. So let’s look at the five letters of the SMART acronym and what they mean in setting SMART goals for writing skills.
If you would like more information on setting and achieving SMART goals, we recommend checking out Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals. In addition, a vision board can help you determine what your biggest goals are.
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Developing Writing Skills
SMART goals help you create structure in a way that makes them easier to achieve.
It’s about setting specific goals where you can measure the progress over a certain period, goals that are relevant to your overall end goal, which, in this case, is improving your writing skills.
There are a significant number of challenges that today’s writers face. One of the most common is dealing with complex and unfamiliar topics and lacking practical research skills. But, of course, to write, you first need to research, which is easier said than done.
Another big challenge, once resources have been found, is to organize them, so they are easily usable for your writing. Also related to research and sources is ensuring that your writing hasn’t been plagiarized, which can land you in serious trouble.
Moreover, perhaps one of the biggest writing challenges is forming a coherent argument that makes sense and is valid. It concerns using common sense, logical thought, and deductive skills within a solid writing structure to develop an argument that is accurate and easy to understand.
Another challenge writers face a simple lack of grammar and spelling skills, combined with an ineffective vocabulary. The cornerstone of assembling a good piece of writing is knowing the best words to use.
Other challenges you may face include a simple lack of feedback. To improve at something, you need constructive criticism. A lack of practice and experience are also issues.
We want to look at a series of SMART goals for writing skills to help you formulate a strategy that will help you improve.
We will help you set goals to tackle the challenges writers face, as laid out above. SMART goals are your plan of action.
6 Examples of SMART Goals for Writing Skills
Let’s go over a few examples of SMART goals that will help you tackle the challenges mentioned above faced by writers.
1. To improve my vocabulary, I will spend at least 15 minutes reading from an academic source each day. All throughout, I will keep track of the number of words I do not know to judge my reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. My end goal is to fully comprehend any piece of writing within one year of the start date.
S: This goal is specific as you aim to read from an academic source every day for a particular time to increase your vocabulary.
M: This goal is measurable because you can track how many words you are unfamiliar with over 15 minutes of reading.
A: This goal is achievable because spending 15 minutes per day reading is not very time-consuming, nor is making a list to keep track of unfamiliar words.
R: This goal is directly relevant to improving writing skills because having a good vocabulary is essential for writing well. Regularly reading is a great habit to have anyway.
T: This goal is time-bound to a certain degree because the aim is to engage in this practice for at least 15 minutes per day, every day, by the end of each day.
2. To help improve my vocabulary, I will spend 10 minutes each day making a list of words that I have heard but do not know the meaning of. I will then use a dictionary and a thesaurus to learn what these words mean and their synonyms. I want to shorten my list of unfamiliar words by at least 5% each week.
S: This goal is specific as the aim is to make a list of unfamiliar words and then learn their meanings. The objective is to improve your vocabulary.
M: This goal is measurable to a certain degree because you can easily see the length of your list of unfamiliar words.
A: This goal is easy to attain because you can write down unfamiliar words as you read them and then set aside a few minutes each day to look them up.
R: As established above, having a strong vocabulary is essential to becoming a proficient writer.
T: This process is time-bound, as you are setting aside a certain amount of time each day to complete this task. It’s also time-bound as you intend to shorten the list of unfamiliar words within a set timeframe.
3. Whenever I complete a piece of writing, I will immediately give it to a friend or family member and ask them to provide me with realistic and relevant feedback. I will ask for feedback within three days. Then, I will examine the feedback immediately and make adjustments as needed by the end of the week (or within seven days of giving said person my piece of writing).
S: This goal is specifically designed to seek feedback on your writing within a specific timeframe to have others tell you what needs improvement.
M: This goal is measurable to a certain degree, as you can use your judgment to determine how positive or negative the feedback is. The more positive feedback you get, the more you progress.
A: This goal is easy to attain because you simply have to find some people willing to engage in this feedback process. Here’s a good guide on how to motivate others to help you.
R: This is highly relevant because things sound different from somebody else’s perspective. You need to know how other people read and interpret your work.
T: This goal is time-based, as the aim is to get feedback and make adjustments within a specific time.
4. To improve my logical thought, deduction, and argument-formation skills, I will join a debate club within the next 14 days. I will aim to have at least one debate per week, with the overall goal of winning at least two consecutive debates within six months of joining the debate team.
S: This goal is specific in using a debate team to improve argument-formation skills over a particular time to win consecutive debates.
M: This goal is measurable because you can judge your progress by your performance and overall results in your weekly debates.
A: It’s a relatively easy goal because argument formation skills also improve by practicing debating skills.
R: It’s a relevant goal because good writing requires clear and coherent arguments to be formed.
T: It is a time-bound goal because it aims to win two consecutive debates within six months of joining the team.
5. I will read at least one chapter of a book per day and write a summary of the main points within the said chapter. The overall goal is to first increase the speed at which I read, and second, to detail the main points more clearly and concisely within each chapter. My aim is to read at least one word more per minute each day and be able to read at least 100 words per minute within 60 days of beginning this exercise. I will then go back through each chapter to examine my analysis' accuracy.
S: This goal is specific because you intend to read a certain amount, be able to read faster, at least one word per minute more each day, and to better comprehend what you’ve read over a period.
M: This goal is measurable because you can keep track of how many words per minute you read and count the main points you could remember and comprehend.
A: This is an easy-to-attain goal because by practicing, your reading speed and comprehension skills will improve over time.
R: A crucial reading and writing skill is to disseminate essential facts quickly and efficiently from large writing pieces.
T: This is a timely goal as the objective is to read a certain number of words more each day, intending to read at least 100 words per minute within 60 days of starting. This could be a part of a daily morning routine.
6. I will join a professional writing class by the end of the month and complete it by the end of the year. The overall goal is to hone my writing skills, precisely the style, and type of writing required for my profession. My aim is to get at least a 90% score on all exams in this writing course.
S: The specific goal is to first complete a particular writing class and, second, get a score of at least 90% on all exams.
M: This goal is easy to measure, as all of your work will be graded by the instructor.
A: This goal is attainable through hard work, practice, and studying.
R: It is a relevant goal because taking a course designed specifically for that end will improve my writing skills.
T: It is a time-bound goal, as writing classes only last for so long.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Writing Skills
The best way to hone your writing skills is to set specific goals. The best way to do this is by making them SMART goals, which enable you to set concise goals, achieve those goals, and when they should be completed. This kind of structure and organization always makes achieving any goal easier. So make five or six SMART goals and start improving your writing today!
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.