How to Set SMART Writing Goals for 2024

Frederick Meyer  |  May 16, 2024  | 

Happy 2024! We hope this year will be full of writing for you—and if you’re like us, you’ve even got writing goals among your New Year’s Resolutions.

One thing to consider is that not all goals are created equal. Goals can be fuzzy (“I want to write more”), over-ambitious, or have lots of other issues.

To help, people who think about this sort of thing have come up with a great system for goal-setting: SMART. Based on that system, here’s some simple advice for the goal-setting writer in each of us.

If you’re serious about your writing in 2024, check out our online writing courses. They’ll keep you accountable to concrete writing goals, with the mentorship of award-winning instructors, and in a supportive community of like-minded and passionate writers. They’re the perfect environment to get your best writing done.

How to Set SMART Writing Goals for 2024

SMART is an acronym, and it’s one of those cool acronyms where the word it forms describes the thing the acronym is about.

vape smart goals

SMART is a good acronym. Not like this one.

What “SMART” Stands For

SMART is all about the properties of a good (“smart”) goal.

It stands for:

  1. Specific. Make your goal or objective as specific as possible. Say exactly what you want to achieve in clear, concise words.
  2. Measurable. Include a unit of measure in your goal. Be objective rather than subjective. When will your goal be achieved? How will you know it has been achieved?
  3. Achievable. Be realistic. Ensure that your goal is feasible in terms of the resources available to you.
  4. Relevant. Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives.
  5. Time-bound. Give yourself a deadline within a year. Include a timeframe such as a week, month or year, and include a specific date if possible.

(See here and here for more on these descriptions.)

A Few Examples of Non-SMART Writing Goals

Here are some draft goals (or resolutions) that might not fit within the SMART framework:

  • “I really want to finish my novel.” (Not specific.)
  • “I’ll write lots more this year.” (Not measurable.)
  • “I’ll write 20,000 words every week this year.” (Not achievable???)
  • “I feel like I should start writing again.” (Why?)
  • “I hereby commit that I’m going to work on my memoir until it’s finished.” (When? Not time-bound.)

A Few Examples of SMART Writing Goals

And here are some examples of draft goals or resolutions that would fit within the SMART framework:

  • “I will finish my novel manuscript by the end of the year.”
  • “I’ll set aside 15 minutes in the morning to write, at least 5 days a week.”
  • “I’ll have an outline of my memoir completed by July 1.”

A Few Thoughts on “Relevant” (the R in SMART Goals)

Each of these feel like good goal-setting elements in general, but what really stands out to me is R, Relevant. This is a chance to ask: What does this writing goal, resolution, project, or process mean to me? How is it part of the life I wish to live?

This is certainly worth reflecting on. In my experience, knowing why I write can help a huge amount with the how and when.

Our reasons for writing will—of course—be different for each of us. With that in mind, I’ll offer that, in my view, having the chance to share our humanity with one another through written language is one of the great gifts of life. So whatever your reason is, I know it’s a good one.

Here’s to a wonderful and writerful 2024!

Frederick Meyer

Frederick has been with since 2019. He studied literature, creative writing, social sciences, and business both as an undergraduate and in graduate school. He has also worked as a copyeditor, writing tutor, web developer, and spiritual coach. Frederick's writing interests are poetry, short fiction, and especially spiritual nonfiction. He strives to create a welcoming environment for all writers, wherever they're coming from and wish to go.


  1. NOEMI CAZARES on January 6, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Writing truly an amazing way to give life in the form of tangible memories or basic ideas…therapeutic for sure…to the ones conveying and the ones receiving it…my blood my brows sweat the ink to my pen!!! The countless pages in the form of sheets of many types..from paper bags to napkins to the parts of my skin for my canvas that waits to be outlined into the intensity of a kaleidoscope of emotions dying to come out…to be viewed to be felt in ensuring all types of waking UP’s inside and out every side..especially the parts that are crippled locked jammed in sick stillnesses out of fear of scaring all away leaving us in an awkward mess for doubts set out to stop anything from becoming something!!I would love to leave y’all with something I came across a year in my 3 years and 3 month prison term…when nothing could console me..the losses from being free to be a mother to my beautiful three daughter’s aja and naynay and jady..from being able to have the freedom to know I could be free even while incarcerated ..a blessing in disguise because I was dying!!! I’d lost my physical freedom my rights my luxuries.. To just be in my life’s moment’s.. In a Bible a year after not knowing how to deal with all I wanted to get back to… My life!! My girls!! This was in a separate piece of paper within the pages of the only book of life worth referring towards.(THE BIBLE)..this is what the small piece of paper said and I quote!!!” Sometimes you have to let go of all you think you cannot live without in otderTO BE ABLE TO HOLD ONTO WHAT YOU STILL GOT”end quote…it was then..right at that moment that I realized how wise words are imperative&vital and, crucial…how FREEING and helpful they can be .why its important to learn to want to understand… So its wisdom and valuable lesson’s won’t pass you by…words!!! Turned into knowledge for the very power that fuels Gods hope in order to find your way out of the bondage for pessimistic thoughts that have been like a plague…a form of cancer ..poison to your mind’s abilities& capabilities,and capacity to break out and awayyyyyy..!! and see all through!!! Yea…its not how much you write its what you write about and owning your own style of how to go about!!! Write on!!!! Right on!!! Sincerely Gypsy skigh blue!! Aka Noemi cazares MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION… TO BE ABLE TO GIVE LIFE THROUGH WORDS TO ALL IVE EXPERIENCE… SURVIVED WHILE HAVING TO BECOME MANY COOL AND INSANE SAVAGE CHARACTERS IN order TO FINALLY FIND MY WAY TO MY THROWN IN WAITING… A CHAIR IN FRONT OF A DESK OR TABLE WHERE I MAY FINALLY SIT DOWN AND SHARE MY unbelievable MISSIONS IN LIFE!! BECAUSE ITS NO LONGER A JOURNEY.. ITS MY LIFE!! I FINALLY VALUE IT AND UNDERSTAND THE UNSPEAKABLE THE UNREFINED THE rawness OF IT ALL THATS BEEN EVER SO DEEPLY SENSITIVE… LEADING ME MANY TIMES ON THE DEFENSES MAKING IT EASY TO BELIEVE I MUST BE CRAZY… IM NOT BUT WHAT WAS DONE to me and mine AND LATER SAID AGAINST ME TO DECLARE ME FOR SURE insane !!! GOD FORBID THEY LISTEN TO ME…YEA…THAT WAS TRULY CRAZY THEY WERE UNHINGED… BUT SOME HOW THROUGH THE graceful GRACE OF GOD… I SURVIVED IT…SO PEN TO PAPERS…and this is how it soon will go…..God help me always… I’m your mess…I’m not any less….I’m More, more than I allowed myself to become… Thank God!! I’m never alone especially when I was…AMEN!! Amen!!/Amen!!

  2. kennedy on January 9, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Everyday I come up with the day’s to-do list and i’ll make sure the followings feature on the list:
    (a)writing at least two flash fictions
    (b) editing an old story
    (c) reading online magazine ,at least two magazines
    (d) listening to an audio story , at least two short stories

    As one who also like programming, i’d including coding as well.
    is this a clear SMART violation?

  3. Nshuti Lincoln on December 28, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    I have never really thought about writing stories or anything else related, I just happened to by pass this website but I’m actually considering taking it in for my goals in this coming year.

    So thank you for the inspiration and happy new year!

    • Sean Glatch on December 29, 2022 at 4:04 am

      We hope you start writing, Nshuti! Happy New Year!

  4. Robert Dyer on December 27, 2023 at 3:07 am

    SMART goals were a part of my life throughout my career as a school administrator. I had forgotten about them until I read this article. More than four years ago, I made the goal of writing every day. Not entirely smart but it is one that I have achieved. As January 1, 2024 approaches, I will got back to my roots and create my SMART goal for the year. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

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