Use SMART Goals When Writing Non Fiction Books

By Robert W. Lucas

Use SMART Goals When Writing Non Fiction BooksBoth aspiring and experienced writers often make the mistake of failing to develop and follow a plan when writing a nonfiction book.  This is a mistake and can lead to a less than stellar product in the end.

In some cases, non fiction writers are subject matter experts (SMEs) who have years of expertise and extensive knowledge about their topic. Because of this, they often just dive in to putting words into their computer or on paper. When they do so, they are likely to omit key steps or forget to capture key points or ideas that might have otherwise improved then quality of their book.

To prevent making this mistake when you are deciding on what you will put in your book and how you will organize and approach writing it, create a set of SMART goals to help guide your writing efforts.

Here the suggested steps for creating your goals:

Specific. Choose distinct topics that you want to cover in the text and then spend time researching articles and published books on the subject of your book.

Measurable. Create a deadline for completion of the book or some other quantifiable means for tracking your progress.

Attainable. Be practical and realistic when developing your goals. Ensure that you have the knowledge, skills, writing competence and other resources available to reach your objective. Otherwise, you will likely be frustrated and may develop writer’s block or even stop writing.

Results-Oriented.  Stay focused on the final objective that you have in mind rather than on short-term goals or deadlines. If you happen to run behind at times, catch up and then re-focus your efforts.

Time-Related. Set specific interval and final completion deadlines, then work with those in mind. Make your goals visual by creating a spreadsheet or written timeline that shows what is due and when. Highlight, circle or otherwise note when you arrive at a particular milestone. Reward yourself for each of these accomplishments. Some potential rewards include, going to a movie or to a nice restaurant to celebrate your successes. 

If you are reading this article, you likely have aspirations of writing the best non fiction books possible. For additional ideas on effectively writing non fiction books, check out some of the useful resources on