Starting the Year on the “Write” Foot – Guest Post by Mariëlle S. Smith

Today I’m excited to host author Mariëlle S. Smith as part of her blog tour for her author journal and planner, 52 WEEKS OF WRITING. Read on to get some good advice for goal setting and author planning as we move toward the start of 2022, along with info on how to enter her giveaway.

Tour Banner 52 Weeks of Writing

It may seem obvious, but I start every year filling in my own author journal and planner. Each volume of 52 Weeks of Writing is undated, so you can start whenever you want, but even before I published it, I was used to planning out the year ahead somewhere during December. That’s why I crack open a copy for personal use at the end of each year.

I’m not saying everyone should buy a copy of 52 Weeks of Writing, that that’s the best way to start your writing year on the right foot. I do want to talk about a planning habit of mine that made it into the journal/planner because I’d been doing it for years already, and with great success.

In 52 Weeks of Writing, during Week 1, I ask you to write down your long-term goals. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Five years? Three years? Two? Where do you see yourself in a year from now? In nine months? Six? Three?

Over the past two years, I’ve often been asked why I ask after long-term goals backwards. Wouldn’t it make more sense to start small and then expand? Well. No. Not in my experience. And that’s because I don’t just believe in setting goals. I believe in setting realistic goals.

I’m very much in favor of dreaming big dreams, but the more unrealistic your goals, the more you’re setting yourself up for failure. And consistent failure is not a great motivator. Consistently achieving your goals, that’s a great motivator. That’s what causes those dopamine hits that’ll keep you moving forwards.

So plan for success, that’s how you start your writing year on the right foot. Planning backwards is helpful here because it makes you ask over and over, “So iIf I want to be there in ten years, where do I need to be in five years’ time? If I want to be there in five years, where do I need to be in three years’ time? And if I want to have achieved that in the next three years, what does that mean for my two-year goals, my one-year goals, etc.?”

Backtracking like this gives you a great sense of whether you’re expecting too much, too little, or exactly the right amount of yourself. Perhaps you see yourself having published ten novels in ten years. As you figure out what your other goals have to be in order to achieve that big ten-year goal by then, you might realise there’s no way you can possibly pull that off, not while, let’s say, working fulltime and are thinking of having another baby.

Maybe you set out to have been published in ten literary magazines over the next ten years. But, as you spell out for yourself what that means for your five-year, three-year, and so on goals, you might come to the conclusion that you could be doing much more with the time you have for writing.

Of course, having ten novels published or having been published in ten literary magazines in the next ten years might be utterly realistic for you. We’re all different, we all want different things from our writing, and we all find ourselves in different circumstances. That’s why this exercise is so useful, because it will demonstrate quickly what can and cannot be realistically done within your specific situation.

As you do the exercise, don’t forget that goals aren’t set in stone. I use goals as guidelines, as something to keep me focused, but I revisit them at least annually to see if anything needs to go or needs to be added.

And whatever goals you set for yourself, don’t forget to celebrate each and every milestone. In 52 Weeks of Writing, I explicitly ask you to write down how you’re going to celebrate each of your goals as you achieve them, because it’s all too easy to ignore the small steps and just keep going. But we wouldn’t reach our big goals without those small steps, and they should be honoured as such.


52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner

by Mariëlle S. Smith

GENRE:   Non-fiction / self-help creativity


“A brilliant, supportive, challenging workbook, highly recommend.” Jamie Sands

You, too, can become the writer you’ve always wanted to be!

The 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner:

• makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year long;
• invites you to dig deep through thought-provoking prompts and exercises; and
• helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be.

Two years after publishing the first volume of 52 Weeks of Writing, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the updated third volume. Similar in style but reflecting the tweaks made to her coaching practice during the pandemic, 52 Weeks of Writing Vol. III is even better equipped to help you get out of your own way and on to the path towards success.  

Ready to start living your writing dream? Order your copy now.


Read an Excerpt

WRITING PROMPT Each writing prompt is optional. If, for whatever reason, it does not speak to you, let it be. Who knows? It might make more sense to do the prompt later in the process. Most writers are introverts and dread the visibility that comes with success. This might not be you, but to some of us this fear is what stops us from finishing our work. Because what if people read it and want to talk to us about it? What if we're forced to leave the privacy of our desks and go out into the world, into the spotlight, with nowhere to hide? If this resonates with you, know you're not alone. Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and set your timer to ten minutes. Now list all the good that could come with success. If this is a fear you recognise all too well, keep this list close once you've finished it.

Mariëlle S. Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter the giveaway.

Meet Mariëlle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a writer, writing coach, and editor. She lives in Cyprus, where she organizes privateauthor Image writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

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6 thoughts on “Starting the Year on the “Write” Foot – Guest Post by Mariëlle S. Smith

  1. M.S. Wordsmith says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me and allowing me room to share my thoughs on the best possible way to start the new year. I’d tried to comment before, but something seemed to have gone wrong. Here now though an excited about it!

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