Setting Goals and Boundaries for Yourself as a Writer
don't let procrastination ruin your chance at following those dreams you've had set since you could last remember
Although I've had my Vocal account since 2017, I've only been writing steadily on this site since the end of last summer. Wow. It's almost been a year since I began to dedicate myself to my Vocal page; unbelievable that's it hasn't been that long (it's felt like I've been doing this since forever). If you were to look at my page, you can definitely see that my Vocal.Media adventure has been all over the place since I began writing just last summer, but boy have I had so much fun in doing it.
I've been writing ever since I was a child. Mostly, I would find myself writing fictional stories throughout my life... occasionally I'd write out little journal entries (either in little diaries I've kept as a kid or online on websites I no longer have), or even write up little movie scripts of movies I would've killed to see in theaters one day. That was my dream since I was a young child. I either wanted to find my name on the spine of a book in a bookstore, or see my name show up on the title sequence of a movie. Even now, at just twenty-three years old, I still haven't given up on that dream, even if it seems so far out of my reach.
I'll never forget getting up the courage to read a passage from one of my stories at just twelve/thirteen years old to a room full of adults and being told that my writings reminded them of something they would find in a Stephen King novel. That's the kind of thing that just sticks with you... even when it's been a decade since.
While scrolling through different articles on Vocal, I found this one article titled "A Personal Vocal Media Writing Challenge for 2022", written by Krysta Dawn. While reading about how Krysta wanted to set out goals for writing on Vocal, I thought to myself, 'This is a great little idea for the year'. Now I know it's already the fourth month of 2022, but it's never too late to try and set goals for yourself or what you want to set out to do.
When I first made this account in 2017, I had no idea what I was doing. I had just graduated from High School and was so confused on what I wanted to do with my life. It's probably why I published about three stories and just dipped; ghosting the page for four years before coming back. I actually forgot Vocal.Media existed, until a friend of my mom's said how she used this site to share her writings out among the world. Now this was back when I was currently doing nothing with my life besides fighting against mental illness, unemployed, and wasn't really doing much with my life so I figured... what's the harm in checking out this website that my mom's friend seem to have boosted so much about? Now, checking out this site was when I realized I already had an account and it was almost as if fate came and told me to get back into writing once again.
At first, I began writing articles like I would see others on this website write. Maybe even write for a few challenges every now and then. It really helped that I decided to come back to Vocal during their "Summer Fiction Writing Challenge", so I was able to get inspired by those prompts to help me write out more. Eventually, I began exploring what more was being written on this site. I scrolled through each community, and scrolled through profiles of different creators, to try and get a glimpse of what was being written on this website. Of course, that helped me open up a little bit more with my own writings. I began indirectly writing my own versions of poetry based off of different traumas I've been through throughout my life, as well as creating different fictional stories (both short stories and series') to share my writing styles with whoever wanted to read them. I even currently have a fictional story I'm currently writing on my page that I feel so bonded with and grew obsessed with writing; I hope others feel the same way when they read it.
Joining Vocal, for me, was something I wanted to do to be able to write whatever I felt like writing whenever. Through my teenage years, I wrote fan fictions on Wattpad.
I know. I know. Some people are cringing so hard at the fact that I just admitted that.
Getting older, I slowly edged myself away from writing. I never fully gave it up. I'd write secretly in google docs around 3am (those stories I have published onto Vocal back when I first started just to put them out to an audience, so they won't die out with me). I just never felt that people really cared about my writings as much as I'd hoped, so I let it all fade in the background. Until I found this community of writers. Vocal helped me see that I don't need the approval of others. I can just write. I can just publish what I want, whenever I want. I don't have to worry about approval of others or what others think before putting my work out there. Plus, if whatever I wrote racks up on views... I get a bit of a serotonin rush flow through my veins.
Writing is my version of a drug, and I wanted to start to set boundaries for myself to try and improve my journey on this path.
My (Vocal) Goals for 2022:
- Expand my horizons. Don't just stick to the same few communities to write in. Put myself out there. Explore many different communities. See what I can do, or what other different styles I can write in. Don't just put yourself into one tiny bubble and hide away from any potential you may have hidden deep inside.
- Just Write. Don't think. I know. People seeing this are probably saying to themselves, "You have a lot of stories on your page. Doesn't that mean you're already writing a bunch?" I am. Oh trust me, I am. I have an endless number of drafts where I start something, but second guess myself and just turn away from that story or article. I want to be able to write whatever I want and submit it for publication without fear of what others would think. They're my writings that I'm putting out into the world. No one else's.
- Don't be ashamed of my poetry. If you've seen the poetry I've written on my page, you probably have noticed that I sort of have my own personal style/touch to them. I don't rhyme. I mostly just write to write, so I never really focus on making them rhyme. But, after going through endless cycles of other poems written by creators on Vocal, I always feel insecure about my own work when I shouldn't. Poetry should be different for each creator, and I am not exempt to that rule.
- Keep up with the fictional series. Whether it's ones I've written parts to already, or new ideas I come up with and just keep hidden in my drafts; I want to be able to keep up with them. Not to mention to complete ones I've already started, because sometimes I'd get writer's block and decide to stop writing them altogether. Plus, writing stories with multiple parts helps you stay more active on your page, since writing multiple different parts help you to come up with more to submit and publish throughout the week.
- Support other Vocal creators. I already try and do this by going through articles I find, and even supporting those I'm subscribed to, every possible day that I am able, but I really want to start doing it even more. This also means being more active on Vocal Facebook groups, rather than just occasionally checking them once every blue moon. Everyone here are all doing the same thing; writing and hoping to put our works out there for others to see.
- Stop obsessing over the Stats/Top Stories. I do this way too much. I'd constantly find myself obsessing over my own stats or even obsessing over what has made top stories for the day. It does nothing but make me feel insecure when I see a story of mine not do that well view wise, or even not make a top story. Just write for the feeling of writing. Don't obsess over what you didn't do, when you could obsess over trying to work towards being able to accomplish what you can.
- Think of prompts for yourself. By this, I mean to write what I want to write, even if nobody else on the site is writing about that specific topic or prompt. Just write. Maybe if nobody else is doing it, you can be the first and more people would come to you to read your article/story.
- Don't be ashamed to put yourself out there but stop obsessing over that subscriber count. Yes. I want more subscribers. I'm sure everyone on this website would love more subscribers when they first start out. Currently, I'm at 17 which is quite impressive for being active for barely a year, but I always find myself obsessing over the number. If it doesn't grow in a day, or a week, or even a month, I start to worry about if my writing is any good for people to want to read. My view count goes up, but that subscriber number doesn't. Is it me? I want to stop this obsessive thought process. Just like I said in checkpoint #2; just write, don't think.
- Introduce my writer friends to Vocal. This is kind of self-explanatory. If writing on Vocal has helped me to expand my horizons, why can't it help my other writer friends who dream of becoming a writer themselves?
- And last but certainly not least, have fun! Although, I'm pretty sure this is a given.
Of course, there are some things about Vocal I hope for them to pull out, such as:
- The ability to organize and group your stories together. I don't know about anyone else, but I am such a sucker for organization. Plus, imagine how great this option would be for those, like myself, who write fictional stories with multiple different parts/chapters.
- Allowing those to comment on other people's stories. Now, I also do Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, etc. so I am aware that comments may lead to not the best kind of people (aka trolls), but from the point of view of someone who actually really loves the new Insights feature Vocal has for people to "rate" other people's stories, the ability to be able for people to comment on how a story is or what a story could be may help show which articles or stories get the most audience retention. Do you realize how easily we'd be able to see what others want to see from us, without having to obsess over checking the stats page over and over to find our answer.
- Being able to pin more than just three stories to the top of your page. Now, I don't mean to make it an endless number of articles/stories you can pin to the top of your page. That just sounds messy. But having the ability to do more than just three stories, because sometimes I just want to put priority to more stories I've written, rather than choosing only three.
Do you have any goals you'd want to set for yourself for writing on Vocal in 2022? Don't be shy. Write them down. Encourage yourself to write more. We got this!
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