Monthly Meeting: January 2024 – Leveling Up: Taking Your Writing Goals to the Next Level

Created January 31, 2024 by Laurent Sewell

Texas: Austin

Our very own Madeline Smoot, Austin Chapter’s Assistant Regional Advisor, led January’s meeting, starting off the year with the timely topic of “Leveling Up: Taking Your Writing Goals to the Next Level.”

Madeline Smoot, formerly Editorial Director for Children’s Books at Blooming Tree Press, and Publisher of CBAY Books, is now a speaker and author, who also helps other writers through editing and mentorship. She holds a masters degree in Children’s Literature and offers writing, submission, and marketing expertise.

Books by Madeline are sometimes under the names Elliot Addison, as for S.T.A.R. KIDS: THE NEW RECRUIT, Smoot Enterprises, 2023, or Lori Bond, as for A HARMLESS LIE AND A DANGEROUS SPY, Smoot Enterprises, 2023.

At our January meeting, Madeline led attendees through several interactive exercises and a lively discussion, with plenty of detailed examples of her own goal-setting strategies.

Meeting Highlights on Taking Your Writing Goals to the Next Level:


To set goals, ask yourself the following questions and actually write down the answers:

—What do I want? 

• Make sure these goals are realistic, achievable, actionable, and backed by motivation

• Include stretch/reach goals

—How will I do it?

• Create a step-by-step action plan

• Break it down as a checklist

• Track your progress (for example, use charts/graphs)

• Budget your time

• TIP: Stay focused to follow through and complete tasks

—When will I do it?

• Find the time

• Schedule your writing

• Create timeframes/deadlines 

• Honestly evaluate your schedule

• TIP: Find balance and be flexible—you can always restart


• Keep parts/tasks small; avoid overwhelm

• Do the hardest thing first, or, do the easiest thing first

• Reward yourself: designate ahead of time what the reward will be

• TIP: Make rewards tangible/concrete or experiential