About the Episode
Stop! Before you write your novel you need to set your story’s end goal into place. Knowing why you are writing is just as important as the writing itself and yet for Fiction Writers, we don’t take the time to articulate why we are writing a novel and what we hope to gain from doing this work. So, let’s get into why it’s important to set your end goal, how it helps you to set it, and why it has nothing to do with writing or your reader.
Click for Transcript
[00:00:00] Stop. Before you write your novel, you need to do one thing. What is it? Well, a little hint. It’s not what you think it is. But before I share that with you, let me introduce myself. I’m Rachel Fahrenbach. I help Christian writers create and publish a novel with an engaged audience ready to buy it.
Okay, so do you think you know what it is, what I am about to tell you you need to do before you write your novel? Are you thinking, You probably are thinking it’s probably, Oh, I need to plot it out, Or you’re probably thinking, Oh, I need to understand my characters, or you’re thinking I need to learn grammar or something crazy like that’s none of those things.
It actually has nothing to do with writing. Nothing.
Before you even start writing your novel, you need to figure out what is your end goal? What is it? What’s your end goal? Now you’re probably completely confused by what I’m asking you right now, and that is okay.
Most fiction writers are not encouraged to think this [00:01:00] way. Non-fiction writers are non-fiction writers think in terms of a career. Fiction Writers often think in terms of one story. Nonfiction writers are told, Hey, where are you headed with this? How are you serving readers? What are you going to do outside of a book to make a career out of this?
How are you gonna continue to serve your reader after this book comes out? There’s more ways than just the book to serve a reader. What are you gonna do? But for a fiction writer, it’s often, what’s your book and when is it gonna release. Here’s the truth of the matter. It’s hard to get traditionally published. It just is, period. It’s hard. It is a business. Publishers have to make strategic decisions about who they’re gonna publish and when in order to get to make a profit. It’s a business and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Nothing. Please hear me. I have no, I think that they’re just doing what they need to do, but what really sucks is that when it comes to fiction writing, it’s even harder [00:02:00] because it’s hard to articulate sometimes how a fiction writer is going to continue to serve a audience after they get done with the one story that they have in mind.
Fiction writers often think very narrowly into the story that they currently have in their head, not very broadly into the next steps they’re gonna take after that. And that’s what I’m trying to encourage you right now. To take a step back from this little story idea you have. Just kinda set it off to the side, and figure out your end game.
Okay. So an end goal. What is it and why does it matter? Now, end goals even though they might incorporate a little bit of your reader into it, like, Well, part of my end goal is to serve my reader. Yes. But what I’m talking about falls more in the camp. You about you. This is about you. Let’s, let’s make that clear.
This is all about you and where you’re going in the future. The [00:03:00] why of why you write these stories. Now, for some of you, the reason why you write a story is because you just enjoy it. Like, I just love writing stories. I just want my to write a story and have it be read, and that is okay, But understand that your end goal is to get eyes on your story. Then right?
Now, if you narrow it down a little, I just love writing stories. I want eyes on it, and I want about at least 200 eyes on it. That helps you narrow down what effort you need to put into the marketing of your novel and, and all the things that go along with that. Now, it’s a little bit outside of the whole writing of the novel.
This is something that I don’t think fiction writers really understand. They don’t understand. The writing of the novel is just one tiny little piece of it people, one tiny little piece. Non-fiction writers get this, at least the ones who are successful, the ones who do really well, they understand this under this concept that their messaging. The thing that they do, the way they serve their reader is [00:04:00] outside of what their goals are, so they know I wanna make a living from this. I want to help people do this. I want to, um, make this thing happen. They’re not just writing a story. They’re not just writing a book just for the sake of writing a book. The writing a book to make a transformation happen in the lives of people who are reading it, but also to bring a transformation to their own life.
To start a career, to help people, to fulfill a longing in them, to help people a certain. They get this, and you as a fiction writer need to identify what it is that you’re writing for. Why are you doing this work? Because guess what? It’s hard. It’s lonely. It takes a while, especially if you’re gonna go the traditionally published route.
If you want to be traditionally published, it’s probably gonna take a few years. What’s gonna keep you going when those few years begin to drag on and you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been at this for forever and a day and I haven’t seen [00:05:00] anything come out of it yet. What’s gonna keep you putting those fingers on the keyboard?
To continue writing that story, you’re gonna have to be reminded of your end goal. You’re gonna have to be reminded of your why. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to accomplish? What do you want to see come true? Because you have put your fingers to the keyboard and you are writing and you are creating.
You need to decide that
Having an end goal produces three things. It creates a trajectory for you and your work, a way to go forward, a pathway to follow. It also narrows your next steps because if you know what you want to accomplish, you know now what you need to do to accomplish those things.
I was talking to a writer friend of mine, and we were talking about if she wanted to go the traditionally published route or the self-publishing route, and she said, You know what? I think I’m going to be going this self-published route because I want to be [00:06:00] prolific writer. I have a lot of stories in my head and I don’t think that the timeline that a traditional publisher would have me on would allow for me to be as prolific as I want to be.
and I was like, There’s a woman who understands what her end goal is. She wants to write a lot of books and she wants to do it quickly. And so now she knows her next step is not to create a query for a traditional publisher, is to figure out her self-publishing steps, right? And that’s what we’re talking about here.
We’re talking about understanding your end goal so that you know your next steps.
The third thing that having an end goal does is it helps you to think long term. For instance, maybe your novel has a certain theme that you’re really passionate about, and part of your long term goal is that in the next five years you want to speak at certain conferences. You want to, um, maybe you wanna write some guest blog post on this. If you wanna be on podcast. Maybe your end [00:07:00] goal is to have both nonfiction and fiction. Knowing that end goal keeps your eyes focused a little bit further down the road than just this one novel, just this one thing, and it helps you move forward so you don’t get caught up in this novel and so sucked into it that you lose sight of what you’re supposed to be doing within the next five years.
So just to reiterate, the end goal is not about the reader. Like I’ve heard so many fiction writers say, Oh, well my end goal is just to entertain my reader or just to create a book for my reader. Oh, my end goal is just to write a story that somebody wants to read, and maybe it gets in somebody’s hands.
And while that’s. Good. Like you gotta keep your reader in mind. You’ve gotta serve your reader. You also need to understand what it is that you want, what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, what it is that you hope to happen because you are writing this novel and it is okay. It is okay if those goals seem maybe a little bit on the smaller side.
I’m not saying that [00:08:00] everybody needs to have this, um, this desire to be a multi book author with a large income coming in. You know, not everybody wants these really big goals. Like for some people, they just wanna publish a book for a little bit of extra, Like they have this story idea. They love storytelling, they love writing and stories, They love diving into the story. They know a reader would appreciate this story and they wanna make just a little bit of extra cash, and that is okay.
Like that is a perfectly. Beautiful goal to aspire to. For some others of you, you want to be more like CS Lewis, who has the slew of fiction books that speaks to a certain theme or topic. And then you have non-fiction books that dive into it too, and that’s what you are all about. He had both non-fiction and fiction but they both did the same thing. They illuminated theological principles. He was in love [00:09:00] with the idea of understanding who God was and he wanted other people to understand the love that God had for them, the grace that he has for them, and that come through in both his non-fiction books and his fiction.
So he understood his end goal. His end goal was to get people to understand God’s character. God’s. grace right? That was his end goal was to do that thing. He wanted to, to write books that would accomplish that goal. And I think he accomplished it . So going back to that point, what is it that you want to do and why do you want to do it?
And it is okay that one of the reasons why you might want to publish novels is because you wanna make money from them. You might be like, This is how I’m wired. I’m good at it, and I wanna make a living from. That is okay too. State that so that you can figure out what you need to do to make that a reality.
So you can learn about online marketing so that you can position yourself to be in that role of being an author that makes money from their [00:10:00] books. You’ve got to articulate it so that you know what you need to do to make it happen. So make sure before you even write that novel that you know why you’re writing that novel.
Okay, so having an end goal in mind can feel really big and overwhelming and daunting and kind of like, I don’t even know what I’d want. Sometimes those of us who are creative writers, we can kind of just be like, I just love the story and I wanna just tell it, so you’re gonna have to do a little bit of soul searching and some digging into what it is that you want.
And I, that can be really overwhelming and I get it. So I actually created a worksheet to kind of help you think through all. And it’s a really simple . It’s a really simple exercise. What do I want to be true in a year? What do I wanna be true in three years? And what do I wanna be true in five years? And I’ve created the worksheet just because I know we creatives like things pretty and fun, and I don’t want you wasting your time creating [00:11:00] something to write that on. You can just write this in a notebook. If you really, if you just wanna write it down a notebook, that’s fine, but if you’re like, I want something fun that I can write into that looks cute, I have created something for you, okay? Don’t waste your time creating it.
Just go get my template. Just go get, just go get my worksheet, download it, fill it in. The link is in the show notes below. So what do I wanna be true in one year? What do I wanna be true in three years? And what do I wanna be true in five years? I would not do more than five years. I mean, you can have like big picture call like.
In the future, I wanna be living on a piece of property with my hubby, and we have the, the kids and the grandkids come in and visit us and we are, have our rocking chairs on the porch. , like, you can have that goal in mind if you’re like, I need to make enough money and we need to be saving enough money so that we can buy a piece of property where our kids can come visit us.
And it’s just quiet and peaceful. Like, if that is your goal end end [00:12:00] end end goal, of course you need to be. Working toward that. But for right now, for the sake of this exercise, for the sake of you thinking what your goal is as a writer, 1, 3, 5 years, that’s all you need to do. What do I wanna be true in one year and three years and five years?
Get that goal in mind. What does it mean for you as a writer to be writing a novel? What do you really hope to accomplish other than giving your reader something to read? What is it that you hope to accomplish? So I hope that was helpful for you.
If it was like, subscribe, share with a friend, Invite anybody that you know who’s a Christian fiction writer. We all need community and we need as much help as we can get. So let’s help each other out. Share this with a friend. Um, so I hope this was helpful. If it was, please like the video or please like this, subscribe.
Share it with a friend especially if they [00:13:00] are Christian fiction writer. We need all the help we can get. And I think that’s important. For the writing community to support one another and to, um, to just cheer one another on and help each other when we can. So I hope this was helpful. I will see you guys soon.
Subscribe to the Podcast
By subscribing, you allow each episode to be downloaded straight to your phone which makes sure you never miss an episode!
Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority.
You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.
And you can learn more about my personal journey here.
One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.