First thing, I wrote up my personal mission statement. The section I'll share here deals specifically with writing, but I also did a similar statement for each area of my life - my marriage, school, etc. Here it is:
My major purpose is to entertain, educate and inspire others through my thoughts and my words, whether spoken or written. As a writer I have the talent and the skill to do just that.
In order to use my gifts for the benefit of others, I must make them profitable to the extent that it is my primary means of income and is the bulk of my work.
My life’s work then, is to establish myself as a writer, and write on those things that will entertain, educate or inspire.
I will help people to learn and to grow. I will also learn and grow, but in so doing, I will continue to expand and realize my own potential, even as I aid others in doing so.
I will find success in my career. Through my writing, I will provide for myself and my family. I will find financial security through earning and careful use of the money earned.
I will enable myself to have the flexibility to work from home, to earn an income that allows my family to live in comfort, and to provide not only for their needs, but for their wants as well. I will become wealthy, that I may more fully pursue my goal of helping others.
The pursuit of my career will not take me away from my wife or my family. Instead, my career will allow me the freedom and time to enjoy their company, share their thoughts and experience the joy of their love.
I also developed a brief plan of action to get some progress made on this life mission:
To find this success in writing, I must develop myself as a writer.
I will continually study my craft. I will improve my writing, and my ability to reach readers. I will find new ways to write more, thus improving both the quality and the quantity of my work.
I will develop my portfolio so that I can credibly approach publications for writing opportunities. I will always seek to improve both my earning potential and my credibility.
I will use this credibility to author books, so that my influence will expand beyond the fleeting realm of magazines and the internet, but to reach further audiences with a deeper impact.
I will write daily. I will become as familiar and practiced with words as I am with my own body. As easily as I walk, eat, or sleep, I will reach minds, touch hearts and stir spirits.
I will read daily, exploring always with an open mind to new ideas, new interpretations of the old, and to the timeless concepts that transcend generations. I will let my mind absorb the world around me, and distill from all my learning those things that will make me a better writer and person.
I will seek publication. Unless published in some medium, my words are known only to me. Unpublished words have no impact, save upon the writer. Published words change lives.
I will seek payment. Writing without pay is not a career, it is a hobby. I will not let my life purpose be relegated to the realms of baseball cards or model trains. I will make my living by my words.
I then formulated specific, measurable goals to help me follow through on these plans:
Write 2+ pages per day. (Writing for school only counts for one page, no matter how long)
Send out 1+ Query Letter per week
Submit everything I write. Get published anywhere I can, if only to build my portfolio.