Monday, January 2, 2017
Setting Realistic Writing Goals by Jannine Gallant
As the new year begins, most of us take a moment to set a few goals. Since we're a group of authors, my focus is on writing resolutions. However, some of these principles can be applied to other goals, so keep reading even if your life doesn't revolve around getting words onto a computer screen.
Setting goals is easy. Following through on them...not so much. What can we do to change that?
Having realistic expectations is the key to success. And, knowing our own habits is critical to setting reasonable goals. That means you shouldn't stress out because Jane Doe declares her goal is 5000 words per day, but you have a day job, and kids and a husband who expect to be fed regularly, and a dog who stares at you with sad eyes if you don't walk her twice a day, etc. etc. That kind of goal is only going to set you up for an overload of stress and failure. So, take a long hard look at what you can manage with your schedule. Do you only have time to write for an hour before everyone else gets up in the morning or before you go to bed at night? Maybe you have five hours a day you can devote to writing. Are weekends strictly family time, or are they the only time you can take for your writing? My suggestion would be to block out your writing time for the week on your calendar and then subtract a day. We all know life happens, so allow for the unexpected.
Once you've made a realistic commitment to writing time, give yourself a word count goal. If you're slow but precise, you might have a 500 word goal, while someone who writes a dirty first draft may easily write 2000 words in the same amount of time. They'll probably have a lot more editing to do, so it all evens out in the end. Some days don't go as well as others, so I take my daily goal and turn it into a weekly count. That way I can "make up" words on a good day to cover for that day when writing was harder than pulling teeth. Less stress!
Once you have a time slot and a word count worked out, the objective is to actually commit to writing during that time. Facebook is my nemesis. Some days I wonder why the heck I got so little done. Well, maybe it was because I spent my writing time on the internet. MY BAD! Unplug for those two hours. Tell your dog she's going to have to wait for that walk. Set the alarm and actually get up when it goes off in the morning. Turn off the TV in the evening. Do whatever it takes to give yourself a fighting chance at success. And if you really need a morning to sleep in, or an evening to watch Survivor, or a day to clean your house, or your child has a soccer tournament on the weekend...well, that's why you allow yourself a guilt-free day off. Cut yourself a little slack, but not too much!
And last but not least...share your goal with a friend or group of friends. We all need encouragement to keep going. Sometimes knowing you have to report that word count to your CP will be the kick in the butt you need to get off Facebook and write. If you have a deadline to make, that might be motivation enough. Or it might lead to a whole lot of stress. So, set yourself up for success by planning ahead to be finished with time to spare. Adding 100 words a day to your total word count might save you from flipping out somewhere down the road.
So, in the spirit of sharing goals, mine is to write 1000 words per day. Subtract one for life getting in the way and one for promo/editing, and my goal is 5000 words per week. I have two books to produce in 2017. Easy peasy...if I stick to my weekly word count goal. So, what's your writing goal? Think about it and share in comments. Maybe we can all keep each other on track in 2017!
For info on all my books, stop by my WEBSITE. Happy New Year, everyone!
Posted by Jannine Gallant at 12:01 AM