Create A Writing Goal!
If you’re anything like me, you tend to set super high goals that are unrealistic and eventually end in frustration.
You know, like losing 20 lbs 3 days.
To be successful at anything you must be realistic in your goal setting which makes it important for all authorpreneurs to create a writing goal you can stick to.
I’ve said before that it doesn’t matter if you take 2 months to finish your novel or 2 years you’re still a writer. The key is you’re making consistent progress toward your goal. If every day you’re just a little bit closer that’s a win!
I will admit that if you want to make a living as a writer. If you want to make a full-time career at this. Then you need to write a little faster than a book every 2 years.
A writing goal for a career minded author needs to be aggressive. The name of the game is:
- write a book
- write another
I’m sure you’ve heard the key to achieving any goal is writing it down. But I know it can be scary to write down an aggressive goal. As a writer when you think about how many words you must write, words that are good enough not to be deleted, is daunting.
Trust me my updated production plan has me writing just under 2500 words a day through the end of the year. That in itself isn’t too bad, but those are finished words. I can sit down and write 2500 words of garbage in an hour. Heck, I can probably do that in 15 minutes. Writing 2500 words of quality dialogue that people want to read? Well, that takes a little more time.
The 2500 words a day goal is doable (for me). Barely.
I admit it does make me nervous. If I get sick again, or one of the kids gets sick, or anything unforeseen happens, and I miss a couple of days of writing it could totally screw me up. But let’s face it. Any goal regardless of how hard or easy can get screwed up by the unforeseen.
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That’s why I would never go higher than 2500 words. At least the way my life is now. I know my limits. I know that if each day I can stretch myself to 2600 words I can bank some in case that unforeseen does happen.
So going back to writing that goal down I do. Each Sunday I plan out my week on ical (Apple calendar) and print it out. I know that’s overkill, but I like to look at it on paper. I put 2500 words at the top of each day and then block out my writing time. I always put that on my schedule first as it is the time I protect the most. It’s one of the few things I can’t do at all if I’m multi tasking or being interrupted constantly. I know I need to schedule the time where it will just be me, my thoughts and my laptop.
I track my words each day on a basic spreadsheet, so I know where I’m at to my goal and if I fall behind I plan that in the next day. If I’m ahead, I pretend I’m not.
The key to creating a goal you can stick with is the realistic part. I can’t stress that enough. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by saying you’ll write 5,000 words a day if there is no way you will find the time to make that happen.
Creating a production schedule and goals around an impossible number will cause you frustration and you might lose your motivation.
Which is the opposite of what you want.
You want your goal to excite you. Yes, sometimes I sit in front of my computer screen nervous that I won’t be able to come up with 2500 words to write. But I’m also excited at the prospect of getting one step closer to the finishing of the book.
Finishing my book and seeing it through to publication is the reward for all my hard work. THAT keeps me motivated.
Having several mini-rewards to look forward to is also important. On days when writing is a struggle, I make myself little bargains. Rewarding myself with Starbucks or Dairy Queen (yes most of my rewards revolve around food).
Have a big celebration when you reach the end. For career authors finishing one book means starting the next but it’s important to stop, at least for a few minutes, and enjoy your accomplishment.
Finishing a book, no matter how many times you’ve done it, is a big deal. Plus, when you know you have a celebration to look forward to it will be much easier for you to get started on the next one.
Creating goals isn’t usually too difficult. However, creating the action steps to ensure you get to your goal and stick with it can be more tricky. But if you are committed to a career as an author you can do it.
Do you need help setting goals and action steps to reach your author goals? I’d love to hear from you!
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