SCORE! (Roxann Delaney)

Considering how far behind I am on my writing goals right now, I really shouldn't be giving advice on how to make and reach goals. I should be well into chapter 5, when I barely squeezed by finishing chapter 4 tonight. Late. And it took forcing myself to pull up the file, which resulted in cringing as I typed words that will probably need to be changed. Or cut. Or... who knows? But I finished that chapter.

Behind or not, I know what my goal is, and I also know that if I stick with it--which I will because I have to--I'll reach it, hopefully sooner than planned.

The key to making goals and reaching them is to break a larger or more long term goal into several (or even many) smaller goals. Daily goals are good. For instance, to reach my September 1 deadline, I know I have to write at least one chapter (there are 8) each week. That requires writing three pages per day, each of those eight weeks. If I can write more, great! In that case, I can take a day or two off for something I want (or need) to do. Or, even better, I'll beat that deadline by days or maybe even a week or two. But one way or another, I must write that one chapter per week. How do I know that's the pacing I'll need? Trial and error.

Don't make a goal too difficult to reach, but don't make it too easy, either. Also keep in mind that none of has complete control over our lives. Things happen, but when they do, adjustments can be made. If weekends with family or simply enjoying yourself is a priority for you or the one thing that keeps you sane, don't plan them as writing days...or whatever your goal involves.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't reach your goal with flying colors. Give yourself some time for a small pity party, then sit down and try to determine why you didn't reach that goal. Did you over-book yourself? Adjust for the next time. It may take a while to determine what pace suits you, what's not too much and what's too little.

Use rewards. I wanted to play hidden object games this evening, so I gave myself the go-ahead to do that...for an hour. Then it was nose-to-the-grindstone time. When I finished the chapter (YEA, ME!), I put my work away and played my game. A bigger reward is allowing myself to read my favorite author's latest book when that big goal is met. Choose a reward that works for you.

Goals aren't just for writing, they can be for anything in your life that you want or need to do. So here are a couple of Rah-rahs to help you along:

Just Do It (apologies to Nike)
BIC-HOK (Butt In Chair - Hands On Keyboard. Thank you, Cataromance)
Today I work, tomorrow I get to play!


Starla Kaye said...

I'm one of those people who tend to set HUGE goals. But I really do them in blocks of time, sort of like you do.

I know when my full book deadlines are, how many chapters are expected, and then break it down into how many chapters must be written in a week. Plus that depends on how many different books for different publishers I'm working on at a time. Normallly, I do 3-4 chapters a week (divided between the 2 books I'm usually working on at the same time).

Although I work at an accounting office and am active in a number of community groups, I still pretty much consider myself a full-time writer now. Most of us don't have that luxury. Luxury? Hmmmm, let me rethink that. Full-time writing is extremely demanding. But I love creating characters and coming up with new storylines. Most of the time writing isn't a "job" or a "chore" for me, it's fun and a chance to spend time with "people" I like.

I write all my writing deadlines and goals on my Outlook calendar in different colors (per publisher or writing group or review deadline). When I don't meet a daily goal, I just move it along to the next day...or next time when I think I have a good chance at meeting it. You've got to be flexible or you'll drive yourself crazy.

Reese Mobley said...

I'm the worst about making the goals I set. I think I can do more than I really can. I think accountability is a good motivator and would like to have someone behind me cracking the whip so I manage what I set out to do. Any volunteers? lol

Joan Vincent said...

Goals. Ahh, yes, goals. I once was driven by them--wish that was still the case. I've been hit and miss lately. Time to get back on the wagon--BIC-HOK!