WARA members are probably groaning as they read this. They know I'll be pulling out the whip soon. You see, with only four days left of this year, we're coming to the end of our word count challenge for the year. And that means we'll be starting a new one.
Hear my evil laughter? Oh, wait! That means I have to buckle down, too. Yikes. Hear my big sigh?
How many WARA members---or non-WARA members---have given some thought to new goals for the new year? How many have actually taken steps to get ready to work on those goals? How many are chomping at the bit to get started on those goals? (crickets chirping)
If you've participated in this year's Word Count Challenge, it's the best place to start for setting a new goal. Did you reach your goal? Did you come close, but didn't quite make it? Did you find you didn't have nearly the time--or the drive--to stick with it?
Yeah, yeah, I know. Lots of questions, but answers to them will help. So will a few tools.
- You'll need a calendar. I like this one to start with. It's printable and all of one year is on one page for a great overview. It also has the option of the availability of more than the current, next and previous month. And the holidays are listed on the bottom, so I don't have to look them up somewhere else. Mark off any important dates, such as family birthdays, vacations, times you know you'll be otherwise occupied with life things. Then transfer that information onto a calendar that gives you space to write on and where you can jot down word count. (MS Word has calendars and calendar templates that you can print, if you want something plain or don't want to bother with buying a calendar.)
- Take a look at your 2012 goal (if you had one) and use it as the basis for planning your 2013 goal. If it was a good year, do it again or maybe even add more words to your goal. Maybe it was a bad year for you. Maybe things happened that you didn't know about, but were big enough to put your goals aside, at least for a little while. Ask yourself it it's possible those same things could happen again. Or something similar. If tax time is busy... If summer leaves you with little time because of little ones... You get the picture. :)
- Keep Murphy's Law of Goals in mind. Never heard of it? It goes like this: When working on a goal, especially a year-long one, life will always intrude. Don't fight it. Don't let it beat you. Deal with what needs your attention, then when you can get back to your goal, do so. And don't beat yourself up, either.
- Any forward motion, any progress is a +. The saying, "You can't fix a blank page" has been attributed to Nora Roberts. Whether she said it or someone else did, it's the truth.
- Just write. When you find it difficult to put words on paper, don't give up too quickly. Sometimes getting started is slow going. Very slow going. But once started, no matter how slow and painful, it can and often does pick up speed.
- Plan ahead. It really does help to have some kind of idea of what you'll be writing. This doesn't mean you have to have a book fully plotted or a synopsis written, but knowing your characters, their GMCs and what the story will be about is a huge help. Ideas often come at strange times, so try to always have something handy where you can jot the ideas that come to mind.
- Don't quit. Of course there are times in life where you aren't given the choice of moving forward, but too often people give up when the going gets a little rough. Lost time can be slowly made up over a longer period of time. If it isn't, it's okay, as long as you don't give up without giving yourself another chance.
- Take stock . If you've fallen behind for any reason, rethink your goal. There's nothing wrong with making an adjustment, no matter how small or large. If you find you set your goal too low, smile. Next time you can set it higher.
- If you need some help with setting goals, check out Diary of a Mad Romance Writer. Yeah, that's my blog, and I have more blog posts than what's probably needed on the subjects of both motivation and setting goals. And I have LOTS of links for extra help.
Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right. - Oprah Winfrey