Monday, May 16, 2016

5 Tips for Accomplishing your Writing Goals

I am always looking for new ways to keep from hitting the doldrums with my writing and to keep the work flowing.  I see so many writers who have so many excuses for why they didn't write today or why they haven't been able to keep going.

When I consider what keeps me going, other than the need to write, I think of what I have heard from other prolific writers about what keeps them going. I always refer back to people like best selling authors like Nora Roberts and John Sandford.  I once heard her tell a writer in a workshop. "It's my job..Don't you show up at your job even when you don't feel like it?"  Of course if you want to get paid, you show up and do the job, just as she said.  John Sandford pointed out that when he was working as a reporter in Minneapolis he was expected to turn out stories of at least 750 words a day. At that pace, even working only 5 days a week, you could turn out a novel in 4 months.

So how can you accomplish your writing goals?

1. Set a realistic goal.  The goal to write a thousand words a day every single day might sound wonderful, but we all need breaks every so often.  Setting up the realistic goal of 750 words a day (which is only 3 double spaced pages a day if you think about it) can be done. That can give you a novel in four months.

2. Try using a timer.  One of the people in our local writing groups says she regularly uses a timer so that she doesn't feel overwhelmed. She works in half hour segments and does 5 of those a day.  She takes breaks between them. Depending on how long it takes you to write those 750 words, you should be able to do it in the 2 and a half hours she proposes.

3. Don't stop to edit.  I find that when I stop to edit I sometimes get lost in moving the story forward. However when I am writing thing just seem to keep flowing.. Things don't need to be perfect the first time around. That is what editing is for.

4.  Re-read old pages at the start of the day. Or perhaps you set aside a half hour in the morning to read over what you wrote the day before and edit then. I've heard a number of writers who do that -- rereading old pages as a way to get in the mood for the next day.

5. Give yourself time for a plot talk.  One of the other writers in one of my groups was saying when she runs into a plotting problem she sits down and keeps talking the plot over in her head. That gives her new ideas and also helps her keep the words flowing.

The key though is to keep Nora's words in mind. It's a job and if you want to get paid, you need to write.

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