At the beginning of every new year don’t we always look at different ways to start off fresh? We want to make our resolutions or set goals and look for new ways to make certain we
actually accomplish what we set out to
do. The idea sounds great and so many writers start off with the best
intentions and then we hit the bitterness of reality. There are kids to pick
up, a job to do, chores that need to be
completed. Our writing can fall off and those goals of writing 200 words a day
can fall too easily by the wayside. Before long the book we swore we would
write this year or the word count we wanted to meet every week is not happening.
How can we make this work? How can we get our goals accomplished? Sometimes it starts by making smaller goals. But… those goals are also a necessity. This past week I was part of an online group chat with authors and what I found was that almost all of us had one big goal
– we all wanted to get a book finished and published. The approaches to how to do it were as varied
as the people. Some wanted to write every day. Others wanted to set certain goals
for the week. Some wanted to get the book done as quickly as possible and then
focus on editing. And that is where
writers should start. Let’s look at some of the strategies you might try to get
your writing goals accomplished this year.
1. Set goals. That was one of the first thing everyone in the writing group agreed. Setting a goal or several goals is a good to get started. That way you always have something to shoot for. If you don’t set a specific goal and you only
a vague idea of what you intend to do, how will you know when you’ve
accomplished anything. Set a specific goal and then go after it.
2. Set a goal that works for you. If you know your work hours are long or that there are certain days you won’t have time, then setting a daily word-count goal may not work for you. However, setting a weekly writing goal might. It might even make more sense to set an hourly goal
– ‘I will write five hours this week.’
3. Be realistic. If you know you can’t write every single
day then don’t make a goal of writing every single day. Set a goal of so many hours a day or set a word
count for the day at the beginning of the week.
4. Look for opportunities that will let you meet your goal. Find that extra time right after
the kids are
put to bed or get up an hour early in the morning. When I had a regular job, I
wrote in the hours before I had to get ready for work and often on weekends. I
gave myself whole weekends of setting everything else aside and did a writing
retreat on my own.
5. Don’t let setbacks STOP you. We all can set goals
that we want to meet and then suddenly
three weeks have gone by and you haven’t written anything yet. Don’t panic.
Just get started! Look over your goals again and see where they can be revised.
And then get going again.
Writing can be a lonesome chore and it can get very difficult when you don’t feel like doing it, but sometimes you
have to sit down and DO it. Write something other than on your novel, like a blog
or even just write down your feelings. If you want to succeed at your writing
goals this year, unfortunately the only way you ’re going to get there is to