They’re everywhere. There’s no escaping them. 500 words. 1000 words. 739 words. An hour. Five hours. Eight hours, with seven-minute breaks every 43 minutes.
Writing goals are a great thing for many authors, it seems. Unfortunately, when I sit down with a word-count goal in mind, I tend to sit and stare at the word count in the lower left-hand corner of the screen the entire time I’m writing. When I sit down with a time goal, I stare at the clock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
I’ve learned it’s better for me to just not go down that path.
But that doesn’t mean I’m without goals. There is one overarching goal that encompasses my entire writing philosophy:
Write every day.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 1000 words or 10. It doesn’t matter if it’s the manuscript I’m supposed to be working on, a flash of inspiration for a new story, or a project that’s been simmering on the back burner for a while. If I open a Word document and type something, I’ve filled my goal for the day.
It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. There are times that I don’t feel super inspired, but I’ll start working and the words come pouring out. Then again, there are times that I don’t feel super inspired and I get maybe two sentences on the page. But that’s still two sentences more than I had the day before.
The only way to finish writing a novel is to get the words onto the page one by one, and that’s never going to happen unless you are diligent about sitting down to work regularly. The effort of writing daily will not only get those words on the page, it will also make the words better, smoother, tighter. With practice, writing rises in quality and efficiency.
With all the goal-setting rage that comes with the new year, find the writing goal that works for you, be it simple or complex, lax or stringent. Then go forth and tackle your writing endeavors with spirit!
What are some of your writing goals? Do you stick to them strictly or give yourself some wiggle room?