Monday, January 18, 2010

Making and Keeping Writing Goals

"Without goals or resolutions, there is no reason to act and no motivation to take any daily actions or go the extra mile."

-Bob Urichuck

I haven't had a post that was geared specifically to writers lately- and I'm in a writing mood. Writing is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. Hmmm. Maybe it's because that's the only time the house is quiet except for those times when I'm actually writing.
Or, it's because I'm obsessed.

Or it could be because of my writing goals.

I'm the kind of person who doesn't know the meaning of diets or real New Years resolutions. Nope. I make specific goals and try to figure out how to get to them. That's it. If someone told me I had to stop eating cake and cookies for the rest of my life to be healthy, I would never make it.

If someone told me I had to write 30,000 words a week, I'd never make it.
But, if I decide that I really don't want to grow up to be ginormous, I would try not to eat very many cookies, and cake not all that often. And if I decided I wanted to write an entire novel in four months, I think it's possible, but only if I have specific goals.

So, other than to admit that I don't live up to some of the greats (the fact that I don't think I can write 30,000 worthwhile words in a week) I will tell you what my goals are.
Remember that I am a stay-at-home mom with five kids and I also run a dance studio in my backyard.

Drumroll please..... my writing goal is 100 pages a month. You can all stop laughing now.

When I say 100 pages, I mean 100 intense, captiviating, riviting, inspiring, mysterious, romantic and sometimes funny pages. 100 pages of a story that I would pick up and not want to put down.

Well, I can hope that my writing can do all that. The fact is, I love writing. I love a story that sucks me in and keeps me guessing. When that story is my own, it gets complicated. Is the author really supposed to keep guessing what's going to happen next? I know the basic outline of the plot, but my characters are constantly throwing surprises at me while I write.

It's like having imaginary friends, or maybe it's exactly that. I don't set a place for them at my dinner table, but I do think about them all day long. I'm mentally creating the next chapter when I'm not writing it until I can't stand the wait anymore and I have to write it all down.

Then there are the days when I sit down at the computer and I have no idea how I'm goint to get the characters out of the mess I've created for them.

Anyway, my point is this:

Decide on what your writing goal is, be specific (how many pages do you want to write a week, or month?) and then decide when you're going to write.

I haven't figured out a reward system. Instead, I usually have a super great reason for getting something done by a certain date.

And most of all:
Don't be afraid to go on the ride that writing inherently is.
Writing a novel doesn't happen overnight. No matter how exciting a story may be, it's going to take some serious time to get it all down on paper, or more accurately, a thumb drive. But it doesn't have to take years. That's the beauty of writing goals, you get to see your dreams come to life that much sooner.


L.T. Elliot said...

Perfect! This is just what I'm doing too. I'm very happy for you and your goals. Rock on, Laura!

Melissa said...

Did you know Michael is working on a book? "Aiden Jet and the Golden Wand" I'll tell him this advice.