I’ve never been much for giving myself writing goals–I’m too much of a blatant procrastinator for that. I suppose I’ve always looked at the prospect of having to meet writing goals as something else to come up with excuses for not doing, and quite frankly, I’ve got enough stuff to use those excuses on already.
As far as my productivity goes, well it’s rather inconsistent. I’m primarily a weekend author. My current schedule provides me with at least three days each week to write. Family obligations limit the time on each of those days to mornings when my lovely daughter is content to play in her playpen, or in the afternoon when she’s taking her nap. That leaves only a few hours during each of these days to write for my current projects, which is more often spent blogging, conducting market research, and networking (these are euphemisms for web surfing, forum trolling, updating my website, tweeting, and just general avoidance of performing any real work). So the scraps of time that are left to spend on actual writing projects is split between producing new words and revising old words, and further subdivided between fiction projects and poetry projects. It’s a miracle I ever get anything done!
The last two weekends have gone by and I’ve produced 600 words on a new story. A full six days to write and I probably spent less than two hours actually writing (not counting for the blog). That’s sick. I can do better. I know I can be more prolific. I have it in me to produce in bulk. There have been times when I’ve produced 2,000 plus words in a day. I can write in quantity and be productive, but I have to sit down to write and not let myself get distracted. And trust me, that last part is a doozy!
So perhaps I should give this “writing goals” thing a shot. I want to write every day. Even if it’s small. But I want to commit myself to at least produce something. Even if I only write in small doses, as long as I write every day, I’ll still be producing more than I am now. I think an achievable goal for me would be to start with say, 250 words a day. I know I could hammer that out in less than an hour. Probably more like ten or fifteen minutes if the creativity is flowing, but I know it could be done in an hour even if it’s not. I know I can find an hour each day to dedicate to writing, instead of wasting away on the internet or watching television or God forbid just staring at a blank wall.
Here it is then, my new writing goal: Write Every Day, 250 Words.
There, I said it. And it’s here in bold for you all to see and help keep me accountable. 250 words a day, 1,750 words a week, 7,000 words a month. If I do more, great! If I don’t meet the goal on any given day, too bad and better luck tomorrow. I won’t dwell on the failings because I don’t want to get discouraged. I want to keep this going. I want the act of daily writing to become habitual so that when I start writing for one of those novel ideas, I’ll be able to stay on track and produce the thing in a year or less. And honestly, I’ve got too many ideas accumulating in the brain/journal, so for Heaven’s sake–just write the damn things already!
What’s your take on setting writing goals? Do you make them? If so, what strategies do you use to keep yourself on track?