Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing Goals: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Since we're still within the time period I like to call the "Resolution Rubicon," I thought a post about writing goals would be quite apropos. Plus it would allow me to keep my resolution to have at least one new blog post a month. ;-)

I never used to set writing goals (other than to finish the book I was writing and then start another one!) but we started writing down monthly goals in my local writers' guild then reporting to the group the following month on whether or not we'd met them. I really liked having that accountability. Of course, I try to keep my goals easily within reach (write one chapter of my WIP and work on editing), but my intention is to challenge myself a little more each month.

So when my fellow Wild Rose Press author, Louise Lyndon, was looking for blogs to visit on her blog tour for Of Love and Vengeance, I thought this topic would make a great guest post.

Welcome, Louise. What say you?

When Joyce first approached me about writing a post on setting goals for the new year, I am not going to lie to you, it sent me into a tailspin. I am a PANTSTER. I do not plan. I started to hyperventilate—perhaps I could make something up (after all, I am a fiction author!) But, once I had a coffee with an obscene amount of sugar, I calmed down enough to realise that yes, even though I am a pantster, I also do plan. Kind of...

Let me start off by saying I personally think there is no right way or wrong way to set goals. Everyone is different, so it stands to reason that everyone will have different ways to plan their goals. What I do think is, it is important to have goals, because without goals how do you know where you’re going?

But what happens if the thought of trying to work out what you’re going to do for the next 365 days (a little less now, given today’s date!) sends you to the nearest darkened corner with your thumb in your mouth, rocking back and forth?

Well, don’t plan for the next three hundred and something days. For me, that is too far in advance and too big to comprehend. Break it down into manageable chunks. What is it you want to do? How will you achieve it? Can you measure whether or not you have achieved your goal? What small steps do you need to make that will get you closer to your end goal?

For me, I want to finish writing the follow up to Of Love and Vengeance. I want to be able to have that with my publisher by the end of March at the latest. So, in the next 60 days, I need to write about 42,700 words. How am I going to achieve that? It’s all very well saying that’s what I want to do, but doing it is a different story. Okay, so here goes.

I need to be realistic. I have a day job and I know I am not going to come home after a hard day in the office and write for eight hours. That’s not going to happen, so why set that as a goal? That would just be setting yourself up to fail. What I do know is that I reckon I can manage two hours of writing after work. I also know I am easily distracted (curse you, Dr. Phil—I have to get my daily fix!) but that is a wasted hour. So, I have set my daily goal to go to the library straight after work. I do not go home first, I do not just ‘have a rest’ or get distracted by Dr Phil and then go to the library—do not pass go, do not collect $200—I go straight to the library. Goal one achieved. Go to the library.

OK, so I am now at the library. I cannot stare at a blank screen for two hours. How much do I need to write in those two hours to reach my end goal of 42,700 words? 711.66 words to be exact. Give or take. Wow, I can actually do that! A little over 700 words in two hours—that’s only 350 words an hour! Hmm, me thinks this 42,700 is suddenly manageable, achievable, and measurable. Suddenly needing to write such a large chunk of words isn’t so daunting. Why? Because I’ve broken the end goal into smaller goals. The smaller goal is manageable (realistically speaking.) My goal to write 700 words is measurable because, well, we have word count to count the words!

So, this is how a pantster, scared to look too far into the year ahead, sets goals and plans how to achieve them.

Why not share your goal-setting stories? I would love to hear how you all not only set your goals, but how you achieve them as well!

You can contact Louise by e-mail at, or find her on her Web site, Facebook, or Twitter. And be sure to check out her book here and enter below to win a copy!

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~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

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