Writing Tips: Sticking to Personal Goals

You confidently tuck your laptop under an arm and settle down to write a bajillion words by the end of the month. But after a week, your pace slows. Week two and three crawl by, and you decide that it’s too much; it’s too hard. Excuses pile up.

I am also a victim in this degrading process, and two main excuses are to blame:

Excuse #1:  I’ve got to develop my characters/plot before continuing. 
Excuse #2:  Everything’s too busy and my muse is suddenly MIA.

Honestly, #1 is a genuine excuse. Novels need to develop as they go, and sometimes your goals don’t factor time for research and brainstorming. Next time you decide to write a bajillion words, give your characters time to marinate in a vat of succulent backstory, acidic flaws, and emotional depth. Add salt to taste. 

As for excuse #2, just toss it out of the window. Life is always busy, and muses are notoriously flaky. If you wait for your muse, chances are that you’ll never finish that novel. Write even when you don’t feel inspired. Your muse will be MIA at times, and it’s necessary to have the discipline to march on without her. I’ve given in to excuse #2 many times, and it’s definitely time to stop. 

My goals for this fall:

  1. Edit 25k by the end of August: approximately 800 words a day.
  2. Write 15k in September: 500 words a day.
  3. 15k in October: 500 words a day.
  4. 10k in November: 350 words a day.

At the end, I should have 80k, (adding the 15k that’s already written and edited.) Even though 80,000 words sounds like a lot, I haven’t set too high a goal. The pace has plenty of elbow room. Make sure to set a reasonable pace for yourself, too. I’ll update you as necessary, and please let me know about any projects that you’re working on!

What are your goals? Any tactics for meeting those goals?

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