A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘goals’

When Writing, Have Goals

A notebook full of goals has a prominent position on my desk. Some of the things in the notebook are get a full time jobexercise daily, and (my favorite) finish that book. With each goal, I have four or five “action steps” listed – things I can do with RIGHT NOW to accomplish a goal. Things like “write for a half hour every day” (it’s easier than I expected – especially if I take my notebook to work and do it on break) and “design one project a month.” That one is crochet, by the way. Reasons for why I should follow through on the goal are also there, at the bottom of the page. Feeling accomplished is on almost every page. And guess what – I’ve finished two goals and I DO feel accomplished – which encourages me to keep going.

Having goals is an important part of life, so that we aren’t just dragging our feet from home to job and back again – goals give us purpose. So we had better have some goals when we are writing!

What are my overall writing goals? This question is the key to how writing fits into our lives. Is it a hobby, a career, a passion? Answering this question, truthfully, can help you decide how to focus yourself.

I want you to go past “I want to be a published author” and “I want to be a bestseller” and “I want to reach/change/impact the world.” While those are great goals, they are surface goals. They are the goals every budding writer comes up with. Think a little more personally. What does writing mean to you? How does it impact your life? Where do you see your writing going (think hard about this one – it could go towards editing, copywriting, technical writing, freelancing, books, poetry, and so, so much more)?

When you have that figured out, give yourself some action steps, things you can do today, in this moment, to set yourself on that path, or keep your journey going. (As for me, I’m going to do my half-hour writing as soon as I’m done with this post.)

 

 

If you are a fiction writer, you have to think about more than just your goals – you’ve got a whole cast of characters fighting for attention – fighting for their goals to be fulfilled. Just like our goals give us direction and meaning, so do theirs*. Something more than “the good gal is determined to beat the evil witch.” Because while that can be an overarching goal, that good gal had better have some compelling goals for her own life (or a compelling reason that she’s got to defeat the evil witch). Just like us, they need action steps that they can accomplish to get them closer to their goals. Sure, they will make mistakes (at least they better!), but everything they do should advance the goals (hmm, sounds like some plot-relevant advice, doesn’t it?).

Now, let’s get back to us. When writing our lovely novel, we’ve got the task of keeping everything on track. So stick to your goals, even if your characters lose sight of theirs. Get that book finished, get it published or stowed away or whatever you do with finished manuscripts, and then get on to the next one.

Take care, travelers

*Sure, you can have an aimless character, but you will have to have a fantastic story to make that work – too often aimless characters get drug around and have no say about anything. Of course, your goal-oriented character can also have these things happen, and they can make bad choices based on hopes for accomplishing their goals – being goal-oriented doesn’t mean the story is boring.

The Sims – Inspiring Creativity and Time Management

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend introduced me to SimCity. It took an hour for me to get hooked, and for a week I played every chance I got. My cities are pretty awesome. He suggested that we should get the Sims (he first brought this up a little over a year ago, when I gushed over how cool it was that you can have your character in Pokemon X change clothes). We agreed for budget reasons that we would complete a Great Work in our SimCity region BEFORE we got the Sims.

But it was on sale over the weekend. And so I got the Sims.

Now, my first couple hours were spent designing my ideal “me” and my boyfriend (because that’s what you do with the Sims, is it not?). And of course my character aspires to be a bestselling author. And how does she do that? Write every day.

This, in and of itself, has inspired me to get more writing done. I gave myself the task of writing for 1/2 hour every day.

Why only a half hour? Well that’s the time management part. When you see virtual you struggling to get everything done that she needs to and still take care of herself, you realize how much time you waste and/or just don’t have. So I am much more attuned to what I have time for, how much time I have, and the most important things to do. I have a lot to accomplish in a day, from basic tasks like making the bed or showering to steps on the path towards accomplishing goals (like staining the boards for a bookshelf, or writing every day). I just can’t fit in everything every day at the amounts I would like – plus I probably don’t have the energy for such an endeavor. But I can take small chunks of time that would otherwise be spent aimlessly wandering the house (like the 20 minutes between being ready for work and going to work) and use them for something productive.

It also helps to have goals and action steps posted above my desk for easy referral.

With this diligence, the next book should be ready to go before long!

Take care!

Emily

Goal Update

On Wednesday I finished my hard-copy edits! Yay!

Unfortunately, I fell behind on typing those edits, and so I still have six chapters to go. Six chapters isn’t much though. I typed up two chapters yesterday. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will be DONE with this round of editing and can let the manuscript rest for a little while!

In the meantime, I will be working on the sequel (yes, I know, everyone does sequels and trilogies and series and no one ever just does a stand-alone book anymore – but I’ve got those in the works!). I haven’t mentioned the sequel until now because the first novel could be considered a stand-alone book. Beyond that, why start talking about a sequel when I’m not ready to publish the first one yet? But as writers, most of us know that even when we’re editing, we’ve got thoughts brewing for other stories. And it shouldn’t be otherwise, I think. Even if we put all of our focus on the project we’re working on right now, we should have a little shelf in our head for the next thing. So yes, I have two more stories planned that follow my protagonist from my current manuscript.

I hope any goals that you all might have had for the month, week, day or even hour are going as well as mine has!

Take care, fellow travelers.

Goal Update

We’re about midway through April now, and I’m about midway through my edits! I just finished editing chapter seventeen yesterday, which means I only have eight more chapters to go! Of course, with the final chapters I will have significantly more work to do, to keep it consistent with the edits I’ve made to this point. I’ve also thought the end is too quick – I don’t go into much detail about ANYTHING, and so that will probably have to be remedied.

If I keep going at this rate, I will be done with my edits by the 25th of April.

It hasn’t been all fun and games, of course. Last week I had TWO DAYS in which I didn’t edit any of my manuscript. I made up for that this past weekend, but it’s still demoralizing to have a goal and then not be focused enough to work towards it. The good news is that I’m back on track now!

It’s important to realize that some days are going to be hard, and others might be impossible. I’ve never had much luck accepting that, so it’s been one thing I’ve had to really work at. And I’m getting better! You’ve got to just give yourself a couple days, and then jump back on the horse. Because if you let the bad days control you, that novel is never going to be finished, let alone published!

Good luck and take care, fellow travelers.

Done by the End of April

That’s my goal. To be done with my edit of this draft before May 1st.

I have 25 chapters and 7 of them are already edited (well, technically 8 but I combined two of them, so it counts as 1, though I guess I only have 24 chapters now – so that’s helpful!). Anyway, according to the quick math that I may or may not have done correctly, that means I have seventeen chapters to edit/revise. I don’t edit on the weekends (at least not consistently) so if things go according to plan I should be finished by the 25th of April. That will give me two days to spare, if I need them.

Hopefully this time I can keep to my goal. Last month I tried the same thing, but unforeseen events cropped up and took away a lot of my time to work. Now I’ve got all my time scheduled out and a handy to-do list, so I’ve got high hopes!

It’s good to have goals! Is anyone else trying to keep to a deadline (self-imposed or otherwise)?

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Take care, fellow travelers.

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