Your current writing goals may not be enough to get you where you want to go. I’m sure you have some definite writing projects you want to finish, but how are you making them happen? Do you work on them when you have time without much sense of urgency? That can happen all too easily. If you really want to achieve something with your writing, you need to make it more like work without taking away the joy of creating.
When you give yourself specific goals, you set yourself up to achieve more. There are only so many hours in the day. You write when you can and then other obligations or sleep come along and that’s it until the next opportunity. While there isn’t much you can do about your non-writing time, you can do more with the hours that are available.
First, you can increase the number of writing projects you have going. When you only have one project, getting stuck means you stop writing. With at least two projects, you can switch and keep writing. That’s a better use of your writing time.
If you only have a small number of projects, you may spend a lot of time on a piece of work only to realize you don’t like it when you finish. Or worse, you complete the work thinking it’s good and come back to read it a few days later to realize it’s total crap. Creating lots of story ideas gives you a better pool to work with. The chance of picking a crappy writing project is lower when you have lots of projects to select from. You can create an idea pool with an Ideas file. The Ideas file can be lists of writing ideas. Add new ones at the top. Review the list when you need a new topic or story. Remove dumb ideas and your Ideas file will keep getting better over time. If you also put a date on your ideas, you can remove ideas that have been around longer than a certain time. They couldn’t be working for you or you would have used them.
Daily word count goals result in more writing than having no daily goal. I’ve worked with and without word count tracking and I definitely write more when I track the count. All you need to do is check the word count before starting work on a piece for the day and note it at the top below your byline. At the end of working on the piece, check the count again and add that to your total for the day. When you’re consistently reaching your goal, consider increasing it.
Article Counts or Draft Counts
As you write more, your collection of writing projects will grow. The time will come when updating your daily word counts will be too time consuming. It’s time to abandon word counts. You know you’re writing every day. If you mainly write articles, track the number of articles you complete each month. Ten articles a day is a nice goal.
If most of your writing is full length books, track the number of drafts (first, second, and final) you finish each month. One a month is a good starting goal if you aim for book lengths around 60,000 words.
If you don’t have much time available for writing, taking on multiple projects won’t help. If you have the time, multiple projects can ensure you have plenty to keep you busy. Increasing your daily writing tasks will do several things for your writing life.
1. Makes you write every day.
2. Repetition is habit forming. It will get so you can write whether you feel like it or not.
3. It overcomes inertia.
4. It forces you to be more creative because you need to keep coming up with new ideas.
5. Quantity improves quality. The more you write, the more of it will be good.
6. Much writing builds up the variety of writing types you can do.
If you don’t feel like your writing is good enough to submit to publishers, or even if you do, you might want to start a website. Putting your work out where others can see it will get you some feedback to help improve your writing. If you’re not trying to make money with your site, get a free blog at WordPress or Blogger.
Like anything you would like to do more, you should share your love of writing with your social circle. Don’t forget online communities like FaceBook and Twitter. When others know your interests, they ask what you are up to now. That gives you motivation to achieve more and an audience for your finished writing.
This isn’t a full list of writing goals. I can think of a few more. You might want to write your first novel, break into magazine writing, become a freelancer or just get something you wrote published. Start with small goals and let your confidence grow as you achieve each one.
Article by Ivan Izo.