November 17, 2010

writing goals

I'm taking a break from the archetypes series to give you some earthly wisdom.

As most of you know, I signed up for NaNoWriMo this month, and lately my word count has been sitting quietly at 17,000 words. It's been a busy week, and I'll be honest, Harry Potter trumps everything else, so I've been concentrating on reading rather than writing. I plan to start back up on NaNoWriMo next Monday, but that's beside the point. Let's look at what the point is...

Set Writing Goals.

The whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to get you to write everyday, to work toward a larger goal by setting small daily goals. If you're smart, you'll apply this outside of November.

Setting writing goals for each day does more than you think it would. Usually my daily writing goal is 1000 words a day. I write only Monday through Friday, like a desk job. If I want to write a 100,000 word novel, then I have to write 1000 words a day for five months. Five months. That's not that long if you think about it, especially since I am very unlikely to write a 100,000 word novel. I'm more of a 60,000 to 80,000 myself.

The purpose of achieving these goals everyday is more than putting words on a page, as NaNoWriMo is supposed to work. Even if your goal is only 500 words a day, or even 100, these small goals are not insignificant (hard to believe when you have people that have already finished their 50,000 for NaNoWriMo.... be jealous; it's okay). Setting goals and meeting them is an important part of writing.

When I reach my daily writing goal, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I am a writer. Look at that; I just wrote 1000 words. Go me. It's a tiny success on the way to a greater success, especially when those 500 words you write everyday suddenly become 10,000. Look at you, writer. Yep, I said writer. You made a writing goal and stuck to it. Everyday. Welcome to the profession.

So when you think your 500 words a day are pitiful and meaningless, remember a book is written one word at a time, and you just wrote 500.

Celebrate these little victories. Have a cookie. You earned it.

1 comment:

  1. I am SO behind with NaNoWriMo, but I blame that on recently getting a new job and all the stress and excitement. You make a great point about making writing goals. I don't feel bad about Nano, but I am certainly going to have to get back to writing at least a small quota a day to keep the cogs oiled.