Have you achieved some of the writing goals you’ve set for 2018? It’s hard to believe, but we’re well into the second quarter of the year. Before you know it, it’ll be June 30. With luck, you’ve achieved some of your goals, or are in the process of achieving them.
I’ve just sent my fiction writing students some tips to kickstart their motivation; you might find the tips helpful too.
Firstly however, let’s look at writing speed, because I’ve received several questions about that.
Writing goals: your writing speed
Writing takes what it takes. Words tend to flow like water in your first draft. So, on some days you’ll be able to write 2,000 words in an hour. It’s usual to write more slowly in later drafts. You might spend a productive two hours just to write 300 new words, after deleting 1500 words.
Remember, process, rather than speed.
1. Build good writing habits (go slowly, when changing any habit)
Set process goals (sometimes termed behavioral goals) because you have control over what you do, rather than the outcome:
We do what we do because it’s become automatic. Change of any kind is challenging. So, when you set a process goal, make it laughably EASY at first.
… let’s say that your goal is writing 1,000 words a day… set your goal at 50 words a day initially. You can write 50 words on your phone while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.
2. Time everything you do, otherwise you’ll waste time without realizing
When I began using the timer app, Toggl, I was surprised at the time I spend on unproductive tasks each day. I thought I knew where my time was going, but I didn’t.
Try tracking all your time for a week. You may discover that you’re doing tasks that someone else can do, giving you more time to write.
3. Create project timelines so that you meet deadlines (even the deadlines you set for yourself)
This past year, I’ve managed to overbook myself several times because stuff happened — and stuff always happens.
So, when my favorite mind mapping app iMindMap came out in its latest incarnation recently, I was happy because its Time Map view is just what I need to avoid creating impossible deadlines.
Creating a project timeline is simple. Work backwards from your target date. Add the project’s primary milestones, and build in a little wiggle room.
Vital tip: if you’re a self-publisher who’s working with others, book your designer and editor as soon as you can. These folks are getting busier.
4. Ensure that you’re enthusiastic about your goals (or drop them)
If you set a goal at the start of 2018, and are now lukewarm about it, drop it. A “meh” goal leeches your motivation. Reschedule the goal for 2019, or just drop it.
Review your goals once a week.
To maintain your excitement and motivation, join a mastermind group, or a writing group, and get an accountability buddy. That is, someone to whom you’ll make a commitment, and who will ask you at the end of each week whether you:
- Completed the chapter you committed to finishing this week;
- Sent out reminders and statements to those clients who are slow-payers;
- Updated your Facebook page, or wrote a blog post, or spent an hour writing some ads for your writing business;
You’ll perform the same function for your buddy — you’ll keep him or her accountable too.
Onward… and if you don’t have goals for 2018, set some writing goals today. 🙂
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Happy writing. 🙂
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