Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaNo and Goal Setting

This is the first time I've joined NaNo and I am embarrassed to say I'm just starting. But with the election over and my article submitted that was due this week, I'm back on track. My goal is to finish my WIP, OPAL FIRE, book two in the gemstone series by month's end.

I vowed to pen 50k words this month. Will I make it? Who knows, but I set a goal and I'm sure going to try.

Procrastination is a problem with many writers. I myself prefer to check email 50 times, do the dishes, feed the cat, plan dinner, hunt for dust bunnies and any number of other mundane tasks before hitting the keyboard. Something about staring at the blank screen scares the crap out of me. But once I begin, I'm in the zone.

That's where goal setting comes in.

Writers need goals to stay on track, especially if they ever want to sell anything. The editor doesn't care that you had the flu the week your revisions were due. The readers don't care that your kids got sick. They expect the work to be done and on time.

For my first book, I set a goal of 1000 words a day. For some that may be too much, for others, too little. Hemingway wrote 500 words a day and still had time for big game hunting and world travel. It can be done.

How? By organizing your priorities. Put dinner in the crockpot, teach your fifth grader to do the laundry, train your husband to help with homework, but set your goals for the day, week, month, and even the year.

Start with a calendar. Take the first blank space and write down a realistic goal for the year (or more if you're feeling ambitious).

For example: I will have written a book by this time next year.

Then break it down: I will write one page per day.
That's 365 days, 365 pages, or 1 book.
Simple, right?
Anyone can squeeze in a page per day.

Or maybe you prefer to keep a targeted word count. Or write at a certain time every day.

My goal is 1000-1500 words/day (longer this month). That averages to a chapter/week with 15-20 pages/chapter. That works for me.

Maybe you write faster than I do. Joe Konrath, author of the Jack Daniels thriller series, writes 4000 words per day. He researches and promotes most of the year and pumps out his books in February.

Now that sounds like a nightmare to me, but it works for him.

However big your dreams are, however unattainable they may seem, they'll only come true if you set goals. Then make every effort to meet them.

And if you fall short one day, you can make it up the next. The point is to try, because the only difference between a published author and an unpublished one is perseverance.



Bethany said...

Excellent advice and a great post!

Enchanted Crystals said...


Good luck this month!