Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing Goals: Bee's Knees or Puh-lease...

Today, I want to talk about writing goals.

Do you have them?                                                                                                 

Do you LIVE by them?

Or, do you prefer to write when you feel inspired (by your muse or otherwise)?

Writers deal with extreme guilt complexes (me included, and many others from what I've seen). Writers set lofty goals, normally in the form of daily goals, and then, if the goal isn't reached, the writers hang their head in shame, falling down a spiral where even more writing doesn't happen.

Or maybe that's just me.

But even though writing goals may cause me excess stress, I still stand by them. If I didn't set goals for myself, I wouldn't get anything done.

Personally, I like "it'll be done by this date" goals more than daily goals necessarily. It's easy for people to get overwhelmed, so I think it's better to have a finish line in sight rather than to solely worry about what you need done each day.

I know, that sounds kind of silly, because daily writing goals would seem to only help you in reaching timed goals, but to me, I can write furiously for a day (1000s of words), and then I could write nothing the next day. And I want that to be okay, and it is if I give myself a "done by" date. It's about the end goal and how good that feels, and not about thinking of how many words you have left.

Here's some links if you want goals set for you (and you provide the amazing words):

Nanowrimo (writing a book in a month during November...Great forums)
Camp Nanowrimo (A Nanowrimo for the summer time, which is on write now)
Fast-Drafting (doing your novel in 2 weeks)
Milwordy (a million words in one year)

What do you do for writing goals? What's your reasoning behind the goals you set or why you don't set them at all? Let me know below!

Now for a song to write by, "Bulletproof" by Evan's Blue, because you need to be bulletproof for kick-arse writing goals…Yep, that's what I'm going with to play this song I like. 


  1. I just started the first draft of my new WIP. I told myself I would finish it by Labor Day, and I am already behind and metnally beating myself up about it :( I knew it was too strict of a goal, but I also don't want to drag out writing this draft. I like to write quickly.

  2. I set daily goals and weekly goals so if I slack one day I can make it up. I tried to set a date once but it freaked me out so I think daily goals are best.

  3. I also prefer end goals. Phil and I will be battling it together because the goal for finishing a rough of my current WIP is almost the same as his.

    But then I also break it down into daily goals. Well, I don't, but Scrivener does it for me. If I put in the end goal and word count, then Scrivener tells me what I need to write daily to get there. Right now, it is telling me I have to write 939 words per day to reach my goal. But I'm like you--I write a lot on some days and a little on others, so I just use Scrivener to tell me if I'm getting behind. If it starts saying I need to write 1200 words a day to reach my goal, then I know I need to focus more and pound it out. If it says I only need to write 700 per day, then I know I'm completely on top of it. This gives me more of a cushion than setting a specific word count goal for each day and keeps me from feeling like I fail if I don't hit that target.

  4. I guess my only real goal is to 'do your best and what comes naturally to you'. I have the same goal when it comes to blogging and keeping up my online presence. I do what I can do and try not to feel guilty about not being able to do it all. I know I can write a whole novel because I've done it several times. Now I kind of have it down to a technique but that doesn't make it any easier. Actually it takes me months to get through that very first chapter.

  5. Phil: Me too. I don't get so commitment-phobic if I write quickly. Good luck with the new WIP

    Jen: I definitely get the benefit of daily goals. It may be something I migrate towards in the future. Good luck with yours!

    Heidi: That sounds like a really great tool. If I had the program, I completely guarantee I'd be doing the same thing. Good luck with your WIP too then! :)

    Creep Query Girl: That's probably what I should do, but I still like to see the finish line, so I'll probably stick with what I'm doing for now. I'm glad you have a system that works. And since you know it works, I'd definitely keep up with the same :)

  6. I do set goals, at least loose ones, and then I feel guilty if I don't meet them. You'd think I'd learn that one of the best ways to have great ideas is to just chill!

  7. Julie: I know! But I still have to have them, and the guilt that may or may not follow. Oh well...

  8. I must write everyday, but some months it's 1000/day and others it's a scene per day. But if I don't do anything, I end up spiraling like you mentioned above.

  9. Writing schedules are so variable. Some people need to have daily goals, some weekly, some monthly. I'm one of those daily people, but I'm still horrible at meeting them. I do try, though. :)

  10. I am the great procrastinator so a "Done By" goal is out for me. I'm a "Chunker" -- daily goals achieved here and there throughout.
    If the goal is to lofty, someone else will have to write it.


  11. Oops! I forgot. Those last 3 sites kind of scare me. UGH!

  12. I go with what I feel. If I feel like writing I write a lot. Then again I don't have a problem finishing novels. I've written 6, revised two, and have another one about to be queried along with three ideas locked away for a rainy day. I suppose it's true when they say you move at your own pace!

  13. The East Coaster: I hate spiraling. That's when the guilt is something ridiculous and out of control.

    Bethany: I think trying is the important bit :)

    GigglesandGuns: Yeaaah, they're not for the faint of goaling. lol

    Jen Daiker: Definitely. And you're awesome possum for getting so much done :)

  14. Funny it is that when I first started writing, I never set goals. I just wrote until chapter's end or until I ran out of words. Now that I have goals, I don't write so much anymore. Now everything seems to be about edits, marketing, etc. I have to admit though that without goals, I wouldn't have taken my writing to publication level, nor would I have been published. Some sort of structure is necessary if we're ever going get someplace other than where we started. Seems we're thinking about the same things.

  15. I've set a daily average goal of 1000 words per day. This has been going on for 3 weeks now, and it has been EXTREMELY effective. In fact, I'm actually averaging 1200 a day. So I'm ahead of the game. If I keep that up, how many novels could I write in a year? Do the math and you'd be amazed.

  16. Fabulous blog! My life is INSANE (whose isn't?) so I just want to make SOME progress each day, and practice writing words every day. Evernote is my godsend.

  17. I'm a firm believer in writing goals and I try to write daily because if I miss a day it's hard for me to start again. I'm amazed you can write thousands of words a day, a feat I have not accomplished.

  18. Writing goals? What are those? I wouldn't know anymore. I used to have them but life sot of happens sometimes and I've been trying to let myself off the hook as much as possible. Sometimes it just has to wait even though I miss it when I can't get to it. Great post and a great way of expressing how we all feel all too often. Oh, BTW I'm your newest follower too and I love me some Evans Blue.

  19. I really need to set down some goals for writing. I thought I would be doing some each day, but since my book came out, any time I would usually spend writing has been spent on blogs (look at me now!), forums, twitter, facebook and Amazon charts. I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and I can't get off! Wheeeee.....

  20. Good question. I should set goals and end up blogging! Good luck with yours :O)

  21. I'm all about writing to an internal rhythm. I know that sounds weird, but I don't want to set up boundaries for the writing of a first draft of any novel; boundaries come in later drafts (i.e. I have to have a second draft ready to show beta readers by X date).

    The first draft is like an infant, in my opinion. You have to keep it in line on some level, but you also want to give it space to discover the world. Or, more accurately, you want to give yourself space to discover the internal world of the novel. So I guess that would make me the infant. :)

    Anyway, I guess what I'm recommending here is to not be too harsh setting time restrictions on the first draft, but set up time restrictions on subsequent drafts.

  22. My one writing goal at the present is to finish editing my current MC before September...eek, I might have to move the date. Have a great day! :)

  23. I don't really set writing goals... just to actually finish this current work-in-progress. That's my writing goal. ;D

    I think I'm going to look into NaNoWriMo this year... I only just found out about it earlier this year. Okay, there's a new writing goal - finish my current novel by November, to (possibly) participate in NaNoWriMo! ;D

  24. Great post on writing goals! I've learned to curb my goals so I can be happy with myself.

  25. Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for follwoing my blog! I'm glad you like it! ( :

  26. AH! So many comments. Thanks, y'all :)

    J.L: definitely. I always set goals, because I need to know what I need to do to start, but outlines were completely abandoned.

    the-time-capsule: Oh, I totally agree. Daily goals are amazingly effective when met.

    Leigh Ann: Aw, thank you! I've heard great things about Evernote, but I'm a physical notebook junkie. lol. I'm sure one day I'll be using it though :)

    Clarissa Draper: Aw, thanks. I'm one of those fast and furious first drafters, and I daydream about my wips constantly so writing them down feels like I'm just re-telling what I've already noodled out. Makes it easier.

    TC Mckee: I know, right? They're good stuff from what I've heard of them. And ditto about your writing goals. When I have them and do them, it's amazing. But, I have to make myself have them and keep them.

    Amanda-Leigh Cowley: OMG I know what you mean. It's all fun, but it's also distracting.

    Madeleine: I've been there...a lot. :)

    Chris: good points. I like to get my first draft done fast and sloppily and then I do the fixing afterwards. It works so far. Eh.

    Leila Knight: You can do it! lol. Good luck with it :)

    Taylor Lynn: That's a great goal. I love end-date goals. They make me get stuff done actually.

    Aubrie: TY! Yeah, that's necessary for me too. I can get intense with myself and goal setting.

    Romi: Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

  27. Hi, Kelley! I love setting goals. It keeps me on track! I make daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I make sure they're attainable, and I try to expect the unexpected because I know that sometimes life gets in the way. So I don't beat myself up if I don't meet every goal every time. As long as I'm moving forward and making some sort of progress, then I think that's a success!

  28. Laura: I totally agree. Forward momentum is everything to me. As long as I have that, I can keep on track :) Thanks for stopping by!

  29. Goals, goals, goals! I think they're great. Now, if I could just make myself stick to them! On the Campaign trail with you from Rach Writes! Great blog!!!

  30. Candy Fite: I'm with you there! And nice to meet a fellow campaigner! :)