When you write full-time, people have no problem telling you how lucky you are. “You get to do what you want every day?” While that isn’t quite true, I am far too easy for people to find, I do acknowledge that this is pretty awesome. But it can still be tricky to squeeze the writing in.
Squeeze it in? You bet.
When you have an eight-hour day and you are working on something tricky, it can be really had to put the writing off. And then put it off some more. And then it’s bed time and look how clean the windows are!
With that in mind, here are five steps to help you meet your writing goals.
- Set concrete goals. Yes, that’s right. Oddly enough, to meet goals you have to set goals. Strange but true. Your goals also have to be concrete. Not “I am going to write this week” but I am going to write 15 minutes a day, Monday through Friday.” Make it straightforward so that you know you have been successful.
- Know what works. This may take some time. Write down the goals that you set. Write down what you managed to accomplish. Then take a look at what worked. Some people do better with word count goals. “Write 200 words a day.” Others need a time frame. “Write for 15 minutes.” Others need what I call writing specific goals. “Finish a draft of my new picture book.” “Write 2 chapters of my novel.”
- Evaluate. Once you’ve worked toward your goals for a week or two, review them. Are they working? If not, try something different. I can’t coffee shop write. It is too distracting. A friend can’t write at home. The quiet is annoying. If things are working, that’s good. If not, try something new.
- Look for positives. As you work to set your goals, look for the things that work well. If you are a morning writing, set a goal to write in the morning. If you need an outline before you write, include this in your goals. Work with your strengths.
- Adjust upward. As you develop a writing habit, nudge your goals upward. Try to write for a longer period. Try to write one more day a week.
Just remember to be realistic. I remember reading that an author I idolized wrote 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. As a new writer, I found this very discouraging. I was doing good to write for 20 minutes! That was before I developed a solid writing habit.
Find what works for you. Adjust it as you go. Soon you’ll be adding words and pages to your count and making progress.