How to Achieve a Big Writing Goal & See Yourself to the Finish Line

How to Achieve a Big Writing Goal & See Yourself to the Finish Line

How to Achieve a Big Writing Goal & See Yourself to the Finish Line
Photo by Andrew Hurley / via Flickr

How to Achieve a Big Writing Goal & See Yourself to the Finish Line

What are your writing goals and what do you want your writing life to look like? Given your current situation, how can you start working toward that big writing goal?

Many of us get discouraged when we can't have our big goal right away. When we can't devote a full eight hours a day to writing or when we can't sell our books for big advances. We want the end result now. And if our time is limited, we can't even fathom that we'll ever achieve our goals. At least not in any kind of time frame that we would consider reasonable.

It's no surprise that with that line of thinking, many people set their goals aside and never attempt to work toward them. They think, "What's the point? I'll never reach my goal anyway."

But one big question is this: why do we want the goal?

If the goal is to publish a book and make a ton of money, forget it. There are plenty of other activities that have a better yield and often in a shorter amount of time. If we have that goal because we love to write and tell stories, then we have a good foundation for the goal. Writing has to be an interest.

Assuming we do have an interest in writing, what's the motivation behind the goal? Is it so we can see our name in print? Or so we can send a printed and bound copy to our mothers? Do we want to help readers in some way through our stories? Why do we want what we want?

Once we have a strong motivation behind the goal, it's easier to see how we can achieve it. At the very least, we're more willing to see a solution.

Sometimes the goal is so big that we get stuck right away or we get discouraged after just a few days or weeks, especially if it's something we've never done before. Starting something new usually means we're going to feel a little uncomfortable for a while, and it's going to take some time to make daily or regular writing a habit.

If the goal is a daunting task, like writing a novel, break it up into manageable chunks. That helps immensely. Instead of thinking, "How can I write a 90,000 word novel in a year?" think in terms of daily word count goals. If you can write just 250 words a day, you'll have the first draft of your novel done in a year. Bump up that daily goal to 300 and you'll give yourself some margin for time off. Finishing the first draft in a year is much better than feeling stumped because you're too focused on the end result.

To see ourselves to the finish line, we need a good foundation for wanting what we want. Once we have that, we can start considering viable solutions to achieve our big writing goals.

Jody Calkins
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