Sunday, March 13, 2011

On not freaking yourself out

Novel Publicity's advice blog has a great new entry from Jace McCoy about setting and achieving writing goals.

The tip that stood out to me the most was number 3: Set attainable goals.
"It is important when first starting out as a writer to take small steps toward  the main goal at hand:  getting published. If this means you are only able to write 50 words a day; that’s great. Or if a busy work schedule keeps you bogged down leaving you unable to work on your MS then just take 10-15 mins and write whatever your heart desires. The main thing is to not get your self worked up to a point where your goals become counter productive."
That last sentence is the clincher. There's nothing more frazzling than having a writing session wilt from underneath you because of some arbitrary quota. One of the things I've really had to learn is to stop placing additional stress on the process and just friggin' write.

While word-count goals can be a good thing, they can also add a few thousand feet to the mountain you're already looking up at when you sit down to write, which can be, like McCoy says, counter productive. Because which is better, getting a hundred words down or none at all because you couldn't spare the time to get the five hundred or thousand you wanted to do? And I've done that; I've scratched whole days because I didn't think I'd be able to do enough. But all I was really doing was allowing a number that was meant to help me move forward to...keep me from moving forward.

Now I have goals, but I cater to something more important: inertia, because writing and keeping things chugging in the right direction, at whatever speed they're going at the time so long as it isn't zero, has actually increased my productivity as well as my enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments at Novel Publicity. I'm so glad the post helped you out. I am going to write another post for them soon. As well as continuing the posts on my site Writer On The Verge. If you have any specific topics you would like me to cover let me know. I have a contact form at my website. I try and publish on topics my readers will get the most of.
    Trust me when I say I have been in the same boat many times that you mentioned above. It's so easy to get frustrated or make excuses. Another thing I used to do is read something I previously written and just delete the entire thing. While sometimes this is whats needed more often than not you give the story no time to breath. That being said I recently changed my method toward a style similar to Dean Koontz where I do not continue till it is polished and gets all the key plot points I had in mind.
    In the end it's all about finding what works for you. Your personal strengths. Embrace them and you are GUARANTEED TO SUCCEED.