Saturday, February 8, 2014

Goal Setting - Be Realistic!

Setting goals is difficult when you are writing a book. If you spend any amount of time reading blogs or guides on book writing, you will learn that a book will take as long as it takes. There is not one set of rules or timeline for writing your book. At the beginning, I set goals for myself. And I failed. My goals were unrealistic and inflexible. This caused anxiety and stress that was unnecessary and counter-productive to my writing.

Let’s talk about what a goal is. A goal is something you want to achieve. Therefore it should be achievable, right? A goal is not a dream, it is not a deadline and it is not something beyond your control.

I set a goal for myself to write 4,000 words per day, no exceptions. While this is great in theory (yay, I can get my book done faster!) it was far from achievable. I have a full-time job, a wife, an 8 month old and a teenager. My life is a constant state of flux, or more commonly known as chaos. It is not a reasonable goal to say that I will write that much without exception. It is great to have a plan, but let’s be realistic about it.

When I did not reach my goal the first time, I was devastated. Then the second time was even worse. I had become demotivated quickly and questioning whether I have the skills to even finish a book. After this happened to me, I took a step back to evaluate my goals. More realistic goals would be to spend a set amount of time per day working on the book, regardless of how much I actually write. This could be spent on the story plot, character development, or writing. Forget the word count altogether. A story is not defined by how many words you write. It is how you use the words you have. Just remember to set small goals, large goals and maintain your vision. More importantly, let them be what they are…..goals. They are not concrete deadlines and things will happen. Roll with it, recalibrate, and move on.

Don’t let your goals become a roadblock!

Here is a list of my goals:

1. Write for one hour at least 3 days per week.

2. Complete the first draft of the book by end of June.

3. Join a writers group in my area.

4. Read a new blog/website each month.

5. Publish a book this year.

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