Points 1- 5
- Write down your goals. No, that’s a lie. I’m never that formal about my plans for writing. Your goals need to be in your mind, not on a paper or in a document in the Cloud. It does help to state what your goals are, and that is the first step. Have a plan. My goals this past year were to finish a second draft of a novel, submit some query letters, go to at least one conference, enter at least one contest with a short story, start a blog, and revise an old WIP in a highly marketable genre that I wasn’t that interested in. I accomplished all those goals except that last one. I changed my mind and instead wrote a new novel during NaNoWriMo. Which brings me to point two.
- Be flexible. You don’t know what life will throw at you. No one knew last January what would be happening in 2020. The pandemic didn’t thwart my creativity, writing was a refuge. But at the height of global shut down, I lost some traction on my revising as thoughts turned toward if the supply chain for basic necessities would shut down or if someone I love would contract the virus. Goals are good but they shouldn’t be dictators, and changing or not meeting them should not leave a residue of failure.
- Make up your mind. Either you want to write a novel or memoir or the secrets of pickle ball guide or you don’t. This is not the opposite of point two. What do you really want? Because if it’s important to you, you’ll be ready to commit to a plan and head in a direction instead of pointing up the road and saying, “I’d really like to go there some day.”
- Set yourself up for success. How do you do this? Figure out what are significant road blocks for you to write. Once you know these think about how to make a path around them. For example, a major road block to creativity is responsibilities to family. I’ve struggled forever with taking time away from kids, spouse, house , education, you name it, to sit with a laptop and work on what many people will tell you is a pipe dream. How do you sit and make up stuff about imaginary people when the laundry is piling up? If Saturday morning when everyone else is sleeping in is the best time for you to write, then state that to be your writing time and give yourself permission to do it. Writing is a craft. Like any craft it takes honing and apprenticing, to become a master.
- Similar to four, get the support of those around you. This is kind of funny. Whenever I ask my husband to give his opinion about something I wrote, he groans. It’s like pulling teeth, even for just a paragraph. He’s not a reader, which translates to ‘he is an alien creature’ because I can’t imagine not reading. Some how he makes it through life in this condition but he does not make a good writing partner. However, before NaNoWriMo started, I explained to him what it was all about, how I had a goal and would need to write 1600 words or so a day. I showed him the web-site. I wrote “NaNoWriMo” across the calendar in the kitchen. He knew something big was happening and when I said right after dinner, “I have to write”, there were no questions or silent complaints (those are the worst). It was like we were both in it and he wanted to see me succeed, even if he didn’t want to hear two sentences about the story.
Stay tuned for part two – points 6- 10 of 10 Ways to Stick to Writing Goals