Writing Goals for 2011

It’s difficult to set writing goals for many, just how many words should I try to write in a day? How will this add up to the number of words I will need to sell my novel in my chosen genre? There are many theories on how to choose this number.

When I started writing I read up how others approached writing goals, write 1000 words a day, write 100, or write an entire scene. It seemed that many agreed that you should set a goal of 2000 words a week. That sounded reasonable. It allows you to reach 100,000 words in a year. From that I thought that I would do a 1000 on the weekend—only 500 a day—and 200 at the end of each workday.

Before long I had fallen behind, guilt plagued me and I felt as if I had let myself down. Not to conducive to writing, unless you’re writing about how you can never accomplish anything. No, that still wouldn’t work.

I needed a better way to create some consistency in my writing habits. Another author, I can no longer remember who, said the goal should be small enough so that you can always accomplish it, a paragraph or even a single word.

This method worked for a while as it was easy to meet the demand, but it didn’t hold any measure of quality, simply very low quantity. And honestly, the single word seemed silly and so I never really applied it.

Quality, I decided was the key. With that in mind, I created my own writing goal. Write one quality sentence per day. That’s right, just one. It worked like a charm, I wrote large amounts each time I sat at my modern typewriter, my laptop. So, why did it work for me and why might it work for you?

Forcing yourself to write one thing of quality requires all your best writing skills. What you write must meet your best criteria, it must fit the plot of your story, if dialogue, it must truly reflect the personality of the speaker. And once you’ve written something that fits the story, that improves it in some way, well, it’s very hard to stop. This technique works because it allows you to foster what makes you a great writer in the first place, without placing an unneeded burden upon yourself.

Give it a try, you might find your writing benefits from it. And it’s guilt free!

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