Monday, 27 April 2015

How to accomplish your writing goals

I realize I'm not quite at that stage of my writing career when I can give out advice about how to become a successful author, but I do feel qualified to share what works for me in meeting the writing goals I had set for myself.

If you are able to throw yourself into writing full-time, this post probably isn't for you. If, however, you are just starting your writing career, and are juggling the duties of a day job, parenthood, social life, etc, perhaps you - like me - can sometimes feel your days melting away, without any time for actual writing.

My husband and I have three very active young children and a host of animals. As you can imagine, life is pretty busy around here, and I can't dedicate all or most, or indeed even a large portion of my time to writing. Nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with the volume of work I have managed to achieve, following a simple strategy:

Set specific goals - for me, this ideally means writing a 1,000 words a day. To accomplish this, all I need is one hour, daily, of uninterrupted writing time - a feasible goal even for a busy mother or someone who works full-time. Once I have written my daily portion, I set the keyboard aside. This enables my novels to progress at a good speed and prevents burnout.

Prioritize - if I have one hour, really one hour and no more of quiet time on the computer when I'm fresh and ready to do some serious work, I will spend that hour writing. This means I will deny the luring call of Facebook, an overflowing inbox and the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Not always, of course, because nobody's perfect. But that's the general rule.

Focus - once I've started writing, I'm writing. I forbid myself to open another browser window to just check my emails for a minute, or watch a goofy video on YouTube, or send a happy birthday wish to an ex-classmate on Facebook. Because I know that if I go down that path, my quiet hour will be frittered away on nothings, and before I can blink it's time to make dinner and wrap up the day.

I guess my main point is this: take your writing seriously, because if you don't, no one else will.

This is what works for me - I'll be happy to know what works for you.

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