Mar 6, 2012

Goals and Deadlines

A few things about accountability. I need:
  • small deadlines/goals to keep me moving without overwhelming me
  • accountability somewhere public, with the threat of shame... because I have no concept of time, or really, just a general problem with assigning values to numbers, and I will goof-off if I'm just sure I have time to spare.
Which leads to me not knowing what is a reasonable amount to write in a day. I can do the NaNo math and say I need 1667 words per day to hit 50K in a month, but is this reasonable or is this a drive-yourself-crazy amount of words?

I could just be setting myself up for failure with this, but here we go with goals:
  • 10 minutes free-writing by hand every morning before leaving bed. Wake up, write. No excuses, even if I'm doing the peepee dance. Anything goes.
  • At least 1000 words per day
  • First draft current WIP completed by April 1, even if it is way short of overall word count goal. First draft is for laying out story, more words will come later with layering in description/emotion.


  1. I often wondered the same thing. How little is too little? These days, I try to make it about time spent, rather than words written. I spent a couple of years writing by word count, and when I only ever got rejections, I decided to change my writing approach (please note: I was rubbish at rewriting, I'd just the first three chapters almost as soon as I'd written them. I didn't seem to understand that first drafts are for layering, as you mentioned. Silly me!)

    Now, if I have a day ahead of me, I set aside a certain time-frame to write, say 6 hours. I ignore that distracting word count function at the bottom of the screen and just write and rewrite. I think my main problem when writing to a word count was quality. I wouldn't spend enough time perfecting a sentence, or making dialogue sound natural. Then again, as a pantser (now plotter) this was also a part of the problem! I didn't have a set plot, so would rush to write anything that would get the words down!

    We all write differently, which is the wonderful part. I'm sure you'll churn those words out this month. Good luck finishing draft one of your WIP by April 1st :-)

    Madeline x

    1. I think if I were a little more focused, I could do time spent. But I get distracted by shiny things. If I have a specific wordcount to make that day, I just have to type. The computer keeps up with my words. I don't have to keep a time sheet. I would, otherwise. It'd be all...spent 20 minutes thinking, then went and ate toast and forgot to come back. Spent 14 minutes making scene cards, then forgot something I wanted to research and two hours later...

      I did make the words for today and yesterday! But some of them were by hand in the form of plot fixing, and I'm still counting them! So I guess I did deviate a little from the Word wordcount function.

      I also have to edit as I go, or well, actually, I edit the day before's words and then jump into the new writing for the day. I don't want to rewrite. As much time as I spend plotting and planning before I write, I hope that it can bypass some of those discovery draft requirements.

      Let me know how your new approach turns out re: submission-wise!

  2. Go Amalie, go! I'm a deadline girl. I have to have them otherwise I feel aimless. But I am also a fast writer - some days I'll do 5k, more if I'm on a really big roll and have the time. But some days I won't do anything but think about my WIP and you know, sometimes those days are the most useful because I get a clear heading about character and also where I'm taking the story.
    I think the key is making sure the goals are achievable so you don't feel bad if you don't make them. :-)

    Good luck!

    1. I want to do 5K a day. The most I ever have done in one sitting is like... 3900. And then my brain exploded like a pumpkin hitting a sidewalk at 50mph.

      I keep seeing writing seminars and courses on doing an incredibly fast first draft, and I want to do it! I just can't seem to bring myself to. So I'm trying to go the other way and be sensible. I'm so not a sensible type, though.

      This achievable goals thing is hard.

  3. I started the year with a beautiful colour coded, writing plan (could have written a first draft in the time that took!!)But I don't care - I love it anyway!
    I then set myself a minimum of 1k a day and ended up after 40 days with a first draft of 65k.
    I am now working on draft 2 which is totally torturous as draft 1 sucks. So not sure yet if this is a good process or a bad process...time will tell (ie if/ when I dare read the second draft through)
    Nina x

    1. Does your writing plan keep you motivated? Did it increase your productivity? :)

      How did you come up with the plan, was it just the 1K per day and increasing tallies to show growing totals?

      Good luck with draft 2!

  4. Amalie
    Interest in my writing plan - hurrah! And yes it really is keeping me motivated. Basically I worked out exactly which contests I want to enter this year,and their deadlines and what I would need to accomplish for this. They feel like REAL deadlines because these are opportunities I don't want to miss.
    For me if I tell myself a minimum of 1k a day I usually manage 2k but on the days where I think I've got no writing time I still manage the 1k because I am obsessive!!!
    Draft 2 nearly done so we will see....
    Nina x

    1. Somehow I missed this comment until this morning!

      How many contests are you entering? What kind of contests are they? Do they have agents or editors you're targeting?


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