Minimum writing expectations

I’ve decided that in order to be a writer I need to be super organised and efficient. I need structure, acheiveble goals and realistic rewards. It’s a bit like when you’re a teenager and you first have that dying need to make a colour-coded, A3 sized revision timetable before you can even think of sitting down and opening a book to prepare for exams.

Therefore, in order to keep myself on track I’ve made my desktop into a calender showing what I’m expected to get done each day for the month. This includes writing for my current novel, planning for the new novel, re-drafting/editing short stories and writing blog posts. As such it’s given me a very realistic understanding of what I can acheive each month, which I have deduced is:

  • A minimum of 5,000 words on the current novel – in order to get the 1st draft complete for November
  • 6 scenes or story points for the new novel, to prepare me for NaNoWriMo 2012
  • Completing the redraft and edit of one short story from May to create a final version and identify where to submit it
  • Write approximately 8 blog posts per month to track my journey and keep me honest about how I’m doing on my writing schedule

Obviously, I am hoping that I can manage more than this – especially in relation to the current novel – but I have determined that these four things are the minimum that I can expect of myself in order to deserve a reward at the end of each task, with possibly a slightly larger reward by the end of each month provided I make it. I’ve already ordered my daily task reward – a new boxset of a favourite TV show that I will watch only once my scheduled task is achieved for that day. I haven’t yet decided on my month-end prize – but it seems important to identify this soon to provide another incentive to work hard.

Having the task set out for me on my desktop in my monthly calender is particularly motivating: as it is a visual reminder (thanks for the idea rich) of what I expect from myself whilst also allowing me to see how such a large body of work is neatly spread across an entire month: making it seem less overwhelming. It also means that as soon as I load up my laptop with the intention of getting some writing done I am more likely to start this straight-away: and only then permit myself the luxury of scouting the internet for interesting tidbits and news.

So now, having completed my task for today (this very blog post) I’m off to trawl the internet and check on other people’s journeys. And, perhaps, after that I’ll go beyond my daily minimum and explore the purpose of a character I’m struggling with in my current novel … I’ve always been one to try and exceed expecation!

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2 responses to “Minimum writing expectations

  1. Good steps. Every good writer needs structure and discipline. Don’t forget the main reason why you do all this, though, Cat–because its fun. Don’t make your guidelines so stringent that its no longer any fun for you.

    • Thanks! I’m actually really enjoying it! Just finished my 1,000 words (actually 1,104) for today already and I’m really pleased with it. Makes me glow: THAT’S why I’m doing it! Because I know when I do put the work in and actually write, it makes me feel fantastic! 8o)

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