How to set writing goals

For the first time since I put my schedule into practice on Saturday I did not want to write. I was very tired and due to plans with a friend I  missed my usual productive time to write before lunch. As it was I did not end up sitting down to write my minimum 500 words until almost 7pm. However, I did do it. I reasoned it was only 500 words, it would only take around 15-20minutes and my reward would be a half hour nap! As it was, I ended up writing over 800 words.

I think in order to have a successful writing schedule you need to be ruthlessly honest with what you believe you can acheive on a daily basis. It is great to have a goal in mind, but it has to be realistic. In fact, I think in order to ensure positive results you should aim to make it just that little bit less than you believe a realistic target to be.

During my recovery from the illness I am suffering from the advice I was given with regard to building up to activity was ‘always do 50% less than you think you are able’ and ‘never increase your goals by more than 10% each week’. I think this perhaps also applies when initiating a writing schedule with specific goals. My initial reticence at tackling 500 words on Saturday was only challenged because, to me, 500 words is now not many words to consider writing in one sitting. If I had a target of 1,000 words however, I might have been further put off and simply not even bothered to attempt it because I assume I would fail: who wants to tackle something when failure seems like the only outcome?

So, I’m still on track: I’m writing regularly, I’m feeling positive because I am over-achieving that which I set as a minimum and I’m enjoying my rewards as I succeed. I don’t think it will ever be ‘easy’ but by not making things unduly difficult for myself I’m much more likely to stay in a positive frame of mind and feel capable of that which I want to accomplish.



2 responses to “How to set writing goals

  1. I’ve really been leaning away from the daily goal for some time now. I guess it depends on the individual, but for me, there are some days that are busier than others and a daily goal won’t work. For instance, today I got up, did some chores, cooked lunch, went to the movies with the family and then went to work. No time to write today and if I had tried to, I would have only frustrated myself and my family. I set weekly goals. It is much more kind on my schedule and family life. It pretty much allows me to write when I can. Regardless, whatever you do, goals are a must have. I’ve never thought about the % less. I’m not sure I agree. I think you have to really be in tune with what you can do and just be realistic (some people’s eyes get bigger than their stomachs and others don’t reach enough). This may take some finagling to see what your limitations are and reach that sweet spot. No matter what, though, you have to keep hacking at it.

    • I agree – the important thing is to find something that will get your butt sat at your writing post to remind you how much you love doing it!
      My writing goals are set for days when I don’t work (at my paid-job) and the most I ever usually do on these days apart from writing is walk the dog: so it gives me lots of time to write, and potentially still time to busy myself with other chores. However, on days where I have a writing goal I make sure that is my priority – I think that’s my biggest challenge – to ensure I prioritise that which I most enjoy!
      Thanks for reading. Cat

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