Writing Goals

When 2011 chimed in, I decided I would write more this year than I did last year. Since I finished 2010 at just a little over 300,000 words, I thought – hey, 1000 words a day would make 365,000 words* a year, and that would be pretty neat. My OCD approved of that idea and I started planning everything out: what stories I would write each month, how many words for each of them, when my first drafts would be finished, when I would release them… I even made myself some Excel spreadsheets to keep track of numbers, goals, averages. You name it, it’s on my spreadsheets, with pretty colors and graphics to boot.

Sounds cool so far, huh?

But of course, it doesn’t quite work like that. The devil is in the details, they say, and I guess I planned this thing a tad too much.

The 1000 words a day? In theory it’s great. It’s a small number, one I can reach easily. Except… some days, it seems really unattainable. My ‘real world’ job can leave me brain-dead, and my muse sometimes takes the day off without warning. That’s all right, though, because on other days, I start writing, stop paying attention to anything else, and suddenly I look at my wordcount and it makes up for two or three days of little or no writing. So the daily thing doesn’t work too well, but monthly? So far I’m ahead of my goals. Ahead is better than behind… right? 😛

Then there’s the ‘what am I writing this month’ part of my plan. Some stories come up more easily than others. Take the sequel for Fangs and Lullabies. The master plan says that the first draft isn’t due until September, and supposedly I should have written 3000 words for it so far. In actuality, I wrote twice that, because I love these characters so much and if I start I can’t stop writing them. Should I just write this story to the detriment of everything else? I could, but what about these other projects I’ve promised my readers? The last 4 installments of Visions of Destiny, my new monthly freebie, or the Out of the Box sequel? Should I just set these aside? That would completely wreck my release plan, but I’d also feel guilty about neglecting these other characters. Decisions!

I guess what I’m learning here is, it’s good to have a plan, goals, deadlines – these, especially, are a great motivator for me – but in the end the important part is that I’m writing, and deviating from the plan isn’t all that bad.

* I’m counting everything in these numbers, including those paragraphs or chapters that end up in the trash.

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