Thursday, March 5, 2009

Writing Goals

It's so important for writers to set goals for themselves. Not just big goals that will take months to complete, like "I will finish my novel this year," or whatever your overall goals are, but small goals that help you keep moving. I think it's important to keep the goals relatively simple and small, or they could overwhelm you and keep you from completing them. I give myself goals each week, and I tape them to the wall right at eye level at my writing desk. This way I always know what I should be working on.

For example, I'm working on a novel, a screenplay, and various stories for children at the moment. My goal this week is to write 5000 words in my novel this week. (I use my word count in Word to track this even though that's not the way to actually count up words in a finished manuscript. It's a great tool for a first draft, though!) For my screenplay I gave myself the goal to complete my beat sheet for my screenplay, which I've already completed this week and have crossed out (a nice feeling to see it gone from the list). For my children's writing, I gave myself the task of coming up with 10 good ideas for stories that I can basically start writing at the drop of a hat. Ideas are a dime a dozen, obviously, but workable ideas are a little more difficult. In addition to these, I have other goals such as watch a movie (for research purposes), read a screenplay, read five short stories, and read 30 pages in a novel each day.

Goals like these keep me focused each day. I know what I should be working on, and I do it. In the past, I'd dilly-dally through my writing without focus, and therefore I got little real work done. With my weekly goals, I'm finding I get actual writing work accomplished. It's a good feeling, and also why I think every writer should use goals, be them daily or weekly. That's it for this week. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing!