Writing Targets

I’ve been experimenting with writing targets. It’s not for everyone but writing and I get along best when I’m in charge. Some writers prefer to let inspiration come knocking on their door. I like to chase it into a corner or the project will run on and on. Like any creative process, different methods get different results for different writers. This one works for me at the moment.

This target has changed over time, but I think (without jinxing it) that I’ve found the right number. I have a daily goal of 1K, as measured by the target bar in Scrivener. It’s reset at the beginning of the first session of each day. Love that target bar. It goes from red to green, a visual reminder of my progress to that number. 1K isn’t much. Some days it’s enough, and others it’s just the start of a much longer writing session but it’s a goal that allows me to have balance with other things in my life. So I toil away until the bar is green, then either call it a day, or keep writing.

Most jobs require set number of hours worked in a day or week, mine does too. It’s not necessarily because I have a deadline, it’s just that without keeping track, I don’t feel done, I don’t give myself permission to do other things, including reading which often gets slapped on the back burner. This way I get balance. So whether I reach my target by noon, or hammer it out between the hours of 10 pm and midnight, the target is a tool that works for me.

But what about when targets are missed? After all, we are not machines. Life sometimes gets in the way of best laid plans. The problem with writing targets is the guilt trip associated with not achieving a daily target. This will happen. I try not to feel like it’s me vs. the writing target, like I need to conquer it, like I must win. This will lead to frustration. The target for me is a partner in the process, just one tool I use to get words on paper (or the screen). Then when I’m having a target-challenged day, I tell myself tomorrow might be better.

Do you have writing targets? How do they work/don’t work for you.


Where a Story Starts

When I start a new writing project, I like knowing where the story starts, where it’s going to end and all the hot spots along the way. I do extensive character profiles until I know what their favourite breakfast is. Then when I’m ready to start writing, it makes sense to hammer out chapter one, scene one. Except, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes at this early stage, when a new novel is on the cusp of taking its first breaths, it’s all about one scene, and it’s not always where the story begins.

When I think back to some of my most loved books, it’s often one scene that jumps at me. It doesn’t have to be a pivotal moment, just one that is important to the character, and it usually involves dialogue that pops (I read it aloud if it’s really good).

As a writer, I have my favourites too, knowing when a scene I write is a winner, one I hope others will remember.

At the moment, I’m here at the start of a new project and there’s a scene that has to be writtten first. It happens one-third of the way through the plot but it has to be first out of the gates. It may not be the beginning of the book, but it most certainly is the beginning of this creative journey.

 

Note: This blog now offers subscription. Sign up with your e-mail on the sidebar and get e-mail updates when there are new posts.