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.


4 Responses to Writing Targets

  1. Hey Marianne,
    To be honest I have to organise my writing time as I’m usally quite busy so I’m feeling quite pleased at having four hours this weekend.

    I don’t so much as set a word target as set a scene target. If I have it clearly mapped out thats great I can usually get somewhere in a reasonable time and if the next sequence hits and I feel like writing more I carry on.

    All the best with your own goals,

    G

  2. Great post.

    I do use writing targets. I have a daily word count goal. In addition to that, I have milestones set for when I’d like to have my draft complete and then my revisions complete. I like to set smaller, measurable, achievable goals within a realistic time frame. And when I reach a major milestone, i treat myself in a big way. 😉

  3. Marianne, I’m with you on setting goals, whether I’m plotting, writing a draft, doing research, or editing. Goals are the bread-and-butter to getting things accomplished. It’s hard to find that balance when writing takes over, but setting limits and closing things down when real life needs to be addressed is important, too. Here’s to finding that happy balance.

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