We all gotta have them. You know it’s true! And in this season of resolutions, what a great time to set them, once again.
But far more lasting is to set your own intentions. And the thing is, it doesn’t matter exactly what that goal is. We have such a propensity to compare ourselves to other writers, and aspire to their aims. Funny thing about that, though—it rarely works.
Although we can admire how others go about this process, writing is uniquely individual. I realize that’s redundant 🙂 But, to make the point! No one has the book in him that you do. No one can tell you how to go about this. While much of the process can be learned (such as the skills that go into writing well), how you do it is up to you.
Doesn’t mean you can just write when you feel like it! That’s not what I’m talking about. Anyone waiting only on inspiration will grow quite old and gray before any work of substance is finished. Inspiration is a glorious thing. I’d never knock it. But that’s only a part of the process.
Professional writers (and that’s what you aspire to be, right?) know that in order to succeed, you have to set a schedule. And that’s the part that’s unique to you.
A few guidelines, however, can help to set it well.
1. Schedule the Time. Whatever works for you, works! But you have to set it. Are early mornings your best bet for uninterrupted time? Ink it. Or are you most creative from midnight to 2AM? Perhaps you’re better with taking Saturdays and Sundays and delving deep into that cave. Any time that works for you, works for you! The thing is, you have to carve out that time and let nothing deter you. Yes, emergencies will occur, but unless you’re part of the Seinfeld crew, they are by their very nature uncommon. By setting a schedule you’re accountable to you—the most important person in this process.
2. Sit There. Yep, I know—sometimes that inspiration just doesn’t come. But at the appointed hour, for the appointed time, sit that butt in the chair, that face in front of the page. Even if you don’t have a creative thought in your head, write. Even if it’s gobbledygook. Doesn’t much matter. I mean, you’re gonna go over and edit and trash and rewrite most of the first draft anyway (and if you don’t, that’s another matter we need to discuss!). Often by forging ahead when you don’t feel like it, a great thing will come. Often not. The only truly important thing is that you just do it.
3. Decide on Your Production Output. Again, not very sexy. And again, often we aspire to others’ output, which just doesn’t work for us. The thing is to figure out how you compose best. Are you most “on” if you set a time amount? Say, an hour a day. You’re going to write for that amount of time, and it doesn’t matter how much you produce. Or, a word count works as well. Say, a goal of 500-1000 words per day. That’s just 2-4 pages. Anyone can do that, no? And while it doesn’t seem like much, in a year’s time that computes to 125,000-250,000 words. Wow! Now that’s a lot!
And that’s it. That’s all you need. Do those 3 things and before you know it, the book is well on its way. And it wasn’t even hard! Who knew!
How do you reach your writing goals?