Writing goals in themselves can be difficult to figure out. While in school, our teachers and professors handed out writing goals, so we never had to decide how much or when to write.
We just wrote as much as was required, answered the prompts, and submitted the work on time, because few instructors encourage students to set their own writing goals and manage their progress. All this leaves most of us at a disadvantage in setting our own writing goals.
To set a goal, start with the time limit and create a goal for the year. In the next year, is it reasonable to write three books, one novel, 12 blog posts, a series of short stories, or a collection of poetry? What jumps out as the stack of paper you envision having in your hand at year’s end? Once you solidify that in mind, you have a writing goal, which might need some tweaking along the way, but start with a general goal at least.
Working backward from the goal
With a goal in hand, you can work out how much effort is needed to achieve it by year’s end. If your goal is to write a 250-page novel, then you need to write 20 pages a month to get there. If your goal is to write a blog a month, then it is just one per month to meet that goal. If the goal is to complete a series of short stories, perhaps two stories a month are a reasonable rate.
and write. Regardless of what you are writing, what genre, and what your intentions for your goal, you absolutely must write for 10 minutes per day and you must read for 10 minutes per day.
Now, it can feel a bit like this is over-simplifying the task of organizing one’s writing, but it is just the first step. You see, after you set that goal, work backward for the year, then you need to add in the steps to reaching the goal. For example, if I am going to write a 250-page novel this year at 20 pages per month, I will need time to brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit and revise, and review before I have 20 completed pages per month.
The same is true of any goal. Take your monthly goal and brainstorm what is needed to reach it. What do you need to do to produce 20 pages, 2 stories, 1 blog post, or 10 poems? Create a list of those steps.
Setting up a daily schedule
Really there are only two things that every writer must do on a daily basis to write well and improve in practice—read a little and write a little.
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