Monday, December 13, 2010

Goals 2011

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." ~~ Ayn Rand

This is one of my favorite quotes and I often apply it to my writing and in particular to my writing goals. Who is going to stop me? Invariably, the answer is usually "You are." When it comes to writing or not writing, I am my own worst enemy. I am the one who lets interferences take over or who procrastinates or who gets distracted by anything other than my writing work. I'm the one who can waste time like crazy.

Somehow, I still manage to get a lot done. I make big goals every year. I don't make all of them, but by placing such high expectations on myself, I meet enough of my objectives that I can be satisfied by my year's work. And I do plan for the year...

In December, I sit down with my calendar, my list of projects and a planning notebook and decide what I want to do for the upcoming months. Quite a few of the projects are already contracted so they're no brainers. But I have books I want to do for my agent and for other publishers so I have to work them in. Then there's blogging and promotion/writing business busywork. How much do I want to do? What do I need to do?

It all gets penciled into the notebook. I actually write very little in my calendar--I've ruined more than one by marking it up with all my goals then crossing out all over the place when things change. It's best to only mark up your calendar a few weeks to a month at a time.

Once I have my goals, I break them down. How long will it take me to write each book? The best way to determine this is to know how many words a day you write. Take than number and divide your story's word count by it. That's how many days it will take to write your book. I'd advise you to then add a day per 5000 words. If your manuscript will be 100,000 words, figure out the days by your normal daily word count then add at least 20 extra days. i.e. If you write 1000 words a day, it should take you 100 days to write the book. Figure 120 days. You need leeway. Hopefully you'll be done on schedule, but in my experience with authors, nothing goes on schedule. Of course, with a manuscript that size, you should also figure 20 days of revision and self editing.

This is what works for me. Whatever works for you, I encourage you to take time this month to think about it and get it down on paper. That's important. Once it's on paper, it becomes concrete. If it's in your head, you can just let it float away into the ether of "that which will never happen". You don't want that.

So go make goals, some big writing goals for the next year. Let's fill up our GRRWG bookmarks (and the banner I have for ALL our goals) and see what we can do this year!!

What do you want to do in 2011?


Bronwyn Green said...

Mostly, I want to meet my deadlines with time to spare! LD

Joselyn Vaughn said...

I agree with Bronwyn. I keep changing my mind on the direction I want to pursue. I'm excited to see the banner. It sounds cool.

WS Gager said...

Great post Brynn! I need a kick in the pants in regards to goals. Can't set them, can't keep them. Deadlines looming and here I am surfing the net doing everything but writing. I'm quiting now and trying for 500 words before bed! Thanks for the inspiration!