Thursday, January 05, 2012

Setting Goals--Challenging or Realistic?

One of my writing goals for this year was to write 1000 words a day. I managed that for three days, but yesterday I barely got 300 in. Part of the reason is I haven't been sleeping well (again), and I was feeling especially brain-dead yesterday. If I'd pushed myself to write, I probably would have ended up using Curious George words like "blimlimlim."

Another thing I've noticed over the last couple of days is that since I'm pantsing this draft, it can take me a couple of hours to get to 1000 words (since I have to first figure out what to say and then wrestle my ideas into words). That hasn't left me with editing time for some other projects I want to self-publish. I may end up scaling back my daily writing quota so I can squeeze in editing time.

When you set goals for yourself (not just writing, but any type of goal), do you set something challenging, or do you plan something you know you can accomplish? There are advantages to both types of goals, but I was wondering if people tend to one type of goal or another.

8 comments:

Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

I tend to make plausible goals. I don't worry about writing x words per day. Some days (Saturdays) I might write 11,000 words and other days I write 0. It all averages out.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

11,000 words--wow! Hard for me to manage that with a four-year-old to take care of.

Maria Zannini said...

My goals are (or should be) attainable. When I do set high benchmarks (for example writing an entire novel) I'll break it down into parts.

Maybe I'll set a deadline to finish 20k words in a month. Or do a first edit in two weeks. Just something that'll make it easier to accomplish and keep me motivated.

Rachel said...

I try to set attainable goals that are reasonably easy to achieve. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised by my ability to accomplish more than I planned, than disappointed by a goal that was too far-reaching. But I will say that I always have "the big picture" somewhere in mind as well.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Those sound like good ideas, Maria and Rachael!

Rusty Webb said...

I set goals that are pretty aggressive for me. I mean, writing wise I'd like to double what I did last year more or less. A bit better time management and I can do it and still maintain my home life in a manner that family expects.

Don't feel bad about not hitting your daily goal... maybe if you average 1000 a day instead of having to hit it every single 24 hour increment? That seems like a recipe for failure to me.

Eric said...

I've made the mistake of setting goals that were too challenging in the past. The failure of attaining them made me feel terrible, worse than if I had just set reasonable ones. I've since learned that setting lower goals and meeting or exceeding them is better for me in the long run. Great post.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Rusty and Eric, I think I will lower my daily word count goal. If I spend all my time trying to meet it, I won't have time to get some other projects ready for publication.

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