Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Back on the Blog Chain--Daily Goals and the Writing Journey

Today is Election Day in the U.S., so don't forget to get out and vote!

Now that I've that quasi-obligatory reminder out of the way, let's move on to today's topic. It's my turn to pick the subject for the current Blog Chain. Since it's not just November, but also National Novel Writing Month, I wanted to pick something related to NaNoWriMo that wasn't the usual, "Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?" Here's what I came up with:

During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writers attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Do you set daily writing goals for yourself, either a certain word count or time spent on writing? Does this include other writing-related activities, like research, plotting, or revising? Do you focus on reaching the end of the journey (such as finishing your current project), or do you enjoy the writing process along the way?

Since I'm the one who chose this topic, it's ironic that I don't set a daily word count for myself. The reason for that is that I spend much of my time rewriting/revising a story instead of cranking out first draft. In general, my daily goal is to work on my projects for at least an hour, if not longer. (Ideally, I'd love to write all day, but real life has a lot of distractions.) I don't count research as part of this time, but I do include activities like drafting, plotting (whether this be a formal outline or jotting down ideas when I can't figure out what to put next), revising, or even formatting/publishing. I usually plan to work on one particular project during a session, but if my mind gets stuck (as can happen when I'm left with the dregs of the day for my writing time), then I may switch to another project. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't. All I really ask from a writing session is that I've made some progress, even if it's a page or less.

As for the end of the journey versus the writing trip itself, both are important. While it can be a struggle at time to work out the plot or to include all the emotional and descriptive details that bring a scene to life, it's very gratifying when the pieces do come together. I love the way the story takes on urgency when I approach the end. Finishing is always a reward too; I have my own way of ending a draft (I put in lyrics from "The Book Report" from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown), and I give myself some other physical reward too.

For more approaches to this topic, please check out Kate's post from yesterday and Christine's post tomorrow.


Katrina L. Lantz said...

I love that you set aside an hour where all you do is work on writing projects. That takes discipline. I'll have to try it out! Word count goals can be soul-crushing. While I really like the idea of rewards for keeping my writing schedule, I haven't really stuck to a program like that in quite some time. I guess I haven't thought of an incentive I want badly enough. :)

Great topic, btw!

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks, Katrina! Just to clarify, I don't reward myself for sticking to my writing schedule (isn't writing its own reward?) but for finishing a project, or at least reaching a milestone on it, like a first draft.

Michelle McLean said...

I used to buy a necklace from a friend of mine who makes jewelry every time I'd finish a book - something that reminded me of the book. I'll have to do that again - it was always fun to do and every time I look in my jewelry box I see, not only pretty jewelry, but little mementos of my creations :)

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Just writing is important, and an hour a day is great! The rewards are a great idea too. I don't know why I never thought of doing that!

Site Meter