It's time once again for another edition of the Insecure Writers' Support Group, which is held the first Wednesday of every month. You can learn more about IWSG here.
This month, I've set a goal for myself of finishing the first draft of Chaos Season. I'm at about 50,000 words, and the last two books have been between 75,000-80,000 words, so it's not an unreasonable goal if I can manage at least 1,000 words a day. The question is, how manageable is that, given all of the other things I have to do? Of course I work full-time, and afterwards I have to take care of family chores in the evening. While I don't have to worry about SF Women A-Z, WisCon, or my son's birthday anymore, I still have other side projects too. I'd like to finish redecorating and setting up Alex's playroom this month, along with decluttering some other areas of the house. (Just getting all of the Legos into the playroom would be a major cleanup!) As Readings/Events Coordinator for Broad Universe, I have a couple of spreadsheets and forms to prepare so I can stay on top of my duties. Plus there are a few things left over from May, but they're not big tasks. So my writing time will be squeezed, but with a half hour of writing on my lunch hour, and some time writing at night, I should be able to make 1,000 words a day as long as I know what to write. I have a general sense of what happens next in the story and the climax, though there may be some side plots I have to resolve before I get to the climax. I don't have an outline for this story; the first draft is basically my outline. I'll need to do at least one thorough edit before this story is ready for betas.
Given everything I've just said, while I would be happy to finish Chaos Season by June 30th, I'm not going to beat myself up if I'm off by a few days. I haven't set a release date for this book yet, so I can be flexible if necessary. Writing quickly is a valuable asset for an indie, but it's also important to make sure the final book is as good as I can make it at this time.
Do you set goals and deadlines for your own work? Are they external or self-imposed? How much do they stress you out? Feel free to share in the comments.