Goals (again)

In the last week or two, I’ve really been thinking about how I set writing goals for myself.

In the past, I’ve focused more on time. “I want to write for X minutes, x times a week.” But this last week, I set myself page counts instead. Three to five pages, depending on what my day looks like. And for the most part, I found that I could easily accomplish it, and I got more done than when I’d been setting myself timed goals (timed goals are really great if you want to do a lot of dramatic staring and/or thinking. Page goals, you’re stuck there til you’re done, so I find I buckle down to business better).

Page goals have also helped me move my story along. Instead of getting bogged down researching something that’s going on in my story, I just write around it and plan to return when the time comes for editing. Without Google at my fingertips, it’s easier for me to fudge and move on, instead of cheating and calling research time writing time.

The other bonus is that instead of paying attention to the time, I’m just writing. Tracking pages is easier (I suppose I could use a timer, but I’d still just be checking it for my progress), and I find that I usually write a little more, trying to wrap up an idea, lest I forget all about it before I come back to the story (happens every time).

So this last week I feel like I’ve made more progress. Not as much as if I’d outlined the story, but, I’ll take the win I have. I’m enjoying letting the story unfold on its own, showing me the pieces I’m really more interested in sharing.

This project started out as the story of a girl leading a double life–pretending to be extroverted when she’s really more introverted. And while that’s still a big piece, it’s definitely focusing less on the double life bit, and more on self-acceptance. She’s got a lot of people telling her she isn’t OK being who she is. And she believes it. But by the end of this story, she’s going to be confident in herself, and she’ll tell those people to stuff it. She won’t be afraid to walk away from the toxicity. And that’s the part I’m excited to get to.

What kinds of goals do you set for yourself? Word counts, page counts, timed? No goals at all? What habit it your benchmark for a successful day of writing?

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