Andrew’ Grey’s books are varied in setting, full of real characters you can relate to, and so tender in execution and style. When I read one of his books, I always feel like a member of the family of characters instead of a third party reader. I’m thrilled to have him here today and two commenters will be even luckier to win one of his books – your choice from his catalog. Andrew is also working today, so he’ll be popping in to answer your comments as he can.
Setting Goals for Your Writing.
The one question I get asked most often is how I can write as much as I do. For me, the answer to the questions is quite simple: I set goals and I meet them. Now, before to go into my goal-setting philosophy, I should tell you that in 2011 I wrote ten novels and as many shorter works, ranging from novellas to a few short stories. I didn’t do that based upon a simple notion or the onset of a particular bout of inspiration. I wrote and consequently sold that many stories because I set a specific series of goals for myself. (I’m going to use my 2011 goals as an example, but the numbers aren’t important. It’s using the process to push yourself that really counts.)
Set an annual goal. This should be at a high level and in increments that are easily broken down. It should also stretch you, but be attainable in the long run. As an example, my goal for 2011 was 600,000 words.
Hint: This goal should not be anything that’s out of your direct control. This goal should not include something like getting an agent or selling a manuscript. While great things, those are out of your direct control and can lead to failure. You could add to your goal that you will send out a certain number of submissions. But keep your goals to things you can control, that way you’re more likely to succeed.
Break It Down
Now that you have an annual goal, you need to break it down into manageable pieces. First, break it down into a monthly goal that you can track and report to your support group, your best friend, or anyone who will kick you in the butt if you don’t succeed. Based upon my 600,000-word annual goal, that meant a monthly goal of 50,000 words.
With that monthly goal, that meant writing 2,000 words a day for 25 days, or 1,667 words a day for 30 days. So now we’ve gone from a huge annual number to a manageable daily number.
Hint: When I’m setting my daily targets, I consider a month to be 25 days. There is at least one day a week that I don’t write, and other things always come up. Using a 25-day month builds in some time for interruptions.
Find the Time
Writing takes time and dedication, and meeting your daily writing goal requires some planning. You need to determine where you are going to find the time to meet your daily goal. If you feel that writing 2,000 words a day is going to take three hours, then you need to determine where those three hours are going to come from. If that isn’t possible with your schedule, then adjust your monthly and annual goals accordingly. But don’t do that at the drop of a hat. Really look at your daily schedule and figure out where you’re going to find the time to write. (I write during my lunch hour and can usually get 1000 words. That means that by the time I get home, I’m already halfway there.)
Hint: Once you have set your goals, write them down and share them with anyone who will listen. Setting goals is one thing, but having a support group will help you meet those goals. I can’t stress too much the importance of the support group who can kick your butt when you’re not meeting your goals. (I belong to my local chapter of Romance Writers of America, and every month, I have to stand up in front of the group and tell 20 other people whether I made my goal or not. I have stayed up until well after midnight to write that last thousand words so I would make my goal rather than have to report that I didn’t make my goal. Besides, there are goal prizes, and I’ll all about the prizes.)
You can always start at the bottom and work your way up to an annual goal. 1,000 words a day leads to 25,000 words a month and an annual goal of 300,000 words. But the real objective is to push yourself. Set the goal you really want and then figure out how you’re going to achieve it, rather than the other way around.
I understand that this method may not work for everyone, but it’s what I do each year. I just set my writing goal for 2012 and I’m off to a great start. I hope you are as well.
What is your method to meet your writing goals? What’s worked for you in the past? What hasn’t?
Harlequin Special Editions author, Helen Lacey, shares the inspiration for her book on Monday.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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