blogging about the craft of writing
August has been a month of ups and downs with my writing. I started off with a bang. Meeting my goal of writing 2,000 words five days a week, keeping up with blogging three days a week here, and getting Paranormal Freebies up and running. So last Monday I got very excited and decided to climb the highest mountain I could. I set a new goal. 50,000 words during August.
I’d already done 10k. Well, almost. I’d hit close to 8,000 in three days. That meant I could do it, right? 8k in three days, that means I can do almost 3k per day. At 3,000 words per day I should be able to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month. So I said I would. I placed the statement, “I will write 50,000 words by the end of August” on my goal setting loop. And then the week crashed.
Sounds like a fire exploded my laptop, right? Wrong.
Just life. Just the time I had to spend back to school shopping, cleaning my folks house, diving people here and there. And updating websites, going to meetings, letting the (very hot!) window guy in to look at the windows. Life happened and I let it and I certainly didn’t hit my goals more than one day this week.
And there was something else I discovered.
I can write 1,000 words in an hour with no trouble, so keeping my butt in the chair for two more hours should be easy, right? Wrong again!
It turns out I can write 1,000 no problem. 2,000 with a little thinking. But after that I slow down. Way down. I don’t know what to write next. Its like my brain just stops after 2k. I can, when the muse is helping, make it to 2,500 and even 3,000. But after this week, struggling to make it past 2,500 and hating it, I had an epiphany.
If it makes writing a chore, why am I doing this? Just to hit a number that I stuck out there for myself. It makes no sense.
Now I’m all about setting goals, and setting them high. I read Kristen Lamb’s blog on Self Discipline this week and it really resonated with me. I like staying on a schedule, I like writing every day and keeping my goals out there. But when I set them too high I set myself up for failure.
Kristen says its like exercise and if we go to the gym and kill ourselves one day, odds are we won’t be back. Mountain climbing is like that too. Have you ever decided to climb a mountain that was just too big? You need to start out with a small hill and work your way up to the Fourteeners.
I’ve worked my writing up from my small hill of 500 words per day to a pretty good mountain top of 2,000. Three thousand is just too many for my writing muscles right now. But if I keep up with setting my goals high, but realistically high, then I will eventually get stronger and reach that 3k mark.
So I’m taking it back a notch. I’m going to get on my goal setting loop and admit failure and start over again. My goal is to write at least 2,000 words five days a week and enjoy it! And if the muse is with me, I may hit 2,500 or even 3,000. And that’s okay.
Tell me about how your goals are going this week, writing or otherwise. Does setting your goals high help or hinder you? Does it make you frustrated or did it push you to levels you didn’t think you could reach?