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How to Hit Your Writing Targets (And Have Fun Doing It)

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At the start of this month I set myself a goal – to edit a chapter each day for my main project of the moment. And truthfully, I was doing quite well. Until real life got in the way. So far be it from me to write a cold hard list of do’s and don’ts, but the following is a warm soft, list of thoughts and feelings I encountered during this period of productivity.

1. Be Realistic

It’s no good (and counter productive) to set yourself a goal along the lines of ‘I’m going to get my book finished by the end of the month’. Unless you’re writing shorter fiction that is. Setting manageable goals is both rewarding and a confidence booster. Since I was just editing my work, I found a chapter per day was attainable. In fact, on more than one occasion, I actually went way beyond that. I’d gotten into a groove with it. 


This timely image is by blue2likeyou on Flickr

2. Don’t Leave the Difficult Bits

Although your mileage may vary with this. I’ll admit there was one chapter I skipped over, but it was tangential to the main storyline, so I had leeway to skip over that and come back to it later. It can throw your momentum to have to stop and really work over a section that is tougher to write or edit, and it may push you to think ‘I’ll stop for now, come back to it tomorrow’. But it’s never good to leave something you’ll dread coming back to. 

3. Give yourself Rewards

If you’ve had a particularly good spell of writing/editing, if you have exceeded your goals, then give yourself a reward. I’m not saying you should buy yourself a Lamborghini or anything, but give yourself a day off (burning out is almost as bad as not writing in the first place). You can come back to it fresh and ready to exceed your goals the next week too. 

4. Don’t be Afraid to Switch Things Up

This is more of an editing one, and I’ve mentioned it several times before, but as I was editing, I realised that too often I fell back on making things needlessly complicated, to the degree that I was able to compress almost a chapter’s worth of material into a few lines of dialogue. And look at it this way, getting rid of that chapter means less material to edit, right?  Means you can get on with the rest of it. 


Image courtesy of Dafne Cholet

5. Enjoy Yourself!

Writing is supposed to be fun. Unless you’re writing about the Holocaust. But if you’re doing that then you really want to. Ok, let me rephrase: Writing is something you’re supposed to be passionate about. Yes, sometimes editing can seem like a chore, but you need to change that attitude stat!  Don’t think of it like that, think of it as an opportunity to improve what you’ve already written. If you think it’s good, make it great. If it’s great, make it excellent. If it’s excellent then you might want to keep that ego in check buddy! 

Over to you:
So there you go dear readers. Are there any other points you would add to this list?  What techniques do you use when setting yourself goals?  As ever, leave responses below…

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