05 January 2013

Talking Deadlines again

A new year has rolled onto our plate, which means for many, renewed vigor for those “resolutions” to become a writer.  I salute you for being so resolved.

I’m sure some reading this already are sitting reviewing schedules (Up at 4, half hour jog, half hour write, half hour shower, wake kids, get them to school...)  Within that figure, you’re plotting which upcoming deadline is most pressing to be completed today.

But for those of us who aren’t under deadline requirements, who can write whenever, what motivates us to push forward?  After all, we have no requirements to push us forward.  Surely, the love of the written word is plenty, right?

Depends on what your future outlook for your writing is.

If the writing is for yourself and you don’t care if anyone else sees it, then you write when you want.

If you’re pushing for publication as I am, you need to create artificial deadlines for yourself.  I’m not talking about being unreasonable, like completing a 80,000 word book in a writing session.  Let’s be at least semi reasonable. 

I know.  I am writing for other writers.  Reasonable is a matter of perspective.

My push here is another examination of the yearly goals we set to achieve.  Quantify-able progress an end point. 

For me, I create simple goals.  I have word count goals, completion goals, and submission goals.  These are broken down by quarters, so if I make certain goals easily, I can increase them.  If I don’t make them, I repeat them, striving to reach them.

As an example, the last quarter of 2012, I wanted to write 19,500 new fiction-related words (so blog posts didn’t count), complete 3 stories, and submit at least three stories to publications.  The new words goal I made without much effort.  The submissions I struggled to make, but I did achieve.  That complete three stories goal, I’ve not mastered it yet. 

So what do you consider your goal when you say “Become a Writer”?  How do you quantify it?

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