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RookieWriter
11-25-2013, 12:05 PM
I'm still trying to establish what goals are realistic. Long term and short term. How does someone go about doing that??

Once!
11-25-2013, 12:53 PM
Trial and error.

We set ourselves goals and then try to meet them. If we fail, then it could be that the goals were too tough, or that need to stretch ourselves more to reach them. That is a difficult assessment to make - quite possibly one of the hardest decisions that life throws at us.

If we reach our goals, we then have the difficult decision of whether or not to set ourselves tougher goals in the future.

But one thing is clear. Just about anything that is worth achieving has been achieved by someone who set themselves a goal (or several) and stuck at it. And by having goals we are giving ourselves a better chance of success than the majority of the population who don't. Setting goals at the "right" level, and working out what is a realistic degree of stretch .. apart from some lucky souls who manage to nail it, I guess that is something we will work at for the rest of our lives.

Silent Rob
11-25-2013, 01:11 PM
Personally speaking, I start small. I have a daily word count target. From there you can build up bigger goals. If I write x number of words a day, I will complete my novel by...

Once you've done that, other targets fall out naturally. Editing done by... First submission out by...

On the other hand, while targets are useful to have, retain enough flexibility to deal with the unforeseen things that can interrupt them. Editing generally takes me longer than planned, usually because beta readers find all sorts of things for me to fix.

So, targets are good, but perseverance is the real key. Be prepared to regroup and reset. Don't become despondent if things change. Keep the overall goal in mind. A complete manuscript, ready to go.

Good luck!

Ken
11-25-2013, 02:55 PM
... your long term goal is easy enough: to get a book published.
As to your short term one, maybe finishing a book.

Shameful suggestion to be sure.

WendyN
11-25-2013, 05:22 PM
I set myself monthly goals. I find that's a nice time frame in between short-term and long-term that is flexible enough that if life gets crazy, I can make up for it later on in the month. I can re-assess my work at the end of each month and see what needs to be done next, what the next logical step would be.

For instance, this month, I finished the first draft of my novel, which means next month, my goal is going to be to work through the first revision. I know this tends to be pretty extensive and that December tends to be a busy month, so that'll probably be the only goal I'll set myself for that month, whereas other months I may also try to write and/or submit a certain number of short stories as well.

benluby
11-25-2013, 06:17 PM
As you can see by the other answers above, the correct answer is 'it depends'. Some people, based on their schedule and typing speed knock out 3,000 words every day. Others are lucky to get out 300 over the course of a week, yet both finish their books at the same time.
How is that possible? One just churns words out, and needs a metric shitton of polish and gloss to get it pretty enough to let loose in public, the other watches every single word, and they gleam when they hit the paper.
The other end of the spectrum is the 3k per day person who bangs out a book every single month, ready to roll, while the 300 word per week fellow has been struggling for years on chapter one.
What is your writing style, goal, ambition, and how hard are you willing to push to get there?
What are you willing to sacrifice to get to the mountain top?
You know yourself better than anyone on here, obviously. Do you see a note on the fridge stating what must be accomplished and it is as though written on the stone tablets in Moses hands, and thus, inviolate, and you simply must attain that objective, be it 10,000 words that month or a loaf of bread from the store, or do you see that note and always have a case of 'maybe tomorrow', the professional dreamer and procrastinator, always wanting to be known for X, but unwilling to put forth the effort?
That's your dilemma. Figuring out who you are and what you need.

Phaeal
11-25-2013, 06:33 PM
Short-term: word goals, X words/Y days per week. Start out as high as you think you can go, say 1000 words/7 days a week, and adjust as necessary. 500 words/5 days a week would still be an ambitious goal, IMO. You alone know your schedule and what you can fit in.

Long-term: Depends entirely on what you want out of writing. If publication is your goal, add a schedule of research into the complex trade and small pub and self-pub options, as well as agents and an overview of intellectual property law. AW's a great place to start that part of your education.

DeleyanLee
11-25-2013, 06:37 PM
Setting goals depends entirely on what you want to accomplish.

Many writing goals are word count based--so setting a goal (daily, weekly, monthly) has to be based on your real life demands as much as anything else. However, you could set goals like "Finish a chapter a month" or "Five scenes in a month" or whatever. It doesn't have to be a number of words in a time period. Whatever works to inspire you.

When first starting out, I'd suggest setting a goal low enough that you know you'll hit it (barring disaster). That gets you used to working with that system and gives you the ego-boo of making the mark often. Give yourself a month at least doing that--then look at how much you actually produced during that time. Take that into account when setting the next round of goals, see where it is you might want to push yourself a little more.

The other thing I'd caution is to remember that goal-setting is a constant thing that needs to be reviewed and updated/confirmed regularly. That keeps "goals" from becoming stale or rote.

Personally, I've found that setting such things is more detrimental to my writing, but I know it helps many others. Everyone's different and trial and error's the best way to figure out what works for you.

Good luck.

wampuscat
11-25-2013, 09:44 PM
I agree it takes time to figure out what's realistic. AND even when you set goals, don't get too down on yourself if you have to change them. Sometimes life gets boggy.

Long-term goals might be to finish a book, to finish a draft, to start querying, or even to get published (though getting published is a tricky goal because so much is out of your hands)

Short-term goals can be to write X days a week, to write X words per week, or just to finish X chapter by X. When I was writing on a more regular basis, I kept an excel sheet tracking the time spent writing and word count. Once I had an average of how many words per hour I wrote, it gave me a much better sense of how much time things take, etc. This tool only works for me on first drafts though. Revisions are much more sticky.

Siri Kirpal
11-25-2013, 11:08 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Depends on what works for you.

I've had to discard all the helpful hints to let yourself write garbage. Writing without editing as I go is one helpful hint that freezes me up. So my goals are long range only. But from day to day, I might think "I'll get such and such done by the end of the day, God willing." This works for me. Your mileage may differ.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RookieWriter
11-28-2013, 09:02 AM
Thanks.

I've decided that my goals are going to be that I need to write at least 500 words a day, at least five days a week. That's my goal between now and the end of the year, then in January I will look at how that is going and see if I need to change them. I feel this is a realistic goal at this time. Today I sat down and wrote at 1,190 word short story. But today I also have a clear schedule and feel well, not all days are going to be this good.

I've also come to the decision that it's OK if I never become a famous writer. Even though I want to be famous, my career is not a failure if that doesn't happen. For now I am going to write what I enjoy and write for me as a way to take the pressure off and develop a pattern of writing regularly. Since I am not ready to take on the project of writing a whole novel, I am going to focus on 500 plus word short stories. I used to think short stories needed to be at least ten pages, but now I know they can be done in under a page. I've finally learned that there are no rules in writing and I don't need to feel intimidated by trying to follow a format or write like another writer does.

J.S.F.
11-28-2013, 03:48 PM
Pretty much what everyone has said in this thread except the birdman.

I try to get in roughly 3000-5000 words a day. Naturally, it isn't all quality--maybe half, if I'm lucky--but I get my thoughts down, imperfect as they may be. Then I revise, and do it all again the next day. If for some reason I can't get in a writing session (i.e. chronic cluster migraines or so the doctors say) then I don't sweat it.

I've already been fortunate enough to be published. Longterm, I'd like to get an agent and of course, get into the famous paperback writer deal, but that all depends on how much I can improve. And I am determined to get better.

benluby
11-28-2013, 06:33 PM
Pretty much what everyone has said in this thread except the birdman.

I try to get in roughly 3000-5000 words a day. Naturally, it isn't all quality--maybe half, if I'm lucky--but I get my thoughts down, imperfect as they may be. Then I revise, and do it all again the next day. If for some reason I can't get in a writing session (i.e. chronic cluster migraines or so the doctors say) then I don't sweat it.

I've already been fortunate enough to be published. Longterm, I'd like to get an agent and of course, get into the famous paperback writer deal, but that all depends on how much I can improve. And I am determined to get better.

J.S.F., not to get in your business, but I used to suffer clusters as well, and know full well they can be fully incapacitating. Only thing I ever found that worked, including prescription? I would take two passion flower capsules (it's a herb, so you pervs can back away slowly.) and drink a cup of hot peppermint tea sweetened with honey. While my clusters could last hours, by taking those capsules, drinking the tea and sitting in a dark room for about fifteen minutes, they completely vanished within a half an hour.

The rest of your post? I completely agree with. I write, then go do the rewrite and break out the polish. Today I am going to organize and get it back in order, see what bits and pieces need to be added and what fat has to be trimmed, and begin major rewrite number one.

Cairo Amani
11-29-2013, 02:27 AM
It definitely depends, although you've got some great suggestions here!

I think the simplest way is to say "i'll write every day."

If you're daring: "I'll write 300 words a day"

If you're ambitious: A page or two a day

This all depends on how prolific you are.

I am only on "Write every day"--and it's worked very well. When you forget your goals and just make sure you're present in your story, so much can happen.

I'm at a point where I'm comfortable saying "I'll finish this draft by January"--because I've seen what "Writing every day" can do. However, to be honest, my story is heavily outlined. I'm not getting stuck on plot points very often. That can slow you down.

But in summation, keep it simple! :)

Ladybird
12-03-2013, 12:50 AM
I'm still trying to establish what goals are realistic. Long term and short term. How does someone go about doing that??

Is like eating an elephant: a small piece at a time. :)


You set yourself a goal then simple objectives to achieve each goal.

Objectives need to be
Specific,
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time Based

I always follow this simple principle.

For example: NaNoWriMo, 50,000 words in 30 days =
1670 words per day

As someone else has already mentioned "Setting goals depends entirely on what you want to accomplish."

Good luck :)

I see you've already had plenty of useful tips. Mmmmm think I just may try some of them myself :)

Chris_tine
12-09-2013, 03:37 PM
I find this thread quite useful and definitely will try and take up on some of the great advice. I am currently in the same position as I definitely need to set up some goals for my writing. It has been more than 2 months without writing much and I fear I am entering again the wheel of procrastination and writer's block. This can't happen again!