Saturday, July 11, 2015

Setting Writing Goals

I have a couple of old friends that are writing novels.

Now, that really isn’t surprising in itself. Lots of people are writing now, and are achieving personal goals as they do it.

I commented on my personal Facebook page that I had finished the short story, Eli’s Coming, and that I was going to leave it alone for about a week before I go back and edit it. I also said in my comment that I was now working more on I’m Your Boogie Man – A Tale Of Sardis County. One of my old friends asked if I was writing full time now, and I commented that I was still working at the local community college, and that my wife is still teaching art for grades 3-8.

My friend said, “I wish I had half your focus and drive. I've been writing one book for years and it's still only 30,000 words.

I offered him the same advice that I’ve been spouting: “…you have to set yourself a daily goal of words written. Start low - maybe 500 per day. But do it EVERY day. As you start meeting your goal, you'll find that it's getting easier and easier. I'm most comfortable with 2,000 words per day. Barring plot problems or writer's block, that gives me the opportunity of a 40,000 - 50,000-word novel per month. I obviously don't put out that much...LOL - but I will have two more novels out this year. I'm Your Boogie Man and another novel under my pen name, plus a pen name short story and two short stories under my own name: Heart Of Glass and Eli's Coming. I always have projects going, and when I get stuck on one, I'll change to another for a while.

My friend commented that his brain is usually so fried from his full time job, that he doesn’t have enough in him when he gets home to write a sentence, much less a goal of a certain amount of words.

I appreciated the compliment about focus and drive…but that’s not what makes me keep writing.

It isn’t about writing full time, either, although I wish I was able to do that.

It’s about getting these ideas out of my head.

It’s the curse of an overactive imagination.

I have story idea after story idea, and I can’t seem to get them written fast enough. Sometimes, the ideas overwhelm me, and I have to take a writing break…a little time to put the loose screws back in the imagination filter, so that I can focus on one or two stories at a time. If I didn’t do that, I’d never get anything written.

So, yes, I could have a dozen novels written each year…but I don’t. I can’t keep the filter fastened down long enough to keep pumping like that. By the end of this year, I will have published five novels (one under a pen name) and three short stories…and my short stories are often short only because that’s what the story dictates.

Could I have written more?

Of course! But the filter keeps jostling loose, and I have to get out the old screwdriver, and…well, you get the idea.

Another thing that I suggest is: if you want to be a writer, in addition to setting yourself writing goals, you gotta want to be a writer bad enough. And, I mean you gotta want it really bad!

If you want it really bad, you’ll find a way to make your writing goals. You’ll find a way to write something each day.

And, before you know it, you’ll have that novel finished. Or that short story. Or that blog post.

And you’ll do it happily, because you’ll be giving happiness to your fans, who, hopefully, will…

Keep reading!

T. M. Bilderback (But you can call me Michael)

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