how do you make your writing goals stick?

img_0009Making writing goals and plans can sometimes be a challenge, but it’s even a bigger challenge to follow through with them.

As writers, we are challenged with having two parts of our lives– the writing part, and the other part. The balance can be a nightmare sometimes, and other times we wonder why others complain about not having the time to do what they love.

It’s understandable. That’s life, after all.

But what happens during those times that feel like we’ve stepped into a horror film? Those times that the plans you wrote down for the day (or the week, or the month) slip away and we find ourselves wordless and feeling lousy?

MAKE SACRIFICES

Oftentimes we don’t write because we feel like something else is more important, or it’s just distracting us. If that pile of laundry in the corner is laughing at you as you try to hash out a scene, tell it to shut-up and keep going.

It’s OK to let the laundry sit for a day so you can write, or the dishes, or the dusting– or whatever it is.

If it’s not house work, and you think your distraction is far more important– it’s up to you to decide what to sacrifice so you can get your writing time in.

PLAN AHEAD

Not good at making sacrifices? Plan ahead. Get that project done before the due date so you have time to enjoy your own writing. Make some freezer meals (or even order a pizza) to have the troops fed so you can snuggle in without interruptions (maybe). Know when you’re writing time is and make sure to prep for it.

You might never have all your bases covered, but you can come as close as possible with a little planning.

TAKE IT ONE WORD AT A TIME

Goals can be scary. And if they’re not scary, that usually means they’re not “big enough”… or so I’ve been told. The thing is, you don’t want to make your goals so outrageous that you feel overwhelmed just thinking about them.

Take your goals one word at a time. If your goal is to write 5k words in one week and you only make 3k, that’s OK! Pick up the slack the next week, or by the end of the month. The great thing about it all is you are your worst critic.

Don’t want to miss out on those 2k words? Enlist a Critique Partner or Writing Buddy that will keep you accountable. Just remember that sometimes the words come slower at times of stress and busy-ness than they do when the other part of your world is all rainbows and unicorns.

It’s so important to make our writing a priority and meeting those goals. Not only for ourselves, but for our future readers as well. But it’s never going to be easy (unless you’re a full time writer, and even then that’s debatable), and it’s always going to take work. What makes you different is you’re already halfway there– because you’ve started, you’re making the time!

You’re not just saying, I want to write a book

you’re actually doing it.

staying positive/thankful in the midst of rejections

Being a writer is hard.

Pretty sure we’ve talked about that before, but it’s never a subject that you can read too much.

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the US of A, I thought it would be nice to remind you that you’re awesome. That you have so much to be thankful for as a writer. And that you can only go up from where you are.

If you don’t believe me, check out THIS ARTICLE that shares several authors who faced terrible rejections. If you’ll notice, all their names are recognizable now.

Don’t know how to stay positive? Hitting a rough patch with your writing, your publishing, your editing? Not to worry!

 

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WRITING PARTNER

Having a friend/colleague/writing buddy who can always help your mood is important. Writers need writers to get by, to learn, to keep themselves pumped. I would be nowhere without the other amazing writers in my life. I’m pretty sure I would have given up at least ten times if I hadn’t been convinced otherwise.

You need people who understand what you’re going through. If you’re having a hard time connecting with other writers, there are some awesome groups through Facebook, blogging, and Twitter. The internet is your friend with this!

 

JUST KEEP WRITING

Maybe you got a bad review, or your 19th rejection from querying, or your book was shelved due to not being picked up. It’s a really rough gig, one that might only get harder before it gets better. But that shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love.

Writing is in your blood. You’ve finished a novel (or twelve), you’ve entered those contests, you’ve put yourself OUT THERE.

Now is NOT the time to stop. No time is. Never stop because you think you’ve failed– because the only time you will fail is when you lose faith in yourself.

 

YOU’VE WRITTEN A BOOK

If you’re writing or have written a book you are steps ahead of those who always say:

“I have this wonderful idea for a book, but I haven’t started it.”

“I’ve always wanted to write a book but never had the time.”

“I wanted to be a writer, but I had to do other things instead.”

“Some day I’ll have the time to sit down and write my novel.”

There are so many more, but those are the first four that come to mind. To me, I’m sorry to say, those are excuses. Nobody HAS the time to be a writer, but we MAKE and FIND the time because we ARE writers.

Am I right?!

So, you are a WRITER. And in the midst of the crazy world that is totally against us, you can be THANKFUL for that– and for your fellow writers.

 

the dating pool of critique partners and writing buddies

imageThe first time I tried to write a full-out novel was in high school. One night my best friend was sleeping over and all of a sudden we had this amazing idea. We started bouncing plot lines off each other and names and characters and backstory.

Before you knew it, we were starting the book.

We planned out research and had a floppy-disk (oh, yeah, way back when) and binder dedicated to all the amazing things we did and found. It was amazing.

And that’s how our friendship died.

Ok, not really, but pretty close.

You see, writing a book is so personal that as we grew and wrote together, we drifted apart with little more to talk about than the amazing novel we were putting together.

And that creates problems.

We were less and less friends/writing buddies, and more and more business partners, because coauthoring a book doesn’t always work, but that’s a different tale.

The point is, it IS important to find a writing buddy and critique partner, but you have to have a person that is either close enough that you can encourage and push, but you respect enough so you can withstand criticism and suggestions.

How do you find this mysterious balance?

1. Test drive.

Not everyone is great for a writing buddy or critique partner. Some aren’t meant to be both. If you try to be someone’s CP and they can’t stand the way you do things, or vice versa, then you tried! Shake hands, and move on. You don’t want to feel obligated to stick with someone, which is why it’s important to be solely professional or have a friendship that can withstand the heat.

2. Balance is key.

You want to find someone that you can work with. Sometimes it takes give and take, and it ALWAYS takes feedback. Let each other know when and how you work best. Find someone you know will push you to write with encouragement and loving force, but not hold it against you if you’re in a slump and truly just CAN’T. If that’s what you need. We all work differently. But everyone needs the balance of love and encouragement with honesty and drive. If you have a CP or writing partner who never pushes or encourages you to keep going, then you’re probably in the market for a new one.

3. Keep the competition at bay.

While you want someone who knows your subject and enjoys it, you may not want someone who’s writing in your identical field. Why, you ask? Because it brings out the competitive nature of writing. You can be 100% supportive and still be bitter if someone gets a deal before you. It helps to soothe this green-eyed feeling with, “Well, we write different things. It will be my turn soon.”

4. Just keep swimming.

Even if you haven’t found that special person to encourage you or exchange manuscripts with, it doesn’t mean you should stop writing.

Keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep writing.

Eventually, you’re going to see that book in print. And if you do find that special someone to be part of your writing life, you’ll be just as proud when you see their book in print as well.

The picture is of me and my fabulous CP, Nikki Roberti.

 

This post was originally written and published on Stark Contrast Editing. Check out the amazing services Katelyn and staff have to offer (and for more pieces by yours truly).