Monday, September 26, 2011

Goal Setting: Searching For What Works Best

In spite of good intentions, my desire to actually put words to paper has been at an all time low since earlier this year.  Yeah, I know.  I've mentioned it before.  Add to it that it was a rough summer.  While I've written through some of the worst times (a divorce, four moves in two years, and the deaths of family and friends), I just haven't been able to find the desire needed to get back into writing mode.

As a writer, I should be writing.  I need to be writing.  It wasn't happening.  And then I kept seeing Facebook posts by author friend Susan Gable about how her writing progress was going.  I decided it was time to follow her example.

Susan's goal is to write 500 words per day.  That really isn't a lot for writers who are accustomed to writing as much as ten pages or more a day.  There have been times, when on deadline and in the middle of writing a book, that I've written twenty pages, but those times aren't the norm.  I can do what's needed in a pinch, but it's the day-to-day putting words on paper that's currently a problem for me.

I'd stumbled upon a little progress meter and wanted to use it, but until I was ready and willing to make the commitment, I had to wait.  Now that I'm ready and willing, I've included it here on my blog.  ==== >                                                                                                                        

But I didn't stop there.  I searched until I found a nifty Excel spreadsheet someone created for NaNoWriMo and downloaded it, then adjusted it to fit my goal.  Because I know just enough about Excel to get myself in trouble, it wasn't too difficult.  If that hadn't worked, I could have set up my own spreadsheet.  If you aren't familiar with Excel, keeping track in a notebook or sheet of paper works just as well.

I set my daily for for 500 words and wrote 523 the first day! (Saturday)  On Sunday (yesterday) I realized that if I wanted to write all of the three chapters needed for a proposal, I was going to have to bump up the daily word count.

I'll be the first to admit that math is absolutely NOT my best subject, but I manage to find a way to get what I need.  Here's what I did:
  • Word count need for complete manuscript=55,000
  • My books usually have 12 chapters, so 55,000 :/: 12=4583.3333333
  • An average words for 3 chapters would then =2@4583words and 1@4584words.
  • 4583 + 4583 + 4584 = 13,750.
For a little extra wiggle room, I added an extra 250 words (approximately 1 page)

I chose the date to reach my goal 22 days later (for reasons I won't go into), so:
  • 14000 :/: 22 = 636.363636363....
  • Rounded off to 640, making that my daily goal.
That's Less than a page more than 500 words, so it should be doable.  Maybe even better than that.  Yesterday I added the extra needed to the 523, plus 640 for the day, I wrote 1002 words.  My running total, had I written 640 words each day, would have been 1280, but my real running total for the two days is 1525.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is in November.  I've always been in the middle of a deadline of some kind in the past, but I'm marking it on my calendar and have decided to find a way to participate this year.  I know I'll be in good company!  If you aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, or if you're like me and are ready to try to make daily writing a habit, or you just feel you need a push and something to keep you on track, click on the links.  Or maybe you can join me by commenting on this post, and we'll work toward a goal together.

Until later....
Happy Writing!!


Reese Mobley said...

Yikes! You are so organized! I can barely balance my checkbook. Best of luck!

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Thanks, Reese, but that appearance of organization is only a cover-up. Besides, if you saw the state of my house, you'd change your mind instantly. :)