Writing Goals: Focusing on What You’re Doing rather than What you Should be Doing

I am always working on writing more, on devoting more time to my craft. I am not the best at self discipline. I do love my craft. I also love my friends, of which I have many, most of whom live quite a distance from me. It is very easy to get dristracted by friends or by one of a million other things. It is hard to balance school, writing, and all of my friendships.

I have tried many times to create a writing schedule. I have tried to designate three or four hours of my day to writing. I have tried just saying that I would spend an hour every day writing. I have tried all kinds of things; most of them have failed.

This year, instead of spending my time focusing on when and what I should be writing, I am going to focus on when and what I do write. Each day I am going to put down on my calendar how much of that day I spent writing, editing, or marketing.

You might have the same problems with self discipline. You might find it incredibly hard to spend an hour every day writing, even though you should, even though it is your passion. Instead of thinking about when you should be writing, and yelling at yourself when you don’t, try just writing it down every time you sit down to write.

The idea here is positive reenforcement: seeing that you wrote the day before on your calendar should help to inspire you to write today, and then seeing that you wrote today should help you write tomorrow.

Make the effort to write a little bit each day, and record all the time you spend writing. In a month’s time, you’ll be able to analyze how much time you spend writing, what keeps you from writing, and how you can make more time for your writing.

Today when you’ve finished writing, make sure to note on your calendar how much time you spent at your writing desk. We’ll talk more about this record in a month or so.

Do you spend too much time getting mad at yourself for not writing? Try instead to feel good about the time you do spend writing.

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on January 9, 2011, in Novels, Writing, Writing: The Process and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I can really relate to this post. Nailing down a writing time that’s good every day hasn’t been easy. And anytime I’m expected to do just about anything every day, I rebel, even if I’m the one doing the expecting. I’m going to try this. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Fantasy Novelista,

    Welcome to Dianna’s Writing Den, I’m glad you found me.

    Life will always throw things in your way; it’s hard to tell where you will be from day to day, particularly if you have a very close family or a lot of good friends. And some people just have trouble with routine. It can be hard.

    Good luck with it. So far it’s working pretty well for me. I’d love for you to share your progress as time goes by.

    Thanks for reading,
    ~Dianna

  3. Wow, Dianna, I know exactly what you’re talking about. You have a good idea on keeping some kind of track record to instill a sense of productivity. I had set some unreachable writing goals before the end of last year and started feeling overwhelmed by them every day – a short to do list of priorities each day helps, also reorganizing my writing goals to a shorter, more achievable list has helped me also.

    Writing sounds like such an easy job, but anyone who wears a writer’s shoes or should I say, holds a writer’s pen, knows it is a 24/7 kind of job, needing a ton of multi-tasking abilities.

  4. Kay,

    I’ve spent the last couple of years making big goals and failing to meet them; this year I want to focus on becoming more productive in general so that next year I can meet bigger goals.

    Writing is an easy job… physically. It’s very taxing mentally.

    ~Dianna

  5. I know you can do it Dianna. I game for a celebration when it does (smile). There are always lots of reasons to celebrate for a writer.

  6. Thank you. I’m not very good at too many other things, but I write well, and I only want to grow as the years go on.

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