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How I stay on track with writing goals

There are plenty of articles about balancing writing with working or going to school full time. If there's one thing people agree on, it's that finding time is hard.

I mean, seriously, it's really hard. Some days when I get home, I barely have enough time to slap together an edible dinner, let alone make revisions on a chapter where oh my god, my characters have the same unnecessary conversation for the seventh time.

There's no magic formula for meeting writing goals, but I thought I'd kick off the blog by sharing my writing process.

I write on a schedule

I mean, I don't really have a choice.

My work hours are regular, so I know what time I'll be home every day. And since I have to wake up at an hour no human should ever see, writing before work isn't an option. This means I have to maximize my time after work - I try to get at least an hour of writing every evening. Weekends are flexible, but they tend to get eaten up by cleaning or socializing or other necessities of being human.

I set deadlines

This depends on what stage I'm at. If I'm first-drafting something, I set a daily or weekly word count goal. (While drafting Stealing Fortune, I aimed for 7k words per week.) If I'm revising, it might be that I want to finish a set of revisions by a certain date.

I know for some people, deadlines and creativity are like chocolate and ham: in other words, they don't mix. But I'm the kind of person who needs a tangible goal in order to be productive.

I have others hold me accountable

Otherwise it's too easy for my writing sessions to spiral into internet adventures.

Sometimes, this means sharing my goals with my critique partners or people in my writing discord servers. Other times, I'll do writing sprints with others. As someone who struggles to focus, it helps to have a set time to check in. One thing I wish I learned sooner is that writing is a team sport - I work a lot faster when I've got a team of friends cheering me on.

I settle for any amount of progress

We all have those nights - you're so tired, you've forgotten what day it is, and your dinner consists of leftover spaghetti and a scoop of peanut butter from the jar. Or maybe you're like me and battling chronic pain. Some nights, no matter how hard I work, I'm not going to make the amount of progress I want.

It's good to take breaks! But I can't take a break every time I'm tired, or else I'd get nothing done. Also, here's the thing - writing is my escape. I look forward to my writing sessions, even when I'm too tired to make much use of them. On nights like these, I'll settle for any amount of progress, even if it's just a few hundred words or a single revised page. Those bits and pieces add up.


Now let's raise our mugs of coffee to everyone tackling major writing projects while life tries to tackle them. No matter how you write, you're doing something amazing!

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