Saturday, April 24, 2010

Setting Goals

So I’ve recently been struggling to get back into the habit of setting useful goals for myself. My progress thus far has not been incredibly encouraging. While I’ve managed to get a lot more writing done than I probably would have, I keep feeling like I have a whole lot of other tasks that get left by the wayside. For example, one of my goals was to establish a steady update schedule for this blog. :)

It seems like I don’t do too well with a loose list of things I want to get done each day, or even each week. At the same time, an hour by hour specific schedule of what I want to get done and when doesn’t seem to be flexible enough to account for all of life’s wonderful little surprises. It has been a balance that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now and it frustrates me.

The other day, as I was trying to deal with GRE studying, continuing my writing projects and struggling with all of everything else, I came up with a new system that I think might work better than the one I’ve been trying. Perhaps instead of a list of things to do, I need to give myself solid deadlines to shoot for. For example, rather than saying that I need to write 10,000 words this week, I’d say that I need to write 5,000 words by Wednesday, and another 5,000 by Saturday. It would give me the pattern of goals that school used to, and allow me to track which deadlines I accomplished and which I fell through on. Maybe it would allow me to feel more pressure about getting my goals done and more fulfillment after completing them as well.

So what do you guys think? What goal setting strategies have worked for you? Or, you know, you can lurk instead. Whatever floats your boat. :)


  1. You know, I'd comment more often if I didn't have to keep signing in to post something...

    I've been horrible with goals recently, but I think yours sound good. When goals used to work for me, I would split up word count during the day, saying "500 before lunch. 500 before dinner". Lunch and dinner were set times so I could get the stuff done, plus I wouldn't procrastinate everything until right before bed when I'm super tired. It also made things more manageable so I didn't get overwhelmed.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts (and you should allow anonymous people to post -hint hint-)

  2. Re: Aneeka. I use comment moderation on my blog, and it seems to be the right approach. Commenters don't have to jump through extra hoops, and since I don't exactly get a high volume of comments it's a trivial amount of work to approve good comments and disapprove spam.

    Re: goals. I've never found a good approach. Mostly because I'm naturally lazy. One thing I liked about school was that the structure and deadlines were supplied for you.

    Maybe I should do better at setting goals though. Are you up for a challenge? How about we each set a writing goal and see who does the best sticking to it? How large of a word count we each choose wouldn't matter, just how well we stuck to our individual choices.

    We could pull Joe into it too, although I think he'd cream us. Aneeka, are you still writing these days also?

  3. About the commenting policy, I'm afraid it's here to stay. I have too much paranoia regarding Urist McSpambot posting undesirable crap on here to just let anonymous people go wild. Besides, I like to know who my mockers are at least. :)

    Challenges are fine by me. Just let me know what you're doing, and I'll set myself a goal to match it. Wordcount by itself isn't as challenging for me given my situation, but stuff like agent submissions and other projects might make it harder.

  4. I think I'm going to make my goal 500 words a day, 6 days a week. Not a lot of words in the grand scheme of things, but it's a good goal for me considering the job/kid/etc.

    You're welcome to choose a higher word count if it fits your situation better. The challenge here will not be how many words we respectively write, but who can go the longest before missing their goal.

    Since I just started this new story, I won't be submitting to agents for a while, although I guess I could set aside some time to start and finish the final rewrite of that last story I sent you and send that out...

    I'm going to hold off making that part of my goal for now though.

  5. wahahah! A contest. I'm not joining, though. I have to write finals in the month of may. That is 300 questions. Then I have to write the review sheets, and pratice stuff. ugggg!

    Drek I still have to read your novel...I will get to it probably in June. I get the summer off! WEEEE!

  6. Yeah, I'm still writing. The problem is writing consistently on one project instead of diddling and daddling on a bunch at once.

    Word count doesn't seem to be working for me of late. I just hop from story to story until I get my count -- useful, but it also means my 'main' wip has been on the same chapter for the past 3 weeks (since I write like 100 words before moving on to the next story).

    So I'm gonna make the goal of this week be: finishing this stupid wip. I've got 3 chps left. Really shouldn't be this hard...

    Anyone got a good punishment/reward I could use to make sure I finish the book this time? Cause I can totally see myself working on another story instead (I hate doing endings).

  7. You could always make a deal where no matter what you write, you have to send it to someone at the end of the week. That way if you work on a bunch of random things, you have to send a bunch of word scraps to somebody. If you focus on what you need to do, you'll get the accomplishment of sending something useful and coherent. Kind of like a report maybe?

    Other than that, just grit your teeth and get through it. I want to find out what happens, after all. You can't just leave me hanging like that.