6 Things To Help Reach Your Writing Goals

Last week’s post dealt with 2015 writing goals; this week, how to achieve those goals–producing 500-1,000 words a day, every day, all year long.

I work full time, a 9-5 customer service job (an actor with a headset) Monday through Friday. My limited writing time is precious to me; I have to make the most of the two hours I give myself before darkness shifts to morning gray.

I have learned that if left unchecked, the creative journey can be an unsettling trek through thick woods A forest path in Redwoods State Park, California.where enticing paths veer off left and right, threatening to derail from the main task. I cannot afford a meandering journey; neither can you.

Here are my 6 rules for using the limited time to get the most writing on any given day.

1. Guard your writing time. I choose early in the morning before the household wrestles from sleep. A cup of coffee heats while my computer boots, I settle in and reread the last section written the prior day–a quick review catapults me into the new day’s session.

2. Do not go online. No email, no news, no blog following, Nothing. This is writing time.

3. Keep those fingers moving, tapping the keys, forming words, sentences, paragraphs, pages–let the tale in your head take over. Writing is a form of exercise, and like any plan to better your health, prolonged consistency is key to a better you. And just like physical exercise, it gets easier the more you do it. If stuck, here are a couple ideas on Defeating Writer’s Block.

4. Do not leave the manuscript to search out a better word, find the perfect character name, or check on the spelling of impervious. When I am writing and  reach a part I am not sure about, I will bracket a word or note within the text (document) to remind me to come back to it (the writing) during revision (rewrite)–this way, I do not lose the momentum during writing time.

5. Set up a simple filing system, whether on the computer or physical files, so that when not engulfed in writing mode, you can easily find what you need to implement into the story or article, novel or book. I begin with a main folder, Working Title, and within that folder is contained everything pertaining to the project: work in progress document, outline, story calendar, maps, and anything else deemed worthy. Within the main Working Title folder are housed other folders: Background, Character Sketches, Historical information–both real and inherent to my created world–Notes and Snippets.

6. Follow the plan. This is normally the outline where you note the troubles imposed upon your characters, the obstacles each must face, the ebb and flow of the plot.

If you follow these six suggestions, you will get more writing done, feel better about yourself because of it, and find yourself smiling more. Try it, and let me and others know any tricks you have.


This Week’s Quote:

“Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money.  Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft.  Save the puppy.”  – Joe Beernink

This Week’s Links:

Formatting Documents for Publication

Famous Quotes that are grammatically incorrect

Corrected Link for Better Lies

Glynis Rankin

Knightsofwrit

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Reflection and Goals

journeyAmidst the whirlwind that is the holiday season, take a moment to reflect on your writing accomplishments during 2014. More than 2013, or did you get off track? Regardless, now is the time to plan for 2015.

 For me, this past year involved a change, a turning-the-corner, if you will. I completed my fantasy novel, The Returning, started this blog to help other aspiring writers, finished an online writing course through Iowa University, and participated in NANOWRIMO, among others. All proved important steps, but none of them would have materialized without the conscious thought that it was time to wrestle the doubts and fears, time to bind the negative thoughts, time to put my writing out into the world.

All writers battle these foes of their imagination. (Today’s links include brave writing souls from the Iowa University class that have taken the plunge and operate a web site/blog to further their aspirations into reality. Please visit and join them as we all strive to be better wordsmiths and gain a wider audience).

Forward to 2015.

I did a few simple calculations to portion out my 2015 writing goals.

Write 500 words today=15,000 words a month=182,500 words a year!

I mostly write fantasy, and though a longer genre than others, the numbers prove that I can write 1 ½ novels a year (120,000 words per novel). 500 words is approximately 2 double-spaced pages. I can do that. You can, too, if you plan and make a determined effort to do so.

Even if you only write 250 words a day (1 page!), a novel will be completed each year. Think about that.

There may be days when you only write 150 words, but as you get into the habit of writing everyday, there will be more and more days when you will put together 500 or even a 1,000 words. I have proved it; do the same.

Add any thoughts and/or plans you have for 2015–I would love to hear them, and I am sure others would as well.

Now, from me and mine to you and yours, have a Wonderful Holiday Season–do not forget to give yourself the gift of writing everyday.

 


This Week’s Links:

Kerri Nicole Casey
Kymm Coveney
Lockard Young
African Writing
Winnipeg is better than chocolate
Soto Grande Writers
Steve Mauercek
Vicky Fish
Margaret Ullrich
Sherry Howard
Better Lies
Vivan Mac
Abha Iyengar

 

This week’s Quote:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Lao-tzu

Twelve Days of Christmas for Writers on a Shoestring

PNC’s annual report says that buying everything mentioned in the Twelve Days of Christmas song would cost $27,673.22 in 2014; buying the numbers of items mentioned would cost a whopping $116,273.06. Who needs six geese a-laying anyway? Five golden rings? I think not.

Here are my Twelve days of Christmas for the Writer on a Shoestring. You may already have many of these items. Take what ideas you like and adapt your own; treat yourself to tools for your aspirations, tools for your craft.

  1. Buy a small notebook to take with you everywhere. I use a 3′ x 6′ that fits neatly in my back pocket–fits easily into purses as well. One never knows when a great idea or observation strikes. Get it down or you might lose it.
  1. Make sure you have enough pens and pencils. I use a mechanical pencil to jot notes; erasing is a big thing for me.
  1. Purchase a larger notebook. I use a 6′ x 9′ steno notebook; some of my friends use regular 8 ½’ by 11′ ringed notebooks. I keep the notebook next to me when I am at the keyboard in case an idea arrives that is not affiliated with what I am currently working on–a quick note will remind me of things to focus on later.
  1. Get a new writing book to help you with your craft. Recommendations here.
  1. Join favorite writer blogs. (Do not forget to join Knights of Writ if you have not already). Favorites are listed below in This Week’s Links.
  1. Make a list of 6 projects you want to begin (and/or finish) in 2015.
  1. Get a new novel that you have put off purchasing. Here are a few suggestions for fantasy writers.
  1. Set up a Blog. I use WordPress, which is free and relatively easy once you get over the small learning curve–they have an in-depth Help section to assist with this.
  1. Begin a Facebook account–easy and free. I scoffed at this for a long while, but have found it a valuable place to let friends know what I am doing.
  1. Join Writer’s Digest. Cost is $9.99 a year (one year free access if you buy Writer’s Market or Novel and Short Story Writing Markets). On their website they have a forum that covers all areas of writing, a search function for agents and publishers, and much more.
  1. Sign-up for free newsletters that will arrive in your email in-box and help keep the spark alive. (See Writer’s Links Below)
  1. Share your writing. Due to the response of last week’s challenge, I am extending my offer until the end of the year. After that, I will delve into several planned projects (see Day 6). A special thanks to the brave writers who sent me snippets of their writing, and also to the writers to who took the time to read and critique The Returning. Many Thanks to All.

Take a look at today’s links, notes, and weekly quote below. Make your own list, then go write–the world needs your input.


This Week’s Link and Notes:

Writer’s Digest: Free newsletter that has great info on all phases of writing and publishing.

James Scott Bell: Author of How-To writing books and thriller fiction.

Nephele: Agent for The Knight Agency. (Do not get confused: her and I use the same WordPress theme–I just adapted mine a bit).

Chuck Sambuchino: Great information about agents, publishers, and keeping abreast of the changing marketplace.

James Robert Brewer: Poetry blog, but useful items for fiction writers also.

There are thousands more; search for your own favorites; post here for others to see.

This Week’s Quote:

Writing Musings

Do Not Read This Post . . . unless you are a writer

This week’s Quote from yours truly:
“If there are no hurdles in your life, you are not running the race.”


doorway

Today’s post involves a Free Offer and A Challenge.

A writer must share. After all, having your prose read by others is the whole point, right?

Whether a new writer, a student standing in front of a class with quivering pages, or a professional whose published works have received praise and accolades, doubt plagues all writers. A simple fact huddling in the shadowed fringes of your mind, doubt is a beast that travels with its offspring, fear.

Sharing one’s writing is akin to preparing for a job interview. You shower your writing with powerful words and images, you shave the unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and you dress the manuscript with thoughtful observations and sizzling action. The final phase–arriving at the interview itself–causes a jumpy stomach, sweaty palms, each instant magnified in slow motion detail. You must do it for a number of good reasons, and fear must not overcome the common sense of doing what is hard to do–in this case, sharing your writing with others.

I want to help you overcome your fear. To do so, I have a challenge and an offer–it will not cost you a penny.

I challenge you to share your writing. Perhaps you have to some degree, maybe to a close friend or loved one. Potentially dangerous waters, but one all writers cross at some point. What I am talking about here, though, is sharing your writing with other writers, sharing with like-minded people who each deal with the same issues day in and day out while hunched over their keyboard, alone.

Like any time you do something new (team sports, skiing, asking the popular girl/boy to the dance), there lies an element of fear. We have all experienced the awkward moments, the time you blurted out something stupid that kept you awake all night. You are reading this, so those regretful moments did not kill you. Looking back now, was the lapse of calm judgment really that bad?

To take the challenge and advantage of the Free Offer, follow this Link.



This Weeks Links and Notes:

Tomorrow is the day to submit a 35 word “pitch” to agents and editors

Links thanks to Nephele
Donald Maas on the Plot Driven novel
Fantasy Novels that do not have sequels
Where ideas come from by Ursula K. LeGuin