Setting Goals


I’ve set myself a writing schedule for the new year, where I need to complete five pages of my first draft each week. That may not seem super-ambitious, but I write when I have free moments at work, or a spare hour I can snatch at random. My live is not conducive to a set writing time each day — so five pages a week is a good stable amount that I can keep up. Just enough pressure to keep me working, but not so steep that I feel overwhelmed.

It’s been going well, honestly — I’ve stayed a couple of pages ahead, and haven’t had any difficulty staying on track. For example, this week my goal is 65 pages — and I’m sitting on 63 already. Next week the goal is 70 pages, the week after that 75.

My question is this: Should I stick to my writing schedule as-is, OR simply add five to whatever my page total is at the end of each week? So, if I finish this week at 67 pages, the next week’s goal is 72 pages.

What do you think? What works best for you?

13 thoughts on “Setting Goals

  1. I’m in the same situation (snatching random moments, writing on my lunch break), and have a similar goal as well. In my humble opinion, I would keep the 5 page goal, and not worry about what your weekly goal is supposed to be. If you hit 70 pages this week, don’t up your goal to 75 next week.

    Chances are you will end up writing anyway and get further and further ahead of schedule, but in my experience the benefit of not adjusting your goal, is when you just don’t have the time, or you’re feeling particuarly fatigued one week and need a break, you’re still ahead of schedule, so no big deal. If you keep adjusting the goal, it’s harder to convince yourself that you deserve a rest. And we all deserve to have a break and still feel accomplished.

  2. I would think that it would be better to keep to one goal until you find yourself consistantly exceeding it. How ever I’m new to writing so take that for what it is.

  3. It’s hard to predict the circumstances you’ll face. I think accepting the frustration of not reaching a goal is just as important as the elation of exceeding it. You need both to maintain perspective. I like your schedule as it stands now, I think it will serve you well 🙂

    • So many reasonable responses! Where’s the crazy-ass, off-kilter WRITE 10 PAGES A DAY WHILE NAKED AND EATING MARMALADE, response?

      Thanks for the vote of confidence.

  4. hmmm, trolling for trolls, eh? I’ll give it a go… yOu ShOoLd cUrL op n die, luzer! u cint’ spell fer shut n yer oogly 2

    I’m just starting my writing, I only have 13 short stories so far. I figure I need to write about 50 before they start to be any good. Now is the time when we all need encouragement. It’s the fragile, nascent stage of creativity that any chump with a keyboard can derail. You should see the way they torched me over on Popular Photography’s forum. It’s kept me off their site since Friday. I stuck my neck out a bit, and they gleefully chopped it off 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness you must be a very organized person. If I set goals like that I wouldn’t be able to keep them. I’m either in the mood for writing or I’m not. I could sit staring at a blank page for a week and not be able to finish another page until that urge comes back and then I could write like 50 or more in a week.

    I do like your goal of five pages a week though. I think if you kept increasing the amount over time it could be overwhelming and not relaxing like writing should be. Ha ha, like the old guy in Toy Story says, “You can’t rush art.” And I guess if you get a few extra pages one week and less another as long as you reach a monthly goal it would be alright. An exact amount every week seems a little hard.

    • That’s just the thing — I’m ridiculously unorganized. If I don’t have some sort of outside structure/deadline in place, I will literally never accomplish anything.

      Trust me I understand about “muse problems”, but paying too much attention to that has made it difficult for me to accomplish any long form creative project before. This way, even if I’m having a crummy week I put down a few pages — and I’m trying to stay focused on “The art is in the revision.”

      If lightning strikes, I’d love to throw down a 50 page week — that would be amazing!

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