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What writing goals do you set yourself?

I'm a great believer in the value of goal-setting.  To me, it's not so much about hitting a target (which is just as well since I miss most of mine  ) as it is about the benefits of aiming for one in the first place.

That said, I think if you always hit the mark, you're not stretching yourself enough.  I may not reach most of my goals, but I achieve a lot more than I would if I didn't set them at all.

When it comes to writing, a lot of people set goals for daily output.  Of course, you have to go with what works for you, but I tend to shy away from wordcount targets, preferring a more general 'Write a new flash fiction in the first half of September', 'Finish chapters six and seven by this Friday' etc.

Now that Summer's over and the kids are back at school, it's time for me to review my 2009 writing performance so far and reassess my end-of-year goals.  I'm a little behind on my flash fiction/short story target, but not by much.  As for novels, I need to step up to the plate and finish the revisions for Waking up Jack Thunder, which I wanted to have done by the end of August (new target: end of September).  After that, I've another novel, Champion: A Union of Snakes, to revise/rewrite by the end of December, so that I can start a new project on January 1st next year.

How about you?

What writing goals do you set for yourself and why?

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( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I try not to do wordcount targets, either. I do set goals, however, finish a story by the end of the week, get my website updated on a particular day, set days or weeks aside to do research, pencil in a day to catch up on submissions. Things like that. But they aren't set in stone. I don't work that way, but of course many people do and it works fine for them.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like we have similar methods. My main reason for not settng wordcount goals is because I do a lot of revision/rewriting as I go, which for me means a lot of pruning.

If I was aiming for a wordcount target, I'd be tempted to leave stuff in, which I might otherwise get rid of, if that makes sense. Is that the same for you?
(no subject) - kmarkhoover - Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kmarkhoover - Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Well, right now my goal appears to be "finish and submit one short story per year". LOL. I am slow.

By the way, I dunno if I told you this before but I love your titles!
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I like making up titles, it's the story bit that's hard :(

I'm always wondering where the time went? One minute I have weeks and weeks to get something done, the next thing I know, I'm behind schedule.

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mongrelheart - Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
Alas, the writing goals I've been setting lately have not been met due to various obligations and distractions.

My goals are normally just to work on either a story or novel revisions. I consider myself a free spirit, so I don't like to set word count. Oftentimes it works out better though.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
You and me both. For some reason, I though I could get a lot done in August, even though the children were off school.

I know better for next year :)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
I seem to follow your method as well. I'm lucky to know word count--it's something I check at the end or when I want to submit only to discover I'm two thousand words over!

So, my goals are submit three poems I've finished (finished?) by Saturday (Sunday?). Complete the novel revisions (re-revisions) by Saturday. After that, I'll think about short story submissions and completing a couple stories I've started -- I have vague time frames for anything past a week or two because if a big job comes in, there is no time for the creative work.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
What about longer term goals? I like to have a couple of 'by the end of the year' type goals, which I break into smaller chunks, but I always leave myself a lot of leeway.

I found that if I don't, it's too easy to give up on the whole thing when I get a little behind.
(no subject) - clarionj - Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 3rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clarionj - Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
I wanted to finish the first draft of Finder by October and--surprise!--finished in August. My goal now is to have a second draft polished and ready for a hard copy edit by Christmas. I'm pretty sure I'll be done with the second draft by Thanksgiving, but one never knows.

I missed my goal for the last book by a month. I wanted a first draft finished by September and finished in October--but I did reach the goal of sending it out for submission by the end of March, so all in all, I was pleased. My goals tend to be sort of nebulous.

Along with my goal to have a finished second draft of Finder by Christmas is to have a word-count appropriate draft as well! 125K is the goal! Right now, it's at 160K. Yikes!
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you've got your goals working for you :)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Usually, I set deadlines for finishing stories. At the beginning of each month, I tack up a note that lists which stories I need to finish and which I need to submit. This month I'm adding "NOVEL" to the list. Heh.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
I think it's one of those sub-conscious things, but I find writing goals down in the present tense (eg: I have a new story ready to pitch) really helps.

Will this be your first novel?
(no subject) - mariadeira - Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
2k a day when I'm working on a novel. I usually hit it, sometimes make more, but it's a reasonable goal that doesn't strain my damaged arm too much.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
That's good going. 2K is about eight pages, right? I'm lucky if I manage three.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
I'm with the goal setting but haven't been doing a great job of it. My personal writing evaluation for the year so far:

Q1 good
Q2 bad
Q3 dismal

But looking to trun it around for the 4th.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
I tend to be good at setting goals. It's the follow-through that can be a problem :)
(no subject) - a_r_williams - Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
" I may not reach most of my goals, but I achieve a lot more than I would if I didn't set them at all."

I think this is why I set goals also. I rarely meet them, but they at least get me started. Most of my goals are word count related, or goals to push a finished draft along by placing a submitting date onto it.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
I find sharing my basic goals with friends in writing and/or critique groups helps too, because there's always some friendly soul who remembers you telling them six months ago that you'd have [insert name of relevant WIP here] finished by a certain date - especially when you miss your deadline.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
1000 words a day, mon-fri, and a yearly goal of going over the previous year's writing income.

Selling a novel at some point would be nice, too.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
Income and success goals are harder to break down into work goals, but they definitely help.

How do you target the writing income one? Is it based on the number of submissions to each market?
(no subject) - bondo_ba - Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
My only goal at the moment is: Survive September.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, is that work related, or Dear God, if I have to change one more diaper I'll go crazy related?

Either way, I hope you manage it :)
(no subject) - temporus - Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
My goals usually entail just finishing a story once I start it. I try to start a lot of stories. But if I go through slack periods, that's fine too. Sometimes I need time to regroup. I don't like writing the same story over and over again.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:10 am (UTC)
I'm not so adamant about finishing a story (or a novel) if I get the feeling it's not working. I'm happy to go back to it later, though.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I do use a word-count, but more to keep myself from getting carried away and churning out 10k chapters, then because I'm trying to hit a particular number. And usually the word count covers a scene or a chapter that I want to get in. Overall, though, I find setting goals help keeps the writing expanding and moving forward.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:11 am (UTC)
Absolutely, a well-considered goal can make a huge difference in output.

Thanks for sharing :)
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)

Plot out the three novels of my fantasy trilogy from Sept to Dec.

Write short stories based in the created world in order to sell them/ understand character motivations or world history / create a more realistic and defined world history.

Short Stories

Rewrites for one and quick revising of another. Send both out.


Focus on how to create powerful sentences.

And it's time to I get better at writing magic.

Haven't really written anything for a while. But I was looking at some artwork on Deviantart and ran across some pictures that really brought put some characters in my head. I need to figure out if they belong to the world my novel is in or if they need a seperate place.

I think I can use them as part of the novel's history. So that's what I'm aiming for.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Sounds like a plan to me. I wish you luck with it :)
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
I suppose with poetry it isn't about setting goals and targets (well, not for me). :) I suppose that's why I love writing poetry over stories - the instantaneous joy and relief of finishing something and holding it in one's hand (so to speak). Last month I did set a goal of 30 poems in 30 days following a fellow poet/friend's challenge. I managed to complete the task. But, I do find I work better when I don't pressure myself to get something out within a time frame. I can write volumes (in a day) when I don't force myself to concentrate on writing one poem a day. *chuckles*

Sep. 3rd, 2009 10:16 am (UTC)
I'm not sure how writing poetry is to writing song lyrics, but I always preferred to let ideas mull over in my head for a while (sometimes months) before writing the finished lyrics.

That said, on more than one occasion, I've been known to scribble verses down while the guitarist was in the recording booth.
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