I am a non-planner planner/goal-setter. If I have plans and goals, I’ll fight tooth and nail to reach those goals. I don’t miss deadlines. Planning works for me, but I shy away from setting aggressive goals (or goals at all) so I can’t disappoint myself if I miss them. (Silly, right?)
When I started writing my novel, I purposefully set a long goal: nearly two years to complete my first draft. Two years. Someone commented on a post of mine that I could do it much faster than that, and I didn’t believe them. I’m a stay at home mom, after all. How can I take breaks to write when at least one of my kids asks for me every ten minutes?
Two years seems utterly ridiculous right now, and D. Wallace Peach, you were totally right: 100,000 words is attainable by the end of the year.
It wasn’t until I joined the writing group, that I realized I could do this. The whole goal of the writing group is to complete your draft by September 30th, six months from the start date. At the commencement of the group, I think I had about 12,500 words written. I was proud that I had that much written within a little over a month. But, if I kept up that pace, I wouldn’t reach my goal of 100,000 words by September 30th.
Still, I committed. And when I commit, I commit. I’ll throw myself headlong into that project, and challenge myself to reach my personal best. And, a little over a month into the group? I have. I wrote 17,500 words in April, and in May, I’m striving to write 20,000 words. By the end of May – two months into this writing group – I’ll hit 50,000 words. I’ll have completed half my draft in three months, and I’ll be a month ahead of schedule.
That is much faster than my original projection of two years.
I’m not saying this to brag. I only have gotten to this point through a lot of prayers, some late nights, and a husband who is willing to hang out with the kids after work while I type away. This progress is because of God’s grace, an amazing husband, accountability and goal setting.
Planning in writing is essential. I fought that theory for a long time, but this past month has proved me completely wrong. Without having the accountability of a group, and the very real date of September 30th, I wouldn’t have pushed to write. I would have sat back and written when I felt inspired, knowing that my end date was ambiguous and far away. If I hadn’t sat myself down and pushed through the very real writer’s block 7,000 words ago, I would never have written some of my favorite parts of the novel.
So here’s to giving in to common sense and setting goals.
Who’s with me?
Also, I started an Instagram account, which I can keep up with more frequently than here. If you could, please follow me over @verityandviolets! I have a goal of reaching 200 followers by May 30th. I’m very grateful for your support!
[…] Last week I wrote about planning. And while I 100% believe that planning is good, there is a huge pitfall for me when it comes to planning. Sometimes I plan, and I expect my hard work, determination, and strategic planning to make all of my plans happen. […]