1. Paladin92
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    Paladin92 New Member

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    Writing goals

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Paladin92, Feb 21, 2016.

    Hi guys.

    I have always been a mood writer and therefore my story usually progresses at a sometimes frantic, and at other times lacklustre pace. However, recently I have decided that I would like to establish a more consistent method when it comes to my writing so that I can continuously produce something and feel like I am progressing. Due to this want for consistency I have set myself a goal to try and write a minimum of 500 words a day. I know it isn't much but I figure at least I am writing each day then, even on the days that I do not feel like writing, and then on the days I do feel like writing I can continue past my daily goal and write a chapter or two given the right mood. I was wondering if any of you have daily writing goals or short term goals you set yourself when working on a project and whether having them helps you to get more done or if you find it too constricting and therefore it hinders your progress instead? Also I want to see what methods other writers use in case any of them would work better for me then establishing a minimum word count per day.
     
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  2. Raphius
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    Raphius New Member

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    Honestly, there are no right or wrong methods for writing goals, I used to do like you, setting a 500 words per day. At first, it worked pretty well, sometimes I could even end up 1000 words! And the next day... boom... nothing! why? Just sometimes inspiration doesn't come or you're not in the mood. Things happen! I believe, we all write at our own pace. I even once set up a goal like, end of October everything should be wrapped and I just went nut because I thought everything was alright which wasn't... So now, I just take sit everyday in front my notebook when if I have time, inspirations comes, very good ! I write, if not, I don't force myself and wait for next day or a better day.
     
  3. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I can't write, white seems to be a lot lately, I brainstorm idea or read or research ideas that might be interesting. I have wasted to much of my life not to force myself into doing something at least.
     
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  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I think that's a good idea. If your stuck, conceptualise and research while you wait for the actualization to come. I would also suggest, humbly as a novice, that you move to a different section if your stuck on one thing. Even just playing it over in your head seemingly uselessly can give you new thoughts. I can't give you any true professional advice though. :(
     
  5. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    If mood is what drives you, and yet you want to make consistent progress, something you might try is writing a synopsis while you're in the mood, something to follow for those times when you aren't.

    But if that doesn't work for you...

    I think everyone starts as a mood writer. How else would anyone follow the road to becoming a writer unless they wake up one day and say, "I feel like writing," which kind of says they're in the mood for it, right?

    I know I did... I think. There was a time when I worried about finding the right mood for whatever it was I was writing. And I was rather inconsistent about it.

    When I realized that I couldn't always find the mood, I looked for ways to trick myself into the right mood. One way was to read over what I'd written the day before (to find the mood of the piece) and cross my fingers.

    Another was to wear a particular sweater. The sweater was one of those end-of-production gifts film production units hand out when principle photography is finished. I associated it with being creative because it brought back memories of hanging out—and working with—other creative people.

    The sweater got paint on it one day and I threw it out. When I next sat down to write, I felt strange. I couldn't get the words to come and I thought my writing days were over. I tried other sweaters, but nothing worked. I panicked.

    So, I did the only thing I could think of. I dove back into studying everything I could get my hands on about writing. I even went back to college and did post-grad work in scriptwriting. I also discovered two books that, once I'd read, studied, and absorbed their content, made me feel like a writer, made me feel like I knew what the hell I was doing:
    • Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
    • Save the Cat! (series) by Blake Snyder
    That helped a lot. I knew there was a writer in me somewhere. But I wasn't quite there yet. Every idea I came up with bored the crap out of me. I wrote synopses and outlines, invented new ways to put together all the raw material, but still the stories—the actual writing—didn't come.

    Then one day I decided I was just going to write whatever the hell I wanted and to hell with what might sell. I found most of that stuff boring to write: thrillers, mysteries, police procedurals... and I wasn't a lawyer or a doctor, so medical and legal thrillers were out. I'd tried science fiction, but always felt inadequate because I don't have a degree in science (all my higher education is in art and writing).

    But what I could do, and as it turned out, wanted to do, was write satirical, ironic, humorous science fiction. It's my genre... or rather, sub-genre.

    I can't say whether this will work for you, but for me, finding the mood amounted to knowing I knew what I was doing and that came down to two things:
    1. the knowledge of how writing works, and
    2. knowing what I write best.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Finding the mood for me consists of a lot of small things which may or may not work. Sometimes complete other things work and I am struck in the middle of reading an article about earthquake damage estimates, or in the kitchen shredding onions ;)

    What mostly works:
    - Sitting in the garden
    - Music!!! (does it almost everytime)
    - Music+diversion (complete other topic, e.g. sitting at a train station)
    - Reading over my own work
    - Reading research related books (which have a bearing upon my WIP)
    - Focusing on physical objects (e.g. rings, bracelets - I know I am strange that way)
    - Music+physical exertion (e.g. cycling)
    - The wee-hours of the morning when it is still dark
     
  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Different things work for different people. I can't write every day due to my schedule but can write a lot in one sitting- so I do a weekly word count goal. It used to be 2000, and I still try for that but under stress I shoot for a 1,000 word per week minimum.
     
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  8. JDavidB
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    JDavidB Member

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    My plan is to always to try to do something everyday, even if its just proof reading. My days off are when I'm at my most productive. I can write a couple of pages or more on those days.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  9. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I write every day, except Tuesday and Friday because those are my writing breaks. If, for some reason, I missed a day, I won't beat myself up, but I will try to make up for it on the weekend. I have a daily goal of 3 to 4 pages, which averages around 1000 to 1200 words.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sometimes I do a pre sketch of what I'm going to write for the day or the next day. A few paragraphs outlining a scene. Sometimes it's very bare and sometimes it's more elaborate including - the goal for the scene, the mood and key words. I'm not much of an overall planner so this allows me to be controlled but still fresh. Also it can sometimes be easier to go into a writing session when you know where your going.
    That's why I don't like preplanning too much up front. If I leave it to the day of writing or the night before, fifteen minutes of brainstorming can keep me writing for hours. If I plan ahead of time it could take weeks to get to that spot and I might already be in a brain fog as to why it was so important.
     
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  11. penelopecarax
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    penelopecarax Active Member

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    This year I've started writing 500 words a day. Doesn't matter about the mood - I have to get it done. Over the past 60 days I don't think there's a day when I've had nothing in my brain at all. If I don't feel like writing a particular story I'll just write something else. On the weekends I do editing on top of my 500 words - at least 2 hours over the 2 days (so material written on weekdays is all-new). This means that my time for writing and time for editing are clearly delineated, and my editor never gets the better of my writer ;)
     
  12. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Best to keep the editor and writer separated, they are very antagonistic. In general, on my first draft I edit the paragraph after I hit return for SPaG, consistency, flow, and run-on sentences (my flaw). I read and edit the chapter after it is complete, then give it to my wife, and pick up her changes. Then it is on to the next. I don't do detail editing until finished, and rarely go back to re-edit before completing 1st draft.

    WIP is 800 pgs/242K words and just finished REV 3 edit, so I am done and done, waiting for professional editor input. Took about 20+ years which was about 7 years of actually working on it, writing plus research. Believe that when I am in the first draft writing phase I was somewhere 500-2000 words per session, 1.5-6 pages. As I have a day job, that was around 2-3 hours a night. Fridays were always off.
     
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  13. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Great point.
     
  14. KevinMcCormack
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    KevinMcCormack Member

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    What I have discovered works best for me is to set time goals rather than word count goals.
    This is because my number one restriction on writing is available time. By focusing on hours per week, I can goalset with my calendar.

    I have a second type of goal which is word count, on a monthly basis: my writing circle submissions. It's the main reason I continue to participate in the writing circle - I need to prctice the discipline of managing a writing deadline. However, the writing circle has started shifting toward writing exercises, so I may be bowing out.
     
  15. Ayn G
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    Ayn G New Member

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    I happen to be a mood writer myself. Having to deal with ADD and dislexia makes it very difficult to focus and continue on yesterdays mood. Whenever " yesterday" was. I keep a three ring binder and start on a fresh page each time. No, I don't write everyday (I know I should) but the inspiration is not there. So as my writings pile up I get cozy and devote a day to the review, corrections, editing etc. Then each page finds its way in the proper order.
     
  16. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have this writing instruction book and the writer suggests writing 3 pages a day. Well I attempted the suggested and I found that it worked for me. So I do at least 3 pages a day, if I get into some sort of writing groove. I may write more but I do I always do 3 pages a day.
     
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