I’ve learned quite a bit about goal setting and workload management lately.
These are the things I have learned:
- You have to ask yourself if you do this for fun or work. In other words, do you let yourself write whenever and whatever, or do you push and push and push and push to achieve a daily word count? In any case, getting to the “flow state” where the words fly without you having to consciously force yourself to think about writing, is ideal.
- Life happens. I think most people don’t write straight for an hour or longer. You get sidetracked, get a snack, take a break, do some research or reread your stuff. These all technically delay productivity, but they happen. And then you have stuff out of the blue like someone calling you or having chores to do. Because of this, set a goal, but ALWAYS have wiggle room in case you fall short for whatever reason. Editing is important, but it technically doesn’t help with writing more for the day, for example. Things WILL disrupt and slow down your schedule, for one reason or another.
- Unrealistic goals are interesting, but they can also be overly punishing. Why stress yourself out and create goals that require stress and intensity? Are you going to not eat for an hour or two to achieve your goal? This goes back to whether you write for fun or for work. Also, planning for an idealistic work outcome or writing outcome is…unrealistic.
- Periodically check your goal progress. For me, this is like checking once an hour to see how many words I have written. 1,000 words done in half the time? Great, I can finish 2,000 words by the end, for instance.
Aggressive goals are nice, but I feel better now with manageable goals. Writing 2,000 words a day for about two weeks now. Going forward, 1,000 words a day. 3,000 words would be nice, but it is just such a stressful time sink. I would rather aim for 1,000 words every day than end up doing 3,000 words 4 days a week. But if you are a writing machine and don’t mind a high workload, then props to you.