I have noticed lately that I am really good at setting goals. I mean really I set some amazing goals, my problem seems to be in the follow through. They say the first step in fixing the problem is to admit you have one… I am an disorganized procrastinator when it comes to my beloved writing. I am forever chasing down my next idea, poem, thought, phrase and leaving the actual work to be done eventually.
At some point this has to end or I will never get to the end of anything. I am trying to complete the first round of editing on at least on of my books in August. This being July 31st I thought I would reach out to my followers and ask them how they keep it all together.
How do you plan your writing and/or editing?
Do you plan specific times and days?
What is the best way to hold yourself accountable?
Any and all suggestions are welcome, this month will be the month I finish!
11 thoughts on “Where Does The Time Go?”
I wish I could offer you some help. But I have the exact same problem. At least once a week I make a brand new plan of attack and vow that THIS TIME to really stick with it. Try to prioritize. Let it be okay that some things will have to be set aside. Just bore down into This – whatever This is.
I wish you the best of luck in this. I understand the feeling. Very intimately. It’s frustrating.
Keep at it!
My dear fellow writer,
It is a refreshing thought to know you are chasing ideas – that is the only way to stay in the game, and it’s really good fun! Don’t we all love the dream world? I’m reminded of the Outback Steakhouse commercial, “no rules, just right!”
The same goes for you, my friend. No rules, just write. You can edit after you finish your manuscript. Give yourself a timeframe, say 10 pages (1 chapter) per week for the next 4 weeks to finish the book!
When you’ve written the last line, you can take a sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and read through the script. Make your highlights and side notes, then edit.
I recommend you print the manuscript because it’s easy to miss things on screen. It’s also good to have a fresh pair of eyes to filter the script through. Some people can afford a professional editor to run through and scrub the text. For many of us self-published writers, an alliance would be a good alternative. (You watch my back, I’ll watch yours.) Ask a friend to read through and highlight any errors. If you can’t find a friend offline, send it to me. I’ll give it a whirl.
I really like Jack’s advice. I generally aim for a particular word count every week or a certain number of chapters a week, but often it depends on other things that I am doing. With a full time professional job and a family, life often gets in between me and my writing. I look forward to the advice on this post, because I frequently struggles with this same issue. I generally work ten hour days, go home and spend 4 hours with family before they go to bed, and then try to spend 4 hours writing before I go to bed. Sleep 5 or 6 hours and go again.
Math figures very heavily into my planning, so that may be a hurdle for anyone else. I think about where I want to be at a point in the future, what I need to do to accomplish that, how long that will take (accurately, not wishful thinking wise), and then I divide by the number of days available to see if it’s doable–subtracting a few, knowing that there will days here and there when I will be overcome with sloth, want to see friends, fall sick, or otherwise play hooky. If it isn’t doable, I alter the goal so that it is.
And when the day’s goal is reached, I go play. Without that, the daily grind of doing work that is inherently less fascinating than chasing ideas would drive me away from the whole project. I think having a realistic plan is crucial, one you can live with for days at a time. At the first whiff of failure, most of us abandon the entire project. Maintaining a balance between hard work and keeping ourselves exercised, well-fed, and properly stimulated makes it easier to maintain. I also find it easier to maintain a fairly set routine, so that I’m not wondering when I start writing. I think, oh, the dishes are washed and it’s 8 am. Time to write. And unlike, Robertson, I sleep a lot when I’m writing intensely. Nine-ten hours a night (or 8 with an afternoon nap) is a crucial part of the plan.
When I am writing for a book or an article, I usually go with the word count per day goal. That’s not to say that I hit it 😉 Truthfully, I sort of have to sneak up on myself by jumping in and starting to write when I am not expecting to do it. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but that’s what I will do!
Good luck! I would offer advice but as I am the Queen of procrastination and flying by the seat of my pants anything I could offer would likely be a step backwards! I have so many half done projects it’s crazy… however the only positive I can give you is when the “mood” hits you to be editing/writing seize it regardless if it was scheduled time, usually these moments are the most productive and when you can see clearly what it is you are needing to do…
I’m actually in the process of editing/rewriting a piece now. I’ve made my blog almost like a diary of progress so I feel like others are seeing what my goals are and if I don’t show or admit to progress then I have this weird dynamic going in my head that I am responsible to others as well as myself.
I’m really good at setting goals, and like you said I have a hard time actually achieving them, but I’ve learned a few tricks over the past few months as I edit and work on more than one piece.
Whenever I am writing I make sure that I leave my story off at a really great turning point. For example, if my character has an altercation about to occur and I’ve been writing for let’s say a half hour to an hour I will let the character enter the setting that the event will take place in and close the notebook. I’ll make notes on a post-it and stick it to the cover but this way when I come back the next day to write I’m excited about finishing the scene and progressing to another part of my story.
I also like to read about other writer’s tips about being a good writer. It gets me motivated to work harder and longer after a read a passage or two. Right now I’m working my way through “Crafting Novels & Short Stories from the Editors of Writer’s Digest” and I’ll occasionally take a peek at the “Dictionary of Cliches” just to remind myself to be creative and to avoid over-used lines and plots when I write.
I try to set two small goals for the evening and 3 goals for the weekends or day off (usually these goals are slightly longer to complete). I plan them either the night before or the day of. I find if I planned more to do I didn’t get them all done and tended to leave the one I disliked the most day after day. If I set the goals too far in advance, I found that life would throw me a curve ball and I’d get frustrated.
Let other people keep you accountable! Link your laziness to their disappointment.
Good question to ask myself to do my illustrated children’s book project 😦
You’re not alone, take comfort in this fact, smile and carry on chasing those ideas…you will come to fruition with one eventually.