Writing Wednesday: Don’t Monkey with Your Goals

When I got SERIOUS about writing, I set myself goals. They have been largely effective, especially the “X number of stories this year” one. I failed that one in one year (through extenuating circumstance – read that as LIFE), and yet I still increased my output over the previous year.
There is one goal that always eludes me – “3000 words per week.” Oh, I have occasional weeks when I make the grade, but my average in a given year has never finished as high as 2000.
For purposes of discussion, you should understand exactly what that goal means. I keep a count (with the aid of MS Word) every day, every time that I write. New stuff is easy – the word count grows as I write, and the difference between a story’s length from yesterday to today is how many words I’ve written. Revising and rewriting are harder to figure – they ARE writing, after all, so to be fair to myself (and consistent) I developed a formula over time that seems reliable. I do two revisions/rewrites per story before they’re sent out the door, and for each one I credit myself 10% of the story’s total length. I have kept this formula since I started tracking my output.
I don’t like failing, and I’m very aware of the urge to alter the rules. The goal is only about writing fiction, not blogging, but I’ve expanded my blog writing, and it IS in service of my fiction, so it’s tempting to include my blogging words in the count. Somehow, I know that just wouldn’t be the same, and it would lead to blogging being just as important as writing fiction, and I don’t want that to happen.
It’s also easy to rationalize away my failure to make that number – as I said above, LIFE happens. I have a “day job” that requires my time. The blogging is a necessary evil for this business – maybe I should cut myself some slack for it, even if I don’t count it in the total.
But why are these goals here? It’s here to help me stay on course, to keep me from returning to the days without measures, when I would merely complain about not having time to write. They give me something MEASURABLE to shoot for, and that I can evaluate my progress against.
Even though I haven’t made that 3000 words yet, the goal has served me in other ways. While trying to make it, I’ve carved out time for writing. I’ve increase my “per hour” word output. Would these things have happened if, instead of keeping the goal, I adjusted it to something more easily attainable? I don’t think so.
Don’t monkey with your goals.
Just saying…


This week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Inheritance”:InheritanceCover

When Amun discovers that his family is connected to power, wealth and infamy, he enlists a friend to help him get his share. But does he really want the ancient inheritance that’s coming to him?

This is a sci-fi/fantasy short story in which I play around a little with grave-robbing, Ancient Egyptian mores, and the usual mind control. In North America. Use coupon code ZW92V to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until March 19th. Here’s the link:
“Inheritance” is also available in my second collection, aptly titled: More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.


William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “The Pipes”, can be found in many places, including:
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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