My good friend Bob Evenhouse of the blog Part Time Novel was kind enough to send me a guest post while I am trying to catch up on my sleep (new babies are cute little time vampires). Enjoy!
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Writers struggle. It’s our most consistent state. We struggle for the correct word. We struggle for the proper word. A word that is rhythmic, fitting, mood setting, decisively explanatory, and altogether perfect. Doing this once can be exhausting. Doing it one hundred and sixteen thousand times can be debilitating, especially when you are at the bottom of that hike looking up at the grand snow capped Himalayan-like climb that is your first draft.
This is why the writer needs goals. Just like climbers work in stages. The state of defeat lingers so close behind us that we must have a target on which to fix our eyes and it cannot just be the end, but a good healthy check point.
Here are some ways to do just that.
- Set Reasonable, Yet Achievable, Goals: I have trouble conforming to the idea that my life is lived within the confines of time. My wife often accuses me of trying do too much in a day. When I get home from work I’d merely like so spend quality time with her, my daughters, watch a movie, do a blog post, write 2000 words, maybe write another blog, read and comment on my friends’ blog, start a business, and sail around the world. It’s difficult capping myself, most of the time, but realistic goals are especially necessary for the part time writer.
- Set Time Specific Goals: As a part time writer it is easy to be sprinting through life then realize you have not written on your book for a few days or weeks. It is important to stay in the rhythm of writing or your novel will never get done. Make it a goal to write every day. Stand by it with a this-has-to-get-done-before-I-sleep-every-single-night mandate. Writers are sleep deprived manics. You must know this by now.
- Reward Yourself: In the words of the employees of the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana: Treat Yourself. When you reach a goal, say 5,000 words, do something fun. Writing is draining and your mind will be happy for the repose. It’s healthy and fun to reward yourself for slaving over your baby. If you are out of ideas, see below. There are some great ways to Treat Yourself.