I have written on several different occasions about finding time to write. I am the mother of two young kids (ages 5 and 8) and am active in both their schools (soon to be just one school in August.) I find it hard sometimes to dedicate my time to writing, which is why setting a writing goal can be an effective way to ensure that I don’t just find time to write – I make time to write.
Setting aside time to write
As hard as I have tried in the past two months to consistently set aside time to write, it just hasn’t happened for me. April and May were busy months with lots of extra activities as the school year came to a close. Unfortunately, I had only one or two days a week to work on my latest writing project. Even cutting down the amount of posting on my blog did not helped. And with summer break starting next week, I worry I won’t have a consistent amount of time to write.
What I and many other writers need to do is to set aside a block of uninterrupted writing time on a regular basis and stick to it. Of course having children, I don’t think the uninterrupted time will work while they are awake. Last summer, I did most of my writing early in the morning while everyone was still in bed. It helped to get my writing done first and then be able to focus on spending quality time with the kids. This will be my plan this summer too.
You may find evenings after everyone is in bed or lunch time at your office are times that work best for you. Don’t just find a few spare minutes here and there. Look for a set block of time that you can dedicate to nothing but writing. (See my post on avoiding time wasters.)
Establishing your goals
Sometimes it isn’t enough to just set aside time to write and hope you are productive. To keep you on track with finishing (and ultimately publishing) your novel, you may want to set a writing goal.
If you are still in the planning stage, your goal may be to develop one characters a day or to create back story/history for your main character. If you are already writing, you may want to set a goal of a certain number of pages or words to write. Since you probably will not write the same amount each day, if you are setting a number of pages or words to have completed, consider setting your goal as a weekly goal rather than a daily one.
The main key to setting your goal is that it needs to be attainable, yet challenging. You want it to be something that you can actually reach. You don’t want to set a 25,000 word weekly goal if you can barely get 1000 written each day.
One of the other keys to establish a good goal is to be specific. You can’t just say I want to write each week. Give yourself something that is measurable whether it is how many hours you will dedicate to writing or a word or page count.
It helps to write down your goals and post them near your writing area. This can increase your motivation and remind you of your intentions. Or perhaps a reward system will keep you motivated. When you meet your goals, reward yourself by watching a movie, reading a book, eating ice cream or whatever you choose.
Hmmm….now it is time for me to set my own goals for this summer. I already have my dedicated writing time set. Now I just need a realistic word count to hit each week. As one who usually never watches my word count, this is harder than you think. But the good thing is – goals always can be changed.
You make a good distinction between finding time and making time to write. With my goal to write a blog post every day of 2013, I make time to write them. I’m also involved with a novel review workshop once a month with 3 friends, which ensures I read and track change their work and they do the same for mine. This makes me work on my current WIP during the month prior to submitting my next few chapters to them.
Good luck in your goal.
[…] have posted before about setting goals when writing a novel. I typically don’t like them as they never seem to help me. Something always […]