I’ve been taking my writing seriously for a little while now–several months–and one of the things I’ve learned is that on my quest to finish a book and get published, I get virtually nowhere if I don’t have a solid idea of what my immediate goals are.
And yes, “finish a book” is a goal, but that goal is way to big for me to gauge today’s productivity (or lack of it). For the time being, I’m stealing Stephen King‘s daily word-count goal (which he mentions in On Writing). 2,000 words. A good writing day is a day when I produce at least 2,000 words. That doesn’t mean I have to stop when I hit 2K. It just means that my minimum commitment to myself is 2K.
Come hell or high water, I’m going to pound out 2,000 words a day.
If I don’t one day, then that day wasn’t a success. No reason to beat myself up for it, but I’ll reflect on it and try to understand why I didn’t meet my goal. Then I’ll shake it off and tackle the next day with the intent of hitting my goal, undeterred by whatever kept me from it the day before.
My point is, I absolutely have to have a goal–something I can tie each day’s work to. Without it, I have no way of knowing if I’m on track or not. But with solid, achievable, short-term goals, I tend to actually get shit done.