about goals

My productivity as a writer sucks without goals.

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.


  1. I’m the same way, Dex. I didn’t manage to finish a single novel until I did NaNo last November. That daily word goal was such a gift. I finished that novel, and have continued the tradition with each novel/fresh draft that I do. I don’t edit that way, because some sections require more than others, but when I write a draft, I have to have the daily goal, the concrete number. The laugh is that hitting it is almost always just the beginning for me, as I almost always blow it out of the water. But without it, I just meander and then find something to distract me.

    I hope you find success with this method too, that it can be the beginning of things flowing well for you. I’ve enjoyed your flash fiction so much that I’m eager to see what you do with longer works, where I can get more than just a little taste of your style. I want more! 🙂

    1. dex Author

      Thanks, Julie. I’m actually looking forward to reading more of what you’ve written, too. (Is there some place I can get that novel yet?)

      As for the books, I’m working on ’em. Hopefully, there will be something finished-ish in the next few months. And hopefully I can bring what you like about the flash fiction over to something longer!

      1. That’s the trick, given that flash fiction and longer forms are different, but I think it’ll work for you. Certainly you do an amazing job with characterization in such a small space, something that will translate well, in addition to creating a good feel for the atmosphere in your work. I’m optimistic. 🙂

        As for my work, Bound isn’t ready yet, but I think I’m on track for my goal of late summer. I will make sure to let you know when it’s coming out though. The rest of the trilogy, we’ll see. I’ve only started editing book 3 now, and book 2 is in for its first round of feedback. All things in their proper time and readiness.


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