Do You Set Goals?

Writing is like anything else in life - a highly individualized process that cannot be dictated by "you must's" and "you have to's".  It is a personal experience and everyone's will be different.

Do you set goals?

I'm a half-and-half sort of person in that regard.

My son is with me every four months.  I homeschool him.  Add parenthood to pet ownership, being a housewife (cooking, cleaning, running errands, spending time with my husband), and you really don't get much time to sit and focus on writing.  Thus, when it is my turn with my son, I do not set writing goals.

Instead, I write when I can and allow the process to flow organically.  I give myself very loose guidelines based on what I hope to accomplish, but that is the extent of it.

When my son is with his dad in Germany, my day-to-day routine changes dramatically.  During that time, I approach writing like a job (and it really is my chosen career).  I get up, let the bird out, get dressed, clean the house, eat breakfast, check email, blogs, forums, etc., and then start writing.

During the morning, I only tend to knock out about 500 words, since I place more importance on cleaning and bird care when I get out of bed.  Still, I feel that managing anywhere between 500 and 1,000 words before my husband comes home for lunch is a good start.

Once my husband returns to work, the rest of the afternoon is mine.  It is all about writing.  My caique has a fairly set schedule about when he is in his cage and when he is out.  I get roughly 1-2 hours of non-bird time to write in the afternoon.  When I let him out around 2 p.m., it really doesn't mess with my writing groove.  I turn on music and will gladly play with him with one hand, and use the other to click through the web if I need to do some research.

During this 4-month period without my son, I *definitely* set goals.  I set goals to complete specific projects and to query at least one or two projects.  I also work best with lists, so I have an index card with a list of goals that looks like this:

1)  Complete (Insert Name of Top Secret Steampunk Project Here) (alpha reader notes are constantly flowing in; want to be ready for betas no later than November 1; query and synopsis are also underway)

2)  Submit (Top Secret Steampunk Project) to (Insert Preferred Publishers and Agents Here)

3)  Complete Trust & Magick first draft and begin work on second draft (Steampunk fantasy)

4)  Complete non-fiction project first draft

Having a list of goals keeps me focused.  What about you?

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

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