Monday, March 20, 2006

Confessions of a Goal Setter

Hope you are all having a happy Monday! This is going to be a short entry today because I have a couple deadlines I need to meet, both self-imposed and imposed by others.

And that is my topic today. Deadlines. I’m curious as to how other writers approach them. So many daily tasks and responsibilities stand in the way of our writing time--family, health, day jobs--and writing might not even be a priority for you. But even so, do you still set a goal and then a deadline as to when it needs to be finished? How do you stick to it? Do you need to trick yourself into finishing a project on time? Or are you strong-willed enough to tell yourself you’re going to do something and you do it? What works for you?

For example, I like to write my goals on my computer’s calendar. I have daily goals, such as writing X number of pages a day, or a synopsis, or a blog, or an article, and because I know how much I enjoy crossing items off of a To Do List, I know I’ll devote at least some time toward finishing the project. Now, that doesn’t mean I meet all of my self-imposed deadlines every day; no, sometimes I’ll complete the project a week or even a month past when I'd planned to--as long as no one is counting on me to have it completed by a certain date. But I do eventually reach my goal. So, I guess I’m confessing that I trick myself into finishing a project because I can’t stand seeing items left on a To Do List! Sheesh. It’s sad, but true.

Also, when working on a novel, I’ll write a daily goal of only a few pages. That way, when I surpass the goal, I think I’m on a roll and waaaay ahead of the game. Then I tell myself to keep going and not to lose steam. That little trick keeps up the excitement level. And with continued effort, I reach the end of the story, which is the ultimate goal. Woo-Hoo!

Okay, so I need to trick myself to reach my goals, but the point is…it works for me. And that’s all that matters.

So what about you? I’d love to hear how other writers approach deadlines, either self-imposed or imposed by others.

Michele Cwiertny