Friday, January 16, 2009

Setting Weekly Goals

Setting weekly goals will lasso time, wrestle it to the ground, and make it work for you. Get your annual and monthly goals out and let's do some math.

Let's take the short stories/articles example. You've decided you'll write six short stories, around 2500 words in length each, over the course of the year. You've figured out what months you'll be writing them.

Can you write one page three nights a week? One page (double-space 12 pt. font) is roughly 250 words. Multiply three nights by four weeks and you have 12 days to write. 12 x 250 = 3000 words. That gives you a little leeway on your word count. What three nights can you comfortably write a page? Maybe Tuesday night during the re-runs of a stale show, Thursday night right after dinner, and Saturday morning.

Great! Now you have a plan. You don't have to feel guilty on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, because those are your days off. Amazing!

Does that schedule seem impossible? If yes, go ahead and slash your goal in half. Do not sabotage your writing by setting unrealistic goals. You can always do more as time allows. Your new goal should be three short stories a year, and you'll want to write one short story over the course of two months. Decide on the days and word count as discussed above.

Let's do the math with category novels. We decided you need to write 5500 words/month for 10 months. From the above example, it's obvious you'll need to write more than one page a day, three days a week. Why don't we make it easy and double it? You'll need to write roughly 24 pages a month. How do you fit those in? 24 seems like an awful lot...

Don't worry. If you can write three days a week, aim for two pages at a time. You'll have your 24 pages (6000 words) at the end of the month. This schedule allows for a night off; remember you only need 5500 words.

Okay, now for the big guns: single title. 85,000 words. Gulp. Don't be scared. It works out to 34 pages a month. 34 pages a month! looks worse than it is!

You can still stay on a three day a week schedule, but you'll have to kick it up to about three pages each day. Another solution would be to divide the weekly nine pages differently. Maybe you can write one page on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, two on Thursday, and one over the weekend. That would still give you two days off. The important thing is deciding the amount you'll write and what days you'll write.

Again, I can't stress enough, go ahead and cut your original goal in half if it's obvious you'll never be able to reach that goal. It's better to finish a book in two years than to never finish a book.

Reachable goals. Who would have thought?

Join me next week as we delve into accountability or, what I like to call, keeping track of your awesomeness!
Enjoy your weekend!


  1. What great information and motivation! Thanks for taking the time to share...I will check back often

  2. Thanks Christa! Any topics you'd like to cover? I'd be glad to tackle them.


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