How to Achieve Your Writing Goal Every Day

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19 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    1 Novel, in 8 months, starting; Now!
    Lets do this thang….
    As they say.

  2. Chere says:


    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your article! I’m beginning to realize I have a LOT to learn to become a good writer–I’m really just getting started. I subscribed to your blog!


    Chere O.

  3. Dan says:

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version and iCal are available too.

  4. Topsy-Techie says:

    GREAT post, and one every writer needs to read about once per month when we hit a lazy spell. Nanowrimo gives me the shivers just thinking about it, but we are all probably writing about 1500 words+ per day without even giving it much thought, so I’m not sure why the novel writing thing scares me so much. It just does!

  5. lfamous says:

    I also write for a living, although it’s internal Corporate stuff. This is my first year really participating in nanowrimo, and what I like about it is that it isn’t like my day job.

    As a former journalist for a small hometown paper, 99% of what I’ve done would be the non-fiction variety. The facts are presented and you have to write them in an entertaining or persuasive way.

    This is the first time I’m not doing 4, 5 and 6. I have my characters, and every night when I sit down to write, I’m letting them guide me. I know what I want the end result to be, but I have no idea what events will develop to get my main character to that point. I just know she’ll get where she needs to be at the end.

    The commitment and the freeness of it is what I like about nanowrimo.

  6. Dustin says:

    Topsy-Techie: I think one big difference between the writing I (and I think you) do every day is that, in most cases, when I’ve written 1500 or 2000 words, I’m done — or, at worst, I have a couple days of work to do before I’m done. Writing a novel is scarier because most of the time, there’s no saying when it will be done. It might take 3 months or 6 months or 2 years or 10 years. Taking on a project without an end in sight can be terrifying and demoralizing. I think that’s why NaNoWriMo resonates with so many people — it’s hard work, but the end is close enough to mentally grasp – Nov 30.

    The lesson I draw from that is to give yourself a hard time limit for your novel. You can always go back and flesh out parts if you reach the end and there are missing pieces, but by writing through to the end, at least you have a skeleton of something *real*. What most writers do to sabotage themselves, I think, is they get to the part that needs fleshing out and they stall out while they try to figure it out, so they never reach the end.

  7. Dustin says:

    lfamous: I have to say, I admire the chutzpah of writing a novel without an outline — though knowing where you want to end up strikes me as helpful. It’s like drawing a straight line — when you look at the tip of your pencil, your line ends up meandering all over the place. When I was drafting in high school, they taught us to look at the place where you want your line to end up, which resulted in a much straighter line. I think most writers are “end of the pencil” types, so it’s better for us to do short strokes that keep us on track (moving from point to point in an outline). I’ll be curious to see how your “eyes on the prize” approach works out for you.

  8. Ryan says:

    Most people who say that you should get up an hour earlier fail to mention that you should go to bed earlier too. I find that irresponsible. Your post is the first that I’ve read that qualified that statement in a responsible manner. I suspect that is what triggered my diabetes – getting between 5 an 6 1/2 hours of sleep every night for prolonged periods of time. Thanks for passing that on.

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