Oh really? You thought you were going to hit the snooze button one more time?
No more snooze button for you! It's time to wake up and WRITE.
If you're not sure where to start, the first thing you can write is a SMART goal.
SMART goals, while they may not seem very glamorous or artsy, are a great way to develop a consistent writing habit. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Based. Several ways to set SMART Writing goals are:
Set a word count to write each day - then do it. 500 words a day x 365 days a year is 182,000 words, which is a hair longer than Catch-22. I read a story where author Fran Lebowitz was invited to an auction house to see a manuscript of Mark Twain's and the employee was waiting on a Twain scholar to tell him what the numbers scribbled in the margins meant. Fran told him that she was no Twain scholar, but she was a scholar of little numbers written all over the place. She told him Twain was counting the words - and she was right. Many authors set a daily word count as their "I'm done for the day!"
Set a page count to write each day - then do it. One MS Word 12 point Times New Roman page (with one inch margins) a day x 365 days a year is 365 pages, which is roughly the equivalent of Wuthering Heights.
Minutes or Hours
Set a timer for 15, 30, 60 minutes of writing each day - then do it. A word of caution with this method: If you are easily distracted you may find yourself pulled into "research," staring out the window, or taking quizzes to answer the burning question of What Ice Cream Flavor is Your Soul? However, if you are well versed in free or raw writing and can hyperfocus like a surgical laser, this could certainly add up over time.
Whatever is going on in your life, you can make time for writing. Maybe your life feels so hectic that finishing a novel in three months, or even six months, is not realistic. That's okay. One of the keys to get to a first draft of anything is to develop a consistent, daily, writing practice. And while 500 words, a page, or 15 minutes a day doesn't seem like much, those words and pages and minutes multiplied over time will add up.
When January 2nd hits, the atmosphere is bursting with expectant energy and shiny enthusiasm. All the fit-for-life old guard and dedicated gym rats sigh and try not to roll their eyes while newbies fumble around, don't re-rack the weights, and refuse to wipe down equipment. The regulars hang in there though, because they know by the time February 1st arrives, things will pretty much be back to "normal."
Why? Because people want results they can see FAST. And the first six weeks of working out the body is mostly laying new neural pathways in the brain, muscle fibers, and connective tissues. Even though there is a helluva lot going on, it's not readily seen. Thus, most people give up before the magic happens. By magic, I mean the transformative power of consistent effort added up over time. For the folks who grit it out past the six week mark, they might be a little surprised at what happens in week eight, and positively delighted when they reach week twelve.
So no more snooze, ok? You're too SMART for that.
Ciao for now,
Do you have a Writing SMART goal? Please share!