Tag Archive | Goals

Wow. I surprised myself.

I did not have a great day today. I won’t go into details, let’s just say it was a frustrating day. On top of the frustrations, I wasn’t able to get any writing done (except this blog). So I feel behind on things I should be getting done. Plus I looked over a couple of my contracts and realized there were a couple of problems I need to discuss with one of my publishers, so that topped off my day.

In light of the contract issues, I sat down to look at some of my stories that I had finished and in progress…and I surprised myself. If you look at my websites, you will see that I have four books and three short stories published under this name, and four more under another name. Okay, eight stories or books – not bad considering that most people who write will never be published. But then I looked at the other stuff I have sitting around. In addition to what I have out, and what my publishers are sitting on (four more stories), I have twelve more finished novels that just need me to work on them (edit), eleven more that are nearly done, twenty-five short stories (almost all are science fiction in nature), and another thirty-eight stories that are at least started, but just sitting there waiting for me to do something with them.

You don’t have to do the math, I did. I have a total of one-hundred-one stories either published or waiting for me to do something with them. And I’m sure there a a few ideas sitting around somewhere that I don’t have in my computer.


Now I’m certain that very few of them will ever go any further than they are right now, and several will probably be combined to form a single story, but still, I surprised myself. I didn’t realize I had that many. It feels pretty good. It shows me that I am a productive writer, even when I don’t feel like I am.

So on days like this when I’m feeling low about the writing, I’ll pull out that list, take a look at it, and know that I can get the stories out and that if I run into a block, all I have to do is pull up one of those works in progress and work on it.

I think I’d better go pull up a file and get some writing done. 🙂

Addendum: I kept counting (don’t ask – it was something I just felt I had to do), anyway, in addition to the above, so far this year alone, I’ve done 50 reviews for three different sites, critiqued twelve stories/novels for friends, relatives, and crit partners, done a half-dozen articles for newsletters, and blogged (I didn’t bother to count these) for this and other sites. That’s in addition to past articles for newspapers and magazines (I was a newspaper reporter for two years), more reviews than I can remember (did this for almost fifteen years), and copy-edited almost fifty full-length books (fiction and non-fiction) for private clients.

And yet, most professional writer’s groups don’t consider me a published writer because I’m not actively pursuing a career in writing. Interesting, huh? 🙂

Setting Goals

I was at a writer’s workshop yesterday and, while the speaker was interesting, most of the workshop was mostly useless for me as all the other participants had never written anything and needed the basics. Which is fine – we all have to start somewhere. I wish I’d known about things like this when I started. And, although a large portion of the class was repeating what I already know, sometimes that’s not a bad thing. It reminds you of things you might have forgotten or shuffled off to one side.

One of those things was that writers need to set goals. This is something we stress at my monthly writer’s group meetings. And it is echoed at many other groups and loops I belong to. And it is the one thing many of us fail to do.

What does a goal do for you? It gives you something concrete to aim for. It forces you to take responsibility for something – whether it is writing, or something to do with another aspect of your life. My local writer’s group just finished a challenge we called 50/50 – the goal was to write a minimum of fifty words a day for fifty days. You were allowed to take two days a week off, but no more. We posted our word counts each day and one of the members put them in a spreadsheet to be tallied at the end of the fifty days. It was interesting to listen to the word counts reached. Though we were aiming for a minimum of 2500 words, almost every person participating more than doubled that. And several came in at more than ten times the count.

The goal wasn’t to see who could write the most, but to get us writing on a daily basis. And we did. So many times, I and others would sit down, just not in the mindset to write – but the challenge – and the goal – was there. Write the fifty words. Then fifty became 100. And 200. And more.

So, to you I present this challenge: what are your goals? Post one of them here. Since this is a writing column, I’d prefer it to be writing related, but I’ll take what I can get. And I’ll even start you off. My goal is to blog, or tweet every day for the next month.