On the importance of setting daily goals

The human mind is a wonderful thing, give it a goal and achieve that goal and it will make you feel on top of the world.

Do you ever find yourself sat at home at the end of a day feeling depressed or down? You feel lethargic and as though you have achieved nothing even if you have been to work and cleaned the house. What if I told you there is a tiny little thing that you can do that will change that? One little thing you can do each day which will make you feel great? Well I am guessing you said something like ‘please yes oh wise one, help us to be happy’ thus I must indulge you.

As a writer my life’s goal ultimately is to write things of outstanding quality that others will enjoy and in some small way my writing will improve the readers life. To that end it is very important that I do one thing consistently, if you guess that is writing, well you guessed correctly.

I have spoken before about the importance of making writing a daily habit but today I will be talking more about WHY it is important from a psychological standpoint.

I read an article about Stephen King a few days ago that discussed the fact that he writes 2000 words a day, some days it may take him an hour or two and others it might take him all day, but he does it every day. That reminded me of a time when I felt great, when I felt like everyday I was taking small and achievable steps towards my goal of becoming a published writer.

The time it reminded me of was NanoWriMo, for those of you not in the know that is National Novel Writing Month and it is a month in which writers everywhere attempt to write at least 50,000 words of a first draft. In my efforts to reach this goal I wrote between 1500 and 4000 words a day consistently for those thirty days and there was not once that I felt like I had wasted a day. I could lie on the sofa and watch old 80’s movies for the rest of the day and I would still feel accomplished, that was all down to one thing.

The goal, the goal to write at least 1130 words a day. Every time I did this I told myself I had done what I set out to do that day. My brain thanked me for my hard work with a dopamine hit and I felt like I could do anything. Further to that hormonal release of happiness it reinforced a feeling of a ‘yes I can’ attitude. I set out on a goal that many called ridiculously hard or downright impossible and I did it anyway. Everyday I was showing my mind that all the naysayers of my past were wrong, I could do whatever I set my mind to and I kept on doing it.

Since then my writing has been fairly consistent but I certainly won’t lie and say that there haven’t been days or even sometimes a couple of days where I haven’t written anything. How did I feel on those days? Well I felt awful and I have resolved never to fall back into the ways of not writing, a writer writes and write I shall.

I am a regular reader of Writing Magazine and in the most recent issue they provided a wall callendar to track all of the writing expos and events around the country this year. I have begun using this wall planner to track my word count for the day and I will write a minimum of 1000 words a day 7 days a week. For the sake of complete transparency I shall share with you: 20th – 4118, 21st – 1102 and today 646 and counting. This blog post is the first thing I have written today as I have just returned from work but this afternoon is reserved for continuing efforts on my Werewolf novel so I shall expect to at least breach 2000 words by the time I am done for the day.

I know not all of you are writers but if you are, set a daily goal to write, and if you are not then set a daily goal that means something to you and do it DAILY, in the long run you will thank yourself for your small yet consistent efforts.

Until next time, I shall leave you with this: The half life within it faded away when we went to sector 17, probably because it had stopped writing.

Ja,Ne.

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Writers are arrogant?

Hello one and all, is it Wednesday already? The keen eyed observers amongst you will notice that it is in fact not. That being said I have a busy day tomorrow and I am not technically minded enough to figure out how to delay the posting of this until tomorrow, so here we are.

Lately I have been trying to read far more than I have in the past, finishing a book a week or thereabouts and as such…I have read quite a lot.

The problem with reading a lot is that sometimes you read something and you think, god that wasn’t very good. You notice large gaping holes in the story, you find prose that you think is horrible and you are left thinking, how did this get published? Aren’t I better than this? Why am I not published!

And in there my friends lies the dark side, you might be right in some instances as there have certainly been books published that were not very good at all, but in other instances you will be very wrong.

Regardless of if you think your writing is  better than this writing or that writing you must  remember this. You are not a publisher, you are not a marketer and you will probably never know as much as those people do about selling books. If you are not published and the author of this book you think isn’t as good as yours is there is one of two possible things going on.

  1. You really are the next best thing, you just haven’t been discovered yet. (This one is unlikely mind you.)
  2. You have not written a publishable book. (much more likely).

Maybe your writing is better than this other author and maybe it isn’t but that isn’t really the point. The point is that for whatever reason a publisher and an agent and bookshops have seen fit to sell this authors book, but they haven’t seen that with yours.

Never let your arrogance turn you to the dark side of believing the publishing world is out to get you and you will never be accepted as an author. Believe in what you write but LEARN from what you read. Let the reading you do inform your craft and in time, with persistence and skill you will reach your goal.

So I shall leave you with this, never look down on another authors work, especially if you are only doing so out of jealously. Learn what you can from it, learn what the publishing world is looking for, apply that where possible and reap the rewards.

Ja Ne.

Going to university

It has come to my attention that I have not posted anything to this blog in far longer than I would have liked. I must confess I had the original intention to post here every single day, as you can see however, that did not happen.

I am now setting myself what I feel is a much more realistic goal that will take into account when things get in the way or life is just a bit busy. So, from now on I will be aiming to post once per week, every Wednesday.

The reason I fell out of posting recently has been in part due to traveling up and down the country visiting universities. As anyone who has read my earlier posts will know I am fast approaching my 30’s and as the keen eyed amongst you will have rightly noted, that is not the usual age to go to university. Well when I was younger I had no interest in the education system and no idea as to what additional opportunities getting an education would afford someone in life, to but it plainly, I was a bit silly.

Now that I am older and wiser I thought I would quite like to get a degree and what better subject that Creative Writing. It will give me three years in which I will get to work with published authors, agents, publishers and all sorts of other knowledgeable people who I have no doubt will assist me in bettering my writing. My current aim is to be published before I am 30 and as such that means I must publish my first book the year before I would graduate, this may be layering the work on thick but I think it can be done.

I must apologise that this is really more of a blog just talking about myself and not giving any useful advice, perhaps it is a bit late for that as if you have read this far… you already knew that. I will give you a little bit of advice here just in case you missed it. If you have the opportunity to get more education then do it. You may not think it is cool or fun or anything like that but in the long run being more educated can never be a hindrance.

With that in mind please accept my apology for a rather droll post and please join me next Wednesday where I will offer more clever writing advice.

Ja Ne.