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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