Writing Goals

Writing goals is hard. Also, writing goals are hard.

Put another way: The act of writing goals is hard. Also, writing goals–goals related to writing–are hard to write.

I don’t like count-based goals, in writing or in other pursuits. Write 1,000 words per day. Run a half marathon in a year. Lose ten pounds by June. Goals like these, for me, are recipes for disaster. I usually start with a small success streak, but if I break that streak, then the break itself turns into a streak, and suddenly a month goes by, and I’m no closer to achieving my goals.

I prefer habit-based goals–goals designed to help me develop a habit. I’m not great at habits, but I’m always starting and then restarting them, so it’s not a total loss. I’ve learned this about myself the hard way, and I’ve learned (also the hard way) that beating myself up over dropping a habit is not helpful. It’s not that there are no negative feelings associated with dropping a habit (there are); it’s just that I’m learning to experience the negative feelings for what they are (feelings) rather than what they’re not (a definitive confirmation of my total failure).

In writing my new year’s resolutions, I decided to focus on two words: consistency and resiliency. These two concepts may seem mutually exclusive, but I think they’re synergistic. I want to develop consistency in working toward particular goals, but I also want to develop resiliency when I inevitably become inconsistent. Knowing that I can just pick back up where I left off means that I’m more likely to become consistent on a macro level (e.g., over the course of a year), even if I’m not that great on a micro level (e.g., over the course of a week). Resiliency leads to longevity, or so I hope.

To that end, I’d like to set some writing-habit goals. I’d like to write for about an hour a day most days of the week. Maybe two hours on weekends.

“Writing” may include one or more of the following:

  • Invention work, including, but not limited to:
    • Musing/daydreaming
    • Notetaking
    • Doodling/diagramming
    • Researching
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing

Projects may include:

  • Fiction writing
  • Freelance professional/technical writing & editing
  • Blogging
  • Literally anything except my academic writing. That’s what my day job is for.

So there you have it. Writing goals is hard, and writing goals are hard. Now it’s time to go forth and meet them.

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