Last week, I wrote about why setting writing goals works. After you read that, you may have thought ‘well, Therese, that’s easier said than done’. If you did, I’ve got you covered in today’s post! I’m sharing three simple ways to stick to your writing goals. These tips have helped me to stick to my own writing goals, and I really hope they do the same for you.
1. Schedule it in Your Calendar in Advance
For me, scheduling events and goals in my calendar/planner makes them official. Naturally then, whenever I have a writing goal I’d like to achieve, I schedule it into my calendar. Generally, this takes the form of the daily word count I’ll have to reach to meet whichever deadline I have.
This means that every morning when I open my calendar, my writing goal is the first thing I see.
I know this might seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t. Because seeing your writing goal somewhere other than in your mind will help you keep focus. This is especially true if you keep it positive. Instead of using the number of words you want to write per day, use the total word count you’d like to be at. So, don’t write down ‘today I have to write x words’, but rather, ‘today I want to be at x words’. (For example, at the moment, I’m trying to write 1 000 words per day for a new book. In my calendar though, it says that by the end of today, I’ll be at 12 000 words.)
This simple trick acts as positive reinforcement which reminds me of how much I’ve written. It shifts the focus to what I’ve already achieved as opposed to what I still need to do. Small mind shifts can make big changes!
2. Change the Scenery
I’ve read many articles which highlight the value of routine in writing. You set a fixed time in a fixed place and you sit down and write. And while that can be incredibly helpful, sometimes, it just doesn’t work. In those moments, I try to sit somewhere new in my house, or go out and work in a café or library. Changing the scenery can help to make you feel more excited about your writing, which can facilitate your creativity. And this, in turn, can motivate you to stick to your writing goals!
3. Try Something New
Recently, I opened my work-in-progress to a zoomed-in screen because of a previous document that I’d been working on. Surprisingly, this small change helped me to keep my focus that day. I can only imagine that this was because it helped me to see something I’d been staring at day after day in a new way, and helped to keep things fresh.
Trying something new with your writing – even something silly like playing around with your zoom settings – can give your brain a break from the habits you form while writing routinely. Sometimes, it comes by changing your mode of writing (such as from typing to writing by hand). Other times, it’s changing the perspective you’re writing in (such as from first- to third-person narration, or changing the point of view from your hero’s perspective to your heroine’s).
Remember, the more you write, the easier it will become to figure out what will work for you. And once you do, you’ll be able to stick to your writing goals easier, too!