September brings the sentiment of return, of students heading back to school in many places, of the sun emerging with its heated insistence to burn off the chill of winter in others. And because we are well beyond New Year, it’s a good time to renew writing goals without the baggage of statistics on how many resolutions fail to make it out of January.
Set goals for a month, for the rest of the year, for a lifetime. If you’re struggling to find space in your busy day for writing, try 10 minutes a day. Set your alarm a tad earlier and wake up to get in the extra writing time. Look for 10 minutes to squeeze out of a lunch break at work or school. Take advantage of idle time, waiting for meetings to start or a dinner companion to arrive. Consistency is key and even though 10 minutes may not seem like much, do the math: 300 minutes of writing in September is plenty of time to kick off a project or work on refining an ongoing one.
If you have a bit more time and are in the critical stages of an early draft where the little monsters are trying to convince you that your idea is bunk, a word-count goal can be beneficial. Once, I set a goal to write 500 words every day and respecting that goal allowed me to ignore the negative thoughts and push through to the point where I realized, much to my surprise, I was working on a memoir.
If you’ve gotten that wonderful first draft down, pick some revision goals. Can you do a few lines every day? Can you do a chapter a week? The goal will depend on the project, but make it attainable in pieces throughout the month.
Keep track of the progress toward your goals. Write in a diary or on a calendar which days you attained your goals. On the almost inevitable day when a target is missed, forgive yourself, reflect on the day and plan again for tomorrow.
Finally, make it a goal to get published! Akwantuo is always accepting submissions of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. See the About page for details and email to akwantuo at gmail dot com.