Writing Goals: January Results

You can guess from the title that I set specific writing goals every month. This is a relatively new thing for me–until recently, I was making do with writing goals like “FINISH THE DAMN BOOK.” (I really didn’t give up that style of “goal-setting” until I finished the damn book, to be honest. Afterwards I found that “FINISH ANOTHER DAMN BOOK” just didn’t have the same motivational power.)

Then my friend Sarra Cannon, who is a highly successful entrepreneur and indie author, convinced me to be a little more intentional about it (detailed podcast coming about this in a few weeks), so I tried a new approach. And every month I look back and reflect on how I did.

Y’all. January was a SLAM DUNK.

I planned to write 20 days, and managed to write 14, which hit my 70% goal. But here’s the big one: my monthly word count goal was 6K, with a stretch goal of 10K, and I wrote 12,733 words in January. BOOM. All this while living a life, working a very time-consuming job, and maintaining my sanity.

my writing planner (Sarra Cannon) and excuses journal (Erin Condren)

Trends tell the story, and looking back at my little dated planner in which I note all this stuff (thanks, Erin Condren), I see I’m writing about 600 to 650 words per session–way more than the 300 to 500 I was anticipating. But I’m not going to increase my writing day expectations, since I think the low goal (300 is really easy for me, let’s be honest) makes me feel like it’s less of a big deal so why not just sit down and crank it out.

I also notice that I’m less likely to skip writing on a “writing day” since I have to write down my bullshit excuse in my planner, and with a 300-word goal, all my excuses except “I’m dead” would pretty much be bullshit. I mean, I’m highly aware that I could probably write 300 words just during the commercial breaks while watching Battlebots. It’s an interesting mindset shift that I learned from someone else (Shaunta Grimes, maybe?) and it probably won’t work for everyone, it’s doing the trick for me. The idea is that small goals help you build habits, and habits are what help you hit big goals.


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