Holding Myself Accountable to the Goals I Set

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Whew! One week down, about two and a half to go. Time flies when you are attempting to accomplish terrifying goals.

This week I wanted to talk about the goals I set last week, let you see how accomplishing them has been going and then talk about what I found helped and what I found held me back. The good news – I mostly accomplished the goals I set. The bad news – I almost didn’t. I had a few touch and go moments and it wasn’t pretty. Luckily I have an amazing support network who understands how important this goal is to me, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this has made all the difference.

Recap, week one goals define the concept and start the rough draft. In order to really accomplish this I identified that I need to write 300 words a day in order to have a completed rough draft ready for the painful editing process with enough time to have a final ready for submission on September 14th. How did I do with my daily word counts? See below:

  • Monday – 348 words
  • Tuesday – 142 words
  • Wednesday – 0 words
  • Thursday – 307 words
  • Friday – 0 words
  • Saturday – 623 words
  • Sunday – 1,297 words

I managed to surpass the total number of words needed for the week (2,150 words), but as you can see here there were a few days I struggled with getting anything done. I’d love to say I was too busy to write, or that emergencies came up making it impossible. None of that was the case. The only thing that held me back was me.

I was elated on Monday when I surpassed my goal, it felt like a win that was going to help push me through my word counts every day. Instead it was that much more disappointing on Tuesday when I didn’t even hit half of my word count, and that certainly made Wednesday hit that much harder when I closed out the day with 0 words.

I tried to perk back up on Thursday and managed to meet my goal, but somehow a successful day just led me into the following day set up for failure. By none other than myself. I spent a majority of the last week hopping in and out of my own head, psyching myself out, staring at the blank page for far longer than someone who has a completely realized concept should.

And it really is a fully realized concept with characters I want to keep around long after this short story is complete, an entire series worth of adventures and shenanigans for them. So why was it so hard for me to write a simple 300 words per day?

In November those who sign up for NaNoWriMo sign themselves up for a much more intense goal of 1,500-1,700 words per day in order to complete a 50,000 word manuscript. And they succeed! So I keep going back to asking why I can’t do this minor goal.

The answer is me. I am my own worst enemy.

This is where a support network becomes necessary. I sat down yesterday staring at what I had written all week and dreaded adding to it. I had a rough outline and I already knew where I was going with the story, and I still found myself stuck less than 1,000 words into the story. While I was ranting and raving at my computer, ready to quit writing forever (perhaps a bit of a melodramatic response to the self-induced stress) my husband was patiently waiting for me to take a breath. His patience was a life saver (again, a bit melodramatic, my life was never in any danger). He said exactly what I needed to hear and helped me walk through what I was stuck on so I could figure out what needed to come next.

The result of this? Blowing both Saturday and Sunday’s word count goals way out of the water. I surpassed both day’s goals in record time, writing for less than an hour on Saturday and just over an hour on Sunday. I have good feelings about the rest of the word count goals this upcoming week and I know that if I get stuck again I have someone who is there to help me get through it.

What’s next? Another 1300 words to complete the first draft and then I start editing. I can’t wait to see how the next week goes – nervous, always, but definitely excited too.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with writing goals; you can share in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email hsellers@heather-sellers.com

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