April 2018 is a big month for aspiring writers, poets, and other creatives. Currently, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo by writing a short story collection. Most blog posts this month will be focused on my experiences with completing this project.
April is a big month for aspiring writers. Many writing contests and challenges are put forth to push writers to grow in their craft by various organizations. It comes timely for me, as I have recently left my contract job and am looking for new opportunities on the horizon. One would think that my open schedule will allow for uninterrupted participation in events like Camp NaNoWriMo.
I’m flattered by the amount of faith you have in me.
Staying committed to my goals has been a long-standing struggle of mine when it comes to writing projects. Partly due to the natural disorder of life, but mostly to do with the intimidation I feel when I actually sit down to work towards my writing goals.
Currently, I have a writing goal on Camp NaNoWriMo to log a total productive writing time of 60 hours before the month’s end. The plan is to write two hours every day on my short story collection. It takes around four to six hours to write a short story, so I will produce around 10 inter-related stories that will need to undergo revision by the last day of the month.
It seems like a doable creative project and it is not that much of a stretch for me.
Then I fail to write the first day and the second day. I give it another go the third day and actually produce the first arc. By the next day, it is back to not writing on the project at all.
I am not alone in my dilemma. If the many blog posts and articles out there about achieving goals serve as any indication, many people, in general, wrestle with fulfilling set goals. It partly has to do with fantasizing the goal too much that a sense of accomplishment is given, or too high of expectation that the fear of falling short stops us from even starting.
So how do I get over the initial hump of being intimidated by my own goals?
I make a smaller goal to reach the bigger one.
Writing two hours a day can be daunting, especially when you have other things vying for your attention. However, writing for 10-15 minutes in quick sessions throughout the day is less stressful. I tell myself, “I’ll write for 10 minutes, focusing on the interaction between the two characters.” After those 10 minutes are done, I give myself a break and not look at the previous work.
Rinse and repeat until I have a rough draft of the first arc.
Often times, it is a matter of getting started that makes the goal less intimidating. It is easy to fall into the habit of criticizing the work before you even start (or even while you’re writing it). But if the time is mapped out in smaller sessions, it makes it difficult to truly critique the work until after the section is done.
Overall, writing in sprints has definitely kept me from falling too far behind from my daily goals.
How do you go about achieving your goals?