Get it done already! Why short-term goals are better than long-term goals

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What’s the biggest project you have ever given up on?
For me, I wanted to make a polyglot Bible, with Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in three columns, marking all major differences. (Yes, I’m a nerd!) Working full time on this, I could have finished in a couple years. Maybe.
The problem? Nobody else wanted this. Worse, I found a computer program that could do this almost as well, a website that could do this with even more languages, and a scholar who already did my exact idea with two of the languages. Bummer.
I realized the importance of first making sure your goal is worth the cost.

But let’s say you know your goal—you want to write a novel. And publish it. And make money from it.
Let’s start with the first of these.

If you try writing a novel in your free time, you will never finish it. Why? Because your free time will always be filled with more urgent, more interesting things than continuing to slave away at that book. You’ll wonder: Do I have to? Whose idea was this anyway?
Set a realistic deadline. For me, each of my books has been about 100,000 words. And I can write 1,000 words in a day if I stay focused and do it before the rest of my projects.
Do the math. That means I will be done in 100 days, right?
UUUNNNN! (Buzzer goes off—you are about to be slimed.)
You want the weekends off, right?
You’ll be too busy sometimes, right?
And your “final” product (your rough draft) will be terrible, right? (Actually, this is not a question. It will be terrible.)

So, you have three options. Which is best?
1.Plan on writing long-term (a few years, perhaps)
2.Plan on writing more (several thousand words each day, or no weekends)
3.Plan on writing a shorter story

Ready for the answer?










The second choice: Write more each Why?
Because you’ll be done quicker—without limiting your goal. This is easiest during a slow time of the year or a vacation from other commitments.
1.You can stay focused for a short period of time. Set aside a couple hours each day and write nonstop. Do not fix anything yet. You will not finish a novel if you focus on having a good rough draft. Plan a party after you finish. (Then get back to work fixing all your mistakes, but rejoice in finishing the rough draft.)

2.You see immediate results. Within just a week, you can have a chapter or more finished. At this point, most other writers are still thinking about their title.

3.These results motivate you to keep going. If you have a chapter done already, you want to find out where the story is going. It’s like reading the best novel ever—a real “Choose your own adventure.” (I loved those as a kid.)

4.You get a reward so much faster. You can brag about completing your book—just don’t show anyone yet unless you want to hire them as your editor.

5.You can look forward to a well-earned rest instead of wondering when the end will come.

If you’re too busy now to set aside that much time, mark your calendar for Labor Day Weekend, when you can compete in the 3-day novel competition.


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