Small goals—underchallenge yourself

Neil Armstrong Moon

Under exaggerate.

Sometimes I feel like I cannot be a real author since real authors have huge goals like 1,000 words every day. I’ve done this before, even developing the habit at times.
I feel envious when I hear of some writers, who top this lofty goal by writing several thousand words in a single day. I did that. Once.
But what about when life steps in?
How can you do 1,000+ words when there are kids? Another job? Sickness?
How do you not just give up after days, weeks of not meeting the 1,000 word limit?
How do you avoid the sprint of 1,000 word days, followed by nothing?

Keep it simple.
Now, this is not to replace 1,000 words. That has a huge benefit of leading to a novel every year, possibly even two.
But the sentence per day idea works when during those spurts of doing overtime in other aspects of your life. Like when the new baby has arrived. (I still don’t understand quite where our children came from!)

For those of you who like crossing off your list, one sentence is easy.
“He spoke.” Check.
See—you did it. You can mark that off your list.
If that’s all you can do, you still met your goal.
If you feel able, you can write more. Maybe a sentence—what did he say? Occasionally a page—how did the conversation develop? Who was he talking to? Perhaps 1,000 words—how will part of this conversation play into the story later? Once in a while more—end the chapter and keep it going.
The key to this is not so much about how much you write, but that you write. It keeps the story moving.

Some things to consider.
Do not use the sentence goal as a long-term approach. A novel includes several thousands of sentences, meaning that it would take you several thousand days to finish. Quick math—this could equal 20+ years! Plus, it would be difficult to remember what you wrote 20 year before.
Instead, try this when you feel overwhelmed with your schedule or when you are tempted to quit writing. It keeps the story going and helps you feel a little success in all the trials of writing.


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