1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
2. the terminal point in a race.
But is that what a goal really is like in the real world? A race to some finish line far in the future? Is a goal an "ending?" Or are goals something more?
There's a kind of mental roadblock we all face, looking down the road two, three, or ten years. Where do I want to be? What should I have achieved?
I see it time after time in the writing groups I'm a part of on Social Media. "I'm going to write a book!" they say, their cheeks all flushed with excitement. But that isn't what happens; they write for a few days. Minus just a few stubborn ones, they all disappear, or lose interest, or insist they are writing junk. So how do you break down writing a book, or any big task, into smaller ones? The biggest thing you can do is to not give up. Write every day. It will become habit.
If you are struggling to get your book out of your mind and onto paper, here is a little help:
- Break it into pieces: Although it might not feel like it, those warm up exercises you do to get your mind ready for writing are just as important as the writing itself. Learning to write and write better is a lifelong process. So set tiny goals to write progressively more every week. 200 words a day will turn into 300, then 500...
- Don't set a word count goal: Your total word count? Doesn't matter. If your novel is 60k words or 120k words, it's still a novel. Think less about totals and more about getting things done by scenes. Count your story done only when the story is actually finished, not when you reach a word count.
- Reward yourself: You wrote 4,000 words today! Although getting it done feels pretty good, you should reward yourself for winning little victories.
- Remind yourself why you are doing it: Make a scrapbook of everything that made you want to write a book in the first place, and keep it close. Was it a book, a quote? A story idea? A TV show? A story your grandma told you? Keep those things close. When the going gets tough, take some time to look through it, watch it, or read it again.
- Work in groups: Find some writing friends to keep you motivated. Sign up for a writing group on social media or a live, local group on MeetUp or similar sites.
- It doesn't suck: It might not be your best, but nothing you write is worse than the words you don't write at all. A blank page can't be edited!