I hope you all had a wonderful (and writerly) Christmas!
Earlier in December, we looked at some of the basics of writing efficiency. With New Year’s (and hopefully more vacation time) approaching, we’re going one step deeper into the world of efficient writing. Let’s dive in!
A small note before we begin: you’re busy. For people like me who read articles at stoplights, there are recap instructions at the bottom of the post.
Whether it’s traveling, shopping, or even going out to eat, things always get done faster if you know what you’re trying to accomplish before you start. It gives you direction and helps you take the steps you need in order to be successful. It also keeps you from getting distracted and derailing. The same is true for writing.
So, to unintentionally fit into the season… make goals.
There are two types of goals you need to make before heading into a writing session: Content and Time.
Your writing will have more clarity and drive if you go into each writing session knowing what you’re trying to accomplish, even if you have no idea how to get there. There are three areas you can focus upon — Character, Plot, and World. Even though they overlap, choosing one category at a time to focus on will help your writing be more vivid and powerful.
Below is a breakdown of what you may want to concentrate on in each of the categories.
- Establish a character trait
- Specific relationship
- Change in character (emotionally, morally)
We have a fantastic collection of articles about characters (my favorite subject)!
- Inciting incidents
Check out all of our world building articles!
Tip! You may be most successful by mapping things out prior to writing (or just writing your goals down in a place you can see so you stay on point.) I find that I need a physical pen and paper to map my thoughts and create, and my computer is where things get polished. I wrote an article to help you choose the right writing tools for the different stages of writing.
Decide how long you want to write before you start writing. You can gauge this by actual minutes/hours, page count, or scene completion.
Personally, I feel like Gimli in my running and my writing– a “natural born sprinter; very dangerous over short distances.” – LOTR
Giving myself a specific timeframe helps me push through where otherwise I would give up. Oftentimes as I near finishing my time goal, I make another smaller goal so that in the end I’ve written for far longer/more than I would have if I had just sat down to write until my inspiration and motivation had bled out onto my keyboard.
- Choose a content goal that has to either do with characters, plot, or world.
- Make a goal of how long you want to write.
- Do it.
- Do it again.
I know it can be hard to stick to goals, but we’re all pretty good at making them, right? We can totally do this!
Abigail, with the stewardess giving me a last warning to put my tray into upright position and stow my laptop, signing off.