Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D - Daily Goals

This post is about a lesson I first learned with NaNoWriMo, in 2008. And with Script Frenzy. It comes back every time I need to get something done but keep procrastinating on it.

Small daily goals will make the task possible.

It’s silly how easily I can write 1000 words in a day yet if you were to ask me to do 7000 in a week, I’d spend the first half writing nothing and panic in the second half. I might succeed, but it won’t be smooth sailing. And they certainly won’t seem as good as when I do 1000/day.

The same is true with editing. I need to know what I want to accomplish each day (“one scene” or “three pages” or somesuch), or I’ll procrastinate and laze about and do half a page before calling it a day.

There’s a reason behind it. Small goals are easy bites to chew. Rather than looking at the large picture, you’re looking at the immediate and simple target. You hit that target every day and before you know it, bam, you’ve made it to the big goal!

Some writers function best in big chunks, but I’m definitely not one of them. I work better with the easily attainable objectives. One step at a time. I might not have made it to a 50,000 words total in March, but I bet I wouldn’t have written half of what I did without the daily target goals.

So if you’re having troubles reaching your objective, try this! It works wonders for me, especially when I have folks to berate me when I skip a day.

The equation is simple: Daily Goals + Cheerleader Team = Success.


  1. I am the same way. Especially with editing. I need small daily goals to get through it, or else I procrastinate like its a sport.
    Maybe I'll go make a goal for my editing.

  2. Ditto on the small daily goals...

  3. "It’s silly how easily I can write 1000 words in a day yet if you were to ask me to do 7000 in a week, I’d spend the first half writing nothing and panic in the second half."

    Why why why did this never occur to me? Ack! [off to reconceptualize my writing goals]

  4. Great advice!

    Small daily goals are perfect. Big goals are easy to miss and a huge demoraliser.

    One step at a time for sure!

  5. Miss Cole: Ditto on being demoralised at missing big goals. The wonderful thing, however, is that when you focus on hitting the small ones daily, you can get the big ones, too.

    Akari: Oh boy, editing. Yeah, this is truer with editing in my case, too.

    Margo: NO idea. ;) Hope it serves you well!

  6. This is a very good post and something we need to remind ourselves of more often. After all, when we drive from point A to pont B we get to count mile markers. It seems like too much to expect us not to give ourselves the same satisfaction of ticking off each mile as we go.

  7. goals are great, they just have to keep moving or they would become too easy to reach

    stopping in from the A to Z

  8. 1000 a day still intimidates me! But you're absolutely right--breaking it down into smaller goals is SO much easier than looking at the macro level. I find myself thinking, "I have this WHOLE book to fix?" But I can do it if I pull chapters 1-3 out of my 3-ring binder and put the rest away. Much more manageable!