The goal for my current writing project: Five hundred words a week.
The world isn’t ready yet. The characters are… getting there. Maybe. If you squint a little. And the distractions. Oh, the distractions. Work, the company, grad school (oh my grad school, here we go again).
Five hundred words.
A simple goal. A blog post length. It’s not like I can’t write one of those in an evening, under stress. And with the story, it’s even easier, right? It doesn’t have to be final draft material. It doesn’t even have to be part of the story. The last time I tried it, I was bored and jotting on a pad, and ended up with a solution to the issue of where the young people go during the day (and how they know each other), some thoughts on arranged marriages, and a discussion of double standards of morality when it comes to treating people like art projects.
I’ve tried larger goals. They generally involved getting a little ways, getting distracted or cocky, getting behind, and giving up at the point at which it appeared impossible to make it through. (Not that it was actually impossible, mind. With better concentration—with a willingness to drop this week’s session or this evening’s video gaming or that fascinating book that leaped off of the nonfiction table into my arms—maybe. Just maybe. But small ones work—I mean, hey, five hundred words three to four days a week on topics, on a similar theme and trying not to repeat topics? Been there, done that, need to create a T-shirt. It’s by small goals that we get our work done. Seven posts a week on the forum. Blog posts Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and every other Saturday night. Five hundred words a week of world-building or plot-furtherance or asking and answering questions about this, that or the other character. Give me an hour of boredom and it isn’t even pressure. I can do it anywhere—at the desk, on the trolley, in the reading and typing pauses of an online game. And it doesn’t turn into something paralyzingly overwhelming, like “How in blazes am I supposed to render the background of this mural-thing?”
Five hundred words a week. Minimum. More if I feel like it. Yes, it’ll take a while. But better slow progress than none at all.