Writing goals

I’m one of those people who likes to break my goals down into bite-sized pieces. When I think about writing a whole novel, I get overwhelmed. Eighty or ninety thousand words–or maybe more. Whoa!

But a chapter or a scene. This I can imagine. Sitting and writing ten to twenty pages is something I’ve done many times. Not every time, mind you. I’ve had plenty of writing sessions where I sit and stare out the window and a dozen words end up on the screen. Then I end up cutting ten of those words the next day.

That is a writer’s life.

So, it is that I’m always ready to try a new system for increasing productivity. At the RWA National conference, Susan Elizabeth Phillips talked about her latest system. It’s the digital timer. The difference between a digital timer and an old-fashioned kitchen timer is the pause function. With the pause function you can stop the timer when you take that phone call you must take, or when some other interruption occurs.

The beauty of these time goals that SEP emphasized is the concept of closure. Once you have finished your three hours you can give your mind permission to play. You can do whatever you want–play a game, check your e-mail, garden. But you have released your mind from the duty to put words on the screen. What happens? Sometimes you get your best ideas.

I have found this happens for me. I’ve been making a habit of taking a notebook to bed with me. After I shut down my computer, my mind starts sprouting ideas about as fast as I can write them down. This means that when I start the next day, I am ready to go. I seldom look back at that notebook. It is the act of letting the mind free and writing down the ideas that solidifies them in my head.

What method works for you to get words into your hard drive? Have you tried anything different lately that seems to increase your productivity?


  1. Oh, yeah. The pen. That helps. 🙂

    I found these cool notebooks from Moleskin that fit in my pocket. Then I invested in a small pen. Now I always have a small pen and notebook in my pocket. If an idea strikes when I’m walking the dog, standing in line at the grocery store–wherever–I’m good to go.

  2. xxhawkeyexx says:

    I always get inspiration when I’m hearing music. There are times when I’m in the car and, suddenly, an idea just pops into my head. That’s why I’ve been trying to carry this small notebook around with me to write any new scene, dialogue…etc…the only problem is…I always forget to carry the pen too.

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