Setting Realistic Writing Goals

It has been roughly one week since starting my 50,000-words-in-30-days writing challenge and one thing has become very clear to me.

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is an unrealistic goal. For me, that is. It’s just not going to happen. And I’m okay with that.

The first few days of writing were a bit exhausting. Like most writers, I have a full-time day job. I need to be completely alert in order to do my job well. Staying up and writing well past my usual bedtime resulted in a week where I dragged ass at work and was rendered pretty useless. That affected my pay and I cannot afford that to happen on a regular basis.

Realistically, I have a window of about two and a half hours to write during work-day evenings. My days off afford me a lot more writing time. Because of this I’ve gone ahead and changed my writing goals to ones that I know I can achieve.

I’m writing the first draft of a 55,000-word category romance. Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest is what started this whole novel-writing challenge in the first place. I’d read about the contest back in May and decided that using it as a deadline would get my butt in the chair and words on the page.

For years I’ve been saying that I want to write a novel but so far have made no progress. I am a bona fide dillydallier and I have to employ tactics that will allow me to reach my goal, which in this case is a deadline of September 21st.

A realistic goal for me is 5500 words a week, maybe more if I can double my writing hours on my days off. At any rate, I’m giving myself ten weeks to complete the first draft. In all likelihood, I will not be entering this manuscript in the contest. So far what I’ve written is horrible and will need to be rewritten. But I’m getting the story onto the page, and this contest deadline will serve as a tool to help me reach my goal of writing a novel from start to finish.


2 thoughts on “Setting Realistic Writing Goals

  1. I’ll be cheering you on, Jennifer!

    I’m in the middle of plotting my SYTYCW entry, so you’re not alone. Last year I completed my first novel after years of bragging about writing and completing one. But as soon as I was done I tucked it away and started novel #2, and then #3.

    Finally I realized I needed to go back and read that first story. All in all, I was scared to read utter crap. Imagine my surprise when what I’d written wasn’t ALL that bad. I mean, some parts definitely sucked, but I recognized what had gone wrong…and I would have never known if I hadn’t finished the first draft to start with.

    And it’s like you reiterated in your previous post: all first drafts are crappier than second drafts and thirds, etc. Best of luck! I’ll stop by again for an update.

    BTW, are you joining the SYTYCW via Wattpad? What line/series are you targeting? I’m going for Romance/Cherish. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Marna! Thanks for the words of encouragement.

      I’m targeting the Special Edition line, but I’m not so sure I’ll be entering the manuscript even if I finish writing by then. I am completely out of my element as I’ve only written short snippets for writing exercises and a few very short stories in the past.

      If I can get a solid first draft done I may consider entering. Using the contest as a deadline is giving me a reason to sit down and pound out words on a regular basis. I am determined to write a novel from beginning to end, and then start that process all over again with a second novel.

      Good luck on your entry! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this process. 🙂


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