Guest Post: Aim, Shoot, Bull's-Eye: Writing Targets for the New Year

 I don't often do guest posts, but the moment I read Kenda Turner's words on writing targets, I knew they had to be shared. If you're like me, her post will get you writing (guilt-free!) all year. Kenda blogs over at Words and Such. Take a minute to go visit.
 
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Aim, Shoot, Bull's-Eye: Writing Targets for the New Year, by Kenda Turner.
 
I know it's just semantics, but I've decided to set writing "targets" rather than resolutions for the new year. The "dart board"--what I'm aiming for--is to write every day. No matter how much,  how little--my goal is to at least hit one of four targets every day. Each is represented by the graduated concentric circles of a dart board. (I wish I could diagram this, but such design skills aren't in my repertoire yet!)

The four targets include:
1. The Bull's Eye: Write 1000 words. I hope to hit this mark more often than not in the upcoming year. But that is the real prize, and often hard to attain. So if circumstances--like life's challenges away from the computer--preclude this then I'll aim for...

2. The Inside Ring: Write two pages. Linda Sue Park, author of the 2002 Newbery Medal Winner A Single Shard, in an interview over at Cuppa Jolie, said: "My most valuable tip came from Katherine Paterson, who wrote in an essay about how she tries to finish 2 pages a day. I read that when I was starting work on my first novel, and it was a huge light-bulb moment. I thought, I can do that! I don't know if I can ever write a whole novel, but I sure as heck can write 2 pages a day. I've written every single one of my novels that way, and I'm positive I never would have written even one if I hadn't read that tip." Still and all, though, if time is at a premium on a busy day, I will at least shoot for...

3. The Middle Ring: Write for 15 minutes. Dan Goodwin, at Coach Creative, says: "Create every day and you get used to starting creative sessions quickly and easily. They become a routine, a habit, and you begin before you've had a chance to procrastinate. The less often you create, the harder it becomes to get started, and the more excuses and 'urgent' tasks that have to be done before you create begin to stack up...(so) start today, set aside 15 minutes, make an appointment with your creativity, and write it down. Do the same tomorrow." Yet, being realistic, on days I can't even do that I will at least...

4. The Outer Ring: Write ten words. This from Mary E. Pearson, on a  guest post at Dear Editor: "When I feel like I can't move forward, I will do all kinds of things to help me keep going, like...Trick myself. I sit down to write and tell myself I only have to write ten words and then I can get up and do whatever I want guilt free. TEN. That's all. But I have to do it every day." She says it's amazing how allowing yourself ten simple words more often than not jump starts the writing process and you end up writing more than you thought you would.

So there you have it, my targets for 2011. Every day, hit at least one. Now my aim might be poor at the beginning. After all, I haven't been all that consistent in the past. But with practice, who knows what  will come. I'm looking forward to finding out!

What are your writing targets for the upcoming new year?

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. --Vita Sackville-West
 
Kenda Turner is an aspiring author who has written a MG historical fiction with two more MG ideas on deck ready to be plotted. She's been published in such children's magazines as Children's Digest, Children's Playmate, and Boy's Quest. She's also been published in two Cup of Comfort anthologies. Her best friends in 2011 promise to be a notebook and pen so she can write anywhere.

10 comments:

  1. I want to finish my manuscript in time for a late April conference. I like the idea of breaking it up into smaller pieces.It's more manageable mentally.

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  2. This is awesome advice and how wonderful if we could all hit the bull's eye 5 out of 7 days. Thanks for sharing.

    Terri
    http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com
    http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com

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  3. These ideas helped me give up the guilt of not writing a big chunk every day. Let's face it, there are plenty of "those days", but if I can cajole myself to write for a few minutes, it might stretch a bit longer.

    ~Debbie

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  4. Since I am famous for overwhelming myself, I broke my goals down into monthly goals this year. So far, I'm actually keeping up with myself.

    1) Write 1 chapter of my novel each month.
    2) Submit 4 article queries (or 2 full submissions) each month.
    3) Submit 2 batches of poetry each month.
    4) Save $$ for school (I would like to earn my certificate for Feature Film Writing through UCLA)
    5) Blog my fingers off to connect with other writers and keep in touch about our progress.
    6) Complete a rough draft of my short film by the end of the year. This month I am going to focus on brushing up my knowledge on the technical setup of a screenplay.

    I hope that everyone is having agreat new year so far!

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  5. Wow, Krissy. I got exhausted just reading your list. Sounds like you have energy and drive. It will take you a long way (but send a little to me!).

    Post a link to your blog, if it's set up. I'd love to check it out.

    ~Debbie

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  6. I love this! It's inspired me to make a similar 3-tiered goal this year!

    ~Carla

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  7. I've enjoyed the discussion on this post, Debbie--thanks again for sharing. So far so good--I've hit a target every day since posting :-) The blogging community is helping keep me accountable for my words!

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  8. Congratulations on hitting your targets! I'm hoping I'll be able to do better once I get my computer back from the shop next week. Sharing other computers is getting pretty old!

    ~Debbie

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  9. Yes, Debbie, this was exactly what I needed. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of these achievable targets. :)

    Penny.

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  10. It was such an encouragement to me when I read it on Kenda's blog, I knew more people needed to see it. Glad it helped!

    ~Debbie

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