Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Much Do You Want It?

Goals are probably one of the things unpublished writers use the least. There are no deadlines, no "boss" telling them to get it done or get out. All they have is what they impose upon themselves. Published writers have to set goals if they want to keep on top of the industry and hold onto the slot they have with their publisher(s). For every action there is a reaction, and this scientific law also holds true for procrastination and goals. The less you write, the less you want to write. The more you write, the more you want to write.
~ Karen Wiesner


Today, I am standing up to my greatest challenge as a writer - and no, I'm not referring to adverbs (this time). I'm referring to...procrastination. Shhh! Don't tell anyone.

Don't get me wrong. I love to write - love it! And I'm proud of what I write. I just have a gift for avoidance, also know as that "P" word. Karen Wiesner believes that in order to be successful in this business, we must set goals. She recommends setting an easily attained goal, a challenging goal, and an impossible goal. What those goals are will vary, but once we've set them we need to test them, reach them, surpass them. So, how am I going to stand up to procrastination? Like this:

I hereby declare, publicly (yes, I may be insane):
  • to write something EVERY DAY
  • to set goals and meet them: an easy goal, a challenging goal, an impossible goal
  • easy goal: to beg my CP (that's you, Valerie darling) to use some tough love to kick my butt in gear (She's a writing work horse. If Valerie can't make me do it, no one can) and then to do what she tells me.
  • challenging goal: to complete and revise a new PB before Christmas
  • impossible goal: to write 25,000 words during NaNo (remember, I don't write full length novels, so this is a monster word goal for me)
  • to maintain a positive attitude and remember how much I want this dream!
The best way to get something done is to begin.
~Author Unknown


How do you stand up to procrastination?

P.S. Check out yesterday's review of The Popularity Papers. It belongs on your shopping list!

48 comments:

Vicki Rocho said...

I am a master of procrastination...I'm so good sometimes even I don't know I'm doing it!

A deadline is a great way to kick my butt into gear. Harder to enforce when they're self-imposed, though.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

You’re very brave to make these declarations so publicly. Good luck.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Laura Pauling said...

I def. need goals. From daily and weekly wordcounts - set so I'll usually surpass them to when I want to get the first draft done.... I don't procrastinate too bad. Sometimes though.

Michelle said...

my fave of your goals is the last!!! :)

Candyland said...

I'm still trying to figure this one out. I think if I had more time in the day I could meet ALL my goals all the time, but...hmm...

Jessica Bell said...

*sigh* It stands up to me unfortunately! :o/

Quinn said...

So true that the less you write, the less you want to write and the more you write, the more you want to write.

I procrastinate a lot, but my procrastination is useful. I spend my time coming up with an outline, sketching characters, figuring out what makes them them. So it helps, but ... still procrastination. I haven't figured out how to stand up to it.

Meredith said...

Ugh, I hate procrastination, but making goals and publicly declaring them is a good way to overcome it. Good luck!

Pk Hrezo said...

It gets the best of us. Sometimes I think I can't write unless the house is quiet and I have fresh coffee and I know I won't be interrupted for at least an hour and.... you see where I'm going. I think I have to wait til the stars are aligned, when in all actuality, I can pull out a spiral notebook and pen and just write.

Misty Waters said...

I LOVE to procrastinate! It's my favorite pastime. I guess it doesn't bother me b/c when I DO write, I go for seriously long stretches. For example, 3 of my books (95K each) I wrote in a month (not ALL in a month, you know what I mean). I write it, have all the leftover energy to create something else new, but I only have revisions to work on, THEN I procrastinate. It's AWFUL.

Racquel Henry said...

I'm ALWAYS procrastinating! It's something I really try hard to work on year after year, and I've gotten better. But I'm definitely still working on it! Yay for NaNoWriMo!

Janna Qualman said...

I agree! Goals are important, both to banish procrastination, and to set our sights to an appropriate distance. Where I have trouble is that I set my expectations too hight. That's what I'm working on correcting these days.

Love that cartoon, Shannon! I think I'll share that on fb. :)

Cleverly Inked said...

This is great not for just writing but for every aspect of your life.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Tough goals! Best wishes :)

Diane said...

Awesome goals and just like the quote said.... just begin. :O)

Theresa Milstein said...

How do I stand up to procrastination? I limit technology time unless it's for my manuscript. I've gone astray and am just returning to writing a rough draft again. Blogging ate away at my creativity and time. Now I post less, still comment a bit, and make time for my WIP every week day.

My goal is to have this done by the end of November. Maybe October if I'm on a roll.

Good luck reaching your goals!

Laurel said...

My critique groups are a huge help. Knowing I have eager readers waiting for something is a great motivation to keep moving forward. Overcoming the initial interia is the biggest hurdle. That just takes a kind of professional attitude toward your work--it's a job and you just keep showing up. Once you're working, ideas have a way of appearing. The muse favors those in the chair, not the ones staring dreamily out the window.

Valerie Geary said...

Neigh. Snort. Stomp. Chew. Shuffle. Neigh. Flick. Neigh.(That's me being a work horse.) Email forthcoming as soon as I get my lazy horse ass moving. (hehehe)

Colene Murphy said...

the only way I can stop procrastinating is to disconnect from the internet. As long as I have that there I will always "need" to check email, facebook, twitter, blogger and take too many breaks from writing.
Setting a public goal might work really well too! great advice

L.T. Elliot said...

Hear, hear! I'm joining you! Best of luck!

Jen Daiker said...

I find a quiet place with NO internet access and just my thoughts... that's how I get rid of procrastination... after I'm done procrastinating enough.

Jen Daiker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

You can do it! Best of luck.

Patti said...

Not very well. Procrastination knocks me over on a regular basis.

Marieke said...

Go you! :D

And yeah, disconnecting the internet is a good way for me too! And setting goals! And shouting them off the rooftops so I'll look like an idiot if I don't make 'em ;)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I force myself to do something writing related every night- and it has to be in one of my books. So long as I'm working- even a paragraph- I figure I'm still making progress!

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's tough because I always tackle it in different ways.

Mostly I chain myself to my chair. LOL
But lately, my crit partners and I have been doing a six sentence Sunday where we share just six sentences of what we're working on. No critique on them. It's pretty motivating to get a really good few sentences in then which ultimately translate into more. :)

Connie Arnold said...

Oh yeah, procrastination hits me regularly. I have to remind myself of the benefits when I get things done that need to be done and not putting it off. Those are some ambitious goals you have there!

The Golden Eagle said...

I study my plot until I've got enough enthusiasm about a future scene that I want to write it really, really bad. Or I force myself to edit by strapping my wrists to the keyboard.

Christ is Write. said...

I am very talented in procrastination, especially when I don't have deadlines that I have to reach. Setting goals has never really helped me personally, but creating a daily to-do list kicks me in gear. I love the feeling of checking things off the list, especially when they have to do with writing. =)

Great post! Loves the quotes.

Tessa
www.christiswrite.blogspot.com

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I'm sure you can do it. best of luck .

Yvonne.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, awesome goals! I think I might take this and run with it. Easy, challenging, impossible. I can do that.

You are my hero, Shannon!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

You can do it, Shannon! I think announcing your goals will help you stay accountable and succeed, too. I can be a mega procrastinator, too. Setting goals really helps to combat this.

Jemi Fraser said...

I can be a pretty good procrastinator myself! I like your goals - may have to borrow a couple :)

SH said...

Easy goals are definitely a great way to start, and a way to feel a sense of achievement so you can make more difficult goals easier to achieve :) Good luck.

Susan R. Mills said...

Best of luck keeping up with those goals. You're right; without a goal, we tend to procrastinate. I'm setting some goals for myself right now too!

Laura Marcella said...

I love that cartoon!!! So so true! :)

I set daily and weekly goals. I also have monthly and yearly goals. Sometimes I don't reach them as I'd planned, especially since my goals might change at a moment's notice, but as long as I'm moving forward then I feel pretty good about it.

Good luck achieving your goals!!!

LeishaMaw said...

You can do it! Congrats on making your goals. And, thanks for stoping by my blog(s). :)

Janet Johnson said...

Good luck with your goals! One of these days I'll jump out of my Procrastination Pit and join you. :)

Carolyn V. said...

Procrastination is my best friend. I can't seem to shake it. =D

Jennie Bailey said...

I don't always do it so well. Sometimes I just have to force myself to stay in my chair until I get a certain amount written. I try to do all my cleaning on Saturdays, and laundry on Sundays and Wednesdays - so I have NO excuses to not be writing. It can be difficult though. LOVE that picture!

Charmaine Clancy said...

I love that you include impossible goals :-)

Missed Periods said...

Without my writer's group meeting once every two weeks, I wouldn't get anything done.

Jonene Ficklin said...

Shannon, great blog! I love the three-goal plan. I'm going to try it. Thanks for the info.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great post! I love the quote you opened with.

I procrastinate a lot, sort-of. As in, I don't work on the project that I find the most daunting (i.e. my novel), but I do work on other less intimidating projects (my chapter book series and my PBs).

I really need to get on that novel, though. It's the outlining that gets me - it's scary! But I just have to do it.

I like the goal-setting ideas.

Slamdunk said...

Great advice; especially the write every day. Procrastination fluctuates with me--if I start doing it, the laziness will snowball.

Theresa M said...

I can't stand up to procrastination at all! I almost always put all my school work off until the last minute which can get me in a bit of trouble sometimes!

ali said...

I loved this quote: to maintain a positive attitude and remember how much I want this dream! Brilliant.

Your goals are excellent Shannon. And YES you can do this!!

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