Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Aim, Shoot, Bull's-Eye: Writing Targets for The New Year

"It's the sheer act of writing, more than anything else, that makes a writer." --John Gardner

photo courtesy of

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


  1. Kenda--What a fantastic post!. I found myself saying, "Yes, yes, yes" all the way through. I feel exactly the same way much of the time. It is a fight to write, but I believe that if I had lots of time, it wouldn't be any easier.

    Would you be open to sharing this as a guest post on my blog? I'd love to be able to send more readers your way. You can let me know at dallenco [at]gmail[dot]com.


  2. Thanks, Debbie, and what fun it'll be to share this on your blog! We'll be in touch :-)

  3. Kenda, I love your idea of targets. It will be a great feeling to know you are achieving something every day. I look forward to reading about your accomplishments!

  4. What an awesome post and a great way to shoot for some writing to get done, no matter how little, because little leads to lots over time.

    I'm thinking to myself that this is something I can do since I haven't set down any specific writing goals except to blog once a week.

  5. I loved your idea of targets this morning, and I like it even better now! Great post. I would also like to share this on the Excuse Editor Fan and Twitter pages next week!

    Ready, Aim....

  6. Marvelous, helpful, creative post! Thanks.

  7. Thanks, Andrea, Kimberly, Tina and Sandra! And Tina, I'm honored you'd want to share this post, too :-) Please do...

  8. Great goals. I know you can do it. :)

    That fourth one sounds like something I should start, lol.

  9. This is great! I strive for 1K everyday. I use to strive for 2K everyday and it was too much for me. Sometimes I eclipse my goal and sometime I hit just under it, but I love that I have an accountability factor and of course the desire to pursue it. ;)

  10. Hello! Very nice post. I have about 15 "unclaimed" hours each week in which to write, and my goal is always to not let anything steal those 15 hours away from me.

  11. I will be rooting for you! I know you'll do great. I know how you feel about not having consistency--it's SO hard to maintain a routine; there are so many "little things" that get in the way. It's a big issue that I am working on this year, and if I find some insight, I'll definitely let you know. :)

    Hope you had a great new year, and I look forward to keeping in touch!

  12. Thanks Kindros, T.Anne, Catherine, and Krissy--it's great to know that we all have similar goals and are cheering each other on. And I'm so glad to meet new friends! Thanks for stopping by :-)