Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goals and my ah-ha (!) moment

First, let me draw attention to the (!) in my heading. I just had a column reader inform me via e-mail that I overuse the (!). And guess what! She's right! Which makes me want to use! it! even! more!

Okay, now that we have thoroughly established the fact that I'm still fourteen years old, here's what I really want to talk about today. A few years ago I had an extremely inspiring, useful conversation with the lovely Shannon (THE GOOSE GIRL) Hale, who told me that she sets weekly writing goals for herself regularly. This kind of break-your-tasks-down-into-manageable-bits action is brilliant, of course, and it's probably one of the reasons Shannon has been so successful (not to mention the fact that she's just extraordinarily gifted).

Anyway. I started doing that myself, and in certain ways it's really paid off. I have been pretty productive over the past few years. Only I've noticed with this last manuscript that I've been writing to meet the goal (FIRST DRAFT DONE BY THANKSGIVING!) instead of writing to tell the story. And, of course, the goal has been to finish! submit! publish! move onto the next project! because I want to be proflific! like Meg Cabot.

I would love to be Meg Cabot.

But somewhere in the rush to meet goals and be prolific I started to just write the surface of my stories, which is sooooo apparent in this manuscript I'm working on now. So. Here's my new set of goals for this project.

a. write every day
b. inhabit each scene as I write it so that it feels compelte

As long as I write every day, I'll finish it. I'll probably finish it in a decent amount of time, too. But I can NOT let time be my goal because then I'll just get too breathy. And sloppy.


Pink Ink said...

B makes sense. And sounds like it will produce some powerful writing.

shelley said...

I absolutely agree about the time thing. Deadlines are tricky business. They get things done, but usually not the way you want them too.
And I'm glad you're not Meg Cabot.

Lisa B. said...

Very good insights. It gives me something to think about for April (poem a day for a month month!).

Also, I never thought your use of !s was anything but knowing, postmodern, and very very meta. Which is why I cherish your !s. So! Much!

Louise Plummer said...

Truer words were never spoken!!!!! Hurried writing kills the soul!!!!!! Well, that might be a bit dramatic!!!!! But you know what I mean!!!!!!!