Ah, it’s the New Year. I always love the feeling of the new year- it feels like such a fresh start. I’m a very goal oriented person, so while I’m constantly setting new goals for myself, I like to take the new year as a chance to step back and really re-evaluate where I am and where I want to go.
The new year is also typically when I’ll set some more ‘large-scale’ kinds of goals for myself, and then I break those goals down into smaller chunks. In the past, I used to create categories for each part of my life (like blogging, writing, fitness, school, etc), and set at least 5 goals in each section.
You can probably guess what this resulted in: a lot of uncrossed goals.
So I’ve totally rethought everything, and I’m only sticking with a few key goals. More specifically, I want to focus on cultivating habits that will lead to the formation of other habits– something called a keystone habit (side note: reading The Power of Habit right now and it’s totally rocking my world).You guys will definitely be hearing more about habits from me as I try to set up more in my life, because seriously, that book is really changing my views on what a habit is on a fundamental level, and how we use habits in our lives (isn’t it great when a book can be that impactful on your life?! Writer goals, right there).
Without future adieu, I present to you: my goals for 2016!
A Comprehensive List of My Writing Goals
1.) Write 1,000,000 words.
Yes, you read that number correctly: 1 million. A 1 followed by six zeroes (no, I didn’t add too many, although people have already sent me some concerned Tweets).
1 Million = A lot of words, but more manageable than it looks
Yes, a million is a lot of words. It seems like an incredibly huge number, but if you break this mega goal down into chunks, this is what it looks like:
Monthly Required Word Count: 83,334 Words
Weekly Word Count: 19,231 Words
Daily Word Count: 2,740 Words (and I gave myself a day off because there are 366 days in 2016! ;))
I’m actually a pretty fast typer, and if I’m feeling really focused, I can knock out 1,000 words of fiction in 20 minutes. Obviously blog post type content takes me a longer time, but theoretically speaking, it should only take me 2 hours of focused writing max every day (I say this now, and then four hours later, I’ll still be writing, haha) (hopefully not…). 2 hours doing something I love? That’s not too terribly bad.
I’m planning to break it down even more. I want to wake up and spend 30 minutes-1 hour writing in the morning, then write in smaller bursts throughout the day as I tend to my other obligations, and then spend an hour or so writing in the evening to complete my daily word count.
Thinking about it like that, in micro-chunks, the goal itself seems a lot more manageable.
In the interest of 100% transparency, I thought I would share with you all what exactly I’m including in my definition of ‘words’.
What’s included: fiction writing (novels, short stories, flash fiction), blog posts, any other writing long form content for social media (Medium, or meaningful/helpful Tumblr posts, forum replies that are answering a question), journaling, client edit letters, newsletters, and school work. Essentially, any writing that is going to help me grow as a writer and editor.
What’s not included: Twitter replies, blog comments, any ‘fun’ forum replies, text messages. Essentially, any writing that is not going to help grow my skills as a writer.
The purpose of this entire challenge is to push myself– so I’m not allowing myself to ‘cheat’ and use purposeless text messages. The writing needs to be meaningful and/or helpful.
It took time to think this through.
Even with that though, I have to admit, I toyed with the idea for a very long time. There were so many doubts: what would I use the words for? Will I even be able to keep up? But the most prominent concern for me was: am I ready for this?
1 million words has always been a faraway dream to me, something I’ve told myself I would attempt when I became a ‘professional’ writer and blogger.
But who’s to say I’m not a professional now?
You are what you do- and if I’m a writer and blogger, then I will do those things. If I want to get better at writing and editing, then I need to do those two very things. It’s why, even though I was a bit hesitant, I decided to issue myself the challenge.
My Habits Now: Inconsistent
I should probably issue a disclaimer here: I don’t write super consistently as of now. While yes, I do find myself writing a lot because of school or these lovely blog posts, I don’t have a writing habit set in place. There are days that pass when the only words I type will be on late night Twitter conversations, and then there are others where I write 2,000 words in-between my fiction work and blog posts.
Do I even have the time?
Yes, I am in school 8 hours everyday. Yes, I have a part time job. Yes, I have hours of homework every night. Yes, I have family responsibilities. Yes, I read frequently.
But I also know that I have a lot of wasted time in my day– those 20 minutes endless scrolling session on Twitter add up. If I do that three times a day (which, let me freely admit: I check Twitter way more than three times a day), that’s already an hour of wasted time. Lately, I’ve start to come to fully realize how precious time is, and I want to force myself to start using mine better. Even if it doesn’t seem like I have the time to write so much in a day.
That’s not to diminish the fact that it’s going to be tough to make this happen- believe me, it’s going to be tough to make this happen. I truly believe it’s going to come down to two things: using my time productively and saying no.
Turning the impossible into the accomplishable
A part of me is still incredibly nervous about this goal. Now that I’m publicly announcing it, it seems so more etched in stone than it was previously. But I want this public accountability, so that I can push myself. Writing so much 365 days of the year is no easy feat, but like I said, I want to show both the world and myself that big, crazy dreams are possible to accomplish- if you’re willing to put in the effort, if you’re willing to show up every day.
It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of hand cramps. It’s going to take pushing myself through the worst of days, pushing myself through the days when I would rather slap myself across the face than write, pushing myself through the days when it feels like I have not a word left in my system. It’s going to take everything I’ve got.
Will it be worth it? Yes. I 100% believe it will be. (I’ll let you know for sure on December 31st, though)
So here’s to it, guys. Here’s to the impossible, and the start of something very, very new.
Yeah, that is my one and only writing goal for the year. Everything else I want to accomplish- writing more blog posts, staying consistent, producing really solid emails for my subscriber list- it all comes down to that daily writing progress. If I’m producing so many words on a daily basis, I have no doubt that my problems with posting consistently are going to disappear, because after all, I’ll need to write more words for a purpose, yes?
So tell me: what are some of your writing goals for 2016? Have you ever set yourself a seemingly impossible goal- how did it turn out? Am I slightly insane for committing to this?