Goal Setting: Finding Balance

How important are the goals that we set for ourselves? Some goals are important others are trivial. Whatever the goal is it’s up to us to decide its level of importance. It’s always a great feeling when you can look at your list of goals and check one off as completed. But what if you can’t check one off? Do you give up, throw in the towel? Of course not, that is the last thing you want to do.

Did I meet my goal and finish my second draft by my wife’s birthday? I’m happy to report that I didn’t. You might be wondering why I’m happy about not finishing, at first so was I. The answer is simple; I set myself up for failure. Looking back at my goal I realized I only gave myself two weeks to finish half a manuscript. Between work and family it was impossible for me to complete the second draft.

Is it ok to feel bad that a goal was not completed, of course it is. However it is not ok to quit because a goal wasn’t met. Instead we need to review what our goal was and reevaluate the best way to accomplish it. Goal setting is like the story of Goldilocks. We have to find the perfect balance. Sometimes our goals are too ambitious, other times they are lacking importance. It takes time and effort to find that perfect balance.

Take me for example. I don’t want to make the same mistake by setting too short of a timeframe to finish. Likewise I don’t want to make the mistake of giving myself too much time. If I do not give myself enough time to complete my goal I will fail again. If I give myself too much time to complete my second draft I also have a high chance at failing. How can too much time cause me to fail? Think of it like filing your taxes. We can begin filing them at the end of January however many of us wait till April 15th before turning in our forms?

So where does that leave me with finishing my second draft? My new goal is to finish by Halloween. This gives me a little over a month to finish. While giving myself the whole month I intend to finish much sooner. This extra time allows me to go back and do any minor edits before giving the manuscript to my Alpha Readers.

Take this time to review your goals. Are you on track? Do you need to make some modifications to your life to ensure that the goals are completed? Speaking of goals, it’s time I get back to completing mine. If you have a topic you would like me to cover or a question you would like answered send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.

On a side note I am going to post my progress slightly different. Instead of listing pages and word count I will be leaving a percentage of completion.

Novel Progress
Draft: Second
67.29% Complete


Writing Habit: Getting Organized

Good habits are necessary in order to be successful. On habit I struggle with is being organized. All my life I’ve had junk piling up all around me. Each year I clean up my mess and vow to keep everything in its place. This only lasts about a week. I’m sure many of you struggle with this as much as I do.

TWiW plaque

I’ve have this little plaque for years. Its message rings true to my heart. “Seldom tidy” is sometimes an understatement. This is embarrassing, but here is a picture of my desk as it was when I started writing this article.

TWiW Messy Desk

As you can see, I have a lot of room for improvement. Sometimes when I write I like to move my keyboard farther away from me, which allows me to stretch out my arms as I type. This becomes a difficult task when the keyboard keeps gets stuck by a piece of junk.

TWiW statue

I also have this little statue. It reinforces my lifestyle on the lack of being organized. The problem I’m having is my mess has begun to draw my attention away from my writing. I end up spending more time rearranging the junk than I writing my novel. So I decided that it was time to spring, or in this case late summer/early fall clean my writing space.

TWiW Clean Desk

A funny thing happened once I decluttered my desk. My mind also became decluttered. I began to write more efficiently. There were no longer “things” on my desk to distract me. I focused more on my writing and less on trying to become comfortable in my space.

The creative people I know are also the most cluttered. At the same time the successful people I know are also the most organized. In order to become more organized, in hopes to become more successful, I’m giving myself a challenge; I am also extending this challenge to all of you.

Throw one thing away each day for the next 30 days. This does not include junk mail or a piece of paper. Throw away actual stuff. Think of all the spare computer cords you have around the house. Or that cell phone that’s over ten years old. In my office I can see stacks of boxes that are calling out to me, asking me to go through them. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Novel Progress
Draft: Second
Words: 46,091
Total Pages: 206
Current Page Editing: 128

Welcome to This Week in Writing

When I first had the idea to start a blog it was going to be just about the progress I’ve been making with my own novel. I figured this would be a good way to force/motivate myself to complete my manuscript. And then it dawned on me, where’s the fun in that? While I write for myself, I also write for others to enjoy. Why write a blog just for myself when I could write it for all of us aspiring Novelists.

I have a degree in English that focused mainly on creative writing. I’ve also been writing stories since I was nine. So I decided to take this opportunity to pass onto others what I’ve learned over the years. My goal for This Week in Writing it to provide weekly articles to help aspiring Novelists, such as myself, complete their manuscript and to get published.

To hold myself accountable and to ensure that I finish my own novel on time, my plan is to give weekly updates at the end of each post verifying where I am at with my novel. I’ve given myself the deadline of September 24th, my wife’s birthday, to complete the second draft. To be honest, I’m scared writing this for all to read. Will I meet my goal? Check back next week to read my next article and to see my progress.

But what about you, where are you at in your Novel? Use the comment section to let the rest of us know what you are currently working on and the progress you’ve been making. If you have a topic you would like me to cover or a question you would like answered send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.


Novel Progress
Draft: Second
Words: 44,742
Total Pages: 200
Current Page Editing: 113