Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Goals: A to Z blogging challenge

Goals are vital in writing, both for the writer and the characters. I've written on other occasions about the Magic Spreadsheet, a gamification tool I use to track my word count goals and keep myself moving forward and making progress on my project goals. I've been using it for around two years now and it has completely changed my mindset about writing. I no longer allow my writing to get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list (last on the list is a dangerous position--it's easy to fall off the list altogether).

Now that my first book is being published (15 more days!), setting specific writing goals has become that much more important. In the hour or two I can find each day for writing tasks, I have to decide how best to use them. Which project gets the priority today? I answer that question based on the "big picture" of balancing finishing things, creating new things, keeping up social media contacts, etc. Now more than ever, my life is a balancing act.

Turns out, setting goals works for fictional people, too. In any particular scene, if I got stuck in the writing, I just asked myself what the character's goals were. What does she want? What's in her way? How will she try and get around that obstacle?  What will she do if she fails? Nine times out of ten, that helped me find the conflict that would guide me through the next bend in the river of narrative.

The women in Going Through the Change want a lot of things, and sometimes their obstacles were each other, or even themselves.  Sometimes, I felt like a sadist torturing my poor characters, but the end result is a good story. I hope my readers agree!

This posting is part of the A to Z blogging challenge, in which bloggers undertake to post every day in April, excepting Sundays, which amounts to 26 postings, one for each letter of the alphabet--preferably along a theme. My postings will all be about my debut novel and my experiences writing it and seeing it published.

Blogging A to Z is a great opportunity to connect with some excellent bloggers and interesting people. I encourage you to check out other participating blogs, too!
click the image to preorder on Amazon!


  1. I think goals are vital for any writer, even if it's just "finish chapter one by the end of the week." Having something to aim for, and creating accountability is a great motivator.

    Setting goals for your character, and giving them something to aim for/ reach in a scene or chapter is a great idea. I might try that the next time I'm struggling for the right direction! :D

    1. As life has gotten more hectic, I've been doing just that: setting weekly & monthly goals to allow for flexibility.

  2. Goals can be so hard and yet so very, very important. I wish you luck with all of yours.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  3. Congratulations on your first book publishing! Great post as well.

  4. Once again, your posts are speaking to me, Samantha. I'm feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do, especially with an upcoming book launch. Setting goals and tracking my time are the only thing keeping my head above water.

    Great post!

    1. Just keep swimming! Even when it feels like you're treading water. You'll make it through, I know.