Top 10 Ways Having a Writing Goal Has Helped Me

I’m over halfway through my year long commitment to write daily.  365 days of writing every day was the goal I set for myself at the end of 2013 and here we are in June already! Halfway seems like a great place to throw in an update and a rundown on why I’m glad I made the commitment.

1)  Setting a goal and sticking with it feels good

I know I can’t be the only one who has ever said “I should do…” whatever it is and then just not followed through with it.  I have a couple of other things right now that I talk about doing but am not actually taking any action to do.  But I’ve set this writing goal, I’ve shared this writing goal and because of that I feel good about doing something that I’ve said I wanted to do.  Because … well, see # 2 

2) I would have quit already

If I didn’t have this writing goal there are more than a few nights I absolutely would not have written anything.  I would have said, I’m too busy, too tired, or whatever other excuse I could find.  And I have been tired, busy and otherwise disinclined to write.  But it’s important to me that I follow through with this goal, so I have.  Have I written something really short or counted my blog when I was doing the A to Z Challenge when blog post were not originally in my plan? Absolutely.  But I have written every day.  Something.  Even if it was small and frequently when it was bad.  But I haven’t quit.

3)  This goal has helped lead me to other new & exciting things

Because of my writing goal, I’ve started building this blog and my Twitter presence.  I’ve found many cool new people and groups and resources as a result.  I likely would not have started blogging had I not made this a part of my writing goal.  I’ve really enjoyed the process of writing and also reading other blogs I’ve found because of my own.  I love that I am building an archive of previous posts that I can go back to read or point others to sometimes.  Because of the writing goal and establishing the blog I joined Twitter (and ok because I wanted a certain celeb’s Tweets) to promote my blog and start building connections.  It’s been a fascinating process both blogging and Tweeting.  And I love it!

4)  It’s a great conversation starter with others, writers or otherwise

Meeting new writers on Twitter or in real life, I usually mention this writing goal.  I’ve found it’s been a great way to start talking about what I’m working on, but also just about my journey as a writer.  I’ve been surprised how many others have had similar goals.  Some blog every day in addition to their other writing.  I’ve not made that commitment yet, but that may be part of my next 365 day goal!  We’ll see. 🙂

5) Word count

Of course writing every day has helped add to my word count on my novel, which has brought me almost to the end of the first book – though I am still tweaking.  I need to stop and just edit.  I’m getting close.  But I’ve also started the next book in the series and I’ve worked on a few short stories as well.  Had I not made a commitment to write every day, my current WIP would still be sitting on my computer untouched.  Instead I’ve made serious progress.  It’s fantastic.

6) Experimenting with style

Some days I do not feel like writing on the novel or the short story.  So to stick with the required daily writing, I’ve written quite a few poems. Let me just assure that is not at all my normal style.  But I love it.  I have a couple that I’d even say are relatively decent.  And the others are still an example of me stretching myself and trying something new.  I’ve also played with a few other formats such as flash fiction and an attempt at a humorous essay.  I’m going to write every day anyway, so I feel a bit more freedom to try new things. 

7) Distraction from “real life”

Some days my day to day “real life” of working full time, a long commute, managing the kids and trying to keep a house running gets a bit … crazy.  It’s truly wonderful to have this writing commitment because I have a creative outlet that helps my sometimes weary soul.  Yes, my job may beat me down one day, but I can remind myself that I am not just my job, I’m also writing! The kids may get a little loud and we may be watching another episode of really awful kids television, but I am not just a parent, I’m also writing! I may have just had an overall bad day, but I am also writing. 

8) Helping define myself as a writer

And guess what?  I am a writer.  I am not just another person who wants to write someday.  I am writing.  I can call myself that, not because I am a bestselling author, but because I am doing the work of actually sitting down at the computer, butt in chair, to write.  Actually, sometimes I even write on my iPhone (hey it happens, you gotta do what you gotta do to get in the writing sometimes!)  I both can say I am a writer and I can tell people what I write.  Small steps sometimes can be big ones!

9) If I can do this, why can’t I also …

As I said before I’ve been known to talk about making changes and not always make them, but I can see how I’ve successfully stuck to something after having made it a solid goal with a serious commitment.  I’ve started to look for how to apply this in other areas I need some “stick with it”.  Little successes can lead to other little successes.   

10)  It’s fun

It really is fun.  There is a reason I’ve always wanted to write.  I love it.  And the sheer pleasure of writing and having written is well worth setting this goal.