Monday 29 February 2016

Writing Gaols…er, um, I mean…Goals

by Dee Scully

It’s February. Where are you at with your writing goals? 

Yep, we’ve already flipped over two months of the 2016 calendar. Poof! Two months gone. Just like that! 

Image courtesy of YouTube

It’s amazing how time clicks by, isn’t it? One day you’re making goals, the next you’re breaking them.

Ever noticed how close gaol is to the word goal? 

Even with the best of intentions our writing goals get pushed to the side and are all too often forgotten. Every now and again you think of them. Your shoulders slump and you look surreptitiously behind you. You’re certain the goal police are about to nab you. They know you’ve broken the promises you made to yourself at the end of 2015 and they’re just ready to pounce and put you in the shackles you deserve. 

After all breaking writing goals is one of the worst crimes you can commit (as a writer).

Well, never fear. I’m here to give you one last chance to get those goals back on track before the goal police throw you in the clinker for crimes against humanity. Yes, your unfulfilled goals are being likened to crimes against humanity because as long as you're not making those goals work, you’re not living a full and happy life. Further, you’re not blessing the world with the gift of your story! Now that’s a crime if I ever heard of one.

So...go, get your goals out. I mean it. Go get them. I know you’ve written them down somewhere or filed them away on your hard drive and probably not looked at them since, but now’s the time to get them out again.

A lot of us (and I do mean the you and me kind of “us”) have neatly typed them; colour coded them and set them in a pretty little frame. (See below, but…please, don’t judge me.) You might have even stuck them right beside your computer or on your bathroom mirror, somewhere you were sure to see them EVERY day. After all, breaking writing goals is one of the worst crimes you can commit (as a writer) and you wouldn't willingly want to do that!

But somewhere along the way they’ve been covered with a pile of work or splashed beyond recognition with toothpaste.

No matter. Push the books onto the floor and scrape that Colgate off and let’s have a look at them. Let’s remind ourselves what we wanted early in January (and maybe even what we’ve wanted all our lives).

Okay. Got 'em? Cool. Now read them. Read them again. Commit them to memory. Now tear them up. Yes, I mean it. Tear them up.

I’ve got the one sure fire way to get the goal police forever off your back.

No, it’s not a twelve-step program for writers or even a five easy steps to getting your goals back on track. I’m going to give you the one step—the only step—you need to get your writing done. And here it is: write.

Yeah. It’s that simple. Just write.

Now, go do it. Write NOW.

Image courtesy of 

Simple fact: writing just 500 words a day, for (any) five days of the week, will give you 130,000 words at the end of the year. We’ve lost two months, but that still leaves 44 weeks. Writing five days a week for those 44 weeks will give you 110,000 words at the end of 2016. That’s more than you need for most single title books.

Who’s with me? Who's ready to do the one thing you need to get your book finished? Who's ready to write?

Love to love…watching the beautiful (yet quite squawky) Australian native birds in my front yard.

Love to laugh…at the first writing goals I ever made. (I was going to complete my first manuscript in four months time and have it submitted and published within six months. That was before I knew anything about POV, active v. passive, character arcs and more.)

Love to learn…new crossfit routines. They keep my asthma at bay and push me to keep going even when everything inside me screams “Just quit.”


  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Dee. My wip needs me. I'm on it!

    1. So exciting Marilyn Forsyth, author of The Farmers Perfect Match! Yes, do get back to your wip! Can't wait for your next release!

  2. Hi Dee, thanks so much for this inspirational post! Love the little Freudian 'slip' of gaol to goal... I'm not a written goal person, I'm more of a mental list kind of person - that's the way I prefer to work. But I can see how having it all written down is worth it. And by seeing progress, you're freeing yourself from the gaol of your goals. Or words to that effect (not really a gaol, but hey, you used the analogy first, LOL)... I think as humans we all need goals to work towards. Nothing worse than being aimless and drifting. Thanks for helping with this!

    1. Thank you Malvina!
      And thank you too for not laughing (out loud) when I handed you my writing goals all those years ago...I think it was October and I was going to be published by Christmas. You graciously smiled and wished me luck.

    2. I believe in you, and always will. x

    3. Thank you. That means a lot.

  3. Great post, Dee. Life intrudes sometimes and interferes with goals. Just hearing/seeing the word 'Write' is terrific inspiration to get back to your story. I'm doing that right now!

    1. Good to hear Enisa Haines! Looking forward to reading your book very soon!!
      Now WRITE. ;-)

  4. Hi Dee, I loved the words "What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while". They made me think. Am I giving my writing the time it deserves in my life? Writing is important to me so it deserves more of my time. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Sharon Burke! So glad you got something out of my post; and that you remembered how important writing is on a daily basis.

  5. Dee you always inspire. I am happy to report that I just typed THE END on my ms. My crit partners have imparted their wisdom on it and I am now done. You are right about having goals. They are great but sometimes we put more importance in the list of goals than the goals themselves. Just write is a fantastic mantra.

    1. Squeeee! Another Cassandra Samuels best-seller! I'm looking forward to reading the finished product in the very near future!!

      I agree. I'm one of the culprits making the list of goals more important than the actual goal itself. I'm trying to change that by living the Nike mantra and--just do it!


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