Setting Goals

Jennifer Joyce

I’m one of life’s procrastinators. Left to my own devices, I’ll happily spend the entire morning scrolling through social media instead of getting words down on the page. I need daily to-do lists to keep me on track (plus, ticking stuff off always makes me feel productive, no matter how small the task) but last year was pretty tough when it came to organizing my writing life. Being in the middle of a global pandemic and home-schooling my youngest daughter meant concentration and time was limited, so I was happy to get anything done, whether it was on a list or not.

I did manage to get a first draft of a book down during the first lockdown/home-schooling, but with my more relaxed, goal-less attitude to getting words on the page, it took longer than usual so I was shocked when, a few months later, I managed to write almost 70,000 words in one month during Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo is a big ask, with rigid daily word count goals to stick to, and I found I could keep up with the pace – despite everything going on around us – if I put my mind to it.

So, once Nanowrimo was over and I’d had a little break over Christmas, I decided to make a list of the main writing goals I wanted to achieve during 2021: I had the two first drafts I’d completed during 2020 to work on, a self-published book I wanted to release as a paperback, plus Nanowrimo 2021 to take part in. It seemed like a lot to begin with, but I broke each project down and thought about how long I’d realistically need for each one without causing myself too much stress or leaving too much room for procrastination (but just enough, because we all need a little bit of wandering-off-to-do-other stuff time) before adding them to my diary. So now the goals are there, in black and white, ready to be tackled, and I’m going to really put my mind to it and do my best to tick them all off.

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