A Simple Goal: Create Every Day

The problem with goals for word counts or page counts is I tend to beat myself up when I don’t make them. I start feeling like I’ve failed at something, and that makes it even tougher to go back and do it again. This is a big problem when I have so many irons in the fire that I don’t actually make it to the keyboard.

Fact is I’m a busy guy. Between the work, the family, karate classes, kids’ basketball games and concerts, trips, and other events, I have a lot going on. Every weekend this month is booked solid, and last month wasn’t a whole lot better. Cramming in an hour of writing a day is not always easy.

Instead I’ve made it a goal to create something every day.

This plan dawned on me a week ago when I grabbed my Moleskine shortly before bedtime. I had an idea rolling around in my head for a couple of days, and I didn’t get it to the computer so I decided to at least get it into the notebook. As I wrote it down, that idea led to another, and another, and yet another, all connected to the same story. In a matter of ten minutes I had four characters and a rough plot for what could easily be a novel or graphic novel.

The hard part of writing them is still ahead, but now I’ve got something to make that precious keyboard time all the more effective. I can’t afford to sit and stare at a blank page, wondering what comes next, for a half hour or so. This way if I’m working on The Pack book 2 and I’m stuck, I can shift gears to this project and bust out several pages or a few thousand words.

I’ve been working on it for the whole week, and so far it’s worked. I’ve jotted notes, I printed and edited an old short story, and I wrote responses to a couple of interviews. I’ve done some research, which in turn led to even more ideas on another project. Better yet, they were all done in short bursts. They were times I had a few minutes to kill, but not quite enough time to get lost in a page. (If I can’t get a complete thought/scene onto a page, I feel I’ve lost the thread of it when I get back to the keyboard and the narrative turns to crap.)

And I haven’t been beating myself up over note writing. I haven’t been crabby and irritable because I’m worried I’m wasting my time. It doesn’t feel like work (in either a good or bad sense), but it doesn’t feel like failure.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have a little creating to do before I crash for the night.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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  1. Cory says:

    That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do this year, and it’s worked well so far. And it’s not that I get a whole lot more done, but I FEEL better knowing I’ve at least taken a step forward instead of stagnating in a muck-puddle (or sinking in quick-sand, which is probably more accurate).

  2. wolfnoma says:

    Mike, sounds like your getting a handle on things. Good for you. Heck, I still have scraps of paper lying around everywhere with random thoughts written on them in my chicken scratch. Now if I could just spend the next 4 or 5 hours trying to decipher my own shorthand I would have a direction to go.

    Keep up the great work!