Blue Water Writing: Begin by Writing Goals

Throughout my adult life, I’ve read through countless “goal-setting” articles on the Internet.  As a high school teacher, I’ve taught the process of setting and achieving a goal many times. With this writing project, I returned to the topic and looked over a few discussions on “writing goals”.  Initially, the presentations seemed simplistic and overly general, and also, a little corny, if I may say.  The advice, however, is sound, I believe, and revisiting these methods did motivate me to act.

Photo credit: Pikist

Writing Goal #1

I set a goal to write three scenes for Chapter 1, with each scene being approximately 1000-words long.  I wrote for about an hour each day.  In three days, I completed the three scenes for a total of 3000-words. The plan applied the SMART acronym on The Golden Rules of Goal Setting, which suggests that goal-setters create objectives that are: “Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound.” This approach also followed the advice that Writer’s Digest provides in 7 Tips for Creating Writing Goals. Viewing the potentially 30,000-word novella in 1000-word clusters felt manageable and motivational, and having an attainable and measurable goal pulled me out of stagnancy.

The completion of this “baby step”, however, resulted in the production of a text that still required significant editing. Since I’m trying to achieve clarity – efficiently – and without having to complete a million edits, I think that my writing goal should address quality, as well as quantity. Changes to the outlining process should improve the storytelling, which I’ll discuss in my next blog, as should the articulation of a goal that references quantity and quality. Since I’d like to connect to the reader with this text on an emotional and intellectual level, I’m articulating the qualitative goal in terms of the intended effect.

Photo credit: Pikist

Writing Goal #2

In the 1000-word scenes that I write – every day or every other day -, the first-person narrator should calm and console a reader that has an average or an above-average reading ability. The events that this male-protagonist conveys should excite the audience, and the unfolding of the events should move at a fast-pace. The cruise-ship settings that he relays should delight, but the antagonist’s destructive actions should horrify. On an intellectual level, the reader should walk away with an understanding that violent and offensive acts require attention and action if one is to prevent more.