Sick Sickly + Writing Goals Down

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 10, 2011

Can you guess the 90s reference in the post title? I’ll give you a hint: he’s missing a “t.”

Unfortunately, I am currently drinking a lot of extra tea as I work through an unexpected cold. It culminated in a rough night’s sleep, but knock on wood, I think I am officially better this morning.

Not to worry – even a sore throat couldn’t stop the glory that was Thursday night’s Packers game.

Yes, I was the person who pushed pause to take these pictures.

The guys in green and gold had me screaming at the top of my lungs on almost every drive. This is likely why I woke up with an even scratchier throat, but it was worth it for the win.

One good thing about having some extra time at home this week is that I’ve been able to crank out another 8,000 words. Since I returned home on Labor Day, I’ve made it a goal to write at least 2,000 per day (sometimes more) now through the end of October. If I am successful, I will likely have a finished first draft by the end of next month.

A finished first draft by the end of next month. It bears repeating, mainly because I’ve been dreaming of finishing a novel for years and now it’s actually within reach. It’s still hard for me to conceptualize, but just like building a house, a spaceship or even a 5,000 piece puzzle, if it’s broken down into parts, it is guaranteed to come together over time.

I know that there will be days where I feel like the words coming out onto the keyboard aren’t right. There will also be days where I have to go back and re-read (for the fiftieth time) what I’ve written so far, to get myself in the groove before I can add more.

But even on my off days, this is what I will tell myself to remember:

A finished first draft is a finished first draft. No one – not even you – can take that away.

So what if it’s far from perfect? So what if I’d be laughed out of every agency and publishing house if it was left as is? Being able to write “The End” on a manuscript will be one of my biggest accomplishments in the literary world to date, even if no one ever reads it.

I’ve got nothing but time to review, edit and make changes, but I have to get to that stage in the game first. I can’t write my ending before I get to the end.

What about you? Are you, like me, ever guilty of focusing so hard on the end goal that you lose focus on the small pieces of the process along the way?

My advice – for what it’s worth – is to determine a goal for a certain date in the future. Write it down, but then make sure to also include weekly, daily or even hourly action steps, no matter how big or how small, that will help get you there.

Focus on those action steps instead, and the enormity of the end goal will suddenly feel a lot more manageable. Focus on those action steps instead, and you may realize one of your biggest dreams is closer than you ever thought possible.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! What are you looking forward to?

I’m off to a wedding tonight – my first one of the year, if you can believe it. I love weddings and, sick sickly or not, am looking forward to celebrating the happy couple. Congrats, Bob and Emily!


1 goodsensegoodhealth September 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

Feel better! I think it’s great that you’ve gotten so much written- good for you! You’re right, sometimes it’s just about sitting down and cranking out the words to get you there. Have fun at the wedding. :)

2 Megan @ Braise The Roof September 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

And clearly I’m writing from my sister’s computer- haha, that comment was from me! :)

3 Melissa @ TryingToHeal September 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

I think you’re totally right that focusing so much on the end goal can take away from the little things in the process. That’s what i’m trying to work on with mine…though not going so well. writers block TO THE MAX!

Anyhow, going to an engagement party this weekend…which leads me to ask, did you have one? do I bring something for the couple?! I’ve never been to an engagement party!

4 Jenn (eating bender) September 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

I definitely still get writer’s block, too — it can be maddening! Have fun at the engagement party, lady! We didn’t have one but I don’t think you need to bring anything too crazy. Perhaps a bottle of wine/wine glasses, dessert or something foodie-ish? šŸ˜‰ Here’s a link to a forum about it:

5 Erica September 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Hope you feel better! Your team rocked it on thursday!!! And so cool that youre pushing through your first draft. Have fun at the wedding!! Football and restaurant week here

6 Jess September 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I love that you are writing a novel. I’ve been thinking about it for a little. I’d love to know more!

7 Cara (Twinthusiast) September 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Go Jenn go! You’re almost there! And feel better too. XO

8 Marianne September 11, 2011 at 2:34 am

Boo-urns to being sick. Hopefully it goes away soon!

9 withasideofhope September 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

I hope you are feeling better and had a great time at the wedding! :)

10 Monica September 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Your progress is so impressive… Everyone at some point or another talks about wanting to write a book but only the disciplined few actually make it to the finish line. Sounds like you are well on your way! Good luck with your novel… I hope I get to read it someday :)

Also if you’re ever looking for a good writing exercise, I recommend entering the Writer’s Digest short-short story competition. The word limit is only 1500 words (less than a day’s work at this rate) and I believe the deadline is November 15.

11 Jenn (eating bender) September 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thank you so much, Monica! It is definitely a challenging journey, but one I am determined to see through the end. I really appreciate the tip on the short-story competition. Your sister’s winning submission was incredible! I will keep you updated. :)

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