And every year when NANOWRIMO rolls around, do your guts twist for the entire month because you know you won’t meet the 50k in thirty days? Who decided on that magic number?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that word count isn’t important, it’s just that a number doesn’t have to be a writer’s only goal. There are plenty of other benchmarks that are equally as valid.
I know . . . time sounds like a horrific goal to try to shoehorn into a tight schedule. The beauty of this one, though, is that the amount of time is determined by your schedule. Oh, you’ve only got a half hour to devote to writing today? Great. Set a timer and write. The trick to making this work is that you must first unplug from technology. No internet. No iPhone. Just you and your story.
Plan ahead and save up your pennies to attend a conference. There’s nothing more beneficial to a writer than honing their craft and networking, and these can both be accomplished at a conference. I recommend the ACFW Conference, but there are plenty of other reputable events if you can’t make it to that one.
Write a thank you note to someone who’s given you writing advice, an editor who encouraged you, or an agent that steered you in the right direction. You can even pop off a quick thank you on Facebook to someone who posted a great writing link or leave a comment to a blogger thanking them for sharing fresh insight that inspires you.
Give back to the community by offering to read at the library for children’s story hour. Visit a junior high language arts class and play with words. How about stop by a senior community and drop off some books?
Not an author I know adores promoting themselves, so why not do it for them? Talk about other authors on your Facebook page. Write a review for someone else’s book on Amazon. Drop off bookmarks for another author at a coffee shop. Honestly, this can be as easy as walking around with a book you’re currently reading and talking about it.
Read a book for enjoyment, not critique. Immersing yourself in beautiful language has a way of sharpening your skills. Feed your creativity by reading stellar writing that makes you want to weep.
And those are just a few ideas. Now that you’re thinking outside the word-count box, brainstorm other goals that are realistic for you.
Writing is subjective. Our goals should be as well.