Writing Goals Are Like Trying to Lose Weight

weight1  I’d like to lose 30 pounds in 3 months. And I’d like to write 30,000 new words in one month (outside of editing).

Would LIKE to.

A cousin of mine can shed 20 pounds–BOOM!–whenever she wants. Often, I’ve seen her at a certain weight, and when I see her again in a month or two, she has a seemingly different body. And she doesn’t exercise. She simply disciplines herself to eat less. I’ve watched her and lived with her at times, so I know that’s how she does it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity to do anything in big chunks like that. I’m the type to pace myself and take small steps. I don’t want to feel as though I’m starving, so I cut back slightly on total intake and eliminate the worst of the worst foods. I lose a pound every couple of weeks. If I achieve the same results in a year instead of a few months, isn’t that okay?

It concerns me that a woman (or man) might beat herself up emotionally over her struggle with weight. And I worry about some of my writing friends who stress themselves out over their daily writing goals. A thousand or two thousand words per day is an admirable goal, but I wonder what it costs if their lives are already jam-packed with other goals and duties. I’d hate to think they berate themselves when the goal isn’t met.

I admire the highly disciplined. I really do. And there was a time when I was like that– I hit the floor running in the morning and didn’t stop until my head hit the pillow at night. But I’ve learned what I’m comfortable with at this stage of my life. I set my goals at amounts that don’t make me sick or take the joy out of my day. With 300 to 500 words written per day (including weekends), I can write one of my YA novels in 3 or 4 months.

tortoise  Not saying my way is right for anyone else but me.  But I reach my goal  just the same.

Do you have a goal you’re currently trying to achieve? What is your method of attaining it?

cynthia-toney Cynthia


4 thoughts on “Writing Goals Are Like Trying to Lose Weight

  1. Excellent reminder Cynthia! Small steps will still get you there. I needed to hear this. 🙂 Thanks!


    • You’re welcome, Karen. Isn’t it strange how individuals who give a lot of themselves and get a lot done are often their own harshest critic? I hope all my friends remember to pat themselves on the back for small achievements toward their goals as well as large ones.


  2. I’m very goal oriented. For my day job, it’s part of our review process, so I have professional goals.
    I also have writing goals, fitness goals, Bible reading goals. For me quantifiable and achievable are the two biggest factors for success. This month I set achievable editing (page count) and writing (word count) goals. I hope to blow it out of the water but rather do that than fall short of a harder goal. I just ran a 9:58 mile (for runners, you know that’s slow but cracking 10 minutes was a huge thing for me), I wear a pedometer and try to make 10,000 steps/day and exercise 3-5 times/week (often failing but that’s OK, there’s tomorrow). Bible study has been lacking lately but I have my eyes on the prize. My son is almost 10 and I hope to give him by his 12th or 13th birthday a Bible marked up all the way through. I’ve been at this for a while but want to make it a bigger priority. My daughter will be the recipient of my second read-through 3 (or 4) years later.


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