For some writers, the hardest part of establishing productivity is making yourself sit down and actually write. You have chores to do, kids to play with, email to check, books to read. It feels like every time you have a great idea for a story or project, you never get around to actually putting it on paper — or entering into the word processor.
If you’re this kind of writer, you might get good mileage out of setting your goals according to HOKBIC time:
More than one successful author wrote a breakout novel by getting up one hour early or going to bed one hour late. They didn’t worry about how much they wrote or how much money they made — just on setting aside time to write, and writing during that time. If you write for one hour every day for a year, you will have produced a sizable book by the end of that time.
How much HOKBIC time you need depends on your situation as a writer. If you write as a hobby, you probably won’t need an aggressive goal. If you write part-time as an adjunct to a full-time job, you don’t need HOKBIC time…but you should give yourself several hours each week if you want to ever transition to writing as your full time living. Professional writers should set their HOKBIC goals based on how rapidly they work, and how much they need to get done to make their deadlines and financial goals.
You can also apply this kind of dedicated work time to the other tasks surrounding writing. For example, a 10-hour work day might consist of 4 hours of writing, 2 of promotion and marketing, 2 of rewriting, 1 of bookkeeping and 1 of “pencil tapping” to sketch new projects.
Like any other goal, it’s usually better to set your HOKBIC time goals by the week. “Five hours each week” is better than “One hour every work day.” Although it’s the same amount of time, the weekly goal is less likely to fail. Every week will have at least one day that conspires to keep you from meeting your goal…but if you phrase it weekly, you have a chance to catch up by week’s end.
Thanks for listening.
I try to break things up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Luckily, my project lends itself well to that method. I try to get about 3 stories for the book done each week. Breaking the book down and tackling small sections at a time is so much easier for me; not so daunting. I think it would help though for me to designate my time better–schedule in the writing time as if it’s any other appointment in my day. That way, I’m much more likely to be HOKBIC! But as you know, working from home poses lots of distractions.
Those are some really good points, April. If you have a chance, I’d love to hit you up for a guest post about it sometime. Feel free to email me if that sounds fun. brickcommajason at gmail dot com