Writing–Adjusting Expectations

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When I start the first draft of a project, I establish a certain daily minimum goal for it. Short stories I’m writing longhand, I go for at least one page in my notebook. For novels during NaNoWriMo, my unshakable goal is always 2,000 words.  Sometimes, depending on the story and the deadline, it’s just a matter of getting down on particular scene, no matter how long or short.

With the current novella I’m working, I set the word count low due to working three jobs and this being a non-priority story. I didn’t want to stress myself out with a too-high count and depress myself on the days I couldn’t make it. I decided on at least 500 word as the minimum I had to make on the days I worked two or more jobs. It was low enough to be stress-free on those sometimes stressful days, but enough words that it would still count as progress. On the other days, I set 1,000 words as my minimum, which I find reasonable enough for a novella I’m writing while working on other projects.

However, I’ve noticed that on the 500 word days I feel like I’m slacking. I hit my goal, usually going at least a few words over goal, either in the morning before I teach after I’m done with revisions on the Ivy novella, or after I make and eat dinner in the evening. Either way, it gets done, but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough. I should be doing MORE.

I know better, in  way. If I give into this feeling that I’m slacking and try to do more, then it’s all I do. The word count will never be enough because I’ll still have time to do more. It’ll take over the time I have to do other things, like read or relax or sleep. In other words, I’ll give this novella top priority when it doesn’t need it. There’s no timetable for this novella, no deadline. Writing at least 500 words a day, no matter how many jobs I’m working or what other projects I’m doing is fine.

I’m just going to have to make myself accept that.

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