The problem I’m having with setting a writing goal for the coming year is that there is no one task I do everyday when I’m writing. Not even putting words on a page. Which is why a daily word count goal is meaningless. Jeez, if my goal was word count alone, I could do that with a manuscript like that creepo was typing up in The Shining. Writing is also not (for me) a linear process of going from page one to page 341 (or whatever). I don’t write start to finish. Sometimes, the end has to come first, or the middle, because those sections help determine the beginning. So setting a goal of “one chapter a week” or every two weeks or every month is also not workable.
I hop between composing, editing, plotting, and research depending on where the energy of my creative focus is that day and what my story currently needs. Yeah, I edit while composing. Bad me, no cookie. I go back and rewrite previously-written stuff when I’ve changed my mind about how it should go because sometimes FIXING old stuff is psychologically necessary for moving forward with newer stuff that contradicts it.
So I think the best daily goal is a time chunk. Two and a half hours a day, six days a week. Which comes out to only 15 hours a week.
My main goal in January is re-visioning my MacGuffins. The “obscure, powerful” archeological artifacts that are at the center of a story that is really science fiction, not fantasy. They can’t be supernatural–they need to be Clarkesque technology, but they can’t be ridiculously complicated Clarkesque technology, either. So much of January will be taken up by research and contemplation, and very little of the writing I do on this task will end up in the 100,000 final words of the story.
And yet, my goal is to have a draft worthy of beta-reading and possible publication by the end of the calendar year. Onward.