Finding the Sweet Spot

I talk a lot about achievable and exceedable goals. One of the basic principles of achievable and exceedable goals for writers, is that you set yourself a specific amount of time and/or word count that you know you will be able to reach each day. Once you’re able to routinely exceed that goal, then you increase it. It is important to make sure the goals, even the new ones, are achievable, so that we continue with that feeling of accomplishment.

And then there is what I like to call the ‘Sweet Spot”. The Sweet Spot is that amount of time or word count that you can routinely meet each day you write. Any more, though it can be done, feels like it is work, like you’re straining, reaching too hard for something that isn’t there.

When you write to your Sweet Spot, you leave your writing for the day feeling accomplished, happy, energized, and ready to return to the work in progress the next day. Writing to your Sweet Spot makes the writing process more enjoyable, and pushes away the desire to procrastinate.

Stephen King’s Sweet Spot is 2,000 a day. Maybe yours is 500 words a day. That’s OK. You may not be as prolific as Stephen King, but you will enjoy your writing. And when you enjoy your writing, you’ll want to spend more time with it, and make it the best you possibly can, which gives you a greater chance of reaching your publication goals.

There is also the bonus, as with all achievable and exceedable goals, that your Sweet Spot may grow over time. Marathon Runners don’t begin by running a marathon. They train first with running a mile, then a few more, until they build up their endurance and their body can handle more physical exertion. And so it is with writers. You may find that over time, your Sweet Spot increases.

What is your writing Sweet Spot?


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3 thoughts on “Finding the Sweet Spot

  1. I’ve never been the sort of person to sit down and write every day, or even have a weekly word count goal. If I were to set a daily word count goal for myself, I would end up failing, and feeling miserable for failing, because that’s just not how I work.

    I’m more project oriented. Word count to me is meaningless – I get a scene done, and then I feel the sense of accomplishment. I usually need a break at the end of a scene, so that old advice “stop in the middle of a scene, where you have momentum going” doesn’t work for me at all either.

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t get stuff done. I don’t have the trouble getting started that some people do, or trouble getting into a scene. I’m an outliner, so when I start a project, I know when it’s finished, not in terms of word count, but in terms of scenes and story arcs, and I can push my way through to the end because I have a fairly clear sense of where I’m going.

    But it’s different strokes for different folks. I like big pushes like NaNoWriMo to write first drafts, but I need rests in between.

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