Setting Goals

Like a lot of people, I’ve joined the Fitbit bandwagon. It was an easy choice for me, because through my employer’s wellness plan, I get points for participating and that means money in my pocket. And money always motivates me! ;o)

Anyway, my Fitbit came loaded with a goal of 10,000 steps a day. That seemed doable at first, but I quickly learned it was a HUGE challenge for me. I commute (a little over an hour a day), sit at a desk all day, then come home and write. Yeah, steps don’t come easy for me. As I evaluated my goals at the end of 2017, I realized that, yet again, I rarely reached my step goal. And that frustrates the heck out of me. What I also had to admit was that I didn’t even try anymore.

So I reevaluated my goal and reset my Fitbit for a goal of 5,000 steps a day. By the way – I usually get 2500 – 3000 steps in an average day, so this goal was still a stretch for me. What happened was that I would check my Fitbit, see how close I was to my goal, and I’d walk, workout, dance, to get those extra steps. And here’s what happened:

I increased my steps by 13%. In the previous two weeks, I only reached 5,000 steps one time, when my goal was 10,000 steps. But now that my goal is 5,000 steps, I’ve reached that goal 6 times. That’s pretty darned impressive.

The same thing happens with writing. I’ve competed in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a dozen times. When doing that, my goal is to write 1,776 words a day. By the end of the month, my fingers hurt, my eyes hurt, my brain hurts – and I nearly always end up in a Lupus flare. So, this year I’m trying a different plan – a goal of 1,000 words a day. I’ve kept it up far longer than NaNo, and I feel like my writing is better. Plus, I’m not killing myself doing it! Bonus!

This is exactly the method I teach in Blank to 50K. I coach writers through the writing process, 1,000 words at a time. If you’re ready to reach your goal of writing a novel, join Blank to 50K. Make yourself a priority, make your goals reality. And if you’re in the Fitbit community, let me know if you want to be “friends.”

Blank to 50K: Hooking your Reader (aka is your idea BIG?)

One of the hardest things about writing a novel is to come up with an idea that is big enough to carry the novel. In order to that, you have to make everything – every single component of your story – bigger.

The central conflict is the first place to tackle this. Think about the engine of conflict that is going to drive your story. In a mystery, it will be a crime. In a romance, it’ll be the relationship between your hero and heroine. Your conflict has to be big enough to power your entire story, big enough to power the engine of your plot, big enough to keep your characters engaged and engaging.

Let’s think about the first thing I mentioned – the crime in a mystery. Your crime has to be as big as your writing space. A small crime, such as the stealing of a candy bar, would be enough for a short story, but it’s not enough to power an entire novel. A much better crime would be a murder or a grand heist (think Ocean’s Eleven or the Italian Job). This holds true with romance also. Whatever the conflict is that keeps your characters apart has to be more than simply she just got out of a bad relationship. Consider the way the conflict is heightened when you give your heroine a child with a deadbeat dad – suddenly every potential boyfriend has to live up to the perfect father image that she has in mind for her son.

Now, a word of warning – writing about a big idea is scary and intimidating as all get out. You may worry that it’s more than you can handle. But don’t. It’s not. You can do this – by dealing with the story one step at a time, by taking the time to craft detailed character sketches, by immersing yourself in the setting, by outlining / plotting your story.

Here’s the good news about a big idea – it is the engine that will power you through until you write THE END. Your job is to get out of the way and let your characters tell you what is happening, so that you can write their story.

If you’re ready to get out of your own way and tackle that blank page, join my introductory class, Blank to 50K, and go from a blank page to a complete first draft of a novel. You can do it, and I’m here to help.

Criminal Intent Giveaway!!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 35+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of crime thrillers to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering? ;D

You can win my novel Fatal Impulse, plus books from authors like James Scott Bell and Rachel Van Dyken (both authors I recommend!)

Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

Good luck and enjoy!

Happy reading,