Share your tips: How do you stay on track?

This week at So You Think You Can Write has been all about setting goals, planning, and staying motivated while you work on your novel. It takes all three of these things to reach the finish line.

I want to be an author is a wish.

I want to finish my novel this year and submit to an agent or publisher by XX date is a goal.

Author communities, supportive friends and writing buddies can help you stick to your goal by boosting your confidence and cheerleading, but that’s not the same as getting the work done. For that, you have to be at your desk (or at least at your computer) writing.

Once you have a goal, you need a plan. If you’re going to finish your novel this year, what do you have to do today, this week, this month, to get there? And to stick to your plan, it’s helpful to track your progress – there’s a reason there are all those apps out there for everything from losing weight to meditation (and yes, there are apps for novel writing).

Finding the winning formula might take some trial and error. There is no one method for staying motivated and on track that works for everyone. And there’s no single measure of success either. That’s why we wanted to hear from you.

Are you struggling to stick to your writing goals? What helps you stay on track? How do you measure your success? Let us know in the comments below!

2 replies on “Share your tips: How do you stay on track?”

Thanks for this post!

Confession: Oftentimes, I lose steam after I’ve plotted out my WIP’s ending, because…well, they’re happy and my work’s done here, am I right? Pantsing usually keeps up my momentum, but the thought of editing can be a major buzzkill.

What helps me stay on track?
-The Pomodoro Technique.
-Sticking to a favorite writing time.
-Dictating my thoughts (no typing – yay!).
-Action scenes and music from movie trailers.(Practice crossover plotlines or genre swapping with your favorite two or three trailers.)
-Devouring random, yet interesting, facts for my character’s deep POV.
-Marvelling at / listening to audiobooks. When I hit a writing wall, hearing an amazing author’s wordflow snaps me back into action.

What throws me off track?
-Working a full-time job.
-Losing touch with POV and GMC.
-The romantic motivations of the characters. (If I make them break up, that’s the end of my book so…maybe don’t break up?)
-Clothing descriptions, because I can’t simply say, “He got dressed and he looked good.”
-A new plot idea.
-My neighbor’s dog barking at the sun, the mailman, a rabbit, his shadow, the moon, the wind, the leaf and his life.

Hmmm…how do I measure success? Honestly, I don’t. There’s just the submit button and the waiting game that follows. I’d like to say I measure success by the number of private islands I own, but…

Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of crossover plotlines and listening to audio. Thinking about your plot from a different perspective is a great idea!

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