Last night a friend shared their plan to do 2000 kettle bell swings that day and the next. Why? (I had the same question.) To meet a goal he set at the beginning of the month; 10,000 swings in the month of January. He is rather driven and he had a plan so I believe that by the end of today he will have achieved his goal.
The conversation made me think about my own goals (and gave me sympathetic muscle pain). My writing goal for 2010 was to finish the first draft of Riveted. Check. My goal for January was to set aside Riveted for the month (while it was reviewed by a wonderful friend) and write daily on a different project. Check.
Tomorrow is the first day of February and my new goal; a second draft of Riveted ready for review by the end of the month. I have a lot of enthusiasm for this goal. It’s ambitions, but so am I and my reviewer’s comments have given me a great direction for the novel.
Goal setting is a very important part of my creative process. I am rules based. Guidelines and deadlines bring out the best in me even when those rules are imposed by nothing more than my own decisions.
While rules and deadlines are not universally seen as a positive force, goals should not be feared. After all, how can I ever pat myself on the back for a job well done, if I don’t know the definition of done?
Do your character have goals? Goals, and the barriers we put between our character and their goals are writing gold. They help us with tension and conflict and everything else that keeps a reader turning those pages.
Think of your main character and ask yourself what are their three most important goals. For each goal, ask yourself the following questions:
* Why is this goal important to the character?
* When did they develop this goal?
* What are the barriers to the goal?
* What are they willing to give up to achieve the goal?
Your character’s goals will illuminate the direction your story should take. When complete repeat this exercise for your protagonist.