Writing Life

What to Do When You Don’t Achieve Your Writing Goals?

Long-time no write readers!

Unintentionally, I have been absent from the blog and from a lot of things. I’ve essentially been gone for 5 months on work related business. But you already know about that. 

Work promised me the last two months would be a “nice break.” I had high hopes of time where I could get ahead on blog posts and writing goals, keeping the momentum from the three prior months I spent away.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the break I expected.

I had homework, I had social obligations, and I had very full days. At the end of those days I would sit down and try to make headway on my editing. I forced myself to juggle the numerous social engagements that came up almost nightly (I’ll do dinner tonight, but can’t make it tomorrow) in order to achieve my monthly goals. But you know what… sometimes life doesn’t want to cooperate with us.

August was my most unproductive month in a LONG time. After being away from my family for nearly 5 months and the stress of all the work-related changes I found myself completely drained at the end of the day. Those last few weeks of August, I got nothing done. I just sat in my hotel room rewatching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, my comfort show of choice, and eating potato chips.

It sucks not hitting my self imposed goals. I often find myself thinking I’m not trying hard enough. The inner voice in my head says that I clearly don’t want it bad enough, otherwise I would work the midnight oil getting the edits done and making new words happen. After all, there are tons of writers who have full-time jobs AND families, yet they still manage to hit their deadlines.

This is especially true when it comes to indie writers, who have the willpower of the gods and manage to protect their writing time with the ferocity of amazon warriors. In comparison, I could barely edit 10 pages at the end of the day.

I felt like a failure.

But here is the thing we need to remind ourselves about goals. When they are self-imposed, they can’t hurt you if you don’t achieve them.

This is hard to remember sometimes because we stress the importance of goal setting so much. We need to, otherwise, it would be easy to deviate from them. Writers need to hold ourselves accountable for those goals, otherwise, the work never gets done. But when life gets in the way, don’t beat yourself up. 

So you had a bad writing month. So what? Did the world collapse? Did it cost you money?

No! So learn from this experience and resolve to do better next time.

The other thing to remember is this. Those goals we make on a monthly basis are minor goals. They contribute to a larger overarching goal. For example, my BIG goal is to have my book ready for publishing by Jan.

Did those August deadlines put me behind? Yes. But I still have four months to get ready. My larger goal is still something I am working towards. You don’t give up on dieting after one cheat day, you give up when four months pass by and you realize that nothing has been done to reach that goal! So remember this when you decide to take a break from writing for a day or two. Remember this when you don’t post an update for your blog on the usual timeline (Um… hi!)

After a bad week or even a bad month, keep those bigger goals in mind and readjust the plan for how you want to accomplish them.

I hate feeling like a failure. But sometimes life throws too much at me. I wish I was better at managing multiple projects and work and a active social life, but what I learned from August was that it was too much. That goal was unrealistic given everything I was doing.

So for the month of September, I’m going to remember this feeling. I’m going to look at my August monthly tracker and strive to do better.

I’m finally home now with no business trips planned for the near future. Just one week of blessed vacation, and you know what? I’m going to use that vacation to write. At least that’s the goal. I’m going to settle back into my home life and my routine and make September my BITCH!


As I was writing this I listened to the latest Write or Die podcast episode where they not only interview the awesome Susan Dennard but they talk a lot of the stress of managing life and work in the beginning. The talk was so relatable to this post and eased a bit of the anxiety I’ve been feeling all week. So here it is for those of you interested!

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