It would be an understatement to say that I’m a goal oriented person. I’m super-driven to get my to do list completed. I find great satisfaction at ticking things off the list. This is why I am now on my second Fit Bit.
I’ve just finished On Writing by Stephen King, and setting strict writing goals resonated with me. He does a daily 2000 – he recommended that those just getting started might consider a daily 1000. We talked about this in my writing class, and my teacher recommended a daily 250 – something really achievable that mirrors roughly a page of content per day. I’m splitting the difference (not mathematically accurate, but still) by shooting for 450 (with the idea that I’d really like to go over every day).
A recent discovery on Scrivener has completely appealed to my checklist loving personality. Under the Project Menu you will find “Project Targets” – complete with a bulls-eye icon. My eyes immediately popped open a little bit wider with the possible excitement.
Project Targets did not disappoint. I can set an overall target for my manuscript, a Middle Grade novel. 35k is the average, so that’s my first draft goal. It compiles words in the Manuscript section only – so my notes aren’t counting towards my Word count, but my actual text is.
But as far as daily goals go the dream discovery was session target. Each morning I click “Reset” and then away I go.
I can see exactly where I am both in my overall manuscript and in my daily goal, and an awesome color bar gives me an immediate visual.
Do you set a daily writing goal? How do you motivate yourself to meet it?
Within 24 hours, I’ve heard advice from two published children’s books authors that removing dialogue tags is a best practice in your writing/editing. “Really?” she asked. “’Tis true,” I replied.
Ana Crespo’s advice was personal – she was reading a picture book manuscript I wrote and said I had an opportunity to trim by cutting a lot of my tags. In fact, she said in a lot of the picture book industry there’s a drive to cut them altogether: let the nature of the statements and the illustrations clarify who is saying what.
Denise Vega’s advice can be found online – it’s #8 on this video. She talks about cutting tags and, when needed, replacing them with the ‘invisible’ tags (said, reply, and ask). Definitely check it out for the other 9 tips she offers.
I will say that the prevalence of dialogue tags in writing has led to my children using them in their speaking. My son will say (these quotes are in the right place) “It’s time to go, he said.” So we’ll gain tighter narratives, and we’ll lose a little adorableness. Luckily there’s no shortage of cute things that kids will say!
How often are you dialogue-tagging your writing? Do you have dialogue tags that need to be cut or given a cloak of invisibility?