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5 pounds and 1000 words

After staying in a hotel for three weeks–eating out every day–during the move last summer, I gained about five pounds. Usually, when we get settled back into a routine they come off no problem. Not so this time. Eight months later they're stubbornly clinging.

The thing is, I know exactly how to banish them. I already work out religiously, so it has to be the food. The only way to keep myself from cheating and overeating is to track every calorie that crosses my lips (except on Saturday–that's my day off). And it works for me. Every time.

Writing it down forces me to be accountable, and it becomes like a game to see how good I can be. I love a challenge.

Okay, so here's where this relates to writing goals. If I don't have them, I may write a paragraph or two, get stuck and call it a day. Which is fine, because even a little writing every day is better than nothing. But what if you're getting serious and you want to finish a book by July? You'll need to write more than a few sentences when you sit down to your desk.

Plan it out (be realistic), figure out how many words per day and days per week you need to write. Then track it someplace. You'll be amazed at how motivating it can be to realize you only need a hundred more words to meet your goal. You'll probably meet it and then some.

It becomes a challenge your mind wants to meet.

Or maybe that's only my mind. This works for me because I'm somewhat competitive and analytical. I like to measure things, see trends, visualize progress.

But if you're struggling to finish that book, give it a try. If nothing else, keeping a record of what you do each day will be good if you ever get audited for deducting those conference fees and contest entries.

Happy writing!

P.S. Speaking of moves, it's official. We're heading back to D.C. this summer! Alabama's been good to me, especially for writing, but I'm psyched to go back!

Tell your friends!


  1. alarob


    This has been a good motivator. I’m working on a very different kind of writing project, but with the same need for time and disciplined attention. Not having written regularly in a while, I keep questioning myself and finding reasons for dissatisfaction. Nice to know there’s someone up ahead on the path. Just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    • Reply

      Always glad to help! 🙂 You’ve hit on something else important, Rob. Being part of a group that keeps you motivated and keeps you accountable can help a lot. RWA does that for us romance writers, maybe you can form a small group for your work. Or we can form a small group on this blog.

      When you force yourself to just write, even if you don’t feel like it, you’ll keep your mind stoked and ready for new ideas. Besides your work can always be edited.

      Nora Roberts said it best: “You can fix a bad page. You can’t fix a blank one.”

      Good luck!!

  2. Martha W


    Great post, Gwen!

    Right now I have more than enough to fill my time… I just have to divide it up between the two mss. that I’m working on currently.

    WooHoo! DC is great! Congrats on the move. My niece and her hubby are on their way to Germany this summer. 🙂

    • Reply

      Carving out time is the hardest part, especially when you’re as busy as you are, Martha. You’ll get there.

      Yeah, we’re really excited about DC, although, I’d take Germany over DC (or anywhere else) any day. I lived there as a kid and had hoped for my boys to have the same opportunity. We’ll have to settle for a vacation.


  3. Christine


    Great post. I know setting goals,whether they are time or word count goals are important. If we don’t write at all, or take too long a break, we won’t finish. Can’t try to sell an idea in my head or half-written on a page.

    Glad you are going back to DC–but I’ll miss you! Thank goodness for cell phones and the Internet.

  4. Christine


    You’re welcome. I enjoyed reading! Now if I could just figure out what do with that book I downloaded, I’d be in hog heaven.

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