Goal post sticky

Sticky notes are one of the best inventions ever, right after cars, the internet, and movies in color.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit me in my writing space (which most of you won’t, so don’t get too excited) you will find multiple pads of sticky notes lying around in various sizes, shapes, and colors.

Stuck to the right side of my computer screen is always a Goal Post Sticky.  What is a Goal Post Sticky, you ask?  (Not out loud, of course, lest the people around you think you’re weird.)  Well, allow me to explain.  A Goal Post Sticky is a sticky that contains valuable information with regards to my writing goals for the week.

If I’m working on a first draft (which I am right now), the sticky looks like this:

The top number is the word count of my manuscript as of Monday morning.  The number directly below that is the word count at the end of Monday’s writing session.  From there, I note the word count at the end of every day.

My goal right now is to hit 2,000 words a day.  As you can see, this Goal Post Sticky from last week shows some pretty productive writing sessions.  I was able to hit my target every day. 

When I’m working on second or third drafts, the Goal Post Sticky will contain different information.  Though not too many numbers, usually.  I might writes notes like:

Start ch 12 re Knox interview cut add conv with Jerry del scene Monkey?

Which translates to:

This note won’t make to sense to you, but rest assured I will accomplish whatever it says by the end of today’s writing session.  And don’t worry, no monkeys were harmed in this story.

So, how do you keep track of your goals?  Writing or otherwise?

9 thoughts

  1. Jennifer — and what do you do if you don't meet your goal of 2000 words. Scold yourself? Blame somebody else? ha ha.

    I have an idea — I will look for personalized post-its for you (if I can find good ones) — or maybe ones with affirmations for each day which you can post to encourage yourself – or remind yourself that you're great!


  2. Hmmmm…I may steal your sticky note idea.

    Personally I'm a list maker. I make a to do list every day and I take great satisfaction scratching items off it. Of course I also get discouraged on those days when the finished list looks almost like the fresh list….


  3. Good post! I have piles of sticky notes too (I LOVE office supplies), but never write anything down unless I'm stuck. I just check my word count at the beginning of each writing session, add 2,000 and shoot for it. Works really well for me. At the beginning of this particular first draft, though, I mind-mapped, outlined, scribbled, and then made the plunge. I haven't looked at any of my notes since.


  4. Aunt Peggy: If I don't meet my goal, it's a sad day, indeed. It usually ups my goals for the rest of the week.

    JB: Lists are great, too. I use lists more in subsequent drafts, but for the first, it's all about the word count for me.

    Joann: I transpose numbers in my head all the time (so bad with that) so it helps to constantly see the number I need to add 2000 words to.

    Milo: Windows 7 sticky notes? Really? Do tell!


  5. Umm. Wow – I am just a wee bit backword. I have not hammered down a firm goal, I write at random hours in the day / evening, and I have no method of tracking progress save for the little word ticker on the bottom.

    I also have a tendencey to pick the “story” of the day, and I write whichever is bugging me the most. I do have a primary project, but the future projects get forceful enough to switch my focus.

    So, my system is lacking a system. A comfortable chaos.



  6. Adam: It's funny, I use spreadsheets for other areas of my life, but not writing first drafts! You might be onto something.

    Milo: Thanks for the link!

    G3: Comfortable chaos is okay. More than okay, it's great. At some point, the other stories will stop talking for a while and you'll focus on just one until you finish. (And make sure you send it to me when that happens!)


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