Monday, January 3, 2011

Goal Setting by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Happy New Year! This first Manuscript Monday of 2011, let's dive into goal setting with a very prolific writer, Kim Vogel Sawyer. We hope you're inspired to approach your own writing this year with renewed enthusiasm. Enjoy!

Goal Setting
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

God gave me the privilege of publication. Along with contracts comes little details, like deadlines. Because my deadlines tumble one on top of another at a rather rapid pace (I have a book due every four months), I don’t have a lot of wiggle time between those “turn it in NOW” dates. Consequently, I discipline myself to stick to a writing schedule.

Since my novels are supposed to be between 90 and 100K words (and I seem to always lean toward the longer edge of that range), and since I usually take a couple of weeks for research/character-building and a couple of weeks for editing, that leaves approximately twelve weeks for the actual writing. Bring on the daily goal chart!

Twelve weeks equates to 84 days. But I immediately subtract 12, because I don’t write on Sundays. It’s a personal thing. :o) That leaves 72 days. Then I cross off the 12 Saturdays. If I get in a pinch I might write on Saturday, but I really try to keep those open either for family, speaking events, or book signings. That brings me down to 60 days. 60 days to write 100K words! Are you panicking yet? Honestly, it’s doable. When you divide 100K by 60, you get roughly 1700 words needed each of those days to meet the deadline. I bump that number up to 2000, which is approximately eight pages. That doesn’t sound so overwhelming, does it?
So here’s my goal: an average of 10,000 words per week. I record my daily word count as well as a running total to keep track of where I am in the completion of the novel. If I fall behind one week due to outside commitments or appointments, I make it up the following week. Seeing that number climb toward the magic 100,000 words is very motivating.

Something else that keeps me motivated is finding an accountability partner—someone who asks on a daily basis, “How’d the writing go today?” Or even just posting my count on Facebook gives me an accountability. If I reach my goal—i.e., turn in the book on time!—I reward myself and my husband (because he has to leave me alone and let me write!) with a dinner out.

Basically, setting goals gives me a tangible something to work toward. It insures I’ll be pleasing my publisher by sticking to their schedule for the book, and it lets me have a life outside of my office, too. Because when I meet my daily word count, I know I’ve completed my task for the day and can go see the grandkiddos or visit a friend or take my mom to lunch or just play with my cats. So meeting the goal has its rewards.

Writing takes discipline, and establishing and meeting goals is a big part of that. Blessings to you as you write for Him!


Kim's latest book, Courting Miss Amsel, released January 1, 2011.

Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?


A former elementary school teacher who loves "C" words like children, cats, and chocolate, Kim Vogel Sawyer has become one of the most beloved authors writing for the inspirational market today. Drawn to her gentle stories and connecting with the spiritual truths in them, readers continue to fall in love with Kim’s novels. Kim and her husband are empty-nesters who make their home on the beautiful plains of central Kansas, the setting for many of her books.


  1. Wow, Kim! One book every four months. You're a writing machine! Does it get easier with experience?

    I thought I was disciplined, but I guess there's a lot of room for improvement. Thanks for kicking me into gear!


  2. Thanks for visiting today, Kim! Write on!

  3. Very inspiring post! On this third day of a new year I am wanting to be much more intentional in my writing. Thank you for this kick in the pants challenge!


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!