Does anyone else feel like a failure when they don’t meet their word count goal? Personally, I’m an over-achiever and often set lofty goals for myself that I’ll never reach. Basically, I set myself up for failure.
Our Admin Team put together a blog with creative tricks to write during the summer with kids at home. This got me thinking…how do so many moms constantly reach their word count goals? What sorts of crazy things have they employed to get it done?
Keep reading to find out! Maybe we can try some of these to test their effectiveness.
Keep the Children Busy to Keep Your Word Count Goal
We’ve all been there: sat down at the desk, turned on the laptop, opened the document, and endured bombardment from children before ever writing a word. Sometimes, you have to get creative to keep the children busy so you can get your word count.
Check out some of the craziest ways our members have diverted their children’s attention in real life:
Bribe the Children with Candy
Our fearless leader, Allie Gravitt, has some creative candy-related tricks up her sleeve. One of the craziest things she did to meet her word count goal involved tossing Skittles across the room. Her children had to search for them, eating their prizes when they were found. Allie found this game “takes up a surprising amount of time.”
In-House Easter Egg Hunt
Heather created a giant Easter egg hunt throughout her house for her three-year-old daughter. The eggs were stuffed with all different things from food to toys. Heather hid them in every room of the house, and it took her daughter a whole FOUR hours to find them all! That’s some solid writing time right there.
This one will take a little more prep from Mom, but I mean, for four hours…It kind of sounds like it’s worth it.
Good Ol’ Arts and Crafts
One member, who writes anonymously as Informed Escapist, set her daughter up with a cardboard box and some markers and let her go to town. Arts and crafts are a great activity to entertain your children if you need to get anything done, really.
If your children are young enough that they need supervision, then you can sit at the table with them while you write. It’s a great way to be creative together and can even turn into a great teaching tool.
Like the Easter egg hunt, this activity might take some prep. Some kids can only color for so long, so you may have to scour Pinterest for some crafts that require assembly.
No Social Media Equals Word Count Goal Success
Shutting off social media might not seem terribly crazy to some, but for others, it’s blasphemous! It’s our connection, our lifeline, our crutch! Do we really have to give it up?
Admin Team member Natalie Cammaratta says not opening social media has gotten her to her word count goals on several occasions. If you think about it, social media can be a real time-sucker. Avoiding it leaves you distraction-free and fully focused on meeting your goals.
Get Up Early or Stay Up Late
Many of our members attribute their successful goals to changing their morning or nighttime routines. Some of us wake up well before dawn to write while the rest of the house sleeps. You get your word count in and some alone time with your coffee.
Some of us turn nocturnal, staying up all hours of the night to get in our words in. This one is my personal choice, but it’s brutal when you have young children to tend to the next day.
If you’re like Jen, whose children are older, you can get away with a crazy schedule for a while. When she has approaching deadlines, she’ll write all night in the quiet and sleep until lunchtime while her children work on their homeschooling. Then, it’s household chores and more nighttime writing starting after dinner. She made it clear that this schedule isn’t ideal (or healthy) long-term, but it does work.
Give Yourself Mini-Goals and Rewards
Sometimes you don’t need something crazy, just desirable. Meeting goals and getting rewards can certainly boost your motivation level.
Nisha sets herself 30-minute timers and sprints to meet her word count. I’ve used this method before, and it honestly works so well! I’ve also found it helpful to sprint with others so you have a group to hold you accountable and cheer you on.
The great thing about word sprints is it allows you to get the words out without self-judgment. The point is to get as many words as you can, not to write a masterpiece. That’s what editing is for! Until I started sprinting, it took me ages to write sentences or paragraphs because I judged every word that went on the page.
Many of us are motivated by rewards. Angela makes herself reward charts while she writes. Until she meets her goal, she only allows herself water, granola bars, and potty breaks.
What reward would motivate you to keep writing? A walk outside? Coffee or wine? A bowl of ice cream? Write it down for yourself and stick to it!
Get Out of the Dang House
Sometimes, friends, the only thing we can do to meet our goals is to escape. And honestly, as moms who write, we should treat ourselves with this option occasionally if we can.
Some of us have gone on weekend writing retreats. Bobbi Jo met a friend at an Air BnB and spent the entire time writing. I’ve known writers who rent a hotel room for a weekend and spend their time writing in solitude. (Doesn’t that sound grand?)
Angela pitched a tent on the beach near her house for a couple of days. Admin Team member Jill Robinson drove two hours away to write distraction-free. I’ve personally spent hours in Starbucks, popped in my headphones, and wrote a bunch of words.
Last Resorts to Reach your Word Count Goal
If you can’t get out of the house, be like our anonymous friend. Hide in the bathroom with your laptop.
That’s all she wrote!
About the Writer: Brigid Levi is a freelance writer and editor based in the Philadelphia area. She has three children, a husband-child, and a dog. When she’s not freelancing or working on her own writing, Brigid can be found under all the blankets with coffee, tea, or wine (depending on the time of day) and a sweeping historical fiction novel. She hopes to publish her YA fantasy/adventure novel in the near future! Find out more about Brigid on her website.