As writers, we often set daily goals to keep ourselves motivated and on track, especially during the initial stages of crafting a piece. During the first draft, it’s relatively straightforward – you set a word count goal, such as 500 or 1000 words a day, and you diligently work towards it. But what happens once you’ve completed that all-important first draft? How do you continue tracking progress and keeping yourself motivated? In this blog post, we’ll explore a simple yet effective method to help you maintain your momentum beyond the initial draft stage.
The First Draft Milestone
Completing the first draft of your work is undoubtedly a significant milestone. Congratulations! You’ve poured your thoughts onto the page, and your story has taken shape. However, the journey is far from over. Now comes the crucial task of revising, editing, and refining your work to transform it into a polished final product. (BTW – If you’re ready to dive into the next draft, check out my upcoming retreat.)
Setting Post-First Draft Goals
Once the first draft is done, you’ll need to shift how you set your writing goals. Unlike the simplicity of word count goals during the drafting phase, you’ll need a different approach for the revision stage. Start by choosing a word count target for your daily editing sessions. It could be 500 words, 1000 words, or more, depending on how much time you have to devote to it.
Now, here’s where my little trick comes in. Once you’ve decided how much you’re going to edit, highlight that section of words in a color of your choice. I like using a bright color like yellow.
Tracking Daily Progress with Editing Sessions
With your editing target highlighted, it’s time to dive into your daily editing session. The highlighted section is your focus, and your goal is to make improvements within that portion. You’ll review, revise, and refine the text until it feels polished up to your standards. Sometimes, you might find that your initial goal of 1000 words gets whittled down to 700 words after a thorough editing, and that’s perfectly fine. Remember, the goal isn’t just about hitting a specific word count; it’s about improving the quality of your writing.
Adapt and Adjust
Editing can be an unpredictable process. As you work through your highlighted section, you may realize that certain areas require more attention or additional content. It’s essential to be flexible and adapt to the needs of your work. If you need an extra day or two to perfect a particular section, don’t hesitate to take it. Quality should always take precedence over speed.
Setting daily editing goals and working through them is an excellent way to maintain motivation and a sense of progress, even when you’ve moved past the initial draft. Each day, as you complete your editing session, you’ll have a tangible sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’re getting closer to your final goal. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a more personalized plan for tracking your progress, this free guide will get you to the finish line.
In the world of writing, completing the first draft is just the beginning of your journey. As I always say: writing is rewriting.
To turn your rough draft into a polished masterpiece, you’ll need to implement a structured editing process. Setting daily editing goals, highlighting your focus areas, and adapting as needed are all key elements in this process. By using this method, you can effectively track your progress and stay motivated as you work towards the ultimate goal of producing a refined and compelling piece of writing. So, go ahead, set your post-first draft goals, highlight your focus, and start the journey towards creating a work that you can be truly proud of.