Writing Wednesday: High Bars and Hungry Bears

Courtesy of KeithJJ @ pixabay.com

Writing is a bit like pole-vaulting.

Except… it isn’t.

High Bars –> ???

Writers set bars for themselves all the time: 100,000-word first draft, 200 pages edited by next Friday, 3-time Hugo award winner. As a two-time NaNoWriMo winner, I like having that 50K goal as my bar to clear. Having quantifiable bars and goals like that certainly makes them easier to plan and execute.

But the moment you set that bar too high, you’re going to find yourself in a metaphorical pit of hungry bears.

High Bars –> Hungry Bears

Procrastination. Self-Loathing. Perfectionism. Unexpected-Change-of-Plans. Facebook-Distraction.

These are just a few names of the bears that you will encounter. And they are more than happy to chew off all the writer-ly bones in your body and demotivate you.

You see, the problem with setting high bars is not that the bars are too high. Anything you want to achieve, you can. But you have to see progress as a staircase. You also have to be willing to go back a few steps on those stairs and make adjustments, if necessary.

Hungry Bears –> Obstacles

You need to look each bear in the eye and have a cup of tea with it. Figure out what you’re struggling with, and address it. If you want to get a Hugo award, read Hugo award winners. If you want to write 100,000 words in a certain amount of time, map out how many words you need to write per day.

If you find that your novel doesn’t need 100,000 words to be written and you finish it at 80,000, call it a day, and start the next book.

Don’t get hung up on hungry bears; figure out the goals you need to climb those stairs.

Obstacles -> Gifts

My writing journey has brought me to places I didn’t think I’d be. I wanted to write 200,000 words of my WIP by April.

Guess who decided to reset the bar to 120,000 words instead and start the next draft?

Treat your obstacles and problems as gifts, everybody.

Take them, or they will take you.

And eat you.


Hey, there! Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

No extra comment from me this time. Just wanted to say bye, and that I’ll see you on Friday!


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