Friday, July 22, 2011

Goals


I’m not the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t so much have goals in my life as I know where I want to end up and work towards it.  But I have started making writing goals.  Mostly I make them over at CompuServe writer’scommunities where we have a goals thread each month.  When I first started joining in I felt quite foolish.  Goals are lame.  They were only for people who didn’t know where they wanted to end up or couldn’t get there on their own.  WRONG.

 I found that setting writing goals helped motivate me.  The kind of goal I set changes, it may be a word count, if I’m in a mad drafting stage, it may be an amount of pages revised, it might be finishing a section, or just working through a problem or character blockage.  My goals change as my needs change.  I try to make them challenging and since they’re there for motivational purposes as long as I’ve worked towards them and improved I don’t get upset at not actually completing them.   One thing I’ve found is that I need to make goals appropriate.  If I know I’m going to have a crazy month I make the goals smaller, less demanding, because I have found sometimes if I fall too far behind I start to stress.  Then I have to take a big breath and figure out why I’m not reaching my goal.  Am I lazy?  Or is whatever that is interfering more important?  If it’s the first I get to work, if it’s the latter I let the goal go.  Maybe because I’m not a big goal setter in the rest of my life it’s easy for me to set a goal aside if it just isn’t working. 

Goals are another tool in the writer’s toolbox.  It may work in some situations but rarely all and it’s there for my benefit. 

How do you feel about goals?

10 comments:

  1. Hey Spesh,

    I like goals - mostly. [g] I do better when I am accountable to something, and I like having a goal to work toward, as long as the goal is set right. Aim too high, though, and I sometimes get a bit flustered.

    Love the goals thread!

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  2. I like goals, but like you said they have to be doable for what is going on in my life. Otherwise I drive myself crazy because I feel like a failure if I fall short. Which I just need to get over because I can't control everything!

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  3. Jill, I do better if I'm accountable too.

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  4. Ruth, We can't control everything and I think that is an important part of making a goal. We can't foresee what will happen in other areas of our life and we have to be able to let ourselves off the hook without the guilt.

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  5. Only if my team scores 'em! ...

    ... many's the time I've created my goals. I'm rather good at it. But then, I forget where I wrote them down or hare off in another direction completely.

    That doesn't mean I don't value the setting of them. They are infinitely useful in focusing my thoughts, they tick away at the back of the filing cabinet in my skull to pop forth when completed at the most unexpected times.

    My mantra for goal setting is a paraphrase of the immortal phrase from an immortal John Lennon song ..."life is what happens while we're busy making other plans"

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  6. Love the quote. We do need to be flexible to grab life as it passes us by regardless of our plans. Goals should only be set as far as they can help us. If they're not useful then we should find something else that is.

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  7. My goals need to be flexible and realistic. I can make some of the most ridiculous goals when my writing is really good. That's a key sign that the next month is going to hit a road block. ; )

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  8. I've got to set goals. Realistic, measurable ones. I only seem to get work done if I have deadlines, and being accountable to you guys helps a lot!

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  9. Yes, I've found (the hard way of course) that I have to set goals independent of what has been happening. Each one has to be it's own thing.

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  10. We like holding you accountable, mua ha ha ha. Oh wait was that out loud?

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