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?