I preach about setting realistic writing goals based on, well, life. Do I follow my own advice? No. I have to set sky high goals that will inevitably make me feel guilty when I do not meet them – and frustrated when I have very little product for critique groups or submissions to contests and magazines.
The end of 2006 was a doozy for me, with several unexpected twists and turns that left me reeling. I figured I’d have all the time in the world to work on my novel and a few short story ideas that have been brewing away in this coffee-infused brain of mine. After all, I had a lengthy Christmas break.
But just as life goes, writing became a much lower priority on the list. Of course, that blockage in my brain didn’t help any! (see Curse of the Blank Page Cursor post).
I really beat myself up (the bruises still show on my poor writer’s ego) on January 1 when I realized just how little I had accomplished throughout 2006 – especially the end of the year. It was the same cycle as last year and previously years – set (unrealistic) goals, fail to alter said (unrealistic) goals based on lifes ups and downs, get frustrated when I don’t meet said (unrealistic) goals and mope around the house, wishing I could be the next bestselling author tomorrow instead of struggling today.
So I’m changing things up a bit. Instead of concentrating on what I didn’t do, I’m going to focus on what I did do as a full-time professional who writes in her spare time. I wrote three short stories. I started two novels. I read a great book on writing which helped me figure out what was going awry in my writing. I submitted three stories to three short story contests – and won one of those. I was an active participant in two critique groups – even when it was a struggle to keep up.
As I started to add up the positives, I felt a little better – marginally so, but still, it’s a start. Are you like me and focused so much on where you want to be you miss out on where you have been? Then take the time to write out what you have done and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished. Even if it was just one sentence for an entire year on your novel, that is one sentence more you did not have last year.0