Monday, December 25, 2006

Setting realistic goals

In a few short days, we will bid farewell to 2006 and welcome in the new year. Since I began writing full-time, I've used the final days of the year as a kind of review - what did I accomplish and where did I fall short.

The funny thing about goals is that you have to be realistic when you set them. On the heels of NaNo I posted I would finish "A Shepherd's Journey" this month. Who in the heck was I kidding? I knew how busy this month would be, and I also knew how much research I needed to do to move forward with this project. Yet, I set that lofty goal knowing I had an ice cube's chance in hell of achieving it.

Some might say it's good to push yourself; I would tend to agree. But when you continually set goals which you can't possibly meet, all you do is guarantee failure. And over time, not obtaining your goals will affect how you approach your writing.

Putting together a list of realistic goals takes a while, but I suggest every writer compiles one. Consider what you can honestly dedicate to each item on that list. While it might feel good in the beginning to write out 30 things you wish to accomplish in the next six months, you will soon become bogged down when it is March and you haven't even finished the first 3 items. Just because one person's goals include a dozen writing related projects for the first quarter of 2007, doesn't mean you have to work at the same pace. You are the only one who knows how much time you can dedicate to your writing.

After sitting down to write this blog entry, I thought about my own little list of goals posted in the Elevator section. I think it's time to take my own advice and review it to see if my goals are realistic. I still want to push myself, but I also want to be sure I am able to complete items on my list on a fairly regular basis. If I can't, then those feelings of failure will come creeping around the corner, and I don't have the time to waste in dealing with them. Do you?



Jean said...

Another very timely post!

While we definitely need to set goals, they must be realistic and attainable. Not being able to reach those goals is worse than not having them....I think:-)


Lorib said...

Good Post and so true.

We have learn to challenge ourselves without setting the bar to unattainable heights.


Cheryl said...

Thanks ladies. I am one of those people who sets lofty goals a lot, but I refuse to do that to myself in 2007. I want to be the one who sets realistic goals, meets them, and sees the sales roll in as a result.