Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thoughts on Setting Writing Goals and July 2011 Update

I was thinking earlier about the writing goals that I set for myself in June. I was frustrated that I hadn't done as well as I'd hoped, and I was trying to figure out why I was having trouble. Although I did manage to write all my Trail's Edge blog posts, and I blogged even more than I said I would over at You Amuse Me, I fell short with Weird Worm articles (seven instead of eighteen), didn't start my mystery blog, and didn't read The Happiness Project. Out of all of them, the Weird Worm goal bugged me the most.

Later in the day, I went for a swim (trust me, this is an important part of the story). My goal was to swim for at least fifteen minutes.I didn't have much more time than that to spend, because I had to get back to work. So why was it that I felt so frustrated after a fourteen minute swim? It was surely close enough to my goal to make the difference not matter. It bothered me that after all the work of getting ready to swim, going to the pool, and actually doing the deed, I still didn't feel like I'd done a good enough job.

On the way back home, it hit me. Sure, I'd said that my goal was to swim for fifteen minutes. It was the amount that I had consciously stated to myself. But subconsciously, what I had really wanted was to squeeze an hour's worth of swim time into that fifteen minute slot that was available to me.

As far as swimming goes, I need to think more positive, and realize that I am getting plenty of exercise. However, this realization has far-reaching repercussions in regard to my writing (see, I told you it would connect!) The reason that I was having trouble reaching my writing goals was that I'd chosen goals that I didn't really, truly want to achieve. Which doesn't matter as much if you're just a warm body to fill a position; but if you need to get the machinery of creative thinking to work, it needs to be for something that's worth it.

With that being said, I think I need to cut back on setting arbitrary goals for myself. I will still be writing the required number of articles for Trail's Edge, Weird Worm, You Amuse Me, and a new market I've recently started working for. But the main thing I want to achieve is finding out what parts of this writing lifestyle are really working for me, and focusing on those above and beyond the others. Because really, what is the point of slogging through the stress and struggle of a writer's life unless sometime, somehow, it makes you happy?

Image by nicole.pierce.photography on Flickr.
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