As November and NaNoWriMo draws near, many in the writing world start thinking about GOALS. For NaNo the goal is 50,000 new words in a month. Or maybe it's 50,000 words while sleep deprived because it also happens to be Thanksgiving when family comes to town and everything else in life seems determined to eat away the writing time you optimistically thought you'd have when you considered doing this crazy thing.
I'm a big goal proponent. I have my own goals for various aspects of my life, like my goal of reaching a certain 10K pace in my running. Then there's my goal to focus a minimum of 2 hours a weekday on writing--not blogging, not Twittering, not emailing, but actual writing. I have the goal of biting my tongue instead of barking at my children like a drill sergeant. I also have the goal of really listening when I talk to people, rather than planning my response. One of my goals is to finally decorate my bedroom (we've lived here 7 years and the master bedroom is still the second-hand-stash-everything-here room). I also should probably clean out from under my refrigerator--eventually.
I've had a goal for the month of October, and I even told 3 or 4 people about it (accountability and all that). My goal was to finish the rewrites on my MG fantasy so that I could begin querying in November. And how am I doing? With 11 days left in the month, I am just shy of the halfway point in my book. Unless I totally ignore the rest of life and my family, it's probably safe to say I'm not going to make it.
And that's okay.
I'm loving how the rewrites are turning out, and if it takes me longer to get the book I want and that others enjoy reading (including an agent and publisher) then that's okay. That's the more important goal anyway.
I think sometimes we focus so much on OUR GOAL (yes, it's capitalized for a reason) that we choke out all possibilities for flexibility. And then when we fall behind in OUR GOAL, we feel like a failure. One of the techniques teachers learn is to monitor and adjust. That has stuck with me ever since I heard it.
Set your goals. Work toward them. Periodically monitor and adjust. Then keep working toward them.
Life usually doesn't go as planned. Things get in the way, you lose sleep and can't think, your kidlet gets sick, you get sick, the car breaks down, etc. If you are so cemented into doing things one way, then you're just setting yourself up for failure.
So by all means set goals, but keep them flexible enough that you can actually reach them.
What goals do you have? And how are they going?