Writing goals: The no shame edition

Everybody needs goals.

Everybody needs goals.

Back in April, I posted some writing goals for 2015. Yes, that’s right: April. So I’m already way ahead of where I was last year. Which I should probably turn into a goal so I can say I met it.

So how did I do? Not terrible, but not great, either:

  • Blogging. My goal was to blog once a week. Hahahahaha. In actuality, I managed only 21 posts.
  • Go to a conference. Yeah, not so much.
  • Take a class. I did do a one-day plot workshop with the fabulous Rebecca Petruck.
  • Do a writing residency. I spent five days at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, and was really glad I did it.
  • Finish revisions of WIP 1. Finished revision two. Still working on revision three.
  • Send out queries for WIP 1. Nope.
  • Finish outline for WIP 2. Nope-nopetty-nope-nope-nope.

So a mixed bag. But you know what? That’s OK. Goals are motivating, but I’m not going to beat myself up for not meeting them. I read something recently about how the first real step in the writing process is forgiving yourself. We feel so much shame as writers for not writing that sometimes we can’t even get started. So I’m going to try and stop feeling bad about not writing yesterday (or that week when life got in the way).

Instead, I’d like to be more committed to the process of writing. That is to say, I’d like to set aside the baggage of shame and publishing and agents and success (whatever that is) and just reinvest myself in the pleasure and satisfaction of writing, of telling a story only I can tell, from beginning to end. For that to happen, yes, I need to make time to write and set out the tea things. But I also need to focus on being present in the moment. Because isn’t the whole point of being a writer, you know, the writing part?

That said, I also want to make progress and finish things. Thus the goals. But I’m going to try and keep it simple this year:

  • Take a class.
  • Go to a conference.
  • Write.
  • Finish.

By “Finish” I mean work with an end in mind. For now, that means finishing up my revision, and staying focused on that. And once I get there? Well, that’s one nice thing about goals: You can always make more of them.

Final Goal” by Martin English is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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