Some writerly pals and I shared our writing goals for 2011. After going through the exercise, I realized that I’ve had these goals in mind all along, I just never committed them to paper.
I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment if I failed. (I have enough things to feel bad about already, you know what I’m sayin’?) So, by not writing down mygoals, I had the mental flexibility to tell myself it was okay, I changed my mind, or it was okay to change that deadline I arbitrarily made because, well, I didn’t set it in stone in the first place.
But hold on a minute.
If I’m not a goal-oriented person, then how did I get through high school, undergrad, med school, residency, etc? Why am I looking to purchase a house? What makes me save up some money to buy a super cool Mac gadget? (Well, that would be the sexy Apple Advertising, but hey, y’all get the point.)
Even more than that, how in the world would I spend hours, days, weeks, and months–hell, years at this point–drafting seven novel length manuscripts if I didn’t have a goal in mind?
Which brings me to my point.
I realized that it’s worth writing down goals because then I can see where I’m at and where I’m heading. Sure, things will come up to block me (or advance me) along the way. That’s the marvelous thing about life. And writing down goals by no means makes them permanent and unchangeable. Think about it. How many times do we cut scenes and delete chapters to replace them with better versions? All the time! Why can’t we do that with goals too? I say we can. But, like we need rough drafts in order to carry out revisions, we need a starting point for goals in order to make modifications.
What about you? Do you have concrete, tangible writing goals for this coming year? Do you write them down or do you “wing it?” What happens if you don’t meet a goal?
Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–we’ll be addressing a NEW topic!