10 August 2009

Goals for 2009

No, you didn't read the title incorrectly. Yes, I'm making goals for the year. Yes, I know it's August.

...Funny. I wrote that first sentence about a week ago, when I looked through old posts and saw that I'd talked about setting '09 goals, but never actually had. This is funny, because now, today, this past weekend, I've been in a major funk. I hate my work (yes, I'm staring down the shambles of a plot that is currently passing for Jesscapades :S), I haven't written in two weeks and more, haven't wanted to, and I'm questioning my ability and my sanity.

[Insert most-of-the-day break here, during which I watch How To Motivate Yourself, a video by Holly Lisle that's part of the Think Sideways graduation goodies.]

Wow. Just, wow.

Motivation cannot be external; motivation has to come from within. You can't bribe yourself without also motivating yourself, which is why often times self-bribery falls down. So instead of sitting here, trying to think about the goals I ought to be setting and invariably setting myself up to fail, I'm now going to think about the goals I want to set: goals that will not only spur me on to acheive things, but to acheive the things I want to acheive without losing my sanity.

Mostly, I'm going to remember why I'm writing: NOT to be perfect. NOT to 'say something'. NOT to make a difference in the world. All of these things are important, and would be awesome - but they are NOT my primary motivation for writing. If I wanted to be perfect at something, I'd pick something easier than writing. If I wanted to say something, I'd become a preacher or a politician or a philosopher. If I wanted to make a difference in the world, I'd become an activist, or travel to remote locations (not exclusively 3rd World) and help 'the needy'. If all of these were my primary motivations, instead of happy corollaries, I'd do other things that would be much easier, much saner, and provide much quicker results.

Instead, I'm writing.


Because I want to write. Because I want to work from home so that I can watch my children grow up. Because, damn it all, writing is fun.

I'd forgotten.

And it all sounds so blunt and obvious here on virtual paper - but behind the safety of my laptop I'm nearly tearing up, because I'd forgotten that writing was fun.

So my goals for the year are thus:

* Write 150,000+ words. This is pretty manageable; I wrote more last year. Note that I'm not specifying what it has to be on; no pressure, just write.
* Win Nano. Because it's insanely fun, because it's such a blast to be part of the writing community when it happens - and because it gets awesome results.
* Keep Going. Write 6 days a week, not to get somewhere, but to enjoy the going.
* And for the rest of the year, make some time to sub. Subbing can be brutal, but between April and June I sold three short stories and a poem, and it was SUCH a boost - a reminder that writing isn't just a dream.

It's so tempting to put things in there like 'edit Jesscapades'; 'finish another manuscript'; and so on. But if I'm sufficiently motivated, such things will come naturally. And if I'm not sufficiently motivated, setting goals like that will only make me depressed that I can't stick to them.

So that's it. I'm not going to bribe myself any more. I'm going to motivate myself. And I'm going to remember: I'm writing because it's fun, and because I want to work from home.

I'm not writing in order to be perfect.

What are you writing for?


Yunaleska said...

Nice post! I'm writing for...similar reasons. I want my stories told. I'd like to earn enough money that I can stay at home, look after future children, and keep myself in slightly better health.

My goals for this year? Yes, insanely writing them here, but understand that it could all change.

* Finish Termion by 20th August and send it to beta-readers.
* 20th Augh to roughtly mid sept = edit Insecapable Ties
* mid sept, hopefully beta-readers may be finished, in which case next edit of Termion
* November/Dec maybe get to query Termion?
* Will carry on with A Price Worth Paying once i'm off editing :)

(2 wips to edit for query land = exciting!)

Lady Glamis said...

Wow wow wow. I've been at the hating stage of my work one too many times. Setting goals can really help, and I'm glad you're chasing after what you KNOW you want.

My goals for the rest of this year are to finish this rewrite of Monarch and begin my revisions on The Breakaway. I know that's all I can swallow. NaNo may be out of the question.

ElanaJ said...

Great goals. Self-motivation is crucial, and it sounds like you've found yours! Congrats!

Merc said...

Great goals, Inky! I think it's great you're focusing on the _writing_ more so than worrying about individual projects right now (which, I agree, tend to put pressure on one).

As for me, I'm writing... because I enjoy it and want to get better (and by proxy, one hopes, make the stories better).

At the moment, my only real goals are NaNo, finishing my two WIPs (FL and NF) by the end of the year, and I shall figure out more specifics then. ;)


Inkblot said...

Yuna - Put all the goals you like here! No problem at all :) Good luck with them, too - and thanks for sharing your reasons for writing :)

Glam - good on you sweet for knowing what you can reasonably handle. That's a skill in and of itself.

Elana - thanks, lovely! :)

Merc - I'm finally learning that general goals can be just as useful as specific ones. So good on you! :)

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