Smaller, Obtainable Goals

It seems like it was just yesterday when school was wrapping up for the year and I was making big summer plans.  Big plans.  I was going to read a book a week.  Write a blog in the same amount of time as well.  That’s not to mention all the domestic goals that I had. Oh yeah, and write a novel. You might be inclined to question my progress, though I recommend that you don’t.   Towards such goals, my progress has been limited!

In the seven weeks of summer, I have read six books (not as bad as I thought) though only one of them was indie.  Shame on me.  But I’ve only penned one blog—this is my second.  Domestic goals are looking even worse.  And that novel?  Nothing to report there.

But when I step back and look at my summer, I’m not seeing the deficits between my accomplishments and my goals.  Instead, I find that I focus on the experiences I had.  Tragedy struck my family a little over a month ago, followed by weeks of unplanned and unexpected activities.  Two trips back to Cincinnati, my nieces visit for a week, and my husband surgery all detracted from what was supposed to be  a summer of nothing but reading and writing and relaxing.  The tragedy aside, I wouldn’t trade in any of the unexpected activities of the summer!  It’s been a great time.

However, now I’m sitting here feeling the pressure once again of elapsed time between writing sessions.  Three weeks left before schools starts, and the novel I dreamed of finishing in one summer has hardly started.   A small sense of disappointment settled in when I realized that perhaps my goal is no longer obtainable unless I plan on spending it entirely in front of my computer.

A novel, I understand, is forged through hours spent writing.  And even more spent imagining, developing, and exploring the story within the mind.  It’s a commitment, and one that I am willing and ready to make.  I have a wonderful (I’m a bit biased maybe) story that I’m excited to share with the world, and it’s one just itching to be told.  I have no qualms that I can complete my story, committing to it isn’t the issue.  My hesitation, and the birth of my disappointment, is in the timeframe that I had set for myself.

I recognized a couple of days ago how limited my summer free time had become.  Resigning to the realization that making any sort of progress towards my novel was out of reach, I toyed with the idea of abandoning my writing goals for the summer completely.  I had a hard time seeing past the final goal of the novel, unable to break the task down at all.  And if I can reach my final goal, then why try, right?

It took the encouragement of a good friend to realize just how WRONG I was.    I had mentioned to him that I had three more weeks of summer and planned on getting some writing and editing completed in the time (hopefully).  To which, he responded, of course, I could get a lot done.  And then, I’m sure without even realizing just what he was doing, he did what I couldn’t do before.  He broke down my larger goal into smaller, obtainable goals.

“Think of it this way,” he said.  “My chapters came in just over 2K words or so.  Write a chapter a day, one scene each day, and in 3 weeks, you could have 42,000 words written.  And when you think about it, completely doable.  Two hours a day, 1K words/hour… Poof, done.”

Poof!  So simple.  Knowing me, I want to give myself a bit of leeway.  So a new goal immerged.  Two thousand words a day, 6 days a week, for three weeks.  That is 36,000 words before school starts.  A decent start to a novel!  It’s not my whole novel in the summer, but if I’d focused on that goal from the start, I would have missed out on SeaWorld with my nieces, Cheesecake Factory with the family, and relaxing and recovering with the hubby.

36,000 words and lots of memories seems like a pretty successful summer to me!  Now to make it happen!

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Published in: on 07.24.2011 at 1:05 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love it. Someone once asked me: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.

    First of all, cut yourself some slack. Unfortunately or fortunately life happens. But you are a disciplined person with a clear vision of the future. I have no doubt that you will reach your goal.

    Second, you are so right, Pubwrite people are the best!

    Looking forward to your novel.

    • I love that analogy. I will have to remember it. Thanks for all the encouragement. When I started training for a marathon, I asked a lot of questions. One of them was “What’s the hardest part of training?” An almost unanimous response was “Getting off the couch.” I find it’s the same situation with writing. Sometimes, the hardest part is picking up the pen!

  2. Very nice point of view, and truly very ‘doable!’ When you break it down like that, it’s almost…easy? Well, maybe not easy, but attainable.

    Go get ’em!

    ~Steve

    • Almost! I start tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that “easy” goes!


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