Monday, December 7, 2015

On Meeting Your Goals (or NOT meeting your goals)

Soooooo, last month, like a lot of writers --specifically the 325,000 NaNoWriMo writers who signed up to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November -- I set a goal for myself, and, um, didn't reach it.

The truth is I didn't even come close.

And it seemed like such a low-bar of a goal: write a half scene per day during the half of the days in November when I wasn't scheduled to do an event. I was confident that I'd be halfway through with my revision by now.

Ah, the me of a month ago was so adorably optimistic.

What I hadn't figured on was that each of my nine events would require preparation and each bit of preparation took exponentially more time that I'd projected. And then Thanksgiving suddenly sprang up out of nowhere, and both of my kids flew home from college, and my husband's family came from out of town to stay with us over the holiday, and I had to clean the house and go grocery shopping and make large meals, and unbeknownst to me, my husband and daughter signed us all up to walk five miles in our town's Turkey Trot Race on Thanksgiving morning, and it all turned out to be very fun and busy and lovely, but who are we kidding here?

There wasn't going to be much writing going on.

I used to beat myself up over "failures" like this. I knew the value of setting strong, specific, measurable goals (this, after spending many years setting ridiculous, vague, immeasurable goals and immediately breaking them) and I became a stickler for following the rules, harder on myself than anyone else could ever be.

If I said I would write X number of words in a particular day, then damn it, I was going to write X number of words if I had to stay up until midnight to do it.

But sometimes even staying up until midnight won't cut it, and anyway, how are you going to baste the turkey and walk five miles and make up the sheets on the kids' beds and take your son out to lunch and sit up late one night and watch a Disney cartoon with your daughter?

Somehow I still managed to write seven decent chapters and I broke through in a few sticky places and reworked the synopsis and discovered and ruminated over and solved, I think, several plot holes, and I am feeling pretty happy overall about my progress.

Soooooo yeah. Whatever. It's cool.


  1. Congratulations! You have a life and still manage to write. That sounds good to me.