I am a firm believer in setting goals…in general. Some people are goal driven and love to check off a list. I am not one of these. I’m not discrediting it, but I have found that I tend to focus more on the how well I’m doing instead of setting a specific goal. Technically, I set goals, though they tend to be more broad.
Writing Goals –
I don’t work on the weekends. So, I have five days out of the week that I can work. I would love to work from 9:00am-3:30pm each of those days, but it’s not always possible. I have a family and a home that still needs to function. If I can’t work those 20 hours every weeks, I don’t get down on myself. It’s more important to focus on what you were able to achieve instead of the lack. Most weeks I work 10 to 15 hours. It’s not my ideal hours, but as long as I work hard, I feel productive. Once all my children are in school, 20 hours every week will be more achievable. For now, I need to be satisfied with what I can do.
Reading Goals –
I do all my reading in the evenings and into the night. I don’t set reading goals unless I’m trying to finish a book before book club or before a signing, and even then, it’s a loose goal. Today is March 11,2014. So far this year, I have read a total of 10 books, I’m reading the 11th right now, and will probably finish my 14th before March is over. That’s the most I’ve ever read within the same time period. By the end of the year, I’ll have a lot of books under my belt. But if I had set a goal for 50 books this year and was unable to reach it, that wouldn’t help me. I like setting the goal of reading everyday, then when the year is over I can just be impressed with my book count instead of kicking myself for not trying harder.
Everyone needs to set goals that will help them to progress. If you are a checklist person, do that. But I am not one of those people. I function better off of successes rather than possible failures. Writers already have enough failure to deal with. Rejection letters and bad reviews are apart of the business, so make your goals more about growth instead of numbers. If your working hard but can’t meet you 1,000 word count everyday, are you a failure? If you set a goal to finishing editing by a certain date and couldn’t make it despite your efforts, are you not worthy of achievement? The answers to these are an absolute NO! Set goals to write. Set goals to read. Set goals, but set goals that mean something. Numbers aren’t always the best way to measure success.