When I first starting writing, I set the most unbelievable goals for myself though I thought they would be achieved with ease. One of them was that I would write 10 pages of new material a day, 7 days a week all while holding down a full time job, long standing commitments 2 nights a week, and another long standing commitment from 8:30am to 3:00pm on Saturdays, and keeping the majority of my Sundays for family time. I don’t think I ever wrote 10 pages in one day during that time, or wrote 7 days a week. As each week passed that I didn’t meet that goal, I became more and more depressed. I questioned my desire to be a published author. If I wanted it so badly, then I should be able to meet that goal right? Wrong.
A very wise friend and fellow writer pointed out that it wasn’t that I wasn’t committed to getting published, I just had too much on my plate to enable me to devote that much time to my writing. She suggested that I not set goals or to focus on smaller goals that would fit around my scheduled commitments.
I sat down and looked at my schedule. I decided I needed the time to devote to my writing so I gave 3 months notice to the proper people on those long term commitments that at the end of the 3 months, I would no longer be able to do them. During that time I tried to write whenever I could but I missed the structure goal setting gave me.
I’ve come a long way since then. I still like to set goals because they keep me on track and help me stay focused. I set yearly goals, quarterly goals, and weekly goals. But one thing that has changed is now-a-days my goals are very fluid. For example, one goal is to write 20 to 25 pages a week. By not nailing down a set page count per day, I give myself room in my schedule if something pops up and I can’t write on a certain day.
I also set goals in my non-writing life for things I want to accomplish by a set time or date though for some reason it doesn’t work when it comes to dieting. I wonder what that says about me…probably that my weakness for ice cream is greater than my desire to lose those unwanted pounds. LOL.
Do you set any type of goals? Do you find them helpful? If you don’t set goals, why not?