Of The Making of Goals

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Goals as permanent as words written in the sand.

“Of making books goals there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”       Ecclesiastes 12:12, New International Version (paraphrased)

Our world is full of sayings about goal setting. 

“If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

And many others.

Now we’re nearing the close of 2016 and so the topic of setting our goals for 2017 is starting to pop up everywhere. Since the Fiction Writers Blog Hop focuses on writing, we’re dealing specifically with our writing goals for 2017.

Goals? What goals?

I’m supposed to actually think this all through? Map it out on a corkboard or a spreadsheet or a “My 2017 Writing Goals Collage?” Make it visible, permanent, real?

Whereas I can understand the benefits of these processes, and I know they help gazillions of people around the world, I have always had trouble with . . .

GOAL SETTING

Yes. It stands there in huge capital letters, looming over me while I cower before it, because try as I might over the now long years of my life, I’ve rarely been very successful with setting or reaching goals that I set that way.

You know – in stone. Like the law of the Medes and the Persians.

Whether because of my ADHD, or something else, my life doesn’t seem to cooperate with that technique. Like the things I “put where I won’t forget them” end up vanishing, goals set so formally, so officially, so visually get strangled to death and fade from existence more often than not.

For me, life doesn’t cooperate with hard and fast goals.

And so I just sort of, kind of know what I intend to do . . .

the Good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise.

I know I want another Emory Crawford Mystery written by midsummer – if I can. It would be better to have a deadline. Yes. A goal line to aim for, if you will. I do well with deadlines.

I know I’d also like to write a few short stories based in the ECM world – if I can.

But these will be the extent of my GOAL SETTING. Anything firmer I know will somehow get adjusted, altered, or even dumped as the year progresses  . . .

and life happens as unpredictably as it does for all of us. 

Hugs from Pearl 

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-oct-2016

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16 thoughts on “Of The Making of Goals

  1. The left and right sides of my brain are in more or less constant argument, so I have no problem setting goals (and beating myself up if I fail to meet them). I was interested in your perspective though: it sounds like you need to keep things much more fluid and find a goal-process overly constraining. But a deadline also feels like a goal to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pauline,

      Yes, I do need to keep things fluid. If I have something rather set, and something else comes along and shifts it, I have trouble adapting to the change. If my goals don’t feel as set, then I have less trouble working with the changes.

      A deadline is a goal, definitely. But I don’t usually set my own deadlines either. For me it helps that the deadline was set by someone else. For me, it’s no longer “my goal” but their’s and it’s their problem to deal with things if something goes wrong. hehehe Just a difference in perspective. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think sometimes we worry too much about the bottom line, the finish line, the next step. My dad had a wonderful saying that taught me how to plow through an amazing amount of work in time for supper–one day I was helping him cut brush, one poplar sapling at a time, and after every five or six of those I’d stop, and sigh (as only a 13 year old kid can), and gaze at the uncut saplings ahead of me. I suspect it was getting on his nerves (as only a sighing 13 year old can) and he said, “try this. Don’t look at the work you haven’t done yet, just concentrate on the stuff you’re doing right now. And now and then look back to see how far you’ve come.” And by the end of the day I had finished the patch I was in, and suprised myself in the doing.
    It’s all well and good to have a future goal to aim for, but stili, it’s the work you have to do to get there that makes it possible.

    But then you knew that.

    I have the same problem with change, and as I get older it gets worser. =)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Judy 😊

      I totally agree with your dad! It really is best for me to focus on what I’m doing and remember all the work I’ve already done to get there. It’s much more encouraging than focusing on all there is left yet to do.

      Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My father once told me: Never make a things-to-do list. All that is, is a list of things that won’t get done.

    I never forgot that.

    I don’t know why I write lists and set goals. And I certainly don’t know why I proclaim my goals to the universe. Does announcing the goals help me feel accountable? Perhaps. Do I love a challenge? Definitely.

    I think, maybe, setting goals helps me to clarify and give structure to what can feel like a chaotic world at times. I want to achieve certain things but then my mind starts to scramble and I feel overwhelmed. Setting a goal wraps my intentions in a tidy little package I can schedule out for some future date. It gives me the feeling I’ve tamed it by declaring it and scheduling it.

    But I like the way you think. I like the fluid approach you bring to goal setting, while also seeing the value in keeping a deadline.

    You’ve got me thinking on this one . . . and I’m so grateful you’ve joined our conversation. You have certainly enriched our discussion of goal setting. Maybe now we won’t be so hard on ourselves if some of our goals allude us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hugs and thank you Julie!

      I’m never too sure I’m going to “be okay” or ruffle too many feathers and cause an issue. As our host, I’m especially glad you liked my post.

      “I want to achieve certain things but then my mind starts to scramble and I feel overwhelmed. Setting a goal wraps my intentions in a tidy little package I can schedule out for some future date. It gives me the feeling I’ve tamed it by declaring it and scheduling it.”

      That’s a cool way of looking at it too. That you’ve tamed it, not that it’s a load to bear. Maybe we can blend a bit of each other’s ideas into our thinking.

      Thanks so much for sponsoring this blog hop!

      Hugs,
      Pearl

      Like

  4. lol, thanks. I think once you hit a certain stage in your life you realize you are NEVER going to make all those trips, or lose that weight, or grow another inch or two…

    I see it as a layered kind of thing. You have the Big Goal, way way out there in front of you. But the layers are what you accomplish today, and the day after. Not thinking directly ahead of where you are right now. And the deadline, if there is one, is usually a moveable feast.

    The only lists I make are grocery lists and I usually leave those on the table when I go. I refuse to make New Year’s resolutions, that way lies disappointment and madness. Julie, your father was absolutely right. A list of all the things you failed to accomplish. yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All well said, Judy. 😊 I usually leave my grocery list at home too. 😉

      Sometimes, when I think to, I make a list as I go through the day of all the things I get done. I’m usually surprised at how much I actually accomplished and it’s much more uplifting. Wish I remembered to do it every day. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, Pearl, what a great idea. A list of “done” rather than “undone”.
        Im pretty good with a shopping list, once I write it down I really don’t need to look at it again. My poor husband gets so upset when he discovers I’ve left the list behind. And so annoyed when I manage to get almost all of it bought. =)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I like this idea of looking back at a list (even if it does get left home), or at that cut brush Judy had mentioned earlier. It’s very uplifting. When I used to work as a secretary, I used to rush throughout the day with the feeling like I wasn’t getting anything done until I started making lists (even small things like “call so-and-so”). Then at the end of the day, I felt very differently. I felt like I had accomplished something, instead of having fuzzy memories of rushing from fax to phone to file cabinet to computer. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Lordy, do I love a deadline. I know it sounds counterproductive and authors are supposed to hate them, but if I don’t have a deadline, I’ll wander off and walk into a wall. Repeatedly. I’ll find other things to do instead (cleaning the grout in the bathroom? fun! then let’s see what Twitter is up to!) until I waste all my writing hours and have nothing to show for it. I say embrace the deadline!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so much the same way, Jayne! Without that date reminding me, “You know, you’re really supposed to have that done by the time I arrive.” I too wander away. And for me deadlines are so much better if someone else sets them. When I set them, I can just keep moving them. Hahaha.

      Hugs,
      Pearl

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think there’s a difference between deadlines and goals. A deadline is often imposed on us by necessity (Christmas dinner is a deadline, as is an anniversary), whether time, or tradition, or from outside (publishers set deadlines, not goals).
    If you write a book, your goal is to 1) finish it, and 2) get it published. But your immediate aim is both deadline and goal, say, writing ten pages every day. That covers both ends.

    Im wary of self-imposed deadlines, for me they just set me up to for, if not failure, at least letting the side down. My side. =)

    Like

  7. Nearing the end of 2016??? Of course you’re right, yet why is this such a shock? Last year my goal was to find a new publisher; and I did. Only I am so engrossed in marketing that I didn’t even notice it was November. Well, I did, except not the November that comes at the end of the year. Goals are a wonderful thing, and now that you’ve got my attention, I’ll think on what my goals for 2017 are. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cluculzwriter 😊

      Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation. Congratulations on finding a new publisher!

      I can totally relate to your “so engrossed in marketing that I didn’t even notice it was November” statement. The thing that bothers me the most about marketing and promotion is its sneaky way of taking over our brains. It is too easy to become so engrossed that suddenly you realize you’re not writing any more. Well . . . at least that happens to me all too often.

      Good luck with your books and your marketing! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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