Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A few words about Goals - Part One

Last week, I saw my June 30 deadline looming for completing my 80,000 word goal in my novel-in-progress.

I admitted to Mantra Friend that I was worried about not hitting the goal by that date and how I would feel like a failure.

This friend has an uncanny ability to pull out just the right lecture at just the right time. He gave me a litany of things I have accomplished in the past six months as a counter to my failure argument.

He said, "This word count thing is worrying me. Are you writing for word count or for the story?"

I assured him that I was writing for the story and that there was more story to write. He made me repeat these words after him. I must admit I found them hard to say: I promise to...not look at my word count...until July 1...At which time...I will decide...what needs to happen next.

I stayed true to my promise. I wrote my page a day and felt liberated by the permission he gave me to not worry about the word count.

In the process, I named three new characters and wrote the back story for them plus two others. This work has informed my story for the past week and I am really happy with my progress.

The lesson here is: Goals are really important to getting a job done. They create momentum and energy and provide direction. But if taken out of context or too much emphasis is placed on the goal itself rather than the big picture, the goal can become a hindrance. It certainly had become one in my case. But now, I'm back to having a healthy outlook on my goal. I will get to 80,000 words when I get to 80,000 words. There is no room in this endeavor for feeling like a failure. As Mantra Friend reminded me last week, "You're the one that started this whole 80k thing. Nobody's put you up to it. Not even me. Six months ago there wasn't a story or characters. There were NO WORDS. Now you have all of it. Who cares how many words you have or when you reach your goal?"

I started writing this novel as a challenge to myself. Could I really do it? The surprise is that yes, I actually can. I cannot wait to print out this draft and begin to weave the story together.


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