As my vision gets progressively less blurry following last week’s eye surgery, I am gradually able to spend more time with the written word (and boy how I’ve missed it!!!). One of the things I’ve been trying to do is begin catching up on email, a lot of which is writing related.
This month I’m taking a very interesting online course entitled “Too Shy To Pitch Or Promote” which is right up my alley. These online courses are one of the many perks of belonging to American Christian Fiction Writers or ACFW for short. You can visit their website here: http://www.acfw.com/
Another writing email asked recipients how their writing goals were going so far this year.
That got me to thinking. I feel like I’ve made fantastic progress this year on my novel, but it’s also the first year I can remember in ages that I didn’t have a laundry list of goals laid out before January 1st. I was thinking to myself, “Can that possibly be? I must surely have written a list of goals!”
But no, I went back and checked my blog archives for this year and didn’t see a single post on goal setting for 2009 because I usually hit the highlights in my blog.
Does that mean I’ve suddenly disavowed goal-setting? Not a chance. I firmly believe that unless you set measurable goals for yourself, you don’t make any progress in life (though progress means different things to different people).
I think this year, the difference for me has been not being so militant about my goals. When I make a big issue out of meeting my goals, I get myself so worked up about it that I spontaneously combust trying to meet them all. I overdo it when I set goals – goals that would be difficult for just about anyone to achieve.
This year, I didn’t write out a big long list of goals. I didn’t write down ANY goals. This year I kept it simple. Mentally I simply reminded myself that I had two goals to strive for: 1) Taking care of health issues I’ve been avoiding due to fear and other reasons, health issues I’d been praying would miraculously disappear on their own, and 2) finishing and submitting my novel.
Don’t ask me why, but NOT writing them down made them somehow less daunting. Made things seem smoother on my bid to finish the course and meet those goals. The best goals for me were the ones I COULDN'T see on paper.
Now neither one of those goals can be marked complete. The eye surgery was but one stepping stone and even that won’t be conclusive for probably another six weeks. But I dealt with a big issue in my life – a visual problem and my dislike of physicians (because I just haven’t had good experiences with physicians when I needed them most). But I dealt with the fear and ended up having a very positive experience thus far in my health quest. That’s a nice change of pace from my past several experiences in the medical field.
And the novel? No. It’s not submitted yet. But I just concluded my third re-write right before my surgery. And now, for the first time ever, my entire manuscript is before the eyes of my lovely crit partners – the first people ever to see my entire little creation other than God. 8-) And as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a strong sense of confidence that the manuscript will be sent out in June as I planned.
So what is the take-away value I’m trying to give to writers who may be reading this blog? I guess I would say it simply. Don’t tie yourself up in knots by setting outrageous goals or too many goals, or obsessing over goals so much that they overshadow your reasons for developing them in the first place. And don’t let writing take over your life. I fully believe that when I put God first with my time, He makes the writing progress smoothly and in just the right time-frame. After all, God is right on time, all the time, to quote Dr. Stanley.
And writing is a joy God has given to us. I want to enjoy it to the fullest.