Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Goal Post

Good name for a sports bar, right? I'm sure it's been done.

This is where we get some of the goal stuff out of the way. I'm a big believer in writing things down and making a plan, because it's damn hard to accomplish something if you don't know what it is you're trying to accomplish. I have to be careful, though, because there is a difference between goals and dreams.

Goals are things you can control. They are measurable, and you can make a plan and know when you've accomplished your goal. Dreams, on the other hand, are usually not in your control.

For example, I can set a goal to write at least 1000 words of fiction every day. I will know every day whether I've accomplished that goal, and, barring rare exceptions such as being hit by a bus, that goal would be completely in my control. I just have to set aside some time to sit down and get it done. If I don't accomplish it, it's because I didn't do it.

If I said my goal was to be a best-selling novelist, well, I'd be wrong. That's a dream. I can do all of the things I need to do to become a best selling novelist, things like writing every day and learning the craft, learning how to market my novel, learning how to find and agent if I want one, learning how to edit and proofread and rewrite as necessary, and generally learning how to do all the things that it takes to become a best-selling novelist, and then doing them, and I might still not become a best-selling novelist. Why? Because that involves other people taking action, and I can't control that.

See, people would have to buy my novel for me to become a best-selling novelist. I can write it, even make it pretty damn good assuming I did the work on becoming a better writer. I can sell it to a publisher or publish it myself. I can promote it, market it, and get it in front of as many potential readers as possible. But I can't make people buy it. That's just not in my control. I can do a lot of things that make it more likely that they will, first and foremost by writing a damn good novel, but that doesn't mean anyone will buy it. So, I can't set that as a goal.

What can I set as a goal, then?

Let's make a list. Here are my goals for the rest of 2017, writing and otherwise:

Writing Goals
  • Write at least 1000 words of creative fiction every day.
  • Work on one writing project at a time (for now) and finish what I start.
  • Get everything I finish to market, whether through traditional means or published independently.
  • Blog every day, even if it's just a word count update.
Fitness Goals
  • Exercise for at least 1 hour every day.
  • Count calories and monitor my macros. Track it all. Adjust as needed.
  • Weigh in every morning and track it.
Life Goals
  • Continue working towards my degree in creative writing.
  • Make quality time for friends and family every week.
  • Make a weekly planner every Sunday and plan my time effectively.
I think that's enough.

There are 275 days left this year. If I stick to my most basic writing goal, writing 1000 words a day, I will write at least 275,000 words this year. That's basically three novels. I'd sign up for that any year.

If I did just that, every year for 20 years, I'd have written 60 novels. That sounds like a career.

Tomorrow, I'm getting up early to head to the gym before work. I'll post my weight, my workout plan, and what I hope to achieve fitness-wise.