Boy, Will I Feel Good When I’m Done

By: Marilyn L. Davis

2016 calendar

NaNoWriMo is the National Writing Month, held in November. The rules are simple: write your 50,000-word novel from November 1 through midnight November 30th. No edit, no revisions, just writing. I had two friends participating, and one finished the challenge, and one hit the wall at 30,000 words.

While NaNoWriMo might be the Mt. Everest, there is a mountain that is taller. Mauna Kea is over 10,000 meters tall compared to 8,848 meters for Mount Everest – making it the “world’s tallest mountain”. And sometimes, how we measure our success, oh, and that distasteful word – failure, is not always straightforward. We have to understand our starting point and the point of reference.

Referencing is Relative

Just as the criteria for measuring the mountains relies on different starting points, we writers trap ourselves sometimes with setting the bar too high to begin with, or we expect too much in the beginning.

  • Will this post go viral?
  • Will I make a million dollars from my writing?
  • Will I become famous?
  • Will other writers hang on my every word?

Steven Pressfield sums up the issue for any creative endeavor, “The artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life.”

When people are only writing to accomplish the accolades and income, most get discouraged and quit. Now, before you think that’s a reference to my friend, it’s not. His schedule for November got bogged down with the end of semester requirements, completing an internship at the Press, his job, and making sure that he got A’s in his classes – which he did. Mission accomplished.

Sometimes, our goals change mid-stream, or in his case, mid-month. He realized that he couldn’t produce for NaNoWriMo and fulfill his short-term objectives. But he’s got a good start on his novel, and that’s more than some writers have.

2016 Goals and Tracking Progress

For 2016, have you decided what your writing goals will be? Without goals, sub-goals and tracking progress, many writers keep trying to get finished without understanding, not just the importance of setting goals, but of seeing whether you are getting beneficial outcomes.

Bill Copeland sums it up as, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

In essence, if your goal is to score, then you continue with forward progress, and when you are side-tracked with other life issues, you get back on track as soon as possible. And before you decide that I’m only preaching and not performing, here are my goals for 2016:

  1. Write from 6 AM until 9 AM, break, write until 11 AM. Edit from 3 PM until 5 PM, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
  2. Reduce the number of distractions by turning off the phone
  3. Do not check social media except during breaks, or after 5 PM
  4. Create “New Year – New Perspectives” (January, only) for FromAddict2Advocate
  5. Write three posts for my new partner in FromAddict2Advocate
  6. Write six posts, each month, for Two Drops of Ink
  7. Write two posts per week and update each Thursday’s Cues and Quotes for FromAddict2Advocate
  8. Update TIERS website
  9. Solicit new writers for Two Drops of Ink and FromAddict2Advocate
  10. Learn more about social media: Subscribed to three newsletters
  11. Unsubscribe to twenty-four mediocre newsletters
  12. Make the effort to comment on five other writer’s blogs daily
  13. Participate more in worthwhile communities on Google Plus
  14. Read:

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
The Writer’s Options by Max Morenberg and Jeff Sommers
Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato

I’m not sure if my goals represent climbing Mt. Everest or Mauna Kea, and it doesn’t matter. This time, next year, when I’m done meeting my objectives and goals, I’ll let you know how the writing, reading, subscribing, learning and commenting went. Stay tuned. . .

 

 

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Marilyn L. Davis

Marilyn is a recovering addict with 28 years in abstinence-based recovery. She opened and ran an award winning women's recovery home from 1990-2011. Closing the house gave her time to write for a larger audience at From Addict 2 Advocate, where she is the Editor-in-Chief. She is also the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, encouraging other writers to share their creativity and talents. She believes in the power of words and knows that how something is said is just as important as what is said. She is a charter member of the Cult of the Paper, which just means that she's been reading for a long time. Also, she is not embarrassed to profess her love of words, wit, and wonder. Her writing at Two Drops of Ink tends to be encouraging, full of alliterations, humor and as one fan put it, "Generous advice and common sense." She is also the author of Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS). She is the recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, given to non-attorneys and judges for their work within the Criminal Justice Systems and in 2008, Brenau University created the Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award, given to advocates in wellness, mental health and recovery.

8 comments

    • Thanks for reinforcing that we accomplish a goal by taking small steps towards it. As my granddaughter still says, “One, two, three, whee, we’re getting there.” We used to say this when she was three, and she’s now 19. She resurrected it, her sophomore year when she was trying out for captain of her soccer team. And sometimes, it’s those nonsensical reminders that work.

      Like

    • Good afternoon, Peter; can I count on you to help me make some of them happen? You know, most goals take support, encouragement, and determination. I may just have to call upon you for support or encouragement. But it’s reciprocal; I’ll support your goals, too.

      Like

  1. Good morning, Lisa; it does look like a lot, but I know that if I don’t make the list, write when I’ve scheduled it, and read about how to improve, I’ll regret some of my actions. Having some goals and working towards them feels productive, so I’m going to put effort into accomplishing these goals this coming year. Stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll have to write about my progress or setbacks at some point.

    Like

  2. Wow! You definitely have your work cut out for you! But, even if you accomplish 50% of your goals (which I’m sure you’ll do much better than that) you’ll still be accomplishing a LOT more than most. Your dedication to writing is very inspiring!

    Like

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