Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dreams, Goals, and Deadlines

Several weeks ago, I wrote about a journal that I keep. It is not the usual kind of diary. Instead of summaries of the day's events or collections of story ideas, I write down words from books or magazines that inspire me. When I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed or un-creative, I pull out my journal and peruse the pages. The journal connects me with other writers (always a good thing) and sometimes helps me solve the immediate dilemna
One of the problems beginning writers face is the lack of recognition. It's sort of like housework. What's the point if nobody's going to notice? If you clean and decorate your home for guests, you feel gratified when you can share a comfortable space with the people visiting.

Writers want to share their work. Too many beginners aren't sure how to do that. Perhaps it's because new writers don't feel competent or worthy. Perhaps they just don't understand that they're in charge of their own writing destiny.

I first began to sell my work because of suggestion from my husband. He told me to make a business plan. The question I should ask myself , he said, was "How much can I expect to make as a writer this year?" I had never thought of setting a monetary goal for myself. I instead thought I should submit work and hope to be paid. As a business owner, he showed me the folly of this way of thinking. Nobody opens a restaurant or a tire store or a dry cleaning establishment and "hopes" to be reimbursed! So, why do so many writers "hope" to sell their work or see it in print?

His suggestion changed the way I thought of my writing and my goals for myself as a writer. As a result, I made goals which forced me to be more vigilante and organized about submitting my work. I began to look for ways to get assignments. I began...to get paid!

From my journal, here's another version this suggestion from an article by Kelly James-Enger, The Writer March, 2005, pp. 43-44 called "Break Out of Your Box:"

"...Even if you don't write full time, you may discover writing for a lifetime means discovering that ther's no finish line. You never hit the mark, and think, 'That's it--the end of the road.' You re-create yourself and your career along the way.

That may mean writing in a new genre, covering differnt topics, teaching or switching forms--say , writing books instead of magazine articles.

If you've reached the point in your career when writing is starting to feel like a drag, it may be time to set long term goals Even if you're newer to writing it never hurts to have some kind of plan for the future. Consider, for example, what parts of writing you find most--and least--satisfying. Imagine your perfect 'dream life' as a writer. What kinds of projects would be working on? How does that differ from how you're spending your time today?"

So, go ahead. Dream, then set a goal, and give yourself a deadline for accomplishing that goal. Your writing will improve, I guarantee it.

1 comment:

Jet said...

Very inspiring, Mur!