Setting Realistic Goals

It’s a learning process, right? So, it’s not like I’m a big fat failure because halfway through my “75k done by the end of December no wait I mean January” goal I’ve decided to go back on it. And it’s not like not getting Fairy Queen out when I thought I would makes me a big fat failure, either. I’m learning. What have I learned?

I’ve learned that while I love writing, I really hate the packaging part of it. Despise. Will end up putting it off and missing self-imposed deadlines. Hate hate hate. I’ve learned that while I do wish to start thinking of writing as what I do, job wise, and the day job is the day job, that doesn’t mean I automatically get 8 or even 4 hours a day to work on it. I work full time, in retail, and Christmas is coming. I have a handful of animals to care for and spend time with. I like and enjoy knitting (and have a number of projects to finish by December, which I can reasonably finish but not if I’m writing as much as I’d planned to be writing, and Christmas is not a self-imposed deadline and thus cannot be moved) and there are days at a time when, during my after work hours, I want to knit, not write. I’m (re)learning that my desires come in cycles — I’ll go a week or so only wanting to knit, and then a week or so wanting to write. This isn’t good for wanting to churn out enough work to start shopping it around, and it’s not good for making headway with the WiP, which has 5 books lined up already. As much as I don’t want it to be true, the day job often takes it out of me and I return home a zombie. I’ve learned that, along needing to cooridinate planning Big Projects so that we both don’t need the computer extensively at the same time, I need to not plan Big Projects with the same time-frame, because then neither of them happen.

I’m learning that it’s pointless to be envious of people who get to write full time and churn out almost a million words in print a year. (Though I’m happy to discover that I’m less envious of their success and more envious of the time they were allowed to spend WRITING)

So, I’m regrouping and rethinking. I am obviously going to be still working on the WiP: book 1, but I’m tossing out a need to pay attention to word counts. I get done what I get done, before the end of December. I’ll also still poke at Fairy unless I can get the Awesome Beth to do it for me (hatehatehate the packaging). The goal is now to get to January 1st with my knitting projects done, Fairy out, and time to devout to the WiP. It’s great to be happy for the folks who can just write and now work Outside, but I need to plan according to what my free time allows, and that can’t mean foregoing all the things I enjoy aside from writing. I’m not aiming for a crunch writing period here, a la NaNo, I’m aiming for a sustainable schedule that allows me to make forward progress, yet doesn’t choke other things out of my week. So, I continue to tweak, and it does not make me a failure.


2 thoughts on “Setting Realistic Goals

  1. lykeiaofapollon

    I understand completely. Which is partly why I never jump into such activities. I do things when I have time and when I feel like it. I would love to be a full time artist because it gives me more hours a day to expend on my art, but sometimes I just don’t feel like painting but will feel like writing or doing something else such as knitting (and some days I get bitten by the lazy bug and don’t feel like doing much of anything). Making myself conform to strict deadlines has never worked. My deadlines tend to be really flexible…more of a guestimate of when I will be finished with certain things. And this works well to keep me from stressing, especially when one has to have a day job.

  2. Jolene Post author

    One thing I do want to work on is getting some writing done almost every day. I naturally fall into a space where something holds my interests for weeks or months at a time, and then I come away from it for a while. There is nothing wrong with that approach at all, but I’d like to get a bit more writing done than what I accomplish that way, if only for my emotional well-being. I have a hard time getting to the end of any given cycle and not getting down on myself for either not writing or not knitting or not-whatever-I-haven’t-been-doing. Going from not writing every day to trying to get a novel length draft out in 3 months (during my busy day job time *and* my busy religious time!) while trying to get book press ready and make holiday gifts . . . um. Not the best plan, Jo. The success here is removing value-judgment. This is about finding what works for me, through trial and error.

    I, too, wish you could paint full time. Your art is amazing.


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