Sunday, April 19, 2009

Goal Number One--start small

On Friday, I wrote a post about being a committed writer. After reading the comments, I noticed that the biggest concern of those who felt the struggle to be a writer was too much and couldn’t commit was because of their lack of time or being too tired and overwhelmed with life.

I wrote that post for everyone. Even for the mother with three kids who has a full time job or the father who works forty plus hours a week, goes to the gym and helps with the children. I wrote it for the writer who wants to be published.

My mistake was in not clarifying how I meant one should be committed in order to succeed.

You don’t have to write five hours a day. You don’t have to join all the social networks and blog during your lunch hours; you don’t have to attend every writer’s conference that comes to your city.

What you do need to do is set ONE GOAL each week. The problem with I- want-to-be-a-writer-but-I-have-a-list-of-reasons-why-I-can’t-do-it writers is they choose the wrong goal size.

Start small. In the time it takes you to write a blog post, you could have a pretty good article written just as well. In the time you use to watch one hour of American Idol, you could have searched through a list of places to submit. In the time it takes you to call your best friend and update her on your latest hairdo disaster, you could have edited your work and pressed submit.

Then the next week—make GOAL TWO.

That’s what I mean by commitment.

Too hard? I don’t think so. Many many, many, writers before you have done it. And they have done it because they wanted to write and knew that was the only way to do it. One small step at a time.

Do you want to come to the end of your life and discover you never followed your dream?

24 comments:

Linda said...

No I sure don't want to come to the end of my life to discover I missed my dream. Thank you for the ideas and encouragement, Terri.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Ah - the ol' "how do you eat an elephant?" method! One bite at a time. Excellent advice.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jan Cline said...

Great reasoning. I think we all tend to get ahead of ourselves and fall into feeling overwhelmed. I know that being a bit organized with a file on ideas, submissions, articles, contacts, etc. really helps me feel in control. Then I do actually have more time to write, even if it's just 1/2 hour a day. Thanks Terri.

Renee Collins said...

Well said, Terri! I read Friday's post, and I agree with you. Writing is something that you have to commit to to make it work.

Commitment has never been much of a problem for me. If anything, I think I could ease up a little. :)

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a novel idea. 1 , 2, 3 ... Why is it we so often run hard after 10, then sit in abject misery to have missed the mark? Great feats have been performed one step at a time, even one breath at a time.

Great reminder!

Kathleen

LisaShaw said...

"Do you want to come to the end of your life and discover you never followed your dream?"

Thank you for this.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Just as everyone is unique, I believe writer's schedules and goals are unique to fit their lives. So true, just because you don't write full time, makes you no less a writer, but can make you a more patient one, I think.

Cindy said...

Setting goals like that are realistic ways of making progress. I would hate to come to the end of my life and have missed a dream. Thanks for the post. P.S., I nominated your for an award. Come visit the post at www.cindyrwilson.blogspot.com/2009/04/lemonade-stand-award.html

Jessica said...

Wonderful post Terri. So very true. All these social things are fun and supportive, but they don't get the writing done. I have heard of several bestselling authors who prioritized. I can think of three who got up two hours before their kids/job in order to write.
Nora Roberts, Mary Higgins Clark, and (I think) Dean Koontz. Or it was some male author. Hmmmm. Okay, my memory failed me.
Anyways, you're so write. A little bit adds up BIG.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Awesome thought to start my week. One goal. Now, to pick that one...

You're an awesome encourager, Terri. Going to get to my "one" this week.

peace~elaine

Jody Hedlund said...

Thanks for your encouragement. It is easy to get overwhelmed!

KelliGirl said...

Excellent post, both this one and the last one. Commitment is key to ANY sucessful relationship or venture. And it always requires hard work, effort and perseverance. We want the results, we just don't want to put in the time.

I love your recommendation to set ONE goal a week. Then ONE goal the next week. If we take little steps at a time, they all add up and in time we're surprised at how far we've traveled!!

Thank you for speaking the truth that I need to hear!

Janna Qualman said...

Brilliant and to-the-point. And, as always, inspiring. Keep it up!

skoots1mom said...

bravo!

Lin said...

I think it's about recognizing what your real priorities are which can be very different than your TO DO list.

Kristen Painter said...

One goal a week wouldn't get me anywhere. I set multiple goals for each day sometimes. I have to in order to keep on top of things! But for those who aren't full time writers, one goal a week is probably a lot easier.

Andrea said...

Terri: Thank you for your prayers and support for Colton. Today, they are meeting with an attorney. It seems there was no other choice. The district seemed to think simply removing the box and saying they made a mistake was enough. Lisa does NOT feel Colton is safe back in this classroom. Please continue to pray as GOD gives them guidence and direction.
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Yolanda said...

Confirmation, Sister, confirmation!

Greg C said...

Ok then. Yes I can do this. I will keep motivating you on working out and you keep motivating me to write. Deal?

Helen Ginger said...

Your last sentence was the clincher: "Do you want to come to the end of your life and discover you never followed your dream? "

Taking small steps can lead to a big achievement. Thanks Terri.

Helen
http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com

Jill Kemerer said...

Writing, like anything worthwhile, requires a big time commitment, and it's easy to get discouraged.

Think of quilters. They spend hours and hours piecing together scraps of material then they piece the blocks together. Are they done yet? No way! They have to put the filling and backing together. Done? Nope. They still have to sew the thing together and do the actual quilting.

A book requires the same diligence and time. Thanks for reminding us the importance of breaking down our goals.

T. Anne said...

I like your line of thinking. It's very pragmatic and organized. FOr certain I never bite off more than I can chew writing can consume you if you let it and not in a good way. Baby steps have always taken me far!

sarah said...

I love this Terri. I love what you say here. I'm setting goals.Thank you. Sarah

Playwright Chick said...

Yes, you are right on the money, Terri! I make sure I spend some time with my writing every day, but the amount of time varies. But, if you keep putting it off, you never get started.

Weekly goals are important!