This is my first post ever for the Insecure Writers Support Group. A friend on Twitter suggested I start writing posts for this group, which is weird because I feel like I’m one of the writers that need encouragement. But I am reminded that I can encourage others with my experiences. So, here goes.
As we’re a few days into the new year, I thought I’d share about goals. By now, most writers have an idea of goals they want to see come to fruition. And they most likely have a plan. That was certainly not me last year. I made an egregious error in not putting a plan to progress toward my goals of writing a novel or starting a short story series. But I will add two other mistakes that kept me from reaching my goals.
One, I broadcasted my goals on my blog and social media. Now to some people, this is not a big deal. It might even be a good thing. Posting your goals can push accountability and discipline. And there will be people who will support your endeavors. On the flip side, it creates a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. And some people may struggle with “performance anxiety.” I was on the negative end of the spectrum. Lacking discipline was surely a factor in not meeting, even scrapping my goals. But I put a lot of pressure on myself to take on something I probably wasn’t ready for. And that brings me to number two. Succumbing to peer pressure. Just because you see or read about someone else’s writing endeavor doesn’t mean you can do the same. It kind of falls along the lines of “if he can do it, I can do it, too.” The one thing I learned from my failures of last year is that I can’t do what everyone else does. Some people might excel in churning out 1000 words a day or writing a short story in one sitting. I can’t because I’m not the person who can. I shouldn’t try to be someone I’m not. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t push myself to be better, but my writing life shouldn’t revolve around someone else’s.
I spent the past week thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2017. The list is not long; last year’s wasn’t either. The difference is that I made a plan on how to accomplish these goals. I have a page on Evernote breaking down what I need to do to meet those goals. And I’m allowing room for flexibility. Not every plan is going to go off without a hitch. I have to allow room for error. It’s the best way to learn. Also, I decided not to broadcast them on social media. Is there pressure to perform? Absolutely. But rather than broadcasting to the entire world, I’m keeping it to a few close-knit people. (I’m still working on developing said circle of writers.)
I wish all my writing friends and fellow bloggers the best of luck in 2017. I hope you meet your writing goals, along with anything else you hope to accomplish. By the end of this year, I want to say that I met my goals. But there is no shame if I don’t. I just have to try harder.