I’ve been thinking about goals. Maybe because I’m less than a year from graduating. I find myself googling various writers to see what comes next. I said to myself, a few times over the summer, that I won’t know what to do in a year. I’m so used to the routine of work, school, home. Again in less than a year, I’ll be back to pre-2011 me. A me that took vacations and traveled!
Oh, and I had disposable income!
Recently I found this article by Tobias Buckell. In it, he details the difference between goals and milestones. In a nutshell, goals are things you can control. Milestones just happen. I really love this way of thinking and it is helping me put things into perspective. I reread my goals for the year and I realize I am going about them in a wrong way.
My goal should not be to be published. Being published is a milestone. My goal should be to mail out the story twenty times (or more)before I give up and bury it in the trunk. I have no control over editors and what they will buy. But I do have control over my stories. So, I write the best story I can, polish it up, and send it out into the world. That’s what I always do and that’s what I will continue to do.
This can also apply to other things in life. Instead of a goal to lose 100lbs in a year, you could say the goal is to exercise 5 days a week. Who knows if you can even lose that kind of weight in a year. But if you make the commitment to eat your veggies, lay off the sugar, and move your body, you can see some changes. Forget the number, that is a milestone. Aim for the things you can control.
So next January, I’ll think long and hard about my goals. I’ll aim for things I can control. I’m already thinking of the One Year, One Hundred Rejections challenge that was popular a few years ago. Poets employed this method, but I wonder what that would be like for a writer of a longer form. At the very least, it will make me more productive and more aggressive with submissions.
Still writing my own September challenge, but we’ll see where the chips lay in a few days. Until then, think of your own goals and where you want to be. A friend said, “Everyone should have a goal in life.” It can be as simple or abstract as you like, but I think you should have something.