Monday, August 04, 2008

Achievable Goals

My circle of 5 is very healthy at the moment.** Unlike Smarty Pants, I’m a slow writer and have a difficult time getting many different things out simultaneously. I’m not looking for an agent, so that also lowers the number of potential submissions.

But this week I hit six! I’m very happy about that, and encouraged by my progress. I’ve come a long way from having nothing out for months at a time.

Even though I haven’t been nearly as consistent as I would like (I still have a tendency to let other stuff come first in my day), I’ve made very encouraging progress. I’ve learned to be careful, because I’ll tell myself I’ll write just as soon as I feel like it or get XYZ over with, and lo and behold I look up weeks later and don’t have a d*mn thing to show for it. So I’m trying to be much more conscious of what I’m doing, when.

Reaching my Circle of 5 goal this week shows me I’m making progress in the one area that has disappointed me a great deal in the past few years—the lack of quantity in my writing and submissions.

I’d like to pretend it is simply a lack of time, what with a family and business commitments too, but it’s really not JUST that. At various times, it might be related to any of the below:

1. When you aren’t being paid, putting writing high on your priority list becomes really hard. Especially with a family and other work responsibilities screaming out their own urgent cry for attention. Of course, you have to write before you can get paid, so that’s a catch 22…

2. I have a very emotional personality, thus rejections or bad contest scores tend to hit me hard for a few days, at least. Any momentum I might have at that point can be completely lost. I’m getting better at this (with much Playfriend help), but the disappointment still slows me down.

3. I tend to write slowly. This too is changing. Just recently I was able to switch from writing my first draft out long-hand (yep, you read that right) to typing it into my alphasmart. This has speeded up my process quite a bit, but that first draft is still slow in coming. I try not to compare myself with other people whose processes are much faster than mine, but that is hard not to do.

4. Procrastination. Need I say more?

5. Lots of unpublished writers, not faced with a concrete deadline, often let their muses rule them. We have a tendency to be hard on muses here on the Playground, but I’m still more likely to put other things off for my writing projects if that exciting inspiration is speaking to me.

6. Fear of failure. There’s a vicious cycle that comes with fearing failure. If you write, you have to revise. If you revise, it really needs to be sent out. If you send it out, there is a high risk of rejection. Did I mention I don’t handle rejection well… Sometimes a little voice whispers it might be easier never to submit at all. But again, I’ve made progress through the years. When I first started, that voice was yelling instead of whispering. :)

So there you have it. The honest struggles I go through to reach my Circle of 5 at any given time. None of them are pretty. Some probably don’t make any sense to anyone but me. But each one of the items on this list makes me more proud to have reached my goal this week.

So what goal have you reached recently that meant a great deal to you? What struggles did you face to achieve it? If you are a writer, what are the biggest obstacles to your writing time and how do you cope with them?


** For those of you who don’t know what this is, you can read Smarty Pants’s blogs about it by clicking on the Circle of 5 link at the bottom of this post.

Coming Up:
Launch party for Instigator's first book is this Thursday! We throw a mean party here at the Playground, so don't miss it.
Next Monday, we'll be visited by two awesome ladies from our local chapter who are going to talk to us about writing as a team. Join us in welcoming Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones on August 11th.


Jen said...

Angel, I so get what you're saying. I still struggle with some of this myself. In about 4 weeks the individual conference tapes will be available for download. Spend the money to get Eric Maisel (Sp?) on Creativity. I think it's $12 but actually it's invaluable.

Liza said...

I'm only a reader, but I enjoy reading about the writing process. It makes me be even more thankful for all the hard work the writers go through to get their books written.

Sherry W. said...

Good Morning!
I swear Angel, you could have been referring to me with your list of writing obstacles. But I am working on it.
Last week was a huge step forward for me. Being a guest blogger scared the bejezuz out of me! It was totally out of my comfort zone but I am so glad I did it. I had a great time and met some new friends.
Putting yourself "out there" for me is intimidating and like you I have an emotional personality. Crap, even commercials make me tear up! But I have this burning desire to write so I'm going to put on my big girl panties (as I heard Lynn say before) and get down to it.
Happy Writing!

Problem Child said...

My goals went through a bit of a shift thanks to conference--NOW this whole writing gig is starting to feel real, so I spent some time thinking about what I wanted/needed to accomplish.

I'm so glad to be home...

Crystal Lee said...

Angel, congrats on your progress. I sympathize with each of your points. I, too, write slowly, insisting that each sentence be as perfect as possible before it hits the page. Even when it does, I'm still tweaking it. This is a long-standing process carrying over from my term paper days. Since this practice can strangle the creative moment, I am striving to get words to the page even if they are not the most perfect ones. I am gaining ground, but it is difficult to leave the tweaking until later. And the rest-well, I would fill up too much space.

PM's Mother said...

Hi, Angel!

Don't claim "emotional personality". Just call
yourself "highly competitive" and that you don't lose easily. There, now, isn't that better? Hang in there, you will reach your goal even if it takes longer than you had planned.

Angel said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one! I'm trying not to let it stall me, but instead recognize these things about myself and learn to work with them.

Jen, I'll have to check into that. Our chapter usually purchases the CD's so I can borrow them and listen to it.

PM's mother: thank you! That's putting a positive spin on it for me! :)


MaryF said...

Angel, I feel your pain. I struggle constantly with that dratted inner critique to just give up--if I could find it I'd probably smack it.

But, my other drive, the one that says YOU CAN DO IT, is just as strong. I try to let that one surface more often. (Sometimes there is a wrestle off)

But, I do have good news, and for me this is huge. --I finally sent off my Partial to Nocturne on Friday.

Now I have to finish the story....

Jolie said...

Oh, my gosh...I can relate to every item on your list! Each of those things is something I'm struggling with myself, some of which I just can't seem to get over. It makes me feel a bit better though to know you struggle just the same. :)