Elsewhere, a blogger wrote about developing habits instead of setting goals. To summarize, he stated that habits are actions you can take in the present whereas goals are like dreams, they are something you want to achieve; a place you want to be sometime in the near or distant future. I took a few days and thought over that idea. Was I setting goals for myself and feeling bitter when they seemed further and further out of reach? As far as my writing, what are some things I could do today to give me some sense of achievement? The answers are simple and not so simple.
In my opinion goals are good. They really are. It means I’m thinking about the future and have something in mind for my life beyond today. But, on the other hand, tomorrow’s not promised. There are no guarantees. This sets up a conundrum. Especially for a writer. We are gods and goddesses of self-doubt and procrastination (at least I am). If I’m not banging my head against a keyboard trying to make something happen, I’m distracted with all the bright shiny things in world…you know, the stuff that’s meant to inform what I write and the experiences I’m meant to share. The result can be an endless cycle of tortuous todays and faraway tomorrows. So how do I overcome this? Have I?
A week before I read this gentleman’s post, I’d gone back to Karl Inglesias and Andrew McAleer’s 25 habits of Highly Successful Writers. I needed a reminder. A push to kick start my resolve after my first manuscript rejection. Although my passion for writing remained, the idea that I have the talent and discipline to keep going in spite of the setbacks and disappointments was threadbare. Going back to 25 habits was something to refocus me. Did it work? In a way it did. I made graphics for each chapter, and starting today, those graphics I now share on this blog. One post at a time.
This weekend while I suffered through another rewrite/revision and hobbled my way through the middle of another stalled story, I was reminded that I’m not alone. I reset and recharged; took the twenty-five points in Inglesias and McAleer’s book to heart. Could this be the start of new habits? Good writing habits? I don’t know. What I do know is that every time I sit down, open a Word Document and put my fingers to the keyboard, I’m taking another step closer to where I want to be as a writer, as an author. I’m believing in myself. Despite the naysayers, and in spite of the outside forces that collude to prevent me from moving forward. I’m not giving up and that should count for something.
Up next time… #1