• K.W. Quinn

Reasonable Goal Setting

The speed at which a thing is accomplished has a lot to do with both motivation and ability. Some people are goal setters. They create a reasonable, measurable goal and then chip away at their project until it's done.

I'm not one of those people, generally, though I'm beginning to come around in my thinking. Usually I'm a "envision a glorious finished project and get discouraged 60% of the way through" kind of person. It's not an admirable trait, to be sure, but here we are.

Pandemic stress hasn't been all that great for my creative process. Schedule disruptions, forced isolation, and a severe lack of play dates has all led to a general malaise.

So I decided to set some reasonable, measurable goals for myself. To write 1000 words a day. Now, for some people, that's like committing to walk to the bathroom-- so easy it shouldn't even count. And yet, my fitbit counts every step I take, regardless, so I'm gonna go ahead with my little goals.

It's not even NaNoWriMo worthy, which says to complete 50k words in 30 days you have to average 1666 words a day. My life is more full of disruptions, uncertainties, and the siren call of a salt water pool than all that, so I set my bar a bit lower. All in all, my aim was to get to 60k in this first draft of what I'm tentatively calling Blood Sisters by the end of the month.

Then, for the first 3 weeks of August, I'll let it all sit in my brain, swim around and find all the plot holes, inconsistencies, ask myself the questions that I'm avoiding answering, and hopefully attack it all with renewed vigor and enthusiasm right as all the kids are heading back to whatever education in this country looks like in September.

To be honest, here's how things have gone so far.

Don't mock my spreadsheet calendar. We all work with what we've got. So those numbers aren't the number of words I wrote each day. That would be WAY too easy to understand at a glance.

No, those are the number of words above or below my goal that I wrote. There's a lot of negatives. Hell, I skipped the 12th entirely. Wrote none words that whole day. (I did spend a lot of time in the pool acquiring new freckles, but I don't have a spreadsheet for that.)

Still! As the end of the month approaches, I'm still ahead of "schedule" and having a daily word count has motivated me to work on the sections that I'm not as excited about, or that I haven't quite figured out what I'm doing yet. Seriously, I have so much more research to do on how folks who live on the road, traveling all the time, did things without cell phones. I'm baffled.

So. Set goals. Measure them. Don't be get defeated by days "in the red" and celebrate every win. If you fail, what's the worst that could happen? Don't answer that. The world is too bleak right now to travel those paths.

Just know that the goals are set by you. You are their deity. You can make, break, rearrange, and resurrect them. You have the power. So do it.

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