I think setting goals and staying passionate and motivated is a huge part of being a successful writer. We can have all the talent in the world, but without the stick-to-it-iveness to sit down on a regular basis--preferably every day--and actually pound out those words, especially when we don't feel passionate or motivated, we'll never reach our true potential.
Despite the importance I put on this idea, I still struggle with staying disciplined and sticking with it. Sometimes I blow off writing. Sometimes I decide to do something else--procrastinate!--like play a video game or watch the television. I know it's not what I should do or need to do or even what I want to do, but I do it anyway, and ignore the nagging voices in the back of my head saying I'm letting myself down.
There are no easy answers to this problem. The cure to "not writing" is to "write", as often and as much as possible. But it is also easy to let days and weeks slip by and not be honest with myself about how little I've actually done.
So, to address this troubling dilemma and find a way to stay on target, like many of you, I occasionally identify goals and then measure my performance accordingly. Publicly stating my goals works well because either I'll show you all what I'm really made of, or I get to stand here and admit my embarrassment.
I've said it before: fear of failure is a huge motivator for me, but I've found over the years that the way to make the fear real is to ensure there are witnesses. Making the possibility of failure public helps me succeed. Sounds twisted, but it works for me!
So without further adieu, here are my writing goals for 2011:
- One hundred WSMG posts
- Ten draft short stories
- Five short stories ready for critique
- Three shorts submitted for publication
- One short story published
- DAISY ready to query
- First 50k words of SHOOTER NUMBER ONE (my next novel idea) completed/Win NaNo 2011
- Start Twitter account
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya
- Read a ton of good fiction
- Support my fellow writers