Goals Are Not Weapons
by Kelly Carey
When you are reviewing your monthly goals and bemoaning the targets you failed to hit (or even shoot at), don’t forget to congratulate yourself on the bulls-eyes and the good shots!
We seem to do an excellent job of recalling our failings but we downplay or forget our successes. Don’t fall into this trap. I have sat at monthly meetings with my 24 Carrot Writing teammates and heard us say, “I didn’t really do much this month.” This is usually followed by a checklist of things that we all know our writing friend did accomplish.
It’s fine to recognize that you missed your goal to add 3000 words to your MG novel, but don’t discount the fact that you added 1000 words. You may have hoped to rewrite three manuscripts in a month, and found that only one got done. Don’t hang your head in despair; instead rejoice that you rewrote one manuscript. In an industry that is ripe with rejection and criticism, don’t miss the opportunity to applaud your victories.
As you stridently work to set goals, use them to motivate not to castigate. They are there to inspire and encourage but never as ammunition for those ridiculous voices in your head to make you feel less. Did you take even one step toward one goal this month? Then celebrate and get on with next month.
In an April 2015 interview in Children’s Book Insider, author Anne Tews Schwab said, “It's ultimately much easier, psychologically speaking, to write than it is to berate myself for not writing.” She is right.
Quiet the goal police in your head. You will not hit every goal you set each month. I would argue that if you did then you need to set tougher goals. And when you don’t quite hit each goal, there is no detention, no ticket and no go directly to writing jail and feel crummy about yourself spot on the monopoly board of writing. And if your writing game board has that spot, throw it out and get a better game.
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