Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Life Happens

Sigh. This year's Challenge just seems marred with troubles for me. I'm now two days behind, but hey, it's all good, because the reason for my absence ties in quite nicely with the post I have to write at the moment. (And I will find a way to catch up.)

This thing writers must know about writing is especially important if you're goal driven. I know, because I am. (For proof, see right at the top of my blog. The title and the bit under it (sorry, can't remember what it's called because I haven't had a lot of peaceful sleep these past two days. (And while you're being forgiving, please forgive my overuse of parentheses (You know... brackets. (Lots of them.)))))

*counts brackets, then shakes head* Where was I? Oh yes. Goals. If you're new to my blog, you probably don't know how big my goals get. To give you an idea, my goal for April is to finish two A to Z Challenges, to write 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo and to spend 30 hours this month editing. (Or some sort of combination of that.) WHILE getting my own business back off the ground.

You'd think that by now, I'd be on that great big hamster wheel called panic. I'm not. In fact, yesterday and the day before, I took two whole days off from all my literary projects. The reason is simple:

Goals are excellent ways to keep up some forward momentum, but they often don't take life into account.

And the thing with life is that it happens, whether we like it or not. Two days ago, I was so stressed that I couldn't focus on my writing. Yesterday, things turned around so fast that I almost got whiplash. But then I was so busy riding the wave that I couldn't focus on my writing.

There's nothing wrong with taking a break and falling short on goals. (Unless you're, say, contractually bound to a deadline.) Sometimes we need it. Sometimes, those things in life that really suck gives us the emotional depth we need to write our next story. Life is, in the end, what inspires out writing. Even if you got your idea from reading someone else's book. Life is what let you read that book in the first place.

So don't begrudge yourself your life just because you're falling short on some goals. Make new goals. Adapt to them. Don't give up on them. Just keep going and keep calm.

Because upsetting yourself more because you're struggling to write amid all the chaos around you does not help. Finding a way to get at least something done even if it falls short of your expectations does. Trust me. Even ten words once a week eventually might add up to a book before you die.

So don't sweat. Set goals, but just aim to fall somewhere inside the ballpark every time.

Any other goal freaks out there? No? What is your relationship between writing goals and your life? 


  1. The main thing for me is just to keep going forward. As long as I do that, then I feel ok if things didn't quite pan out as expected.

  2. Misha, I apologize for having been so absent. I'm not participating in the A to Z this year. I knew in January that it would be too much stress. I hoped to do better at reading the people participating... and here we are.

    Yes. Life happens. The best we can do is roll with it and take away the positives.

  3. Nothing wrong with huge goals, so long as you don't get distressed if you don't meet them. The Nano stuff really is just an impersonal challenge.

  4. The one good thing about goals - they can be adapted and modified when life has other plans.

  5. Goals can be enormously helpful, but it's always good to know if they're realistic or not. If they're not super realistic (or are realistic, just very very difficult!) then falling behind is just something that will happen. It can be a great way to keep up motivation to look at all you have left to do and start again!

  6. I just tend to roll with the flow each and every day. At home, at work. But occasionally someone at one place or another will decide they need to make me want the same goal as them for myself. Then we have issues. Trouble. Words.

    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

  7. Goals, goals, goals... I MUST finish the first draft of my novel in the next three weeks. No pressure, eh?

  8. I like to have goals also, but as you say, life happens. I was a couple days behind in the challenge more than once. this time, I went for two letters together. Oh well. Have a big week ahead, so I will either preschedule or fall behind. Tomorrow will tell. Happy A to Z. Maria@Delight Directed Living

  9. Very true, if life didn't happen we would have nothing to write about. It's about rolling with the punches and not getting discouraged.

  10. Yes, that sounds like the approach that Elizabeth Twist and I have to goals: "Shoot high, aim for the middle, a low bar benefits everyone." ;)

    There was something Holly Lisle said at some point to not make your goals too ambitious, because failing to reach them makes you so disheartened you won't even try next time. I don't really relate to my goals the same way. Often my response to failing a goal is to sneer harder at it next time until I finally conquer it!

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  11. Celine, I'm the same.

    No worries on being absent, Robin. I was too, and am only very slowly clawing my way back into non-absent status.

    I agree, Mark.

    Hear hear, Alex.

    Very true, Bethany.

    Hahahaha Barbara remind me not to set you a goal, then. ;-)

    Catherine, I hope the rough draft writing went well!

    Thanks for stopping by Maria!

    Amen, Nick.

    Chris, I'm in the same school of thought as you. :-)

  12. So sorry I didn't get to you during the challenge, had some life issues myself and decided to focus on the blogging part more than the hopping part so I could finish.

    I am a total goal freak when I really get into something and I often flog that dead horse long after it died and I should have just left it... it's both a blessing and a curse and reading your post about having 2 clear days off (and your later one about the marathon style finish) was totally inspiring and advice I should definitely take on board myself more!!

    Big hugs
    Curling Stones for Lego People


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