Friday, June 15, 2012

Goals – Helpful or Hurtful?

Have you ever picked up a book by an unfamiliar author and knew from the first chapter that you were going to love his or her work? That's what happened when I read Katherine Grey's Regency romance, Impetuous. It's the type of Regency romance I love but with a unique twist. The hero is Spanish. And oh so sexy.

Now, Ms. Grey has another book out and she's agreed to guest blog with me today. So, please welcome romance author Katherine Grey as she weighs the pros and cons of setting goals.


Goals – Helpful or Hurtful?

When I first starting writing, I set the most unbelievable goals for myself though I thought they would be achieved with ease.  One of them was that I would write 10 pages of new material a day, 7 days a week all while holding down a full time job, long standing commitments 2 nights a week, and another long standing commitment from 8:30am to 3:00pm on Saturdays, and keeping the majority of my Sundays for family time.  I don’t think I ever wrote 10 pages in one day during that time, or wrote 7 days a week.  As each week passed that I didn’t meet that goal, I became more and more depressed.  I questioned my desire to be a published author.  If I wanted it so badly, then I should be able to meet that goal right?  Wrong. 

A very wise friend and fellow writer pointed out that it wasn’t that I wasn’t committed to getting published, I just had too much on my plate to enable me to devote that much time to my writing.  She suggested that I not set goals or to focus on smaller goals that would fit around my scheduled commitments.  

I sat down and looked at my schedule.  I decided I needed the time to devote to my writing so I gave 3 months notice to the proper people on those long term commitments that at the end of the 3 months, I would no longer be able to do them.  During that time I tried to write whenever I could but I missed the structure goal setting gave me.

I’ve come a long way since then.  I still like to set goals because they keep me on track and help me stay focused.  I set yearly goals, quarterly goals, and weekly goals.  But one thing that has changed is now-a-days my goals are very fluid.  For example, one goal is to write 20 to 25 pages a week.  By not nailing down a set page count per day, I give myself room in my schedule if something pops up and I can’t write on a certain day.

I also set goals in my non-writing life for things I want to accomplish by a set time or date though for some reason it doesn’t work when it comes to dieting.  I wonder what that says about me…probably that my weakness for ice cream on a hot summer night is greater than my desire to lose those unwanted pounds.  LOL.

Do you set any type of goals?  Do you find them helpful?  If you don’t set goals, why not?


Katherine,
This is such a timely topic as I'm having trouble with this very issue. I set goals I can't possibly reach and then feel like such a failure that I stop writing for weeks at a time. Then last weekend, I attended an awesome meeting of my local chapter. The topic was Brainstorming but one of the things the speaker said that resonated with me is this: "You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time." Writing is like eating an elephant. There's more there than you realize and the only way to achieve success is to set goals you can live with.

Check out Katherine's newest release:

The Muse
by
Katherine Grey

Blurb:

Noted poet Blaine Hobson counts the Prince Regent among his patrons. But ever since the socialite he wished to marry took her life, he has been unable to compose a single line of poetry. With a sonnet commissioned by the Regent due in a few weeks, Blaine spends his time alternating between trying to write...and wishing he had the courage to join his beloved in the grave.

Raised in an orphanage with her sister, seamstress Emma Tompkins lives with the guilt of her sibling’s death. Accidentally finding a suicide note penned by Blaine, she resolves to keep him alive at all costs. Vigilant, she returns each day, pushing her way into his home--and losing her heart.

Can Blaine forget his beloved and return the affections of the seamstress? Or once finished with his work, will he cast Emma out of his life forever?


Excerpt:

He had to know if she felt as uncomfortable
in his presence as he did in hers. He strode down the
hall, telling himself his eagerness had nothing to do
with seeing Emma herself. His steps slowed. Odd.
The door to the parlour was closed.

He gave a quick rap on the door, although he
didn’t know why since it was his house, turned the
knob, and opened the door. And came to a complete
halt. Bolts of cloth lay in haphazard piles on the
settee and chairs, a stack of paper and the stub of a
pencil lay nearby. In the midst of it all was Emma.
She sat on the floor, her blue gown tucked around
her, a swath of light green fabric in her lap as she
worked pins into the material.

 “Did you find more pins?” she asked without
looking up.

Blaine cleared his throat, struck once again by
her unconscious beauty.

Emma rushed to her feet, one hand still
clutching the cloth. “Yes, I know. A lady does not
crawl about on the floor.” She blew at a loose curl
that had fallen over one eye. “But I never claimed to
be a lady.”

Blaine heard the tired frustration in her voice.
He moved closer and tucked the wayward curl
behind her ear. “You may do anything you wish in
the privacy of this room.”

He tried not to let it bother him when she took a
step back. She laid the fabric aside and began
straightening her hair. He didn’t want her to redo it.
He liked the way she looked, with the wayward
strands curling about her face and neck. His fingers
itched to linger in it, now knowing it was as soft and
silky as it looked. Realizing he was staring at her, he
clasped his hands behind his back and rocked back
on his heels.


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11 comments:

  1. I've always set goals, but like you, I was too rigid with them. The thing is, I like to bounce around among different projects and also have household and family responsibilities, so I had to ease up a bit. I do have goals in mind, but am more relaxed on how long it takes me to complete them. Basically, I work on contracted stuff first; with everything else, I go with the flow.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      I've learned to go with the flow too. I think we had this vision of what we thought we could accomplish when we first starting setting goals only to realize other things in our every day life take more time than we thought. Thank you for stopping by. :o)

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  2. I definitely need to check out your books, Katherine. I also have issues with my writing goals conflicting with my everyday life, especially since I've been working overtime the past few months. When I do that the opportunity to sit down and write, my brain is too tired to focus on the task and just write. Instead, I mess around with something else. Blah, I'm in a depressed writing state at the moment, if you couldn't tell. :)

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    1. Hi Melissa,

      I know how working overtime can kill the writing vibe. I work in accounting so from January to tax day, I work a lot of overtime and just trying to squeeze in a page a day seems like an enormous task. I usually would end up playing on the internet instead. Wasteful, I know but fun. :o) Hope your depressed writing state passes soon.

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  3. Hi Lilly,

    Thank you for having me as your guest today.

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  4. I'm late in reading your post and responding. Sorry. I've stopped being so hard on myself with goal setting. I want to enjoy my writing time and I do. I try to write at least a thousand words a day, more often it's like 2500. Some days, it's zero if I'm promoting. The stress of living up to goals is not good for us, and often leads to self-doubt. Just go with the flow...

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    1. Hi Vonnie,

      First let me say I'm so jealous that you write 2500 words most days. :o) I agree -- trying to meet some of those first goals was more stressful than staring down the blank page.

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  5. Yikes! I forgot. Loved your excerpt. Truly.

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  6. Thanks for visiting with Katherine and me today, ladies. And Katherine, I'm definitively adding The Muse to my TBR list. Can't wait to read Blaine's story.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lilly. I had fun and it was interesting to learn how other people handle goal setting.

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