Saturday, May 28, 2011

Consciously Making Writing Goals

soccer_04My writing friend, Jan Morrison, had a great post on Thursday about the book The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer.

Jan explains that Maurer’s approach to life involves asking ourselves small questions to move forward toward goals. Jan said that by posing small questions to ourselves we don’t freak ourselves out by goal-planning and subconsciously sabotage our efforts.

I like this idea a lot because while I’m a huge list-maker and goal-planner, the thought of the Big Picture of the next 20 years of my writing life tends to freak me out a little. If you were to ask me, off the cuff, where I’d like to be with my writing 20 years from now, for example, I’d probably be so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t even know how to answer the question.

In fact, my agent asked me a similar question about a year ago (we were having a coffee together at a conference) and I looked at her like she’d grown horns.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t see the forest for the trees—I’m just so darned busy. I’m working toward the next deadline at all times.

What my agent’s question forced me to do last year, though, was to actually pull myself out of my minute to minute scrambling and think about the big picture. It still freaks me out, though. My answer to my agent’s question, at the time, was to say that I wanted to keep doing what I was doing right now. That I was interested in exploring other genres and ideas….later on. I was very vague about it all.

Jan posted her list of small questions to herself on her blog post. She gives some good direction on how to start thinking about goals for life and writing. And asking myself questions is a much nicer way to approach goal-setting than making a bulleted list.

I also like the idea of breaking down goals (once I’ve identified them) into small steps…it makes it so much easier to reach a goal.

Have you set goals for yourself, as a writer?