Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Gilt - Not Goal-ed

When my amazing agent and friend Erin Reel asked if I'd respond to a query for her incredible blog, The Lit Coach, I leapt at the chance. If you are looking for guidance and encouragement in the writing process, I cannot recommend her tutelage enough! The post below is my response to her question:

As a busy author, blogger and mother of twins, how important has setting clear, definable goals been in your writer's life?
Go ahead and consider it blasphemy if you wish, but goal-setting is not my mode.

The word goal assaults me from the page or screen; it’s too in my face. Intimidating. Daunting. Always dangling a threat of the elusive unachievable, or worse, the possible---even probable—likelihood of failure. Undeniably, the word tends to motivate others, but it resoundingly thwarts my typically Pollyanna-like confidence.

Semantics are important to writers...and equally important to folks like me, those more accurately defined as self-transcribing talkers. Using the word goal somehow provides leeway for rationalizing the inability to attain. A seeming excuse for the target missed, the finish line uncrossed. Yet the word dreams seems too ethereal; aspirations too lofty.

Strong desire dictates thoughtful discernment, so let’s talk terminology. If it’s a personal mandate, give your goal a new name. Re-title it a responsibility.

After all, goals imply trying. To quote an ancient Jedi master, which trust me, I don’t do often, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

As a ‘busy author, blogger, mother of twins,’ freelance writer, full-time ad agency post-production producer and wife of an amazing man fighting cancer, I have no goals. I have responsibilities. Duties. Priorities.

Setting clear definable “do’s” is not only important, it’s imperative---in my life as a writer, and as a woman.
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Terra said...

Oh yes....I too have do's and anything that might be construed as a goal seems to get shoved to side because of all the do's. This is a timely post for me, I am meeting with an illustrator today because I have a "goal" to get at least one of children's books published even if I have to do it myself....on my list for this would be finding an agent or a publisher instead of doing it myself...but since this seems to be more of a goal than a do...it isn't getting done! Get it? Good. So, maybe I need to re-read your post again and get more things on my do list, set my priorities a bit different and push forward eh?

thanks Cheryl.

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

Cheryl -- Brilliant! Your words resonate so soundly!!

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I definitely fit in the "priorities" camp. I have to always think ahead to which project is due first and then tackle that. Multi-tasking is a bit overrated, if you ask me. I like to concentrate on one item at a time.