It probably seems weird to have a picture of the beach beside a post on goal-setting. Beaches and goals are not exactly natural friends. Or are they?
The truth is writing is a lonely pursuit. You sit with your bum in the chair trying to block the world out and be creative. It's not a group pursuit. when it comes down to it you just have to do the work all by yourself. Yes you pay editors and proof-readers but you still have to create something for them to work with.
I love setting goals. I know this makes me a weirdo. I'm not a competitive person except with myself. The truth is deep down I'm a pretty lazy human being. I need goals or nothing gets done.
This year I set myself the goal of writing #1000wordsaday and I'm actually ahead of schedule. so far this year I've written 240,000 words. That's more than 1000 words a day. In order to do that I have had to create a system for success. I run a small business, I have a family, I have friends and I like people so to get everything done I need a system.
Not only is writing solitary but I work from home, alone. That's a bucket-load of alone time. I probably spend more time alone than just about any person I know around my age. The truth is I'm a very social creature, which brings us to the beach.
My Facebook posts and Twitter and Instagram feed make it look like all I do is go to the beach and drink coffee. "When do you write?" people ask me.
Well let's break it down. I don't have a commute and I eat at my desk so that's maybe two hours I have that a lot of people don't. I work alone so there's no gossiping at the water-cooler and I know from experience most people spend at least half an hour a day doing that.
So if I spend and hour at the beach having coffee with a friend it's time that someone else might spend doing those things. Not only that by choosing to go somewhere beautiful and inspiring I return to my desk energised.
I'm not a morning person. I get up and do all my tedious admin first up. If I am meeting someone at the beach I'm back at my desk by lunchtime...and then I write. That's my most creative time. I've had my treat now it's time for business.
That keeps my on track for my goals. If I'm too punitive with myself or too isolated I feel my creativity wane. I become dull and so do my characters. We all need balance in our lives or we lose momentum.
When I set goals now I ask myself:
- Is that realistic? (Do you have time? Do have the resources?)
- Can you sustain that? (I can do 50,000 words on month but not every month).
- Do you want it badly enough? (If I'm half-hearted to begin with I always fail).
- What do you need to reach this goal? (Coffee? Company? Solitude? New software? You have to set yourself up to succeed).
That's how I set my goals and maintain my momentum - and get to go to the beach. What about you?