Climbing the Mountain of Goal Setting

Moonday Mania

blogging about the craft of writing

August has been a month of ups and downs with my writing. I started off with a bang. Meeting my goal of writing 2,000 words five days a week, keeping up with blogging three days a week here, and getting Paranormal Freebies up and running. So last Monday I got very excited and decided to climb the highest mountain I could. I set a new goal. 50,000 words during August.

I’d already done 10k. Well, almost. I’d hit close to 8,000 in three days. That meant I could do it, right? 8k in three days, that means I can do almost 3k per day. At 3,000 words per day I should be able to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month. So I said I would. I placed the statement, “I will write 50,000 words by the end of August” on my goal setting loop. And then the week crashed.

Sounds like a fire exploded my laptop, right? Wrong.

Just life. Just the time I had to spend back to school shopping, cleaning my folks house, diving people here and there. And updating websites, going to meetings, letting the (very hot!) window guy in to look at the windows. Life happened and I let it and I certainly didn’t hit my goals more than one day this week.

And there was something else I discovered.

It’s hard!

I can write 1,000 words in an hour with no trouble, so keeping my butt in the chair for two more hours should be easy, right? Wrong again!

It turns out I can write 1,000 no problem. 2,000 with a little thinking. But after that I slow down. Way down. I don’t know what to write next. Its like my brain just stops after 2k. I can, when the muse is helping, make it to 2,500 and even 3,000. But after this week, struggling to make it past 2,500 and hating it, I had an epiphany.

If it makes writing a chore, why am I doing this? Just to hit a number that I stuck out there for myself. It makes no sense.

Now I’m all about setting goals, and setting them high. I read Kristen Lamb’s blog on Self Discipline this week and it really resonated with me. I like staying on a schedule, I like writing every day and keeping my goals out there. But when I set them too high I set myself up for failure.

Kristen says its like exercise and if we go to the gym and kill ourselves one day, odds are we won’t be back. Mountain climbing is like that too. Have you ever decided to climb a mountain that was just too big? You need to start out with a small hill and work your way up to the Fourteeners.

I’ve worked my writing up from my small hill of 500 words per day to a pretty good mountain top of 2,000. Three thousand is just too many for my writing muscles right now. But if I keep up with setting my goals high, but realistically high, then I will eventually get stronger and reach that 3k mark.

So I’m taking it back a notch. I’m going to get on my goal setting loop and admit failure and start over again. My goal is to write at least 2,000 words five days a week and enjoy it! And if the muse is with me, I may hit 2,500 or even 3,000. And that’s okay.

Tell me about how your goals are going this week, writing or otherwise. Does setting your goals high help or hinder you? Does it make you frustrated or did it push you to levels you didn’t think you could reach?


Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing craft

8 responses to “Climbing the Mountain of Goal Setting

  1. Hi Jessica. I have a few cliches for you. And remember expressions become cliche because they are just so spot-on. 1. Don’t beat yourself up; there are enough people out there who will do it for you. 2. Slow and steady wins the race. 3. (my own) When you have a big mountain to climb, just start. You’ll get there.
    I really like that you have learned these things for yourself and are taking your goals back a notch. I hear you. And look at that decision as a spurt of growth.

    • Thanks Elaine for the cliches and the support! This is a toughie for me. I tend to set my goals super high because I want it all, right now! But then I have a tough time achieving those goals, which can be discouraging. I am learning! Slowly but surely (to utilize another cliche!)

  2. Gloria Richard

    Correction, Jessica Aspen-writes-much-faster-than-I-do…

    You will NOT admit defeat on your goal setting blog. You will post new AWESOME goals that include time for family and life. Great post and oh-so-timely with the GH nipping at my…
    YIKES! No way to finish that without either (1) a cliche alert, or (2) precious time spent seeking an awesome twist here. Sorry, Jessie — I need to line up my “clevers” for my WIP!

    • Oh, I am so disappointed! No wonderful twisty wordplay for me??? I guess I can forgive you.
      Its defeat, but its a good defeat. I do not want writer burn out, and at that many words per week, I was heading for the burn unit. I should pay attention to Kristen Hansen and her life goals, at 3k there was no room for worry free writing at all. Just worry, worry, worry. So I’m back to the 2k and happy about it!
      And as for the GH. You go girl! I’m heading to nationals this year and I want to see you there. Its on the website already and its in CA! WE CAN GO TO DISNEYLAND!

  3. ~~~~~~waves at Gloria~~~~~~
    Hey Jessica…love your parking spot on the web. Thanks so much for the visit. I remember hearing much about you from your IMC peeps. Such talent you must have 🙂 Don’t be a stranger and… pssst!… I struggle with the SAME things in my goal-setting, too. In one week I go full-time writer. The amount of pressure I will, no doubt, place on myself could be staggering :O

    • Hi and welcome!
      Thanks for the support. Full time is a lot of pressure, but I think if you are not the type of person to apply that sort of pressure to yourself you won’t be successful. I’m struggling with balancing huge goals that I really, really, really want to achieve and what is realistic. The time at home goes much faster than I would think! I need to get back to my winner vs superstar goals and put that 3k as a carrot instead of the stick! Best of luck with your full time writing!

  4. Be proud of yourself, Jessica — at least you set goals, so you’re ahead of the game! I have major improvements to make on that front… *sigh* But I’ll get there!

    • Thanks Sherri!
      I love setting goals, its like buying boxes for organizing. But the actual putting stuff in the boxes? That doesn’t always get done! I think I’m moving back to a paper planner so I can physically write down and cross off goals. Something about that is empowering for me. And you must be achieving goals, because you are starting to promote yourself as an author! Good job! Did you take Angi Morgan’s bootcamp last January from the PRO Class loop? That was a real kick in the patootie!

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