IWSG: Choices, Choices


It’s the first Wednesday, and that means it’s time to post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I know I’ve definitely neglected my blog when the last post I see is also Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a month ago. This group is a great place to share encouragement, tips, and yes insecurities related to being a writer. Lately, I’ve noticed that most of the posts seem to concentrate more on the first two things.

This month, the IWSG question for the month has to do with our 5-year-plan. Where do we see ourselves in 5 years and what do we plan to do in order to make that dream a reality, what concrete steps?

Wow, what a bracing question, right? I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and to be honest like many I’ve dreamed about seeing my name on a newstand preferably with the words New York Times Bestselling Author in tiny print above it. I’d still like to see that one day, and I’d also like to win the lottery and meet Stephen King and J.K. face to face.

To be honest, though, in 5 years I’d really just like to see myself making a decent living, having fun, growing in the craft. To that end, I really need to start branching out more, forcing myself to grind through the jobs I know will pay me a decent hourly wage and also having the courage to take a chance on the work I love.

Most nights, sometimes I forget, I hand-write my goals for the next day, because I’ve found when I put pen to paper it sticks firmer in my mind than when I type them up. Most of the goals are repeats. For daily goals, I put down intermediate, achievable goals like today I will spend 3 hours business writing, 2 hours on romance, and 2 hours editing (novel title here). See how that works, refine for the next day, and so on. For broader spans of time, I say this week I want to edit three chapters of my novel, this month I want to finish a second a draft, complete a short story, get that submission into that publisher.

I definitely agree that definite goals are a good thing. They are also hard. Maybe it’s my generation, but I hate to be “tied down.” I was speaking to an older friend this past week about how all the options make it so much more difficult to choose one. I have every song in the world in my Android phone, and yet I find that I don’t enjoy them as much as when I have a single burn CD. All my time and energy gets taken up trying to decide what to listen to, and by the time I have this song I love playing it’s just not as fun to listen.

Have you ever had that experience? There’s something comforting and better about limitation. We might think we want the world. We might think we want to live a life with no plans, every moment coming as it will. I for one definitely believe that about myself. That’s probably why it came as such a shock to me, this silly little question of playlists that mostly came up because of a wonderful camping trip in Yellowstone National Forest this summer where I had almost nothing and it actually made me appreciate those few things I had all the more.

Spontaneity is awesome, but plans are good, and I for one really need to be reminded/reinforced in that again. Yet again, another awesome IWSG question.

8 thoughts on “IWSG: Choices, Choices

  1. A thought-provoking post. We are pretty overwhelmed with choices and options these days, and that can be paralysing. Keep at those daily goals and I’m sure you’ll go far! Dropping in as a co-host this month.

  2. I can definitely relate. A friend of mine has a very limited wardrobe, but I envied that whatever she had in her closet she loved, while mine is stuffed with stuff I don’t even know I have. I’m working on paring down, but it’s a work in progress and a whole new lifestyle.

    Same with work–I tend to start each day with a massive to-do list that would take me 16 hours to complete, and that’s without any breaks. It’s doomed to fail. Cutting back is a great idea.

    Good luck with your goals, and all the best in 2017!

  3. Too many options can be overwhelming – I totally agree. But hey, I’d rather have choices than none at all πŸ™‚ I try and set goals but when I don’t reach them I feel like crap and end up thinking I suck. That’s why I’ve decided not to be so hard on myself as long as I make a little progress every day.

    Ever heard of Richard Bausch? He writes great short stories. On his website he has his “ten commandments for writing” and one of them is: You never have to ask yourself more than ‘Did I work today?’

    I’ve been going off that philosophy for a few years now and it’s really helped. πŸ˜‰

  4. Yes, I know what you mean, there is that fine line between having goals and being realistic. I think the key is to keep ourselves in balance and realize that while we make goals, we may not always achieve them exactly when or how we expect them to, and that that also is okay. Good luck with your goals, Anne! πŸ™‚

  5. “… to see myself making a decent living, having fun, growing in the craft.” I feel the same way. Nothing can beat happiness and pride, not even money or fame (which usually come with drawbacks or unforeseen problems anyway). Wishing you make your 5-year goals!

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