Currently I goal 10 poems per month (minimum).
How many have I done so far this month (March)?
Yup. Zero. I’m honest. I have written zero poems.
Now you’ll know why it’s only ten poems a month versus a more insane goal setting (like one a day which I do in May).
I got sick. It was the horrible lung killing Coronavirus. Covid-19 had me down for a lot longer than I’d like. Zero writing days happened. Days where all I could really do was sleep happened.
And that’s okay. Those days happen to everyone. As someone who’s disabled, they happen more to me, but who’s counting?
I assume I’ll get massive weeks where I can do nothing. During those times where my illnesses get to me, I need to give up on my desires to write in excess. (Okay, it’s not really in excess, but close enough, right?)
That means I can’t aim for a poem a day for a year or even expect thirty poems every month which would average to a poem a day. That would have been impossible this month and I would’ve gave up on the goal (like I did last year during May; I had half the required number before throwing in the towel).
That’s the thing about goals. You cannot aim for impossible. You’ll give up. Even things that are improbable are off the table. Because when you look at something that has a fuck ton of work, you’d rather do anything else. It’s why people struggle to write or read a long book or finish a degree or learn a new trade. It’s all the same reason.
Saying I’m going to get my PhD is insane. The amount of work from start to finish is insane. The workload expected out of you is insane. (Seriously, it is. Props to those who manage it.)
But, writing down the individual goals to lead to that place is possible. What is possible right now and given your limits? Those are the goals.
Aim to lose 2 lbs a week.
Aim to learn five new vocab words a week in a new language.
Aim to write one word every day (in anything including social media or texting).
Because if you start small and make slow increments up to those lofty goals it will become easier. It will become less panic inducing. You’re more likely to reach the goals if they’re reasonable.
For me who wants to make sure I’m writing poetry, ten poems a month is doable. I can write ten poems in a day (I have before). Ten poems in a bad month is possible. And if I keep it up, I’ll have pride over it. It’s not hard, but it’s not easy. It’s just hard enough to be considered a challenge. It takes effort, but isn’t deemed improbable even in a bad month.
And out of those ten poems, something will be good. Because when it comes to creative arts, the more you make, the better you get. And it always comes down to, if you write enough poems, at least one of them has to be good. Your best poem exists automatically. If you keep going, you’ll get a new best poem.
That’s the same method for everything goal wise. Write down your big lofty goal, sure. (I’m going to be a famous author/poet some day.)
Then write down a list of smaller goals to effort to reach that big one. (Write ten poems a month. Complete Nano. Publish at least 6 stories this year. Read at least 50 stories. Have weekly blog posts. Pull quotes out of all published works. Write ten new stories. Use twitter and facebook for weekly promotion.)
Which reminds me I haven’t been doing weekly twitter posts for my works. Facebook lets me set up in advance which is why that’s happening. Twitter is such a pain.
But either way, goals are meant to help you move forward. They aren’t meant to show you you’re failing. They aren’t there so you give up. They aren’t there to make you feel incomplete or lacking. Goals are there to help you better yourself in the way you desire.
If you desire to get your PhD, lose weight, learn a language, write more often, become famous, then you need to set forth a reasonable goal.
And before that you have to accept where you are beginning. Because if you don’t accept where you’re beginning, you’ll push too hard for something and it will be deemed impossible. Don’t throw in the towel. You don’t have to be happy with where you are, but you do have to accept it.
I’m not a famous author. It doesn’t matter my skills. It doesn’t matter my desires. It doesn’t matter that I know my books are needed by someone somewhere. I know none of that stuff matters right now.
Because right now I am not a famous author. People don’t know my name.
And that’s okay. Am I happy with the situation? No. It frustrates me to no end that I can’t help people while hiding in the shadows.
So I make my goals small and reachable. And when I finish those goals, I’ll reset the goals to others that are also small and reachable.
Right now I want to sell at least one book a month (for profit). Right now I want to have more than $100 come to me this year in book sales. That’s my goal level. Because that’s small and reasonable. And it doesn’t have to do with me. I’m dependent on others for those two goals.
To make those goals reasonable and more likely, I need to keep up my marketing. I need to keep trying. I have published every month this year. I have sold two books every month this year. That’s it. That’s my mark. Will it be enough to reach $100? Probably not especially if my normal sales are $0.99.
My goals are also my hopes. If I miss a few poems this month, so be it. I won’t give up because right now my average is higher than needed. January was a good month.
This post went all over the place. I did mention this blog was chaos, right? I’m going to write some poems now. I need to. I’m behind for March.