Welcome to Coach’s Corner, where I offer some thoughts on the creative process and breaking through moments of self-doubt.
One of the things I do with my coaching clients is make sure that they set achievable goals for themselves. Many factors need to be considered, especially making sure whatever physical, emotional, and psychological roadblocks that come up can be dealt with.
I would like us to move past achievable goals. I want us — you and me — to have bigger dreams and goals. I want us to challenge ourselves to do more. Let’s avail ourselves of resources that will help us grow in our creativity.
If you were thinking that maybe you could write one short story in the next six months, push yourself and aim for two or even three stories in the next six months. If you plan to write a novel within twelve months, then write it and edit it to submission quality and start sending it out in those twelve months, and maybe start researching a new novel too. If there are areas in your writing that you want to improve such as dialogue or character development, take a couple of courses that will help you improve, or read a couple of writing books that will help you, and don’t skip the exercises and practice assignments! If you’re planning on preparing for NaNoWriMo with November being your only writing time, work on another writing project the other eleven months a year. If you were planning on writing 500 words a day, push yourself to write 1,000 words a day.
Achievable goals are great, but we tend to be too easy on ourselves. We make excuses for why we can’t do more. The result is that the change, the writing career we want to pursue, doesn’t happen. We remain in the same stagnant place we have always been, wishing we were in a better place. I don’t want that for myself, or for you. Let’s push ourselves past our comfort zone and actively take greater strides toward our dreams, and see what happens.
My plans are rather ambitious. Normally I take a year to write and edit a novel. This year I have a novel to edit and launch in August, a series of novellas to write, and another novel to research and write. Yes, this is a lot. I’m also hoping to write a short story or two.
What happens if we set for ourselves bigger goals and we are ultimately unable to achieve them all? Aren’t we setting ourselves up for failure? The point is to do more than you have been doing. Start by prioritizing your projects. The first project is what you must accomplish. The next project is one you think you can probably get done but to do so is already asking for more of your time. The third project then is one that you would really like to get to but likely won’t. For myself, my novel editing comes first, then the novellas, and so on. If I don’t get through the entire list, that is perfectly OK. As long as I have have achieved at least the first big goal and started the second, then I will have already done more than I usually manage.
The real question is: What possibilities will open up if we set ourselves those bigger goals and we achieve them?
This isn’t just for writers. This is for anyone who has any creative project in mind. If you want to join me on this crazy, ambitious adventure, let me know in the comments below what your big dream/goal is. Are you with me?