Guilt is a rotten emotion; I wish I didn’t come by it so naturally. However, guilty I do feel. You all know what I’ve been facing in my personal life and on June 29 I started working full time. To say that my formerly balanced life is now completely out of whack is so incredibly inaccurate, it’s almost funny.
I’ve been scarce here at the ’Rati and really regretting shirking my responsibilities. But when a night owl has to get up at 5:30 am to walk the dogs, water the ever bigger garden (too many pots this year), and dress for work, well, it’s just plain ugly. I often don’t turn on my personal computer until returning home after work. And then the evenings are family time – what little we have before we have to go to bed early and start all over again.
I’m not complaining (well . . . yes I am. I don’t like getting up early even though I love being up early!), I’m just explaining why my comments have been far and few during the last few weeks. I know I’ve missed some great conversations and my intellectual life is a little poorer for being remiss.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve been mentally comatose (except when I first get up at 5:30 . . .), thinking only about make-up and proper attire. No. My pesky little brain has been on overdrive. And one of the things I’ve been thinking about is my writing goals for this next July-to-July stint.
Last year, my only goal was to write fiction daily no matter what. I did it too. July 2 was my one-year anniversary. During those first 365 days, I was tremendously inconsistent re: quantity. Some days, I wrote only a sentence; other days were much more “productive.”
When it comes to quality, I don’t know what to think. Right now I have no idea if any of the writing is good or bad because I haven’t edited a damn thing.
Still I’ve been mulling goals ever since July 2. Should I give myself a word count amount? A goal of, say, 200+ a day? Should I edit for an hour every weekend to finally publish some of this work? Should I get some of the stories, novellas or the novel, up electronically to give my readers something new to read?
I don’t know. Every time I try to define or alter the goal from last year, it feels overwhelming, uncomfortable or like something expected from the outside rather than coming from within. It feels like it would evoke guilt and I’m too good at that already.
What I do know is that the daily practice of affirming my life as a fiction writer is important to me—whether it’s with one original sentence or several fresh pages. I’d like to say that the quantity and quality matter in this process, but in doing this daily writing, it’s only the doing that feels essential.
My questions for you today are:
1. Do you have a daily practice that has become important to you?
2. What is it and why is it important?
3. Are you good at setting and meeting goals without putting a bunch of guilt on yourself in the process? If so, how do you do it? Any tips?
I apologize in advance if I don’t answer comments in a timely manner. I’ll take a gander at what’s being said during my breaks, lunch and after work . . .