There are different ways of getting to a destination. Some ways take longer but are worth the time because of the scenery and experiences you get along the way. But sometimes you just need to find a fast way to get from where you are to where you need to be.
Today I'm going to be talking about both ways (although I'll focus more on the latter) for the final installation of a three-part series on writing tips for completing your manuscript--a series I've entitled CSG.
If you missed the first two parts in the series or would like to re-read them, here are the links:
G of the CSG plan: Goal.
As I mentioned in my first post for this series, my writing life was rather sporadic until 2011. I was taking the longer way, so to speak, for trying to finish my manuscript. Like riding in a glider (which I've done twice--and loved!), I was just meandering along through the clear blue sky, waiting for those "lifts" of inspiration that would make the trip worthwhile and exciting.
However, unlike the short glider rides I've been on that only last for 20 minutes or so, my writing life had no exact time frame. Everything was vague--I knew where the landing strip was and where I wanted to eventually go, but I didn't know exactly when I was going to get there or how.
And yet, as unproductive as that sounds, I think I needed that excursion. I needed those years of ruminating, of research, and of relaxed writing. I gathered information and ideas, and I grew up a little from that time years ago when the story first grabbed hold of my heart. It was OK for my writing to take a glider ride, waiting for those updrafts and cruising along, carefree.
But when 2011 came around, I realized that if I wanted to ever land and get to my destination--finishing my manuscript and publishing my story--then I needed to have a goal. The end needed to be in sight and the tracks needed to be laid to help get me to that end.
Now, I'm speaking from where I am chugging down the tracks. I haven't reached my goal yet, but I can tell you that it has helped me to have one.
When I told my writing companion about my goal, she encouraged me to keep it in sight, even if I didn't get all the way there this time. And why is that? Because having a sense of direction, having a deadline, helps get work done!
What is my goal? Well, my goal is to finish my manuscript by May 31, 2011. And then after that, my goal is to edit, polish, get endorsements, write a proposal, and make my way to the 2011 Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August.
Will all of that happen? Only God knows, but having this goal in mind--this time frame (the tracks) and this hope (the destination)--has helped me finally stick to a writing schedule, so I can actually sit down and get words on the pages!
As I think about my goal, I'm reminded of my Teaching the Bible class at Corban University. In that class we are encouraged to teach applications during out Bible studies--applications which are supposed to be specific, possible, and measurable.
I believe our writing goals should also be the same if we expect them to be practical and applicable. They should be specific, so that we don't end up wandering aimlessly. They should be possible, so that we don't give up too quickly or become discouraged. And they should be measurable, so that we can know where we stand and how close we are to the final destination.
Have you benefited from having goals in the past? If you need some direction, what specific goals can you make this year to help encourage you to keep on writing?
(That first picture is of me and my dad on our glider ride this past summer, along with the very fun pilot from Sunriver Soaring! The other pictures are photos I think my dad took on a train ride during our trip to Virginia City, Nevada, also last summer.)