Setting Goals – Report back

As I mentioned last week, three of my writing buddies and I have formed a writing support group. We’re setting goals each week and then checking in with each other. Last week I met my goals, but then I set very modest goals. They, on the other hand, set goals that would push them. Most of them either met their goals or came close to it. I’m wondering which is the best approach. Setting modest goals that I know I can reach or pushing myself by setting a more difficult goal(s)? My thought has always been to set something that I know I can do and then if I exceed it, that’s a bonus. But am I being too easy on myself? If I set a more difficult goal would I make it? I know if I didn’t I’d be hard on myself, so that can be counter-productive. But I’m thinking that maybe I’m being a bit too easy on myself. Maybe I should challenge myself more.

This week I’ve set a higher goal. I’m going to rework the middle of a book to add more tension and action. I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do with it for some time. I just haven’t taken the time to do it because I’ve started a new first draft and that’s more fun to work on. Plus I’ve written two books since this one and it’s hard to get back into that world when it’s been three years since I last worked on it. I got some feedback from editors on it last year which had a common thread. They turned it down because there wasn’t enough life and death tension in the middle. It’s taken me a while but I figured out a way to up the stakes a couple of months ago. I probably still wouldn’t be working on it if it wasn’t for the support group. Now that I’ve listed it as a goal I have to come through this week and get it done. No more excuses. I know at the end of this week, if I make my goal, I’ll have my friends to thank for the support, and, let’s face it, the guilt that I’ll feel if I have to report my failure to them. Guilt is a great motivator. I use what I’ve got to get it done and guilt works for me. Hey, I’m Catholic. It comes with the territory.

Check back next week and I’ll let you know if the guilt trip worked.

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