by Marsha Ward
Control may seem to be an odd topic to address, but bear with me. This is the perfect season to talk about it.
You see, a lot of us have a habit of making New Year's Resolutions. (I can still talk about New Year's, right?) Sometimes we actually get a bit of mileage out of the effort by setting goals, instead.
Now there's this thing about goals. They have to be alcanzable. Sorry, in my youth I served a mission in South America for the LDS Church, and we were always striving to make attainable goals, you know, alcanzable, from the verb alcanzar: to reach, to overtake, to obtain. . .
Anyway, I like to achieve my goals. That's why you all get to laugh when I set a goal to write 25 words a day. Sometimes it's only 10. It depends on how I'm doing that day.
In order to achieve my goals, I have to make goals that are within my control. (See how I snuck that in?) It's so sad to see writers making goals like "Write a novel this year, submit it, and have it published."
I know. Maybe they're practicing visualization. Sorry, I don't go in for that theory at this time. I like to say I'm going to do things I have control of. As an independent author, I can make a goal to publish a book this year (and I'm planning on that, dear readers). However, a writer intent on being published through traditional means doesn't have any control over becoming a published author in any given time frame.
Therefore, a better goal for a writer is to stick to the first 2/3rds of the goal above, that is, to write a novel and to submit it. In the meantime, other goals well worth the time to make them are to study the craft of writing, to get better at writing by DOING IT, to find a good support group or a good critique group (depending on what stage the writer is in), and to start building a circle of writing friends and others in the industry, as well as potential readers. These goals are reachable, because they are things well within your control to do them.
If you haven't set any goals for the year yet, take some time and do that. If you have made goals, take a look at them and determine if you have control over their accomplishment. If not, tweak them until you do.
What goals have you set for 2012?