Wednesday, October 16, 2019

But writing good stuff IS the goal

You know that dream where you go to class only to discover that there's a test that you haven't prepared for, and when you read it you realize you don't even know enough to fake it? I used to have that dream all the time when I was in school, and for years after.

So when we talk about dreams and goals, take that as context. I started off in this writing career like many people: with tangible, measurable goals. Other people's goals, granted, but goals that were binary: I would either succeed or fail. Well, I failed. A lot. And you know what I learned? All that wishing, hoping, striving, and pushing myself too hard for the win are things that consistently break me, even in those rare instances when I don't fail. And at this point in my life, I refuse to allow writing, my secret haven and first love and the thing that makes me me, to break me.

So no, I don't have measurable career goals, big ones or little ones. I just write the thing. If you just write the thing and have no expectations, no hopes, you can't be disappointed. You can't fail. You can't flunk the test.

Instead, you are stuck in an endless loop of ...doing this thing you love, and nobody is there to tell you you're doing it wrong. Nobody cares if you're doing it wrong. Let me tell you, there are worse ways to live.

So, gossip about my lack of ambition or whatever. I don't care. I'm not going to take the class, buy the ad, watch the vid, fill in the planner, do the hustle, or knock myself out to reach some arbitrary word count goal, some bestseller list I have zero control over, or any other unrelated-to-the-writing measure of success.

My goal is not measurable. I want to write excellent fiction.

Nothing in that says I ever have to share it or sell it. I can succeed without chasing any of those failure opportunities, thanks.

This is my happy place.