August 7, 2013

I Don't Set (Publishing) Goals.

In Wednesday's post, I talked about how artists get depressed sometimes because they doubt the value of their creative efforts. I've found the best way for me to avoid the blues is to erase lower my expectations when it comes to publication, recognition, or financial compensation. Seriously! Chasing the publication dream can be maddening. It's good for me to stay rooted to the reasons I started writing in the first place when I sense the crazy coming on. That's why I chose values instead of goals and used those values to create the following personal road map a few years ago:*

My Writing Life
I never have set goals, in the sense that I expected to be successful or get to a certain place. My idea of success has always been, does it feel right? Does it feel good to me? Do I enjoy doing it? And somehow miraculously, I’ve been able to follow that path and have a great success at it. 
 – Sarah McLachlan 
Consecration says, “I will do what is right now and trust the Lord for the outcome.”. . . Aspiration says, “I must do whatever it takes to control the outcome.” If we aspire enough to certain goals and are willing to pay any price, we can accomplish those things. But sometimes the price is too high. . . . If we consecrate our preparations unto the Lord and leave the outcome in His hands, the outcome will always be a blessing to us. He can control the outcome much better than we can ourselves. 
– C. Raymond Smith  

What I Want to Achieve: 
• To write my truth without apology.
 • To aim to please God with what I write and not just my audience, agent, or editor.
• To make a positive difference for readers because of the truths I’ve voiced, whether my readers are few or many.
• To preserve my roles as Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend as my highest priorities. 
• To achieve the kind of life balance that allows me to be a professional also.
• To make consistent quality time for writing each week.
• To develop my skills to the best of my ability and feel pleased with my growth as a writer.
• To pursue lifelong learning by studying excellent books and possibly getting an advanced degree someday.
• To build positive relationships within the writing community.
• To be a conscientious “employee” of the publishing houses who may sign me in the future.
• To eventually use my training to mentor others.

What I Want to Avoid: 
• Unhealthy amounts of pressure. To me, this means an overly hectic self-promotion schedule that may crowd out more important things if I let it.
• Arriving at a place where I write mainly for a paycheck or others' expectations instead of for the joy of telling a story. I already have a career. I'd like to maintain the writing hobby I love.
Too idealistic? Time will tell. Luckily I'm not in a place where I have to do this for a living yet, so I can afford to be idealistic.

Whether you aim to have a hobby or a lucrative career, have you ever nailed down a road map to help you measure if you're headed in the right direction? Has it helped?

* Thanks for indulging me while I listen to myself talk. I wanted this on my blog so I can easily find it next time I'm going crazy.


Jenilyn Collings said...

I've never thought about writing up something like that, but I really like your personal road map, especially how you include God in your goals. Too often I try to separate the creative side of me from the spiritual, but that's probably not the way to go, is it? :)

ilima said...

This is a fantastic list, sure to help you on crazy days in the future. Thanks for sharing!

gaylene said...

I love your list. You said it better than I could have. I think I'll copy it and use it as my own ;)

gaylene said...

haha...and I see my profile now says ashley. My daughter has a photo blog through my blogger account, and I guess we messed up my profile yesterday while working on hers. I'm not some creeper with secret names

Kim Webb Reid said...

Ashley, I thought maybe you had a twin named Gaylene. ;)

Catt said...

Kim, you are just WAY too organized, focused, and centered. When I grow up, I want to be as on top of my life as you are!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I like your lists! My creed has evolved and changed as I've been published and forced to reevaluate everything about 500 times. For now, it is that I must continue to enjoy what I'm doing. It's as simple as that. I don't want my writing to FEEL like a job, but that's actually what it has become. The trick is in keeping it enjoyable. Once that dies, I know it's time reevaluate once again. That usually involved shifting my attitude, mindset, and personal validation issues. I like to believe nothing is set in stone, so it's nice to keep it all fluid around a creamy center of "Am I still loving what I'm doing?" :)

Kimberly Kay said...

My list is actually quite similar to yours, Kim, and it definitely has helped me keep my eyes on the right prize. It prepares a writer for when they must decide: what's more important, being published, or keeping my standards? Because sometimes those things don't coexist.