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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

November 14, 2019

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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

March 27, 2018



            There’s always a danger in making a New Year’s resolution. For one thing, you never know how your circumstances might later change, interfering with the completion of your goal. And if that happens, and your goal becomes unfeasible, the experience can be not only disheartening but might discourage any future attempts to set goals.

            But there is the other side of that coin, too.

            Sometimes setting reasonable goals can be rewarding. When attainable goals are set and reached, the experience helps boost confidence and can inspire continued momentum.

            So why bring up New Year’s resolutions now?

            To be clear, I’m not one to typically make New Year’s resolutions. And in the atypical years in which I do, the resolutions usually have something to do with setting writing goals.

            That was the case this year.

            Though I’ve been writing fiction and poetry for more than 40 years I still find it occasionally helpful to set specific goals. Since I try to publish most of what I write, I must submit my completed work to magazines and journals for consideration. That process requires a lot of research to find markets which fit the style and genre of my particular works, not to mention those which accept works with my specific word count, those markets with submission periods that are open at that time and a host of other criteria. The entire submission process can take many hours for a single submission.

            Dozens of my works have been published in both print and online magazines and journals. Those publications represent a lot of time spent finding the right markets for the right pieces.

            The point is this: marketing my writing is a big part of my writing life. That being the case, one part of my New Year’s resolution was to complete an average of at least one submission per month in 2018. By mid-March I had already completed that goal.

            So does that mean I short sold myself when it came to making that goal?

            I don’t think so.

            What I think is that I am all too familiar with the trappings that come with setting unrealistic goals. While submitting an average of one piece a month for a year might not seem like a big deal, I know how it potentially could be. Granted, if I weren’t currently taking a break from outside employment, it would be much more challenging. But I am much more likely to shoot for a target that is actually in range.

            The benefit is a greater sense of reward for reaching that goal and, now, a desire to far exceed that goal. In fact, when I posted my accomplishment on social media, one comment branded me an “overachiever.” I like the idea. I want to accomplish more because I’ve accomplished something already.

            In the end, it’s not about setting goals, as far as I’m concerned. Setting attainable goals is what’s important.

            You can’t overachieve if you don’t achieve to begin with.


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