2014: What about Freud?

I was going to be all contrary and write about something that had nothing to do with the new year…but what I really want to write about are my goals.

I forget where I read it, sadly, but I saw a blog criticizing the way most people set goals:  “as if Freud had never existed.”  Which I thought was interesting, because it affected me so much this year.

What I thought I wanted to do and what I actually did were often two different things.

I studied how to change habits, as always I tried to push myself hard.  And often I failed.  Today, case in point.   There are eleventy different things I need to be doing.   And here I am, writing out a blog, probably the least productive of all of the possible items on my list (although admittedly more productive than Facebook).

No matter how hard I press myself, I come back to some truths.  Some days, I buck the plans and do something else.

It’s almost always writing related.  It almost ends up being the thing I would have scheduled time for, if I’d had a clue that I wanted to do it ahead of time.  And if I don’t do it–whatever it is–then I freeze up.  I don’t get anything done, or if I do, it’s distracted and half-assed.

That’s right.  I don’t follow my instincts, I get bullied by them.

So in 2014, here’s the deal:  no matter what other goals I plan for myself, my goal is to listen to my instincts before they come back to haunt me, make me anxious, waste my time trying to do something else, even drive me down into depression.  My goal is to hear the little voice in my head that says you’re not listening, and listen.

I have other goals, too.  I can’t control other people publishing me — so I won’t say anything about that.   And I want to make a goal of “finish everything you start,” which is totally not a bad goal (see Heinlein’s Rules).  But looking back over last year, in which there were a half-dozen novels I wrote up to the midpoint and abandoned, I can’t say it was a waste of time or that I should (yet) finish those things.  So I think I will not yet make that goal.

(Here’s a meta moment:  my goal is to someday be able to make that goal.)

But mostly my goal this year is to make every month a 50K-word month.  I made my 2013 goal of 1K a day last year.  This one’s harder but doable.  Eventually, I want to hit a million words in a year.   Because my childhood writing hero was Piers Anthony, and he talked about doing so on a regular basis.  Other people want to win an award, get a major publishing deal…I’ll know I’ve hit the big time when I can write a million words in a year.  It’s not necessarily true, but this is what I come back to, what compels me to keep working:  a childhood dream.

Freud, I think, would approve.  Although quite possibly he would try to tell me that I’m really writing about sex.  Heh.

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6 Comments

  1. I like that 50K goal. I have a hard time with writing every single day. (Bad writer, bad!) Setting the daily goal of 250 really helped, and then the holidays hit. But new year, new month, new start. 🙂

    I also think that sometimes we just need to listen to those instincts rather than what the logical side of our brain is telling us. I had a moment like that recently and thought of you. What would De do? “She would listen to her gut.” So I followed my instincts and almost immediately, a sense of clarity set in and almost all of my problems were solved. (Only the writing-related ones, though. Maybe I need to try it for other things.)

  2. De

    What would De do? A) Freak out, then B) Completely deny that she has any gut feelings. C) Pitch a fit. And THEN D) Give in and do what she should have done in the first place anyway.

  3. I figure when I set goals and don’t come anywhere near meeting them that I didn’t want to achieve that at all, but felt it was something I thought I had to do. As far as figuring that out ahead of time, that’s a whole different story, but I’m working on it.

  4. RedQueen

    Was it last year? Maybe the year before that. I made a goal to read one book per month that had been on my TBR pile for over a year.

    I read one of those books.

    I looked at a bunch of them this year and went, “Well, no wonder. The pacing stinks.”

    So yeah. But I beat myself up for not meeting my goal, because. Someday. Someday I’ll get to that ahead of time thing. But probably not today.

  5. My main goal is simple, and it’s working: sit at computer with morning protein shake and pills, block the internet with Freedom, and write, or write why I can’t write or what I want to write, until four hours are up – with 3 ten minute breaks.

    I can’t guarantee my brain will be with me. I can’t guarantee output. I CAN guarantee that I am here, writing – because that’s what I love.

    Everything else can wait four hours.

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