Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Reach for the Stars...

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart...”William Wordsworth

Being a writer is an amazing journey. Carving stories out of thin air, making substantial the dreams and speculations within our hearts. Yet most of us on the path of writing desire more. It’s not enough to doodle vague ideas onto paper. We yearn for accomplishment. To write not just a sentence but a complete story. To see that story magically bound with a glossy cover. To know that complete strangers read our words and are engaged, amused, entertained perhaps even... transformed.

Of course, this yearning now takes us beyond our original carefree imaginings and into the realm of practical endeavors.

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.”--J.C. Penney

Whether the goal is to compose a single page or to commit to a set number of hours, to reach a desired word count or to flesh out a scene, to edit, revise or complete an outline, each and every goal we set matters. Without a destination in mind, we are merely wanderers.

There’s a saying by Lloyd Jones about failure and success that always appealed to me:

“Those who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”

Yet there’s more to striving than simply setting goals. We must push ourselves always to go a step beyond our comfort zone. Success is not defined by simply meeting a goal. If that were true, we could simply set a goal based on past accomplishments and feel satisfied. A toddler experiences a surge of triumph after mastering the tying of a shoe. Success is defined by reaching to accomplish what once seemed impossible.

Remember as a child, how even while playing the silliest of games we strove to better our past record? Hopscotch or jump rope, foursquare or dodge ball. Heck, even on the swings we always wanted to fly higher and higher. Our human instinct impels us to reach for the stars. As adults, and particularly as writers, we must vitalize this instinctive urge to best ourselves by continuously revising and expanding our definition of achievement.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”Michelangelo

As writers, we must strive to maintain a balance between pushing ourselves too much and not pushing ourselves enough. And the truth is, though we share a common goal we are each individuals. Part of your personal journey is to divine what motivates you. Some thrive with far-reaching goals that would make others blanch. Find your rhythm, discover your own theme song, tap into the inner dance that sets your heart afire and then crank up the energy and let those fingers fly!

And remember…

“Failure is the path of least persistence.” –Anonymous

During the holiday season, time is at a premium. Few will have the extra minutes (much less hours) our hearts desire to pen a few words or to edit our WIP. Yet this is a lovely time to begin contemplating our future goals. The year is nearly at an end. A new one bursting with potential beckons from the wings.

For those who have the time and will to write this week, what are your goals?

For those whose plates are way too full take a moment to consider your future goals. Sometime between now and the new year, let’s set some Serious Goals for 2010.

Three more weeks left in 2009... Whatever we plan to accomplish in the New Year, we set the stage today. Action begets accomplishment. Let's keep that vision firmly in our mind and match our goals with energy and productivity. Here's to a week of writing and goal-setting!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between the Lines.


Ann Victor said...

Just *love* the Michaelangelo quote! My Mom always taught my sister and I that we must reach for the stars...then she'd say because if we missed the stars, we might still reach the moon, but if we only aimed for the moon, what would get if we missed it?

Three weeks left in 2009. Eeekkkk!!

my short term writing goal: to at least manage 10 pages a day on the research book I'm reading for my next novel. My original goal was 100pgs a day but with the silly season and the heavy factual content of the book I've downgraded my goal for the moment!

(Win one of five unique prizes from South Africa in the Christmas Contest on my blog)

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Anonymous said...

Your posts are always so timely! I set a goal to finish editing/polishing 2 manuscripts I've been working on for some time - older but worth revising. And that's because my goal for the new year is to finally get back to my most recent wip - can't wait to seriously work on this one. And to practice Blake Snyder's 3: focus, discipline, and positive-thinking.

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Cate Masters said...

I love to visit your blog, Chiron - it always inspires me. My first goal is to get more organized! I spend too much time rifling through old notes and such. Once organized, to keep it that way so I can devote my time to writing.
Happy holidays!

Chiron said...

Hey Ann!

Wow, lovely life lesson from your mom. She's so right!

The season really does snatch away the hours, doesn't it? Good luck with your goal! Happy researching. *smile*

Thanks always for stopping by!


Chiron said...

Hi Kathy!

Focus, Discipline and Positive Thinking. Sounds right to me! Even when time is at a premium, we can still accomplish quite a bit if we embrace those three qualities. :-D

Thanks so much for boost!


Chiron said...

Hello Cate!

Your goal sounds perfect for me too. I often find myself feeling scattered and the more organized I get the faster the work flows. Good call!

Thanks for jumping in!


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Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing