Okay, it’s the end of January and approximately a hundred degrees in my office, so it’s time to knock out a blog update before my brainmeats sizzle and fry within my melting skullfat.
At the end of 2017 I talked about depression and recovery, and wanting – needing – to put in the work to make 2018 less godawful and more worthwhile. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do the last few weeks – put in the work.
I’ve been aided in this by starting a course of anti-depressants. Well, I think I’ve been helped; it’s hard to quantify the effects, and nothing dramatic has happened. The key thing is that I don’t feel… overwhelmed all the time. Which is something.
(Mind you, I don’t love the side effects, which including gaining weight, getting dizzy-drunk on two beers and becoming reeeeaaalllly gassy, but I guess you take the rough with the smooth.)
Work has to have direction and purpose, of course, and so I set myself a slew of goals on January 1st while still bleary and hungover from a big NYE involving dogsitting and beer. (It’s important to start as you mean to continue, after all.)
Obviously, my main goals are writing goals:
- finishing, revising and publishing Obituarist III by the end of March
- doing a new set of revisions on Raven’s Blood by May and getting it back out to agents
- starting my new YA-wrestling-horror-mystery-romance novel, Piledriver, and getting it about 75% finished by the end of the year
On top of that, I have reading goals, gaming goals, blogging goals, social goals, health goals, sleep goals, emotional goals… I’m basically entirely comprised of goals at this point, like some kind of sports-themed Voltron.
The next step (according to all the advice books) is making things concrete, so I broke down a set of tasks for each goal and peppered them throughout my January calendars and to-do lists.
Now, at the end of the month, I can go through, check myself against all my milestones and mini-goals, and see how well I did.
How did I do?
Not that well.
Setting goals is easy, but when it comes to kicking them, I’m not exactly Pele or David Beckham or, um… Serena Williams? Look, I don’t understand sports, you know that.
Ultimately I took on too many things to handle in one month (especially one heat-wave heavy month), and with the best intentions, I was still only able to achieve a few of the tasks I’d laid out.
What that tells me, though, is that my problem isn’t that I can’t do these things, it’s that I can’t do all of these things. Not yet, and not all at once. Not while my mental health is recovering and my writing muscles are atrophied.
But muscles get better through use. And I’m not giving up on using them.
So for February, I’m setting a smaller, more controlled set of goals, focusing on just a few of the big picture plans rather than everything in a blender. Will that work better? It should do, if I stick at it.
I plan to stick at it.
One of those goals is getting back into a more regular, more interesting blogging routine, where I write about more than just not writing. At this point I’m aiming for at least one post per month, at around this time, looking at what I’ve achieved and what comes next. If I can, I’ll try to get a second one in there every month about something engaging that I can talk about in a fun, useful way.
Let me know how I go with that.
Huh. It got cooler in here since I started working on this blog post.
…maybe I’ll do a bit more writing tonight.
3 replies on “GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL”
Word. I’m much better at devising lists of objectives than I am at crossing things off. But having the path at least somewhat laid out helps with indecisiveness, which tends to be my problem. Anyway good to have you back. I look forward to the blog updates.
January has not been a goal achieving month for me either. Here’s to a better February all round!
Hi P! I too feel the pain of overambitious goal-setting 🙂 I have discovered that I use goal lists and ‘to do’ lists as a way to reduce anxiety – it’s almost as though part of my mind thinks I’ve achieved the things just by writing them down…? Anyhow, I have two book manuscripts due this year (one authored, one edited), because I am an overexcitable eejit who ‘thought it might be fun’. What the??
Also I am actually trying to work less. Believe it or not….