Sunday, May 10, 2009

What are my goals as a writer?

I came up with this question for discussion at our most recent NZWG Wellington Writer’s Group. Having set it, I then had to try and answer it!

I came up with these answers:

In one year

I want to have finished a first and second draft of The Gap (the script I’m working on), and started to assemble a project team that can actually get it made.

In five years

I want to have a slate of projects with some level of funding attached, so I can reduce the level of non-writing work I have to do.

In ten years

I want to be able to make a good living out of writing things that I want to write!

Now that I’ve defined my goals, I want to think further about how to achieve those goals, and what the obstacles are.

How about you? What are your goals? And do you find goal-setting useful?


kirsten said...

Right now, I would be happy to be attached to any production. But ultimately I want to be able to say that I make my living in the film industry.

We did talk about this in more detail but that's pretty much me in a nutshell.

Sean_Molloy said...

Thanks Kirsten.

I can't remember whether I asked you on Tuesday night, but do you find goal-setting useful?

Cheers, Sean

kirsten said...

I suppose it must do, because I keep setting goals. Only I seem to set pretty vague goals for myself in a "I will eventually..." sort of way, and then work like a packhorse because I am a workaholic by nature.

Anonymous said...

I am appallingly bad at following through on goals and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've followed through to the bitter end on a gaol. Even following through on a goal isn't necessarily good. How many times have you tied yourself to a goal and it has ended up being a burdern, or finally finished something and thought, "man, that totally wasn't worth it"?

John-Paul (With all the cheer of a winter day)

d f mamea said...

great post, Sean.

in reverse order: i find goal-setting essential; my goals are secret (though yours do have a suspicious similarity to mine); and yup, once a goal is defined, i have to be careful that i don't just plan (and plan and plan) but implement that shit, too.

Sean_Molloy said...

John-Paul, I can relate with the failure to follow through. And even with the feeling of disappointment in accomplishment, though I've found that isn't necessarily tied to goal-setting.

Have you had any good goal-setting experiences?

David, I'm reading your mind.

Anonymous said...

Um, maybe.

Long term goal successes = 0
Short term scrambles to fufill a deadline = 1,895
Short term scrambles that actually produced quality work = 8


Lyse Beck said...

Sean, great topic! Goals. Those pesky little buggers that seem to propel us into action, but never come to fruition in the way we expect. I have come to accept that I make goals when I'm either confused with what I actually want, or I'm bored/frustrated with my life as it is. Which are both fine reasons to goal-set I reckon. But to be honest, I never fool myself that I will get exactly what I plan for. Unless it's a goal of the variety "I will eat a tuna sandwich for lunch tomorrow." But Big Goals, life/career goals, I find, are crucial for our mental well being. Otherwise we drift aimlessly feeling a lack of purpose and drive. So, do I find goal setting usefull? Yes, for me it's mandatory. But I'm a firm beliver in chaos. I think life has the ultimate say, and will chuck things in your path that will f*ck with your goals. And that's ok. Maybe you'll get something even better than you hoped for. Maybe you'll take a turn based on opportunities presented that will stear you from your goals, but make you happier than you ever dreamed possible. My goals are lofty, full of hope, and fluid. Do I strive for them? Yes. But do I expect them to happen as I laid them out in my mind? Nope. But if they did, then what would be the fun of that? ;)

sorry for the exraordinarily long post! Crickey! I've been away and have obviously missed these sorts of discussions.

Sean_Molloy said...

Thanks Lyse - I agree with you.

I find I need goals to keep me happy about the future, but there's also that down-side of getting disappointed because I failed to live up to them.

I think you've figured out a good way through the (pretty much inevitable) disappointment when goals don't come true as you envisaged them.

Tim Jones said...

I used to make long lists of relatively small writing goals (finish story A/submit story B, that sort of thing), but these days I don't make so many. Some take a while to achieve: "Get NZ SF poetry anthology published" has been a goal since 2004, but only achieved in 2009. My writing goals for the rest of this year are:

- finish first draft of current novel (well, "complete rewrite of previous novel" is probably more accurate). Hard to achieve given amount of other stuff going on.
- keep accumulating poems to (a) submit to magazines and (b) go towards third poetry collection. Progress sporadic, but satisfying when poems come off.
- (i) finish short story I'm currently working on in time for an anthology deadline, and (ii) write another story which I think (unusually for my stuff) would do very nicely for entry to main NZ short story comps. Of these, I'm going to achieve (i), but may end up missing relevant deadlines with (ii)

Sean_Molloy said...

Thanks Tim.

I take it you find goal-setting is useful for you?

Tim Jones said...

That's a good question, Sean. I found it very useful when I was younger, so I could keep track of what I was trying to do & refer to my goals to motivate myself, and now I've got in the habit of doing it. What would happen if I stopped making writing goals for myself? - I'm not sure, and I don't think that's an experiment I want to try at the moment.