By Aaron Ritchey
January, 2015, and ‘tis the season to set goals.
I’m a poor goal-setter because I set too many goals. I have completely unrealistic expectations, and when I don’t achieve my goals I sulk and contemplate genocide.
Go big or go home…that’s what I say. Either I’m successful or humanity dies!
But all the success books say to set goals, make them concrete, break them into smaller chunks of cement, and then climb into the mixer and take stock of where you are in the process. It all makes sense and it is a good thing to do. Like flossing. Flossing is good for you, and so is brushing your teeth and preparing your taxes in January and all sorts of homespun common sense types of stuff.
Yet even without this goal-setting, I do have one goal that I’m pretty good at. Actually, in the end, it’s my only goal.
My goal is to write every day. Not market. Not organize. Not critique other writers, but to write. Editing is writing, I guess, but I’d love to swing it that I write every day whether I’m editing a book or not.
That’s my goal. Generally I write on Thanksgiving, but not on Christmas. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is usually when I get caught up from the holiday madness. I can write seven days a week, but Sunday mornings can be tough. Monday mornings can be tougher still.
Starbucks opens at 5 a.m., so writing before the day starts is generally what I do, but how I wish they opened earlier. I don’t like to write at home, but when push comes to shove, I will. To achieve my goal.
Writing every day takes the work out of forcing myself to sit down to write. Most of life is just stupid habit. Oh, it’s time to write.
But the house is on fire, Aaron, and Armageddon is knocking on the door.
Sorry, gotta write. I have goals, dammit, and they cannot be denied.
Lie. I don’t have goals as in plural. I have one goal. To write every day.
This can be difficult though, since I have a wife, kids, a few friends left, but not that many. Because I write every day. Friends require time, and if I’m keeping friends happy, I don’t write. So yeah, I’ve sacrificed a social life, but worse yet, I’ve sacrificed my health.
Because prepping food and cooking food and eating and exercising all take a lot of time, time I’d rather use to write. Every day.
But the reality is, the writing part only takes so long, like a couple of hours. After a couple of hours, I’m ready to do something else, but during that time, I am a machine, I am focused, I typed lots and lots of words.
The real time-suck is not the writing , it’s the resistance to writing, it’s the setting things up just so, it’s the procrastinating of the writing, that’s where I lose the time that I could use to make and keep friends and stay healthy.
The challenge of writing every day isn’t really the hard part. Sometimes the writing is grueling, but usually if I sit down the words come. No, the hard part is the five minutes before it’s time to write when every bone in my body tells me to run away and surf the internet for pictures of kittens, puppies, and pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows. Which I do for hours.
So yeah, I don’t have friends and I’m unhealthy not because of the writing but because I resist writing. I buy into the drama.
So in 2015, I vow to write quickly and efficiently and then move on with the rest of my day, so I can have friends and be healthy.
And I’ll floss and do some marketing at some point. Maybe.