Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unattained Goals

by Annette Dashofy

It’s time to ‘fess up. I failed.

Sort of.

Back in May, fresh from Pennwriters Conference Coordinator’s Hell, I came here and made a pledge. Set a goal. I vowed to have my first draft completed by mid August.

As I look at my calendar, I can see it’s well beyond MID August. And, no, I haven’t finished my draft.

So, yes, I failed in meeting that particular deadline. But I hardly consider myself a failure. I’m a whole lot closer to the end than I was a few months ago. I’ve been steadily plugging along and if I were to guess, I’d say I have roughly 75 pages left to write.

The other reason I don’t consider myself a failure is my list of excuses: Edits on a short story that is still very much in the running for the Guppies anthology. In fact, I have another set of those due in a little over a week. THAT deadline I will most definitely meet. I’ve also been sending out queries for articles in the hopes of generating some income. Two of those story ideas have been green-lighted. Yay!

Several other Working Stiffs and back bloggers chimed in on the goal deadline thing. How’s it going? Did anyone meet the mid August deadline? And I believe a couple of you (Will? Elizabeth?) had planned on the end of June. Well? Did you or didn’t you? And if you didn’t, did you at least make more progress on the manuscript than you might have without the deadline?

Because I think that’s the real reason I set those things for myself. In the pressure of the effort, I accomplish more than I might without it.

So here goes again. My new goal…my new deadline for completing the first draft…is the end of October. And, yes, I know I have an impending trip to Bouchercon in the midst of it all, which will eat a big chunk out of my writing time.

Guess I’d better get to work then! Write on!


Martha Reed said...

Good morning, Annette. I'm not buying any bit of your argument about not getting it done because you are no slacker! I agree with you about the deadline commitment - it can keep you on target - but stuff happens and writing great material takes real time.

I know you'll finish your mss - that's never been in doubt. And I can't wait to read it! As you say, write on.

Annette said...

I have no doubt I'll finish it either. I just have so many ideas for changes when I get to the revision stage, I can't wait to finish the rough draft so I can get back in there and tinker.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I did it! :) But then I had a ton of revision. I'm sending the final draft over to my editor at Berkley next Tuesday (my deadline for them.)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Meredith Cohen said...

I, too, missed my mid-August goal--by quite a bit. You are so right--the good thing about setting goals is making the committment to work toward them. It's what been getting me to the computer every day, if only for an hour (lately).
Yes, yes, yes, write on!!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Just when I was feeling good about myself... BAM! Annette slaps me back down.

(Just kidding Annette.)

I'm not really at liberty to discuss my failure to meet the deadline. It's complex and I've had to do some soul searching with the help of a good friend who is also a fine author.

Also my new day job is occupying much more of my time than my previous day job. I made promises during my interviews that I have to live up to. And that's what pays the bills and sends my daughters to college, so, I know where my priorities lie.

I do have a motivational deadline called Bouchercon, so that is my new goal.

Annette said...

Yay, Elizabeth! Funny how having an editor posting the deadline makes such a difference. This short story for the anthology is my first experience with a fiction editor, editing letters, and deadlines for those edits. THOSE deadlines, I meet.

So, Meredith, are you setting a new goal? Gotta keep pressing forward...especially since you have your own conference coordinator's hell looming in the future. Heh heh heh.

Annette said...

Sorry, Will. I didn't mean to ruin your day. We'll talk at Bouchercon. If you still haven't met your goal, I'll buy you drink to drown your sorrows. On the other hand, there are those celebratory rounds for goals met!

Jenna said...

Goals are just that, something to aim for. If you don't get the ball in the first time, you just try again. And again. However many times it takes until either you score one or the game is over. But let's not talk about that.

I didn't join the deadline setting, since I wasn't working on a manuscript. Now I am: DIY#4 is due to my editor by February 1. I have 20,000 words. I'm not worried. All I have to do is write 65,000 more in five months, which I can do no problem.

Congrats on the Guppie anthology, Annette. Very impressive!

Annette said...

Congrats on DIY #4, Jennie! That's great news! As for the anthology, I'm not celebrating yet. Just happy that I'm still in the running.

And you're so right about goals being something to aim for. If I didn't set them for myself, I'd probably spend all day puttering on Facebook. Oops. I do that anyway. Never mind.

Karen in Ohio said...

You guys are all amazing. I'm still thinking of which direction to go in--how the heck do you decide? If I ever get that part organized I expect the writing to flow. Segueing from nonfiction to fiction is turning out to be difficult for me. My MO before was to do all the research, organize it, and then write in a linear fashion from notes and other info. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to manage that with fiction, which seems (but isn't) less structured.

On the other hand, life has been more crazy and busy than usual. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. However, I am planning to attend Bouchercon. Anyone up for a meeting?

Annette said...

Karen, as for Bouchercon...absolutely. You'll find Joyce, Will, and me in the bar alternately drowning our sorrows and proposing a celebratory toast.

Just kidding. Sort of.

I know lots of journalists find the switch from nonfiction to fiction to be a challenge. There are as many ways of doing it as there are writers.

See you in Indy!

SZ said...

Oh look ! It is positive goal quote time !

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” JImmy Dean

Keep working towards your goal and you will always be closer to your goal today than you were yesterday .
Lucy MacDonald

queenofmean said...

Well, I'm sorry to say that I didn't meet my goal either, but I did work through a difficult part in my story. So, that's a positive anyway. I should have realized with 2 vacations (I rarely write on vacation) & a soccer camp during that time, it would be tough to accomplish.
I was thinking of setting my new goal for the end of Sep, but since is already the end of Aug, that might be tough. And soccer season starts in a couple of weeks. My time will be really limited in Sep. I'm going for my birthday - Oct 22.
We'll see how it goes.