Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Language of Goals

This long summer day trails out of sight in a wash of persimmon with a wink of yellow flame, and now the milky pale aqua sky dulls.  A chill sends me inside to the Arctic white of my computer screen, a harsh reminder that my 250 words for today are not yet written (unless I count the 62 I have just put down).  Goals.  A word full of promise and enthusiasm when uttered, untested - a word ponderous,  demanding acknowledgment and attention if I dare fold my screen downwards.  My goals seem always to be attached to numbers - 20 lbs by such and such... in 30 Mar 15...250 words a day...

Sixteen months ago (is that a goal in reverse?) I began writing a novel.  I set a goal.  The first draft would be complete by July 1, 2013 in time for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City.  The first day I pounded out 15 pages.  And, amazingly, I kept at it.  Some days I didn't write at all.  Others dragged through quicksand.  Some fairly flew off the page into some adjacent unseen universe.  I finished the draft with 2 weeks to spare, though, of course I knew too well that there was much left unwritten (or merely running loose, amok in that aforementioned universe), characters keeping me awake at night, turing me into a rudely distracted friend and mate who seemed (and was) less than interested in whatever conversation I was expected to take part in.  But, the goal had been reached.

The euphoria lasted for about a week.  No problem.  The workshop created its own exhilaration and that lived on for a good 10 days after I left Iowa.  Then the nagging rose up in my head.  So, I thought, not too bad.  I'll just cruise for a bit and then I'll get right down to work again - get that pesky rewrite done in short order.  I set a goal.  January 1, 2014.  Better get on with that 250 words.  And that's not including this post.