Writing Goals

I hate to admit it, but I actually sat down and composed some very specific writing goals for the coming year. While this admittedly might have begun as a delay tactic, having set aside the entire weekend to spend chunks of time doing some writing and arriving at day two still wandering in my mind, composing the goals did spur me to eventually write.

In the list of goals, I aimed to be concrete, accomplish specific things rather than achieve a certain behavior. Almost two years ago, when I needed to compose a set of writing goals in preparation to work with a writing coach, my goals were less tangible and included:

  • Build confidence in my sense of myself as a writer
  • Understand who I am as a writer
  • Understand craft more from a writer's perspective
  • Learn to embrace revision
Over these past years, I've learned that these goals will always remain a shifting constant. They are not something to achieve directly, but rather guiding principles in my work as a writer. I needed them as a starting point to reclaim myself as a writer, to be willing to do more than silently whisper the word writer. I need them now to keep me anchored in the writing, in the present, in my desire to keep refining my craft.

Today, I constructed a list of nine very specific writing tasks, a to do list blueprint to hold myself accountable throughout the coming months. They include:
And then, when I finished committing an accountability list to the page, I did work on a new piece that has been swirling in my mind and stirring in my memory for the past several months. Forcing myself to begin drafting about my rock 'n roll days, I spit words to the page, happy to have an 800 word start, even if very rough. 

While mining bits of my NYC days is a long-term project, I have folders of writing produced over the past two years of taking workshops at Lighthouse Writers. Thankful for all the pieces of writing that are worthy of my attention and revision, I feel mostly centered in my decision to see what I might do on my own, without the structure of a workshop, without the feedback and encouragement of a writing coach. Even though this feels a bit precarious, downright scary to have myself as the guide of discipline since I usually defy any type of schedule/structure, I am ready.

I have begun to do more than whisper writer. Recently, on a plane flight returning home, the woman next to me overheard a bit of my conversation I was having with Nan about bits of George's memoir draft I was reading. My plane neighbor turned to me at one point and asked, "Are you a writer?" I choked at first, and then answered, yes. It wasn't a loud yes, but more of a tentative yes. Although wavering, I had moved beyond silence. 


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