Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I learned in the process of setting goals in writing

So after a month of writing short stories, reading how-to books on writing, and editing my current manuscript, I'm feeling a little stressed and worn out. I was pretty much on the computer for every spare moment I had. I pushed myself to set a deadline to finish editing my novel but found I was rushing the process and missing mistakes.

As for my short stories, the first ones I was really pleased with, but by the fifth one, I was racing to get to the conclusion, and telling more than showing. Such is my nature!

So I spoke to my dear friend and she told me something interesting. If I have a home, food on the table and enough money to spend, why push myself to work more hours or set a deadline at all? The joy of writing is self-discovery, learning the craft, and the act of writing. Why do I write? It's not to make a great deal of money so maybe I don't have to work so hard if it affects my health.

Having a stress-related illness means I have to learn how to manage my time and energy well. I could pound away and finish my manuscript in the shortest time possible, but I would think the work would suffer and my mental health, physical health and psychological health may be affected.

So the new rule is: Do what I can, but pace myself and achieve a balance in my activities. Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

For those of you out there who can manage to set goals of writing more than a few books and market them successfully, I salute your dedication and talents. But for me, I need to take the time to move slower. Be a tortoise rather than a hare.

Having said all that, I believe my manuscript will be finished but maybe later rather than sooner.

Just to add, my flash fiction story "Follow Me" was accepted and published on Flash Fiction World. Julie Elizabeth Powell, a prolific writer who just completed her tenth published book and is working on her eleventh, left a wonderful comment. She is the author of the Avalon Trilogy. If you are interested, look her up on Goodreads or check out her books on Amazon or Lulu. Thanks to Julie!

If you like, please leave a note and/or rating under comments on my page at Flash Fiction World.


2 comments:

Julie Elizabeth Powell said...

Thanks, Sandra - I meant it, your writing is superb.

Sandra Yuen MacKay said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks for your kind words!

Sandra