Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption

Play with Goals

September 19, 2023

Note From Rochelle

Dear writers,

Summer’s almost over and it’s time to get back to work. I’m starting a teaching gig this week, working with young people at a local school. I’m also trying to finish up the projects I started this summer, including a new book that will help you structure and write your nonfiction book.

When I get overwhelmed by my tasks or worry that I don’t have what it takes, I call one of my accountability partners. They remind me that I’ve done this before. I can do it again. The people in the two writing accountability groups I run do this for each other. We encourage each other to keep moving forward, one small step at a time. If you’re looking for this kind of support, I’d love to have you join the group. We have room for one person in the Goddess group and 2 people in the Writing Accountability Group. Check out the pages or respond to this email to ask me questions.

Today’s tip talks about how to play with your goals. This is perfect for anyone who has trouble CHOOSING a single goal.

Happy writing,

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

Play with Goals

by Rochelle Melander

The best is the enemy of the good.

– Voltaire

I often work with clients who struggle to articulate their goals. While they catch glimpses of what they might want to do, they resist choosing. They have many ideas—all exciting, many good, but none of them perfect. They worry about choosing the wrong thing. What if they spend a whole year working on something that doesn’t work?

They’re dealing with the tyranny of perfection. They want their writing work to be good, to sell, to influence their clients, so they try to find the perfect project. According to Professor Brené Brown, the pursuit of perfection leads to life-paralysis. She says:

Life paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect. It’s also all of the dreams that we don’t follow because of our deep fear of failing, making mistakes, and disappointing others.

But if we wait to create the perfect resolution, we’ll never do anything. We need to craft the good-enough resolution. We need to try to move forward on a single project even if we move slowly and imperfectly!

The Quest

This quest offers the perfect opportunity for you to play with potential goals and see what works. This quest is a bit different than the others. It gives you three ways to try out new goals before you commit to them. Try one or all of them.

The Short-Term Goal or Try Before You Buy

I recently heard about a dog shelter that allows adoptive families to try out dogs for five days before making a final commitment. That allows families the time to see if the new relationship works. Why not use the same technique for your goal? Try it out for a week or two and see how it goes. Maybe you’re an afternoon writer who’d like to write in the morning. Or you’re a wannabe writer who hopes to use a lunch hour at work to create a blog. Try it for a few weeks, observe what works and what doesn’t work—and then evaluate the results. Once you’ve collected some data on how the new habit works in your life, you can make a more permanent commitment to your resolution.

The Learning Resolution or Becoming a Student

Sometimes we can avoid that scary “I have to do it perfectly” feeling by switching our role from expert to student. Instead of setting resolutions that put us in the expert seat (I’m going to become the best damn novelist in the world), why not try a learning goal (I am going to learn about how to create better characters)? With this type of goal, we might take a class, read a book, or connect with a mentor. But we can also approach any resolution with an attitude of learning by getting curious, asking questions, and exploring possibilities. So the novel writer might take a class or simply ask what makes a novel great and work on applying those characteristics to her writing.

The Small-Step Resolution or The Way of the Turtle

Being a life-long turtle fan, I like the idea of taking small steps. Think about your writing goals and then imagine some small steps toward that goal. Maybe you want to write more. Why not add five minutes to your writing time each day? Perhaps you’d like to learn how to use social media. Take 30 minutes a week to observe one of the social media platforms. Whenever you come up with a small step, ask yourself: is this small enough? If you feel excited, then it probably is. If you’re still afraid, make the step even smaller. Increase or shift your steps by listening to your inner turtle sense!

For the Win

There are many ways to get things done. This quest offers three ways to try out goals—but maybe you have your own ideas. Use your secret identity to create your own method for playing with a goal. If you’re the Doctor Dreamer with the superpower of daydreaming and visioning, you’ll dream about your goal for a week or two, trying it on in your head before you work on it in real life. Or maybe you’re the Lightening Warrior who has great success with short bursts of energy. You might play with a goal over a weekend or a short retreat.

Playing with goals provides a fun opportunity to jump into the work of achieving our goals. Sometimes when we play with a goal instead of doggedly pursuing it, we can start and finish projects without experiencing the tyranny of perfection.

Leave a Reply