Duh! As soon as I wrote the last paragraph of yesterday’s blog—the one where I confessed I hadn't a clue what I'd write about for G today and I promised I'd try to be a little less scattered—it hit me—G is for Goals. People with goals are focused. They strive to accomplish an end point, to achieve something.
Without a vision or a goal we flounder. We are directionless. We are often times ineffective. When we have a goal to work toward, we can accomplish things that may initially seem to be impossible. Having goals can empower us, as we set and achieve goals. But the goal has to be a good one. By good, I don’t mean to imply it must be moral or upright (although I would hope it is). So, what is a good goal?
A good goal is a SMART goal. SMART is the acronym that stands for Specific (the what, how, and why) Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. I'm going to lose weight. Is a great idea—but as a goal it’s rather weak because it’s not specific or measurable. I’m going to wear a size 2 by my High School Reunion Dinner, on July 18th appears on the surface to be a good goal—it’s measurable, results-focused, and time-bound. However, since I’m nowhere near being a size 2, it’s not realistic or achievable. To give myself that goal is to set myself up for failure. A stronger goal would be, I'm going to lose ten pounds by my High School Reunion Dinner July 18th. This goal can be easily measured, losing ten pounds in three months is attainable, it is result-focused, and it is time-bound; however, is not as specific as it could be. Turning it into a SMART goal it might look something like this:
By following a 2000kcal diet and exercising 30-minuets 3 times weekly, I will lose ten pounds, and drop a clothing size by my High School Reunion Dinner on July 18th.
One of the reasons I am taking the A to Z Blogging Challenge is because, I’m visionless and floundering. I love to write, but I have no focus, so I write drivel. I like to say it’s because I have eclectic reading tastes and just don’t know what I want to write. But the truth is I have no goal, no direction. I’ve haven’t found my voice. In order to find my voice I have to write and see where it takes me—to see what it has to say—and I just haven’t been writing. I have a stalled novel, a stalled blog, and one unpublished children’s story I wrote as a gift for a young friend.
I started the novel four years ago. It started out as a cozy, morphed into a suspense, and is now stalled as a suspenseful cozy-with a dash of romance—really—when I’m honest with myself, I realize it’s just 35,000 words of drivel.
I set up my blog in September 2009; however, I have only 79 posts. Five and a half years is 68 months. I averaged just over one drively post a month—and most have been posted during the first year or the last three months—the in-between-years are barren. My writing can’t improve and I can’t find my voice if I don’t exercise it.
I don’t “do” resolutions, but this year I decided to make a goal (albeit a weak goal) of writing 1-2 blog posts each week—and then I stumbled blindly into the A to Z Blogging Challenge on March 31st. Blithely I said, Go for it! How hard can it be?! You’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (I overlooked the fact that I have never won). It’ll be fun. You’ll meet some fellow bloggers. You don’t have to write a 1,000 word post each day—it can be a 100 word flash fiction, or a 200-300 word personal essay, a 12-stanza poem, or in a pinch a really bad 5-7-5 meter pseudo-haiku. So I signed up. And it has been fun, and I’ve read some amazing blogs. I’ve also seen some blogs that make me realize I’m not the only one searching for voice or consistency in their writing, and I’ve decided to revise my weak writing goal and turn it into a SMART writing goal:
During the month of April, I will participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015 by writing 26 posts—one post each day Monday through Saturday—and reading at least five posts each day, in order to gain insight into how an interesting story is told and what my voice sounds like.
I think I’ve coved it all: Specific (what, how, why), Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. The problematic attribute is the attainable—I can write 26 posts and read 130, but I’m not sure if I will “find my voice, or discern what telling a good story entails” in only 26 attempts—but it’s a start, and I will definitely be 26 attempts closer than I am now.
Tomorrow is H-day. Haiku-day!!! I love haiku—even though I don’t really know the rules. So it’ll actually be 5-7-5 meter or pseudo-Haiku day. But I’m calling it haiku.