Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goals--an Insecure Writers Group Post

I've never been one for new years resolutions. I'm not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I've never been one for setting goals, and when I do set goals they are typically small spur of the moment goals. Easy to achieve with minimal planning. My dislike of goals is probably right along the lines/reason for my dislike of planning, or maybe it comes from somewhere else like a fear of failing at the goal, or maybe it comes from a more logical place, like giant goals are hard to meet, so why not make smaller goals that are easier to make, and then you get a sense of satisfaction. Maybe it comes from my live life in the moment mentality, I do what I want when I want to, meaning if I dont really have anything I want to change, I've already done it.

But then again, there's another reason entirely that I don't like the new years resolution people. They make goals to do the things that I am already doing, and then take up space. This might seem silly and petty, but that's because it is, and I am allowed to be silly and petty some times, because I say so, and this is my blog. It sucks to go to my writers group in January, and not be able to find a seat, and end up sitting on the floor (which I don't mind cause the floor is quite comfortable), or to go to my gym and have to wait for a treadmill, not that I go to the gym but that's not the point, The point is my knee jerk reaction to other people disrupting my routine with their hopes and dreams. I mean how dare they.

But are these resolutions their hopes and dreams? I am suspicious. I didn't one day wake up and decide that this is the year I am going to write a novel, I have been writing since I was in 6th grade, I've wanted to be a writer since then (or maybe before), and I work at it, kind of, every day. Maybe these resloutioners have been wanting this their entire lives too, only they can know, but the thing is I see them, year after year, start going to writers group in January, and give up by February, and then the gym, writers group, etc is just as empty as it was before, of course some of them make it, some of them stay and make a change, and I congratulate those strong few.

Yet, why does such a minor inconvenience, and I do mean minor, I've already admitted to liking sitting on the floor which is only socially acceptable in January, and waiting for a treadmill that I procrastinate using in the first place, upset me so much?

Part of it is pride, the I was here first, this is mine, attitude that I don't think I ever grew out of. Part of it is inconvenience. Part of it is the arrogance of the resolutioners (I know I am stereotyping but work with me here) but I think a bigger part is you guessed it (I hope) insecurity. I mean, I've been trying to do something for so long, what happens if they come along and succeed. What if they write their novel in a year, what if it is a best seller, what if they have the secret to success that I've been struggling to find.

I don't know if I am the only one out there who feels threatened by the people that say that "this is the year I will write my novel" or not. But I did try to come up with a few ways to avoid that sense of insecurity that I feel every time someone says something like that to me. The first thing I do is try to remind myself that they don't know what they are talking about, and will give up after a couple of days trying to write. The second thing I say is even if they write their novel, so what, there are millions of novels out there, but the cool thing is that there are almost as many readers, even if they publish their novel, it doesnt mean I wont someday be able to publish mine. And I remind myself of these things over and over again, until the resolutioners fall off the face of the earth (or the writing world) and then I get to feel a smug sense of satisfaction, that I, even if I never get published, at least kept trying (hey I warned you at the begining this was going to be a silly and petty post).

Happy New Year!

Do the resolutioners (yes I know another non-word) make you feel insecure?

p.s. (I promise I'm done now, I think) go check out the Insecure Writers Group, its awesome, and fun, and just do it already.

p.p.s. (I lied) My roommate, and blog nemesis wrote on the same topic, but exact opposite opinion, without either of us knowing about it. Go check out his blog, and mock, um..I mean encourage him.


  1. Great post Sara :) I'm so excited you joined the character voice blogfest. I can't wait to get to know you.

  2. I make goals, but I'm afraid to make big ones, worried people will just laugh at me or go, 'yeah, okay'. But that's really just me who thinks that. I need to believe that I can achieve those goals in order for them to be achieved. So I have them in the back of my mind, sometimes shoved to the front of my head when I need them to. Insecurity is something we can't fully get rid of, it makes us human, but we can force it to take a back seat some days.

  3. Don't let other people get you down!! It's distracting, but just focus on YOU. I tend to make really big goals and never complete them... Let's hope that changes this year :)

    Good luck!

  4. Personally,I'm not one for jumping on the resolution bandwagon just because everyone else is. I think it's important to have long-term goals (you know, stuff like maintain a home/job/marriage/friendship/etc) and just do what's meaningful and what you love along the way. Goals are great, but knowing your limitations is better...

  5. I know. I was blown away last January with the amount of people. Lots of seats in Feb though.

  6. Thanks for being so honest. I probably wouldn't have the guts to say how insecure it makes me when newbies say they're going to write a novel this year, but I'm glad you said it.

    All I can say is, if they succeed, I don't wanna know about it!

  7. Nah, I never let anyone else determine who I am, what my value is. I'm insecure because of what I fail to do or realize or even try. But my value has absolutely nothing to do with what others promise or accomplish. Kudos to them if they want to write a novel. I know how hard it is, how impossible it is to find an agent and get published. If someone else manages to dot it, then maybe I can learn something from them.

    BUT...I definitely have that "I was here first" attitude. Fair's fair, after all.

  8. Well I certainly don't want to take up space!
    The goals I've set for this year were ones I was already working on anyway.

  9. This business is built around unpredictability. What works to bring success for some (i.e. quickly written/accepted novels) doesn't necessarily work for anyone else. Bryan and I have professional print novelist friends whose books have both been bestsellers and utter flops. Don't get down by being crowded to the floor:) It's all about finding what works for you. Find your situation, your niche, your comfort, and you'll be much more content with whatever happens!

  10. Angela--I'm excited about it too.

    Cassie--I feel the same way about people reacting to to some of the things I do. Its far easier to say dont let it affect you than it is to do, but, dont let it affect you.

    Jess--Good luck with the goals this year.

    jbchicoine--absolutely. And dont you know from "this will only hurt a little bit" that I dont have limitations?

    Libby--I was actually surprised. I went to the January 3rd meeting this year and their weren't that many new faces. Maybe they all read my blog and stayed away.

    Juliann--glad you appreciate the honesty. I was a bit worried the resolutioners would read this and be mad at me but, you cant always care what other people think, right?

    Nancy Thompson--I wish I was that strong, and sometimes I am, but sometimes I'm not, all part of being human right?

    Alex J. Cavanaugh--best way to set goals.

    A Beer for the Shower--great advice. I think I am still figuring out what works for me but I trust that I will get there, probably.

  11. Sometimes the resolutions thing feels like a bandwagon that people do because it's tradition or because everyone else is doing it. I do it sometimes, but I'll have to say that I don't always reach all of my goals for the year. This year I feel really pumped, though! I don't feel intimidated or insecure about resolutionists (since I am one most of the time), but I don't feel like it's written in stone either. Things can change over the course of the year. Don't worry about them and don't take them so seriously. Like you said: they might fail and crawl back into their old routines before February is up.

    One thing I think I share with you is the tendency NOT to do things I feel forced into doing. Sometimes I refuse to do something simply because it's popular. So, I have to admit, I don't feel insecure about the resolutioners, but I felt really bothered by the Nanoers. If you participated or saw the state of the blogosphere during NaNoWriMo, then you know what I mean. A novel in a month? Surely it won't be publishable! And I'll be darned if I'll postpone my life to try to do something in 30 days I can do any other time of the year! *deep breath* I could write an entire blog rant just on why Nano bugged me so much. For now I'll just nod knowingly at you and say "I understand".

  12. I think New Years sometimes gives people motivation to do things they never really wanted to do in the first place — so they just stop after realizing that. But good for you for keeping up with what you love :) That can be hard to do sometimes as you have mentioned ;)

    - Ash