Why Is It So Hard To Reach Our Goals?

Writer's Block

Writer's Block (Google Images Photo)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of the Life List Club! My name is Jennie and I live over at a little blog called A Book, A Girl, A Journey.  Today I’m going to stand in for Pam while she visits Marcia Richards’ blog — Sexy, Smart, From the Heart.

If you want to be a member of the Life List Club, all you have to do is follow this blog, my blog, or any blog listed on the left sidebar. Make your own Life List (check out Pam’s tab above for inspiration) and follow us around every other Friday — pretty simple, huh?

Like most writers I have a goal, and that goal is to get published. I would say that getting published is in the top three things I want out of my life, but wanting something isn’t the same as achieving something. I have push myself everyday to write so that this goal can be reached.

No matter how much I want it, my book isn’t going to write/edit itself.

Most days, I’m good. I set aside time to write and I often achieve the word count I aim for, but other days, I feel like throwing in the towel.

When I first set out to write I had high hopes. I was writing everyday and the words came to me without interruption. When I got to 40,000 words I started my blog. I had this idea in my head that I would finish it and get published with no interruptions. I was wrong.

I wrote the story, it ended up around 70,000 words, but when I went back to edit I realized what a jumble the entire thing was in. After weeks of agonizing and trying to work my way through it I ended up scrapping most of it. I took 55,000 words cut them and pasted them in a different document.

I only set them aside because I was hoping I could still use them, but the truth is, I can’t. My story is going in a completely new direction and I will never see those words again. This has made re-writing feel completely overwhelming. I went through a period where I wasn’t writing at all because the truth was just that devastating.

There was one thing I didn’t give up on, and that was my dream. Even though no actual progress was being made, I needed to mentally prepare myself to make this book great.  By the time I was over the devastation of losing all those wonderful words I was able to dig back into my book with a new fervor.

I’m being patient this time. When I hit a plot snag, I’m thinking it out. I’m picking my way through the words instead of simply charging forward. I am making sure I don’t make the same mistakes. It’s harder, but if I really want to achieve my goals I know it will be worth it.

Have you ever had a hard time reaching a goal? What have you done to overcome your obstacles?

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Jennie Bennett

Jennie Bennet

Jennie Bennett is a stay-at-home mom of two kids and the author of the blog, A Book, A Girl, A Journey,  which features posts about writing and musing on life.

Her current work in progress is a YA fantasy about a world in need of magic and a girl who can give it.

Find her on twitter here and Facebook here

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Pam’s Note:  I was very psyched about hosting Jennie today. Even with the struggles she shared here, she’s moving forward in her novel journey, and I consider her an inspiration.

On an unrelated note, I hope all my East Coast visitors stay safe and well this weekend as we face Hurricane Irene. I’m in Baltimore, so although we’re not on the shoreline they’re predicting lots of rain (some say more than 6 inches) and serious winds. Lee and I are going to stay with my grandparents during the storm tomorrow, so even if we don’t suffer power outages I won’t be online. Stay safe, fellow East Coasters!

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About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Goal-Setting, The Life List Club, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Why Is It So Hard To Reach Our Goals?

  1. Missjlouise says:

    Ive been wanting to become an accountant for 5 years and have been studying my AAT. Life really got in the way and it really slowed me down. I have three units left before I finish this season of studying and will then move on to trying to gain experience. Even though its been difficult battling with motherhood, depression and rejection I’ve come out the other end ( Thanks to God) and I have found I am still gripping firmly to my goal which is an achievment in itself.

    Thanks for this well written, inspirational post.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! Many of us tend to focus on writing goals in our Life List posts since they are what we are working towards, so I love hearing from others pursuing different dreams. Congratulations on moving forward and being so close to the end of the academic part of your journey!

    • Jennie B says:

      I’m so glad you liked my post! My husband is an account as well, it took him five years to get his bachelors and he would still like to go back for a masters someday, but for now he’s doing what he can to gain experience, and like you, struggles to get where he wants. We all have to take our goals one day at a time!

  2. Marcia says:

    Pam, thanks for hosting Jennie. Do stay safe! Jennie, it’s always rewarding to share your struggles with others, especially when you’ve learned how to deal with them. You can inspire by example, which helps others feel they are not alone. Thanks for this!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Marcia! I got a lot out of Jennie’s post this week since my own novel’s progress has gone MUCH slower in August than I would have liked. It reminded me that I’m not alone in that, and that it is critical to figure out exactly what’s going on and work from there rather than get discouraged. I’m more and more confident that we will see all of us who want to be in print as we take the Life List journey together : )!

      • Jennie B says:

        Thank you Pam! It’s great to be part of the life list club so that we can all help each other out and someday we I am certian we will all get there!

    • Jennie B says:

      Marcia, thank you so much! I put this out there to remind others that goal reaching isn’t always as easy as we would like it to be.

  3. Jess Witkins says:

    Wow, I know how you feel. I restarted my WIP like 5 times already. It is frustrating, but then I had to think of it as what’s best for the book. I wouldn’t want to cut and paste some old section in if my readers were going to look at it and be like “where did this come from? this sucks.” So as frustrating as it is now, and IT IS, in the end, I think we both know it’ll be worth it. All the best, Jennie!

    • Jennie B says:

      Thank you Jess! I agree that eventually all the hard work will pay off. It just takes time to get there!

      • hawleywood40 says:

        I agree with both of you – I’m still in the “initial write” stage but I both dread and anticipate the part where I decide big chunks of it have to go to be replaced by something else : ).

  4. Jennie, you’re an inspiration. When my MS turned out to be a hot mess I ended up abandoning it! Even though I’m working on something else now, I keep thinking about that first draft. Perhaps I’ll take a leaf out of your book and see what I can salvage 🙂

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Sometimes that salvaging process takes a while – I’ve abandoned pieces and gone back to them even a few years later!

    • Jennie B says:

      Ha ha, thank you Sarah! Yeah, the funny thing is (and I’m actually going to talk about it on my blog Monday) is that I am actually setting aside that MS for a little bit so I won’t be so frustrated, but I’m certian I’ll come back to it someday 🙂

  5. Abby Fowers says:

    Jennie you are too cute! Love this post. Ah, the curse of being a writer. I have abandoned so many MS’s it’s sad. I’m sure everything you have is awesome. Sometimes it just needs a little editing. 🙂

  6. I think every writer and author has a similar story to tell. Count yourself proudly among those with the courage to forge on each day.

    My goals for my memior change like the weather. Books take planning and I’ve never been much of a planner. So I just do my best to write each day with the general idea that my stories will all magically get together and decide how to arrange themselves. It could happen. No one thought a phone could take a picture back when Grace Kelly was dialing “M” for murder!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      LOL Lorna! I think our stories kind do magically get themselves together over time and decide how to arrange themselves – they just take their own sweet time doing it and make us work our butts off in the process : ).

  7. Jenny Hansen says:

    Jennie,

    You make sure you keep those 55,000 words – just save the file as the manuscript name_XFiles. You WILL use them some day when you least expect to. That story will just open up.

    Part of why I started More Cowbell (my blog) was to force myself to write every day and help me finish my books. I have serious “long writing” issues. Short writing is my sweet spot. I’m learning to trick myself with scenes so I can get all the way through an entire manuscript. It would drive lots of people crazy but it works for me.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      “Short writing is my sweet spot” – I can soo relate to that! I struggle with longer works, but feel like I”m on an amazing roller coaster ride when I’m writing something short. I think I might try your “trick myself” trick!

  8. carrie m says:

    Jenny, props to you for having the gumption to keep going! Things can only get better with more practice. I’m still working on my ‘get published’ goal as well. My new tactic is to have lots of balls in the air, so if one drops, there are others still up there for me to look forward to.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      That’s a great tactic too Carrie – I do the same but sometimes struggle with my tendency to spend too much time on my many little balls and let progress on the big ball (the novel) slip!

  9. This past week I have done nothing because I’m ready/needing to take the next steps towards getting y book published and it’s overwhelming and scary. Slowly I’m starting to blog again, and read blogs, I even wrote some today, so I’m hoping to get back on track and tacking those baby steps towards my goal.

  10. Lafemmeroar says:

    I too am working on a book. I started the book sure and slow and that was good. Midway I got anxious and just wrote carelessly. Then I had to go back and revise earlier parts and conduct major edits. The last third of the book–I wrote a quick outline of each chapter. This helped me a lot so when I wrote each chapter I just referred to my outline. This made the writing process easier. It’s still painful now that I’m close to finishing the book, but it’s more organized. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to print out the entire thing and do another round of edits. I need to see and hold “the monster” I’ve created. Here’s more power to struggling writers out there … we sure need them.

  11. hawleywood40 says:

    I do the outline thing too. Sometimes, my characters want to go there own way and make me decide to change it, but it is definitely a great starting point and way to keep things on track! I’m so glad you are working on a book – if your blog is any indication it will be a winner!

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