Goals: setting, hitting and changing

One of the beautiful things about the Round of Words in 80 days challenge is that ability to change your goals, as and when you need to.

An admission: I love setting goals. I love aiming high, having deadlines, striving to complete enough to put a tick on my to do list. I love seeing my word count numbers switching from red to black on my spreadsheet when I hit my quota for the day.

In fact, I love setting goals so much, I regularly revisit my plans and change them. Often drastically.

On the one hand, I realise this is a ridiculous practice that will ultimately make it harder for me to complete anything, or to reach any goal.

On the other… it sort of works, somehow. For me anyway.

It’s not that I never follow through on my plans. More that I know when to quit. If something isn’t working – a book isn’t coming together, a blog isn’t gelling, some brainstorming isn’t leaving me lightning struck… Sometimes it’s better to accept that now isn’t the right time for a project, and move onto something else, something that wants to happen right now.

Basically, whatever keeps me writing, rather than staring at a blank screen in despair, has to be good.

For this ROW80 round 3, I’d planned to revise and submit my novel, Breaking the Spell. I love this book, I do, and it’s been languishing on my hard drive half finished for far too long. But I’m having trouble getting to work on it. I just can’t quite see the finished book in my head, and that’s a problem for me.

Maybe it’s that I’ve been doing too much revision this year. I think that maybe I need to get back to a first draft, to remember what actual writing feels like.

So, this week, I’ve dug out Tea & Devilry again, read through all my planning and character notes, and started adding words. It’s going well, it’s flowing, and I’m loving writing it – unlike when I first tried to get a draft together, straight after the planning, when I couldn’t get myself into the story. You may remember that goal from Round 2, actually…

I guess the message of this post is the cliché – to all things there is a season. And apparently for me, now is the season for writing, not revising; for teacups and ghosts, not calligraphy and curses. I’ll get back to Breaking the Spell, I know I will. But first, I’m going to write about Poppy and Tristan, and how they deal with the ghosts and the devils and the locals in the little English village of Hobdun Stonebury, all while drinking excellent tea and cheap whiskey.

And it’s going to be fun… which is the most important part.

New goal: First draft of Tea & Devilry. Again.    

9 thoughts on “Goals: setting, hitting and changing

  1. Nadja Notariani says:

    I love that title….’Tea & Devilry’. Makes me want to prod you on towards finishing it just so I can read it. I have to have multiple projects running concurrently, because I need to be able to switch to something else when I get bogged down. I also agree with you in that when you see something is not working…let it go, even if only for a season.

    Hope your new (old) goal hits the sweet spot of your creativity and you have a wonderful week! ~ Nadja

    • Sophie Pembroke says:

      Thanks Nadja! I am very fond of the title myself. Glad it’s not just me that has to have a few projects of the go – I figure at least that way I’m always working on something, even if it’s not what I thought I’d be working on…

  2. Nancy Poehlmann says:

    Congratulations on knowing when to change things up. I’m also one that has to keep lots of plates spinning, maybe because I’m fickle, but more because I need the incentive (I can work on this fun thing when I’ve written so many words on this thing).

    We have to listen to our instincts. There are all sorts of reasons to change things up.

    Have a lovely week enjoying the flow of words on a beloved story!

  3. Em says:

    I agree with Nadja, Tea and Devilry is a great name! If writing gets you motivated more than revising right now then I reckon go with it and I hope you feel motivated to meet your goal.

    Can I ask…did you make up your village or is it a real one? I am currently making up an English town for my WIP and just wondered if you were using one from your imagination or a real one?

    • Sophie Pembroke says:

      Thanks Em! Hobdun Stonebury’s imaginary, I’m afraid, but does feature snippets and impressions of all sorts of villages I’ve visited and loved across England. And a haunted teashop. Obviously.

  4. laurabickle says:

    I’m with you – I love having deadlines and tracking word counts in spreadsheets! And its a good skill to have.

    But sometimes we’ve just gotta mix it up. Like now…I’m scribbling in longhand to get into the WIP. It’s not terribly efficient, but it’s getting the job done.

  5. jamilajamison says:

    So funny — I was just thinking about this very topic today, and the one line from Ecclesiastes that you mention: “To everything, there is a season.” I also tend to juggle multiple WIPs at one time, as I enjoy being able to switch gears when one just isn’t working or gelling just right. And I think it’s important to be able to realize when it’s time to disengage and walk away from a project, even if it’s only for a few days. There’s nothing more frustrating, and more draining, than beating your head against a project that just refuses to budge.

    Also, I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I absolutely love the header of your blog! So pretty!

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