October 1st!. Excuse me as I breathe a deep sigh of relief. You see the reason I say this is because September is a HUGE birthday month for me, my family and friends. Lots and lots of Virgo/Libra babies around here. In turn, September tends to be very active with gift shopping, dinners and parties. However, I’ve noticed as people get older we tend to slow down with the parties and only really celebrate the epic birthdays. You know, the ones that come with a decade attached to them.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve been guilty of setting some sort of goal or deadline for my big birthdays. I’m sure I’m not alone. How many of you out there in bad girl land, have said . . .
“I will be THIS or do THIS before I’m thirty, forty, fifty, etc.”
Trust me when I tell you, this is a bad idea!
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about setting goals and having a plan when it comes to writing and life in general. For example, I have weekly goals. Word count goals, family goals, house and yard work goals. I try diligently to make monthly and yearly goals also. Have you ever sat in a job interview and been asked the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And you should ask yourself that question. Having a plan can be helpful and motivating. However, I’ve learned the hard way to avoid associating these goals, especially my writing goals, with epic birthdays.
I’ve made this colossal mistake twice and let’s just say, these two particular birthdays came in with a big dark cloud of disappointment attached to them.
First Birthday Goal Mistake: “I’ll be published and have a book deal, by the time I’m blank.” I said these exact words and when this big day came around without a contract in sight it was painful.
Then I turned around and did it again!
Second Birthday Goal Mistake: “If I don’t sell a book, by the time I’m blank, I’m going to quit writing.” How pathetic is that? A writer just can’t quit writing because she or he reaches a certain age. It’s part of our DNA. It’s a good thing too because I received my book contract one year after that big birthday had passed. What if I had given up like I’d originally planned?
My advice to you is this, be diligent about setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals and even five-year goals, just keep them away from your birthday. And learn to be a little lenient with these goals- slash-deadlines. Life is unpredictable.
I will write five thousand words this week.
I will start conditioning, so I can run that 5K in the spring.
I will actually get out of my yoga pants and put on real clothes this weekend. Small goals are important too. 🙂
Writers, we cannot predict what day or year we will get our first contract or our fifth for that matter. Nevertheless, we can keep working hard to see that dream come to pass. We can write our 10,000 words this week. We can submit to ten agents this month. We can take ten writing workshops this year.
Remember, birthdays are for celebrating! Celebrating the day you were born and another glorious year of life!! So please learn from my mistakes and don’t shadow your special day with the burden of deadlines.
If you do find these special days start to add up to special decades and you’ve yet to meet all the goals you were hoping to, that‘s okay. Keep dreaming. Keep believing in yourself. You can do it!
Have you made the same epic birthday goal mistakes as I have? I would love to hear about them.
Remember to dream big!