Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goals, how I loathe your occasional necessity

A lot of authors--in particular, it seems, those of us who are scrabbling in the dirty muck of the up-and-coming--set goals. I, too, set goals. For example, my most recent goal is to not set goals.

I hate writing goals for a panoply, nay, a small and distinct set of reasons. The first of these reasons is that I find goals incredibly stressful. Although there was once upon a time a time when I thought writing fiction would be easy-breezy money, and people would whisper, "maybe he's born with it," I've come to find it is rather difficult to earn coin in this trade, and I've made much better purchase in my non-artistic career. Thusly, writing is purely a matter of love for me, and setting goals tends to ruin this experience. This is not to say I set no objectives, for one must have objectives to overcome the reticence of the lazy mindbody. But "think of an idea; write it; edit it; submit it" is the extent of my goal-setting, and at any moment this train of orientation can be deflated--with utter self-governing legitimacy--by the thought/sentiment, "but I don't wanna."

The second reason I don't like goals is because goals presuppose a long-term orientation, whereas when one's primary objective is "amusement" or "demonstration of self-awesomeness," one's ideas about what accomplishes these objectives is subject to change. Not so many years ago I was more interested in writing crusty black/thrash metal than I was in composing verbose tracts of prose; and in a few more, it is entirely possible I will be reduced to painting landscapes. And who am I today to judge the me of tomorrow? That me wants to have a good time. That me doesn't need some buffoon telling it what to do.

But--alack, alas, or whatever--sometimes goals are required. In the case of the novel upon which I am currently labouring, goals are quite necessary. I wrote the first draft by hand, and I am now re-writing/up-typing the second draft on my computer. It's quite amusing work--it's the first novel, of six, that I have written that I actually think is nonsuckish--but it can also be tedious. For this reason, I fear the me of tomorrow may at any minute abort the object of this quest. And thusly... objectives.

I will simply have to work a little harder at cranking this into digital form, because I'd really like to move on to some other projects--novels, short stories, painting landscapes, that sort of thing--and this piece simply must be finished and moved out of the way. I'm very excited to send it to agents and all that, and do the dirty-nasty-I-can't-believe-he's-not-self-publishing thing, and then if I can't sell it the ahem-traditional way do the oh-my-God-he's-not-an-indie-author-is-he-oh-my-you-don't-say-what-a-bonehead thing like a cough-cough-revolutionary; but what I'm doing still amounts to "editing," and editing is ever the least fun part of writing, and there are some other things I'd really like to get to... so I herewith exhort myself to finish said composition by the end of March. Huzzah!

Now just stay tuned for reports on whether the me of tomorrow is a lazy goal-bucking saboteur of a jerkwad. 

I only drink from partially monogrammed vessels.
And in one of those ironic moments--I think it's irony; I've never really known the definition of irony--I thought this thing was by no possible means any longer than 50,000 words, and it is most definitely at least 100,000 words, so shat-Gosh-darn that's a lot more typing than I expected.

-bn