Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?

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So, today is Insecure Writers Support Group Day, and it could not have come at a better time. But before I start unleashing my fears and insecurities upon you lovely folks, let’s take a moment for those who aren’t familiar with IWSG.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Our awesome co-hosts this month are Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia! If you can, stop by their blogs and say hello:)

So, I am severely behind on my WIP. Like, so much so I won’t even tell you when I was planning to release the book because at this point, that deadline is laughable. I was supposed to have a beta reader draft ready in June and let’s just say that at the rate I’m able to write, they might get the book on Christmas, 2025.

I’ve been finding it nearly impossible to work on this book and I beat myself up about it quite a bit, but something has dawned on me: perhaps this book is right where it needs to be and I’m the one setting unreasonable deadlines.

I thought I would be able to:

Write at least three books this year.
Maintain another blog (ha!)
Have this current WIP ready for a fall release (double ha!)
Among several other, unrealistic goals

Here’s what I’ve learned, especially since becoming a parent:

I have a better chance at winning the lottery than I do at getting up and being able to write when I want to
Deadlines are beginning to laugh at me
I have to stop being so doggone hard on myself because sometimes the day brings things that you don’t expect, and life won’t end when you’re thrown off schedule. You just have to roll with the punches.

I’m a lot happier since I’ve decided to just roll with things and let life happen. I’ll work on this book when time allows (and work on my million and one side ventures), but in the meanwhile, I’m vowing to stop being so hard on myself and just enjoy life.

What about others?  How do you cope when you don’t meet deadlines? Do you overestimate yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

31 thoughts on “Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?

  1. I feel as though I am constantly setting myself deadlines and failing to meet them. Good on you for rolling with the punches and being gentle on yourself! Good luck getting everything done, no matter when it actually happens 🙂
    Happy IWSG Day!
    ~ AJ

  2. I’m super late, but you are not alone Quanie! I have been beating myself up too and setting unrealistic goal. And just like when you say you’re going to lose a gazillion pounds in two weeks, you set yourself up for failure when you set unrealistic goals. So now, I’m just praying about the direction of my current WIP and taking a chill pill. The best thing I did was to nip that comparison demon in the bud! Other authors may be able to produce several books a year, but that’s not the case for me. At least not right now. And I have to be okay with that. I’m a perfectionist and I want every single book I put out to be as good as I can possibly make it. For me that means taking a lot of time to really produce a polished work. God bless the ones that are able to produce both quantity and quality. I’m looking forward to doing the same one day!
    Faith Simone recently posted..National Book Club Conference in Atlanta!My Profile

    • Right! Some people are able to (Stephen King always comes to mind. I mean, he’s so prolific. Like, really?) but I don’t worry about others because you never know what they had to go through to get there! I know that eventually, I’ll get where I want to be, so I ain’t stressin’. No, ma’am!
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  3. I had planned to release a certain book on 23 August, but decided it was too important to finish up my WIP for its release date next August to take even a little break to finish up that other book with a last-minute new chapter, final polishes, and then going onto my old computer to format it for Kindle and getting back in touch with the cover designer I’d contacted. I’d had three books planned for release this year, but so far only have solid plans for that one, given how embarrassing my sales have been and that I haven’t sold anything since November. As long as I release that book later this year and finish the WIP, it’ll all be good.

  4. I think I do set reasonable goals, because the only goal I usually set for myself is “work on something”. I’m back in the plotting stage right now, so the only goal there is to find the story in whatever I’m working on. When I’m writing a book, the only goal is to sit down every night and work on it, same as when I’m editing, just a different kind of work. I figure I’ll have enough of deadlines and the like when I’m actually published. >_<
    Mason T. Matchak recently posted..IWSG: The Moment of InspirationMy Profile

  5. Setting reasonable goals is so important. We have to be able to reach them. I see so many writers setting goals bigger than they are capable of doing and then getting upset with themselves when they fall short. I always suggest simpler goals. Or even no goals at all. Some people do better when they don’t have a goal breathing down their necks.
    Chrys Fey recently posted..Newsletter Launch Insecurity / IWSG + GiveawayMy Profile

    • You know what? It might be a good idea to not set goals at all. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be working towards things, but I think I might work better when I’m more relaxed. I realized that I actually get less done with I’m a drill sergeant about my to-do list because I bring anxiety on myself and then stress about the prospect of not getting anything done. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  6. It’s so important to be kind to yourself! I’m behind on my current WIP and am trying to decide whether to schedule my editor to force me to finish on a certain date or not. There has to be a healthy balance between staying focused/being professional and living life. I’m still figuring out what that is, but beating myself up never helps. Thanks for sharing! Everybody goes through this 🙂
    Leslye recently posted..How did it get so late so soon?My Profile

    • Ah! Beating ourselves up never helps, but it must make us feel good because so many of us do it! Crazy, right? Take your time with your WIP. it just dawned on me that I will likely have to make a HUGE change to my novel’s ending, and that will probably mean scrapping the original idea. But, hey. Gotta do what we gotta do. Good luck with your manuscript:)
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  7. Hi,
    Someone once told me to be a gentle friend to myself. I was beating myself up about not putting out as much as I wanted to but when it came to others I was empathetic and caring, telling them to take it easy on themselves. So when this person said this to me, I knew I had to take a heavy dose of my own medicine and I did.

    I still set goals and deadlines and my plate still has more than enough on it. Sometimes it is even overflowing but I have changed my attitude about my overflowing plate. I know now that it overflows because I have desires that I want to achieve but none of them will happen overnight. So, I adjust my schedule as I travel along with a happy face.

    Pat Garcia
    Pat Garcia recently posted..Hypothesis: Writers WriteMy Profile

    • Hi Pat, I think that’s some really stellar advice about being a gentle friend to yourself. It’s definitely an attitude many of us should adopt (we’d probably all be a lot happier as well if we loosened up a bit and allowed ourselves to just be). Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts:)
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  8. yes, please stop being so hard on yourself – and then tell me how you did it, so I can learn!! Man, we all need to stop beating ourselves up so much. You’ve accomplished a ton – be proud of yourself. Plus, you made a little human! And you’re raising her! (Can you repeat these things to me once the babies are born and I’m angry at myself for not writing?)
    Liz Blocker (@lizblocker) recently posted..Insecure Writers: Getting Over Submission PhobiaMy Profile

  9. I could never have done what I’m doing now when my kids were small. That you even keep your blog going is reason to cheer for you. This is just a season of life, though. Things will change.

    I think you have the right attitude. Roll with it and just do what you can.
    IWSG #119 until Alex culls the list again.

    (P.S. If you haven’t visited Chemist Ken’s blog today, you should. LOL)
    Melissa Maygrove recently posted..IWSG August – Ramblings of a self-published authorMy Profile

  10. Don’t beat yourself up, Quanie! It sounds like you set some VERY lofty goals, and it’s ok to reflect back on that and move forward from there. I do think it is important to set some sort of goal, but the key is to make it a realistic goal, including short steps that you can achieve along the way so that you are aware of all the progress you do make. Hang in there!
    Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings recently posted..Book Review – Finding Audrey by Sophie KinsellaMy Profile

  11. This is so me. Originally had 5 manuscript drafts as my 2015 writing goals. But of course life happens and my writing MOJO took a huge hit this spring/summer. Had to reprioritize my goals and dropped half of my writing projects. For 2016 I’m just going to be as reasonable as can be, limit myself to 1-2 book manuscripts, roll with the punches and leave plenty of room open to enter whatever writing competitions/awards that float my boat.

  12. Oh I am forever having to resort to plan ‘B’ because plan ‘A’ was simply unattainable! But you know, often you truly are “right where you need to be be” without realizing it. That fabulous book you’re writing will be just as you left it but the on-going epic novel, the adoring eyes and giggling smiles of your ever-changing child, will be your greatest work! Besides, you can always write in the bathtub:-)
    diedre recently posted..But for the Blunder of a Disenchanted Farmer…My Profile

    • Ha! I haven’t tried writing in the bathtub yet (but I might! Not with my laptop, though:). And just because I wrote this post yesterday, the little munchkin decided to start walking, lol! She’s everywhere but it’s so fun to watch. The whole family literally just watched her and cheered. So, novel? Um, yeah. Going to have to wait because I have a lot of chasing munchkins to do these days!
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  13. ugh YES this is me…I wanted this MS finished by June ….oh, how adorable and naive I was. I think now that I know what I’m doing (admittedly, the book that sold needed about a thousand revisions before its sale…I had NO clue what I was doing when I even had an offer of rep) it’s taking longer since I know how much drama and tension and romance needs to occur. But yes, I was thinking too maybe it’s supposed to take time and it will be better for it. Sometimes we put WAY too much pressure on ourselves!

    • That seems to be the theme of the day: we put too much doggone pressure on ourselves. We all need to slap ourselves silly. I tell you, I was working on my book this morning (one of the last chapters, mind you) and I found a plot hole. I thought, “Great. Another setback!” But I found an easy fix and didn’t even work on it today. Tomorrow will have to do because today is already almost gone for me. And what is it about us wanting to finish manuscripts in June???
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

  14. Overestimating? That’s all I do these days. I still struggle with the guilt of not writing every single day because–we’re told–that’s what makes you a writer. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that if I can work on my book once a week, that’s a good week. And it’s not because I’m lazy and it’s not because I’m not a writer. It’s because that’s the period of life I’m in right now, and soon, things will be different. Our books will be written when they’re written. And really, no one’s putting the added pressure on us but ourselves, right? 🙂 I’m even taking a break from IWSG because I cannot add another thing to my list of to-do’s.
    Delali Connell recently posted..1562 [a poem]My Profile

    • You are SO right: no one is putting that pressure on us but US. Why do we do that? I looked at my to-do list after I wrote this post and it was so laughable. I mean, what was I thinking??? But you’re right; if you can only work on your book once that week, then that’s a great week. Absolutely.
      Quanie recently posted..Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?My Profile

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