Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Private Goals

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wow, I haven’t been writing much here at all. I have a good excuse though, I have been working on a novel. That’s right. A novel. I don’t really want to talk to much about it because every time i get really excited about and start talking to everyone about a story I never seem to FINISH them..heh

Which makes me think…over at Zen Habits Leo talks frequently about goals and accountability. He says that when you make a goal you should basically tell everyone you can about it and keep them posted on your progress. He says it will inspire you to achieve your goals because you don’t want to report to everyone that you have failed.

I can see where this can help a lot of people in a lot of situations, however, in some cases (like my novel) if you are working on it just so you can tell everyone how well you are doing, it can make it feel as if you are doing it for them, not for yourself. Like I said, this can work for some goals, but when it is something that is fueled mostly by your sheer desire to do it, this can be fatal. In my experience this is certainly true in the case of creative writing. I get my friends all excited about my story that i find myself working on it just so that they can be satiated by the next chapter, not because I am inspired and excited about the work myself. You can tell too, you can go through my old stories and tell which parts I wrote because I wanted to and which parts were written because my friends wanted me to.

So sometimes it’s okay to have private battles. When I finish my novel i will feel even more proud because I will know I did it for me, because I wanted to, and I created something worthwhile. Plus, the look of surprise on people’s faces when they are presented with my finished draft when they weren’t even aware that I had been slaving over the thing for nights on end will be well worth it.

So, I’ll tell you I am writing a novel, but I wont tell you what it’s about and I wont tell you how far I am.

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