What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

During a conversation with my husband, he admitted that he didn’t have a dream, or at least he didn’t know of one, that he still didn’t know what he wanted in life. The thought of not having something to strive for, something to reach for, depressed me. He assured me that he was far from alone. That at 27 plenty of people had no idea what career they wanted. But it wasn’t about careers to me, it was about dreams, even the impossible or improbable. How can you not know what you want in life?

But truthfully, while I know what I dream, what I want my life to be, which is writing, writing and more writing, I couldn’t tell you what I’d want to do with my life if I can’t write. So is there just a disconnect between us, both of us thinking different definitions to the question of dreams or am I just the dreamer in the relationship and he’s the doer, bring home the money so I can follow my unpaid dream while we share the responsibility of raising two little ones, a dream I think we share, to give them lives full of love and laughter and education and responsibility and civic duty and obedience and worship and on and on. But we can’t live through our children and I don’t think either of us wants that.

So now I want to help him find his dream, find what he wants to strive for, to give him the freedom to pursue what some might call impossible. For he has given me the gift of understanding and loving for me to pursue what fulfills me without expectation. And that is why my husband is the greatest man and I love him dearly. And no, I’m not letting him go.

Setting Realistic Expectations

One thing therapy has taught me is that I have unrealistic expectations of myself. And then when I don’t make a goal, I take it out on myself. And I never make my goals because they are too far out of my reach. I’ve instituted making realistic expectations when it comes to housework. I prioritize now and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t get everything done. This way I get some things done, am satisfied with myself and finish off the rest at a later time. Though to be honest there is no such thing as being done with housework. Before I would make a lofty list, stall out on the first item and then go eat some ice cream and play video games, nothing getting done.

So while I have accomplished some in setting realistic expectations, I still struggle with it for my writing. It being the last month of the year, I’ve been goal setting for 2014 and man my goals are awesome. I’ll list my writing goals below:

1. Finish the rough draft, the revision and submit the queries of With Teeth.

2. Finish the revision and submit the queries for Heroes in Name.

3. Write and submit 52 flash fiction stories (one per week)

4. Write and submit 12 short stories (one per month)

5. Finish the rough drafts of Bad Apple and Duty, Love, Honor.

Anyone else tired after all of that? For some people the above is entirely possible. For me, it may even be possible, if I forsake my kids, my responsibilities and any other activity but writing. It isn’t very realistic of me. So I have a couple of choices in how I handle my goals. I can set the high goal and be happy that I accomplished anything that I do or I can make my goals much more reasonable. I’m going with reasonable.

1. Finish first draft of something

2. Revise a novel and submit queries

But these are “simple”. I know I can do it so I’m going to also make some stretch goals, aka goals that are just a little bit out of reach. Goals that I probably won’t make but that I will accomplish much in trying to reach them. I’ve decided not to plan out which projects I’m going to work on and let my muse have a little bit more room rather than being boxed in.

My stretch goal for 2014 is to write 1 million words. This can be first draft, blog posts, rewrites, anything. I want to reach 1 million words written in a year. Breaking this goal down, I am aiming for 20k words written a week or about 3k a day.

So when making goals for yourself, how do you go about it? And what are your goals for 2014?