Note: This is one of two posts I wrote last month for the Boise Novel Orchard blog. Because I've picked up a few more followers since then, I thought I'd repost them here. Enjoy!
I have a confession to make. As many of you know, I've been trying to write 500 words a day this year. And right now my average... is not so good. About 50 percent follow-through, in fact. (Maybe worse. It wasn't a good few weeks for me.)
I'm still making it a goal, but it's a goal I don't always reach and that got me thinking.
What do you do when you fail?
I'm not talking about rejections from agents or editors or bad reviews/critiques. Those are things you don't have much control over. But what do you do when you set a goal for yourself and don't make it?
It happens all the time with me. Exercise and diet are the two biggest offenders, but writing is up there. I make a goal, I set out to do it....
And I mess up. Forget. Get distracted. Get stressed. Get too tired. Watch TV.
So what do you do?
I think the biggest key is to focus on the present.
If you aren't making your goals, don't dwell on your past failures. That leads to making excuses, or if you're a self-flagellating type, getting discouraged.
And don't worry about the future. "How will I ever learn to do this?" "What if I suck for the rest of the year?" "What if I NEVER make my goals?" These are not profitable questions, and won't help you.
Focus on the present. It's about you, today, doing today's work. It doesn't matter if you didn't do it yesterday, or the day before, or for the last six months. You can do today's work today.
Maria Killilea in her book With Love from Karen says: "Now is all that can be presently profitable."
So that's what I do when I fail. I start over, every day, and do it again. And I try to be patient with myself. I missed many blog posts when I first started trying to blog on a regular basis. I fell down a lot when I learned to ride a bike.
Failure is part of the learning process, and as of this minute, all your failures are in the past.
Focus on the now.
And go write 500 words, too. :)