Goal Modification ≠ Failure


When I was younger, I had this schedule of sorts, that I thought my life would follow.  Graduate college, be married by a certain age, wait a certain number of years after that to have kids, etc. All to be done by the age 30 or so. HA! I was obviously an idealist and/or naive to think life would work out the way I wanted it to. Shit happens. Road blocks, break ups, terrorist attacks, etc. We definitely don’t have as much control over our lives as we like to think or hope.

It definitely still makes me sad that I’m not in a certain place at this point in my life, but who is to say I would have been happy in that “place” and that it would have been good for me? I’ll never know and it’s not really something that should be dwelt upon.  Because things haven’t worked out the way I had them planned I’ve had to change and/or modify my goals. Does that mean I’ve failed myself? I don’t think so. I think giving up completely might be considered a failure, but even then, if you do it because something else works better for you, then it’s not really a failure in my opinion.

I think, as a writer, these opportunities come up a lot. Maybe you decide you’re going to outline your whole story before sitting down to write. Pages and pages and hours of time go into it. Once you sit down to start writing, the story takes on a whole new direction and you don’t use that outline.  Is that failing? Certainly not! The overall goal is to get the story written, right? So why does it matter if your methodology changes? It doesn’t.

Maybe the goal is to be traditionally published. A great goal, indeed. You try for years and get a lot of feedback, but no one bites to pick it up. You finally decide you want your story out there by hook or crook so you opt to go the self published route. Does that make you a failure? Not in my mind.  You just changed your goal slightly. Your book will still be out there, people will be able to read and enjoy it. How is that not a success?

I guess it’s all in the way you look at things. Maybe it’s the pessimist’s way of looking at it to see a modification as a failure: the glass is half empty =s my book will be available to millions online but not in brick and mortar stores.

We can all hope things will work out according to our “plans”, but more likely than not, it won’t happen that way. Making adjustments to your goals, changing a time limit, changing the way you go about getting there is NOT failure. Keep persevering and take whatever route works best for you. Don’t be afraid to modify those goals if you’re struggling. There may be an easier way. Nothing is written in stone. Change is good. Embrace it.



7 responses »

  1. I think that e-pubbing gives authors a choice. If that avenue didn’t exist, a lot of writers would probably never be heard because of lack of a “traditional” book deal.

    I believe having a plan is good but when things detour that plan, you have to be able to be flexible because the end result may be better than what you were initially dreaming of.

    Great post!

  2. I’m right there with you. In fact, I’m about to go the indie route myself. Final edits are on the horizon. At some point they have to be final, right?

    • Yes! From my own experiences and those of writer friends around me, you will probably never be 100% happy with what you’ve got. Always seeing something you could fix, re-write, etc. While plenty of that has to be done prior to publication, I think when we nitpick, it’s our nerves getting the best of us and it’s just time to step away and follow through.

      Good luck!

  3. Agreed! Our goals should be just as dynamic as we are. As we change, our goals change. It’s only natural. And just think… Wouldn’t it be really sad to be the same at 35 as you were at 19 when you made the list of things you thought you’d do by then? Like you said, stuff happens. We grow. We change. We adjust.
    There’s no failure in goal modification. The failure, really, is in refusing to adjust.

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