There are benefits to setting concrete goals for yourself. Doing so allows you to immediately identify successes and failures within the confines of the list. The drawback is that the goals can seem rigid, and when you're trying to reign in creativity, that list of goals isn't always as flexible as you need it to be.
I set myself a good list of goals last Monday. I finished and posted the flash piece for Flash Fiction Flourish as I planned. Call that a goal accomplished. I also completed my flash piece for Friday. Another goal accomplished.
Not bad, right? Unfortunately, these were not my only goals. This is where it gets complicated.
Pleiades: What's complicated? You failed.
Me: It's hardly that simple.
Pleiades: You didn't finish the first draft of that short story you said you'd get done, now did you?
Me: Well no, but . . .
Pleiades: No "buts" allowed. You didn't do it.
Me: I worked on it. I just didn't finish.
Pleiades: So, like I said, you failed. How exactly are we disagreeing on this one?
I guess in addition to being my muse, Pleiades is also the part of me that's hardest on myself. She keeps me in line a lot of the time. And while she may not accept my excuses, I know my blogging buddies will allow me to explain. You show a lot more sympathy and encouragement than I do a lot of the time.
My goal of finishing a rough draft of "The Dream Factory" didn't work out, though I did get some of it done. I may have finished it as I planned if it weren't for another piece of flash fiction. I told you last week that I also intended to submit another piece to Daily Science Fiction in the hope of getting it published. It's a long shot perhaps, but I will only allow myself to see it as a more worthy goal because it feels like a long shot. Regarding this goal, my intention for last week was to brainstorm ideas.
So I did.
I devised a single image. I don't think I should divulge what that image was at this time, because it would take too much explanation. My intention is to simply show all of you how I was diverted.
This single image stuck with me, begging for a back story. It wanted a reason to exist, and only I could provide that. So I started writing. I wasn't sure where the story was going, but I wrote anyway. Before I knew it, a story was unfolding around the image. Then I went back through and did my best to polish it. Finally, after a couple of days of work and consideration, I submitted it.
So there. I didn't meet one goal, but I went beyond another and completed something I was planning to do within the next couple of weeks. That's why I'm not looking at the failure to meet one of my goals as an actual failure. It may look that way on paper, but I still accomplished something. Pleiades can say what she want, and I know she will, but I'm still proud of what I got done last week.
For this week, I have blog posts to do. I also want to post a short piece of flash fiction tomorrow. I haven't written any of it yet, but I do have a concrete idea to work with. I also need to write a flash piece for Friday. And my biggest goal for this week will be to finish the first draft of "The Dream Factory."
Next week I'll let you know how things went.