Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wishes vs. Goals

It's funny, but I never thought about it until today. It makes sense, obviously, but I just never thought about it before.

I have hopes and dreams, just like anyone else. Wishes. I have no disillusion that that's all they are.

Some of these hopes and dreams I do want come true though. I try to achieve this by establishing goals. Some wishes, I don't. They remain in the realm of hopes and dreamland.

It's especially relevant to my writing.

I actually never hoped to write a bestseller. I never even hoped -- and it might come as a surprise to the few who have known me a while -- to write a critically acclaimed novel.

I did, still do, however, hope to sustain myself from my writing. I didn't, don't write fiction for that purpose, I write it because I like writing, but I hope. That one day. Maybe.

Because I have hopes I believe might be achievable, I set goals. You can all imagine what they are as I'm sure most of you have similar ones. In short, these goals amount to 'write and publish.' And I did, do. Both. Not to the extent I had hoped, but that's just it, that was a hope.

The goals I set are accomplished. Then, perhaps it's time for a new set of goals. Perhaps it's time for a new set of dreams too. Shouldn't we always try to aim higher than what we intend?

Why did I start thinking about it? Because of the way I write my current WIP. Somehow, I'm much more relaxed about it. I think that's good, it helps. I don't stress myself too much if don't write. And when I write, I enjoy it so much. I even write in bed in a journal. It's the best think that could have happened to my writing, I think.

So I can't really control my dreams, they're quite subjective. But I can control my goals. Maybe instead of aiming higher, I'll just stop aiming; have no more goals. Does that make sense?

Does everyone feel the disparity between their writing goals and their writing wishes? Does it affect the writing process?

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redchurch said...

I don't have wishes. I only have goals. There is a reason I don't have wishes, and bear with me but this might sound familiar...

A person's level of happiness is often determined by what's sometimes referred to as their 'locus of control.' The things inside your locus (locus, as in local) are within your power to shape and control. Things outside you cannot control. How much time you spend writing each day is something you can control. Whether or not you win the lottery is not.

Usually the unhappy people in life are those who focus on things outside their locus of control. They often say "I can't" or place blame for their misfortunes outside of themselves. The happier people look at the degree to which they can control the things around them, the more immediate things they can step up and own within their lives, and take responsibility for, and they enjoy doing that.

For me, wishes often represent things outside my locus of control. It's painful to think about them because I know I'm probably deluding myself, and I can never have them without some kind of solid plan for attaining them. My goals are often things I've decided to tackle that are within my locus of control.

Now if by wishes you mean fantasies? As in, they don't have to be grounded in reality and are often better when not? Sure, I've got plenty of those. :)

jlb said...

Absolutely. There is definitely a difference between my writing wishes and writing goals, as with other aspects of life.

Like you, I value the joy of writing, and I set goals to improve my craft, sustain my business, and to push myself to improve.

But when it comes to the wishes, I find that at the heart of them is the desire to write well. Recognition, publication, and artistic acceptance and all secondary... heck, I suppose I'd be satisfied to be the kind of artist whose work is only appreciated after she's dead and buried. :)

And yes, I agree that it does affect my writing process - if I wrote with the sole requirement of meeting dreams to be a big name, I just don't think I'd enjoy my writing as much... but that's how it works for me. I suppose others accomplish their goals by chasing their wishes!

John said...

Yes, wishes and goals should go together. Then our dreams can come true. Do visit my website Glad to meet another of my tribe.


Jennifer said...

I've lived my life with goals. When I meet one goal I make a new one or move on to the next.

I've not had wishes so much as what I'd call dreams. How to explain...I guess dreams are something I have a chance of making come true, where wishes are something I wish I could have but won't ever have... (A wish is elusive, a dream possible)

I wish I was shorter, I dream about being published...

That make sense?

I'm a goal oriented person. I have lists (I'm famous for lists) and I work until I've completed each item on that list (and the list never there's always something to work for).

Sharon J said...

I think goal setting's a good thing because it propels us forward but it's important to enjoy the journey towards them, too. That can sometimes be difficult if we let ourselves become stressed over reaching our goals, in which case I think we're better off removing them and finding others, perhaps ones that are more easily attainable. Three small steps lead us to the same place as one large step, after all :-)

Rose said...

I set many goals to write. I want to tell so many stories and have planned so many timelines to assure that the stories are told. I only wish that I get a chance to tell them all. It doesn't affect my writing process because I try to stick with my goals. Those I feel that I can accomplish. The wishes only help me to move closer to my goals.

Melly said...

Eric, I didn't think you have wishes. You have goals and you go for them. It's so you :)
I totally agree with you, btw, and actually have a hard time with people like that. Control what you can.

jlb, seems we think alike. You sure as hell understand me :)

John, will gladly come for a visit and I'm also always happy to meet another :)

Jennifer, now why doesn't that surprise me about you. As far as semantics go, oh I don't know. Eric calls it fantasies, you call it dreams. I blur the lines completely.

Sharon, I like that. Words of wisdom!

Rose, if you can do that, you're quite a special person indeed and all the power to you :)

Nienke said...

Wish - that I could enjoy writing the way I used to as a child.
Goal - to one day support myself by writing fiction (and maybe freelancing on the side)
Conflict - Goal makes me to uptight to achieve wish.
Somehow I have to jive the two. Any suggestions?

Oh, and BTW, I joined NaNoWriMo (first time) this year. Not really "relaxing" but a great way to get some dang words down. I'm hoping to stop focusing on how well I write and just enjoy some free flow.

Melly said...

Nienke, I haven't joined NaNo yet, but it matters not, it's the point that counts.
I totally hear you about jiving the two. Suggestions? Not really. I have a suspicion it would happen naturally once the goal is achieved. Until then? Write for the wish, not the goal maybe?