Failure…Use it! On Management of Goals and Plans for Writers
Nobody wants to fail. Ever. Some people are so paralyzed by their fear of failure that they have misgivings about starting new projects in the first place. We all know people like that. Hey, on occasion, I’m pretty sure I’ve been one, if I’m to be honest with myself. Failures can be great or small. Of course, we’re all supposed to learn from these failures, extract lessons from them so that next time we would succeed. But generally, before we remember that we have to do that, we go through the stages of anger, depression or denial, depending on the size and the importance of the failure. Most people usually get angry at themselves or find something to wrongfully assign blame to.
First thing you have to understand is the need to have a major goal and to have a good plan in place to keep you focused on it. The short-term goals that you create are the lamp posts that help illuminate the way to your ultimate goal. It takes determination and discipline to keep moving towards that goal. But the short-term goals are as important.
You should divide your major goals into smaller, more achievable goals. Not a new idea by any means, but I had to be reminded a few times that this is a good approach to take. I started adapting this strategy a few years ago. What surprised me the most was that this strategy somehow started integrating itself in all areas of my life, including writing, my day job, my relationships, etc.. A clichéd expression of “taking it one day at a time” comes to mind, but it’s a cliché for good reason.
This philosophy also helped me get back on track with writing. Small goals were making it easier to accomplish my larger writing goals. It helps to have someone be aware of your goals and hold you accountable, whether it’s finishing a word count for the week, finishing a chapter or sitting down for a certain amount of time to write. It can even be putting up an extra few posts a week on a blog.
Here are my suggestions for overcoming failure, creating a plan and moving forward:
- Winston Churchill said: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Failures are a part of life. They will happen. Accept the fact and it won’t bother you as much. Don’t be discouraged, because sometimes you have to take one step back in order to take ten steps forward.
- Try to analyze why the failure occurred and how it can become a success instead. Don’t get angry – learn. You should not be emotionally attached to those failures as failures. You should adapt an attitude of using your failures as opportunities for growth.
- Make sure you have a plan in place to help you reach your goals. Napoleon Hill said this on the value of making a plan: "Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire."
- Divide a major goal into smaller, more achievable ones. This makes both successes and failures more manageable.
- Be proud of yourself for making those smaller goals. It’s ok to feel the satisfaction and joy at even small accomplishments. Give yourself permission to be happy about them. But don’t get too complacent.
- Reward yourself. The rewards can be anything positive that will make you happy. You decide.
~~Thanks Yelena, you really hit is home with many of these for me. Especially the reward yourself part. I am horrible about minimizing my successes - something I really need to change, I think!
How do you manage your goals and plans? How do you learn from failures? I know she really hit it home with some of these for me
And don't forget to shoot over to Ali Cross's blog and check out the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced getting LACRIMOSA to the shelf.