Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goals You Control vs Goals Other People Control

This has been on my mind since January 1st, so I decided I better post it before January ends!

If you read my last post of 2010, you may have noticed I didn't include "sign a book deal" as one of my New Year's Resolutions.

I would obviously love to sign a book deal! But I've found that for my own sanity -- such as it is [insert cackle] -- it's better to list goals that are within my control, rather than goals that rely on the decisions of other people. That way, achieving them might be difficult, but at least it won't be out of my hands.

So, what can I control?

I can control whether I research my subject and genre. I can control whether I get up at 7am each morning to write before work. I can control the quality of my spelling, grammar, sentence structure and prose. I can control making revisions based on my agent's and other trusted readers' notes. I can control working on my craft and striving to always improve.

What I can't control is the marketplace, the state of the industry, or whether someone says "Yes." I can only write the best book I can write, and then revise it, and revise it, and polish it, and polish it.

I guess my goal is to keep on truckin', no matter what.

Do your goals rely on your behavior, or on someone else's?


  1. I've thought a lot about this too. I decided right at the beginning of the submission process that I could not tie my happiness to whether or not an editor decided to buy my book.

    You are so right. We can control what we create, but we can't control what happens to it once it leaves our hands, (unless you self- publish of course).

  2. Nice post. My goals are very much my own, but if something isn't working out for me, typically I start tweaking until it does work out. I tweak in all aspects of my life. That being said, tweaking drives me nuts and makes me pretty mental.

    If I don't care about something enough to tweak it until I achieve my goals, it's probably not worth doing in the first place. (i.e. When my mother thought I should go to law school and I couldn't sit down longer than 10 minutes and study for the LSAT.)