You might have noticed that last week I said I would blog every day between Monday and Friday and you might also have noticed that I failed to blog on Monday and Tuesday this week. Mea Culpa! I was being over-optimistic about what I could realistically achieve. You see Mondays and Tuesdays are hectic for me. Mondays I home school in the morning, drop my daughter off at a child-minders at lunch time, then teach in a primary school until 3.30pm. I then collect my daughter and drive across town to teach a private student French for one hour. Home at 5.45pm it’s time to cook dinner etc. Tuesdays are worse. Home school to 11am, childminders, teach at school from 11.30 to 3,30, collect daughter, two half-hour French lessons, then off to Beaver Scouts where my daughter is a Beaver and I’m a Scout Leader. Home at 7.30pm, dinner, bedtime etc. I was hoping to squeeze a blog in first thing in the morning before home-school starts at 8.30am, but with my other editorial duties this was just impossible.
Still, I do believe that this over-estimation of what we can achieve is yet another one of those writer’s foibles that affect us all from time to time. We would like to achieve x, x and x and think that if we say we can do it, we will do so. I have seen it enough times in writer’s goals and business plans to know that this is a common problem. We want to sell more articles so we say we will do five queries a week. But how many of us if we are not full-time freelancers have the time to research markets and come up with ideas for five queries a week? We say we are going to finish the first draft of our novel in six months. Unless we can spend two hours a day working on our novel how can we achieve this? All too often as writers we set ourselves up for failure by being over-optimistic in what we can achieve. Such over-optimism can lead to serious problems in our writing. If we are constantly setting ourselves unrealistic targets we are constantly setting ourselves up for failure. If we are constantly getting angry with ourselves for failing to achieve our targets we reduce our willingness to try and we reduce our effectiveness. If this continues for long enough we can give up entirely. A famous study found that if we set ourselves too many goals this doesn’t improve our work or our effectiveness; it reduces it. If, however, we only set ourselves four achievable goals we are more likely to achieve them and to exceed them. Bear in mind then, my over-optimisim when planning your goals. Take into account your real life needs and time constraints and set yourself achievable goals. That way you are more likely to achieve them. As for me, my new blogging goal is three posts a week. Let’s see if I can achieve it.