Commit or Be Committed


 
 
 
 
 

 

My attempt at a bike jump.*

 

Wonderful Mediocrity

I love setting goals. Don’t get me wrong; nice, fluffy, feel-good goals like: “someday I’ll try oil painting” or “someday I’ll get a book published.” But goals like that aren’t helpful. They do little more than convince me I’m going somewhere without giving me the means to measure how (or even where). All the worst goals start with “someday.”

Real goals are specific, concrete. They include a time frame (deadline) and a way to measure when they’ve been met. Real goals are terrifying. After all, goal is just another form of commitment. And commitment is a very scary thing. Putting your entire self into something and saying, “Yes, I will.” That’s a big deal. Why? Because what if you don’t?

If you don’t make the goal, you’re a liar, an idiot, a hypocrite or just a flighty person who goes back on his or her word. I’ve learned the hard way what it feels like to miss a goal. And so to save myself from all manner of humiliation, I’ve found one simple solution: keep my goals private.

Sharing goals with others? That’s crazy-talk! Why would I want to take the hard road when I can take the easy way out? I’m not mental. I won’t be committed.

Feel the Power, Kronk (Oh, I can feel it.)

But there’s one problem with all of that. In keeping a goal to myself, I have absolutely no accountability. I might meet the goal; I might not. What’s the big deal? No one will know the difference except me.

What have I just done? Sucked all the commitment right out of my “goal,” drained it until it’s nothing more than a good intention. Which, in my book, doesn’t amount to much more than poo (and I’m not sure what that’s going for on the black market). I’ve had about a bazillion good intentions but few of them have amounted to anything without first becoming a goal. Good intention = non-goal.

Making a public goal is a very dangerous thing. A written goal is even worse. Why is it so dangerous? Because there is power in setting a goal. That accountability I mentioned? It’s the driving force that makes things happen.

“But goals make you have to work, and stuff,” you say. “I can’t just zone out in front of the television when I get home from an exhausting day.” And you’re right. That icky feeling nagging me whenever I start to slack off? It may not make me feel blissful but it’s my MVP for getting my goal accomplished.

Becca Is Certifiably Insane

So here it is, folks. I’m going out on a limb…way out. Call me crazy, but I’m going to make a goal and state it RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. (Yikes, that was a scary enough statement without the all caps.) Okay, here it goes:

I am going to finish the first draft of Flawed, Book 2: Outcast (my WIP) by the end of the month.

Ack! Now that I’ve stated such madness, my entire inner being is cringing with dread. It’s reminding me that I’ve only written 16K words on the thing in the last six months…that I still have (approximately) 14K words remaining…AND that there’s only twelve days left in the month. Ack!

All kidding aside, I honestly don’t know if I can meet this goal. It’s daring (kind of like when I thought I could jump my bike off a ramp when I’d never had any training or experience in the area). I may very well be humiliated on my own blog. The next two weeks will be very telling. But at least I’m not relying on good intentions alone. So there you have it. I may be crazy. But at least I’m gutsy.

What “goals” have you made but kept to yourself? What progress are you hoping to achieve? What goals do you need to commit to in order to make that happen? Now’s your chance! I invite you to join me in the madness.

*In the photo I look boss. Don’t let it fool you. This picture was taken approximately .8 seconds before I landed face-first on the pavement with a bruised pelvic bone, a bloody forearm, and grease-stained jeans. Which is why there is no photo of me .8 seconds later. Had this only photo of the event been instead a video, there would be no doubt of my stupidity.

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  1. #1 by Suzanne on May 19, 2011 - 9:22 am

    I love the pic and I love how you bare your heart and soul in your writings. It is so true what you say about good intentions, but if you’re certifiably insane then I want to be too! You’re blog title is so fitting and very time I read it, I leave inspired!  I believe that you can do it!  Begin the 14 day countdown!

    • #2 by Becca Campbell on May 19, 2011 - 10:15 am

      Thanks so much, Suzanne! I’m glad you get something out of my posts.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

  2. #3 by Faithann on May 19, 2011 - 9:49 am

    Great post Becca! You can do it!

    • #4 by Becca Campbell on May 19, 2011 - 10:16 am

      Thanks, Faithanne! I have a lot of work to do. I appreciate the support.

  3. #5 by joan on May 19, 2011 - 11:14 am

    don’t under-estimate urself!

  4. #6 by Joshua Unruh on May 19, 2011 - 11:33 am

    I’m in on this. I’m stating this here and then going to do my own blog post putting my goals into the world.

    I have to have the rewrite of Hell Bent for Leather to Jessie by (in?) September. By then I will also have written at least two pre-writing packages (I’m leaving which ones open to what mood takes me but the contenders are Dead as Leather, Copper Lincoln, Unnamed Fantasy Thing, Tiger Jack Hwang Kung Fu Nonsense [working title]).

    What’s more, I think I should also swear to have On Leather Wings ready for beta readers. We’ll see about that though.

    • #7 by Becca Campbell on May 19, 2011 - 11:42 am

      Josh,
      Awesome. Way to join in the madness.

      And by the way, “Dead as Leather” is a pretty much awesome title. Love it.

  5. #8 by Emily Sears on May 20, 2011 - 1:28 am

    You can do it Becca!!! I believe in you!

    But if you don’t make it, don’t beat yourself up! You’ve got a very full life after all! You’re getting more writing done than me and I’ve got absolutely no excuses (or kids) to deter me!

  6. #10 by Patricia on May 20, 2011 - 4:59 am

    Love the quote from “The Emperor’s New Groove”! This post is right on the money! (And something I need to implement NOW.)

    • #11 by Becca Campbell on May 20, 2011 - 9:41 am

      I love that movie. It never gets old.

      Glad the post sparked something. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. #12 by Courtney Cantrell on May 24, 2011 - 1:03 pm

    Becca, you are gutsy, and I love it. I know you can do this! How goes it so far? Update, please! : )

    My commitment is to finish the prewriting for my Monster Epic Fantasy Novel (aka MEFan, *snigger*) by the end of this month. One week left!

    WE CAN DO IT!!!

    • #13 by Becca Campbell on May 24, 2011 - 1:13 pm

      I’m currently at 69K. But I have only 2 chapters left, so it is going well (if a bit behind).

      I may need to sequester myself out of the house for a big chunk of writing time this weekend.

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