Saturday, February 27, 2010


Goal-tending may not mean the same thing to me that it means to Olympians, but it's something I've been thinking of a lot. A goal-tender, I take good care of my goals, most of them, and take steps to make them happen.

Sure, lots of folks would disagree with me. One look in my garage would dispell any notion that my goal of inventorying and dispensing with its contents, a goal formulated back in 2005, is much more than a joke. Get a car in there? Not even. Can barely walk among its treasures. Anyone who has tracked my history with crafts would testify that I'm a terrific starter, but not such a good completer. In fact, my late husband referred to my wonderful craft room, with its built-in sewing desk, drawers, closet, and shelves of future creations as my "crap room."

But goals do matter to me. Decades ago, my business partner and I taught folks how to set realistic goals and how to draft and then follow the steps to make them happen. I demonstrated this to myself in the eighties. A clumsy soul, I teamed with a fine dancer and set the goal of winning a statewide dance competition. With focus, artistry, and grueling hours of practice, we made it happen. The goal was real-ized, a stellar moment for this stumbler.

In 2009 my goal was to publish a book. I did it. The Silence of Bright Star is real. Now I want to keep going. Writing goals are no longer pies on clouds; they're tangible realities. My writer friends throw out daunting numbers: must produce 50,000 words in three months; just sold 150,000 copies of my book. A year ago I would have swooned at such figures but, now, they feel grounded, not that outlandish.

Seems odd to me, in this word where bookstores are endangered and many forms of print seem like lumbering brontosauri, that diving neck-deep into writing would feel so good. Shouldn't YouTube approaches be my focus? Shouldn't I just Tweet, trimming my observations to 120 characters to allow the courtesy of a re-Tweet? Shouldn't I prune my words to texting's terse constructs?

No. This is a good time to tend to writing goals. This is a good time to write. I write during my day job. I teach writing to 60+ university students. I write every single day: important words fall into space from my tunneled, synapsed memories. This is a good time to set goals: number of words, number of posts, number of queries to publishers, number of responses to online writers. This is a good time to be tending--carefully, very, very carefully--my goals. A goal-tender, that's gonna be me, right now.

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