I recently read a great article written by author, Holly Lisle, on goals versus expectations. While it was written as encouragement and guidance for writers, I couldn't help but think that this could pertain to all of us, no matter what our vocation in life may be--or hope to be.
She described goals as things we have control over. First step is to define our goals. For me, it is to write interesting, engaging novels. But I have other goals, too: to be a loving, supportive wife, mother, grandma and friend, and to leave the world a better place, in short, to make a positive difference.
Holly described expectations as our hopes and dreams; things we have no control over. I want to be published. That is an expectation, a dream I have. Do I have control over that? No. Gotta admit, that was a hard one to wrap my heart around. I suppose I was working under the assumption that Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote, "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door," would apply to me as a writer. If I wrote well enough, a publisher would buy my manuscript. Ah, the hubris of the unpublished.
So, my goal should be to improve my craft as a writer. After all, I can't expect a dream of being published to come true (expectation) if I don't improve my writing skills (goal). My expectations depend on someone else, finding a publisher who likes my material and has room to fit me into their publishing schedule. With that in mind, perhaps my goal should be, as Holly suggested in her article, to recieve 250 publishers' rejection slips. Since I have zero control over what a publisher likes and buys, I should focus on a goal of not giving up until I've been turned down by 250 publishers. My question: I'm 62; do I have that long to be rejected that much????
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