Day 46 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log –Writer Bingo

I came across a list of goals from last year scrawled in a journal. It was undated, but I knew it was from last year because the journal I’d written it in was part of Target’s Black History Month collection. The cover was a stylized Black woman in front of a group of hot air balloons taking off in the sky. Now, according to the personal development folks I was supposed to look at these list of goals and compare them to where I am now and look and say – wow, I accomplished everything on the list.

Except I didn’t.

Not at all.

And the thing about it is that only a year later, I find the list ridiculous because they are all things I have no control over. Yes, it was a wish list of sorts, but it was setting me up for failure and was not tied to the greater vision I had for my life.

I was going after prestige and outside validation. I wanted to tick boxes on my writer’s resume to prove to myself that my years haven’t been wasted.

I don’t know what changed in me or when it changed, but I finally understand what a mentor of mine meant when he said to set goals that are within your control. Here are the things I can control:

  1. How much I write.
  2. What I write.
  3. What and how much I submit.
  4. What I study.
  5. Who I choose to spend my time with.

Here’s what I can’t control:

  1. Award nominations.
  2. Story Acceptances.
  3. Acceptance into workshops or residencies.
  4. Who likes my work.

Focusing on the latter rather than the former for years has set me up for long term failure and for me the definition of failure is quitting writing. I say that because quitting means there’s no chance of getting better. It’s saying there’s nothing else to learn, there’s nothing else to tweak.

I’ve discovered the best way to keep writing is to know what daily winning looks like to me. This could be giving myself a sticker or my conditional formatting when it comes to my word count goal, but I live as what Gary V calls – clouds and dirt. I plan with my head in the clouds and then I work my plan daily. I like this way. It’s working for me.

And an objection which I know someone would say who’s trying to justify the lack of progress in their own life (I can say that as I’ve been that person) is what if you never “make it.” My response (to myself) is that, it only means, I ran out of time. Besides, copyright in the U.S. is life of the author + 70 years. Just because I don’t “make it” during my lifetime doesn’t mean I won’t make it after I’ve left this Earth. That’s something I can believe.

Nothing has guarantees and the only thing I can control is myself. Now, that’s the ultimate game and there’s an infinite way to play that game and win.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 46, – 2/16/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

89,615/ 93,104 /740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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