by Anne Mohr
Someone once told me that you should never set goals too high and risk failure. I looked at him like he had three heads. Where would the world be if people didn’t shoot for the stars and take chances? What books would we have to read if no author took that first step toward publishing their work?
The way I see it, a goal starts off as a dream. And, dreams can and should be as big as you want them to be. The dream becomes a goal when you decide to turn that dream into a reality. How high the bar is set and how much work a person is willing to put into it is up to each individual. For example, for years I’ve been saying that I plan on getting an Oscar for best screenplay. It’s been a dream that I’ve spoken about to people that know me and people that I’ve just met. It became a goal when I finally started writing a screenplay a few months ago. Will I achieve this goal, make my dream come true? Who knows, but I’m working on it. Furthermore, if I don’t make it happen this lifetime, I conveniently believe in reincarnation and plan to keep working on it in the next lifetime if necessary.
A goal is personal and can and should be set based on ones individual needs. In other words, lay out your goals in a manner that best suits you. This is your very own map. You decide the route you need to take and how much work as well as how much time you’re willing to put into it to achieve your goal. Also, you can have more than one goal and goals can be multi-layered. For instance, a person says, “I want to be a published writer.” The question then becomes is the goal to see your name in print, say on one article in a magazine? Do you stop there? Or is the goal to see the bookshelves loaded with books with your name on them?
Another point is that since goals are personal, they can be changed and tweaked at any time, as needed. Furthermore, you should aim as high as you want. Don’t sit around contemplating failure or questioning if you’re being realistic. There are plenty of people around you that will do that for you. I found this quote by Michelangelo, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
Focus on where you want to go and what you have to do to get there. Decide how high the ladder, what must be done to climb it, how fast to climb and what to do once you’re there. And, “if you find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, chew anyway.”♥
Anne Mohr has been a member of RWA/NYC since 1993. She writes as Jacqueline Stewart, Helen St. James and Max St. James, and is published in short fiction (magazines.) At the forefront of several writing projects, she is currently writing a screenplay. (Reprint, Keynotes, December 2010)