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Do You Match?

Do you match?

Some people may have looked down at their clothes, but I am not talking about fashion. I am asking a deeper question. I'm going to focus on writing, but this is a question you should ask yourself all the time about everything you do. Let's start with an example.

“I want to be the strongest person I can be.” This is a statement which has been said to my friends who are coaches for physical fitness. They have pointed out that the person who said this is almost certainly either lying to themselves, or they are assuming thing they didn’t notice.

“Do you lift?” – Yes.

“Do you smoke?” – No

“Do you eat enough protein?” – Yes

“Do you lift every day?” – uhm…. Every day?

“Do you get enough sleep?” – I mean… I try but…

“Do you get enough cardio in to ensure you have physical bandwidth to lift enough?” – I don’t really like cardio so…

“Are you on steroids?” – No, that’s unhealthy… “You never said anything about health, you said strongest, period.” (They aren't advocating this, just pointing out people dont ACTUALLY mean strongest.)

These are sort of silly examples but they are examples of the idea that we will often say we want a thing, and that we want it more than anything, but our efforts toward that thing do not match our claims. When you sit down to be a writer, or you sit down to achieve anything, do your desires and claims match your efforts?

This is not to say the goals are right or wrong, only that people will experience a great deal of sadness, frustration or confusion when results don’t match the expectation, because effort didn’t match desire.

These are all perfectly valid writing goals:

  • I want to learn to better express myself to others.

  • I want to write because I find writing to be rewarding.

  • I want to be a better writer so I can run better table top role-playing campaigns.

  • I want to be a published author.

  • I want to be well known as a published author in my field.

  • I want to make my living by means of generating creative writing content.

  • I want to be the most famous author alive in my field.

  • I want to outsell J.K. Rowling.

They are not mutually exclusive, but the effort needed to reach each one of these is very different. Do you know why you write? If you know why you write, do you know if your efforts match your goals?

If you write once a week, don’t generally read, have not made any effort toward reading books on your genre or “How to,” books, or seriously assessed your own skill, have no schedules, time frames of specific measurable goals to get you to your master goal… you will not ever outsell J.K. Rowling. (You probably won’t anyway.)

You might very well achieve expressing yourself, or rewarding efforts. But probably not much else. We would never expect to become physically fit for no reason. We wouldn’t expect to suddenly develop talent for mathematics previously undiscovered. Writing is at least as hard as either of those things, and it requires work. Specifically it requires organized work, consistent effort and luck.

So, I ask again, do you match? Do you know what you want to achieve with your writing? Do you know how you plan to achieve it? Do you work toward that goal daily in some fashion? Define what you want. Define your goals, so that when motivation fails, discipline remains, and you get something done.

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