To get the answers we need, we must ask the Right Questions

If you are working toward a big and/or long-term goal that’s really challenging, how many times have you heard this:

How bad do you want it?

As a writer who reads a lot of writer blogs, I’ve seen this a lot.

And it never leaves me feeling good. You see, this question implies that there’s always something more we can do, that we’re never working hard enough, that if we want it badly enough and put in the effort, success will come. That question always made me feel guilty whenever I’d play computer games or watch TV. If I stayed later hanging out with friends or family than I needed to for the relationship, rather than working on my writing or promo, or something else related, that must mean I didn’t want writing success badly enough. If I’m caught waiting in line at the BMV, or the doctor’s office, or at the bank for five minutes and I’m not using that time on writing, I must be a slacker. I felt that, because my every free waking hour wasn’t spent writing, or on social media connecting with readers, or something else related to my writing career, that I must not deserve publishing success, because I “don’t want it bad(ly) enough.”

Well, I’ve had it. Enough already! Enough of the guilt trips! My butt is sore from all of the kicking, and my big-girl panties are ones I don’t want to be caught wearing if I’m in a car wreck (heaven forbid)!

I can set goals and keep them, but last week has taught me that for me, “How bad do you want it?” is not the right question. Of course I want to sell books and to keep writing, because I enjoy it. And yes, I’m willing to work for it. But you know what they say about all work and no play, and to focus on work all the time has sapped my creativity. I truly think that’s why I’ve been stuck on plotting my next book.

Taking a week off has been wonderful. What’s even better is I don’t think the new book is dead. For my writing workshop, I surprised myself when one of my assignments turned out to feature the main character from that story, and I liked it (so did my instructor). That tells me that this story still wants to be written and it still wants to be written next. It just went down a wrong path, probably due to being pushed too hard. My other workshop assignment wound up being in the Saturn Society world, and introduced a fun, new character. The best thing about doing these exercises? Neither took long, and I had fun writing them. So maybe the question we should be asking isn’t “How bad do you want it?” but “Are we having fun?”

Which brings me around to my goals. Obviously, my quarterly and yearly goals will need to change, but I’m not sure what those will be just yet. I’m also going to go lighter on the others. I started a new migraine medication last week, which is helping, but makes me tired as I’m still getting used to it. Even with that, last week wasn’t bad: I made both of my goals in that I kept up with my writing workshop, and I got all of the fabric cut for my daughter’s prom dress (THAT was no small undertaking!).

The giveaway has ended. Thanks for your interest!

For this week, I’d like to:

  1. Continue keeping up with writing workshop
  2. Some kind of physical activity 3x – even if just for five minutes!
  3. Begin sewing dress through Step 8 of instructions
  4. List ten things that could happen in the new book – they don’t have to be good ideas, just something!

Taking time off from blogging helped, too. I’m not sure if I’ll get back into that this week – chances are, this is it, although I still plan to visit and comment on others’ blogs, because I enjoy that. And be assured, I appreciate every comment I get here! Either way, thanks for reading!

What about you? Have you needed to take time off from writing or other goal-oriented activities? Do you feel guilty, like you must not “want it” badly enough if you don’t pursue your goals every non-day-job waking moment? What’s your right question? Please share – I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.