Challenge Yourself

By Rebecca Willman Gernonslug

I have become a real slug as of late. I think my problem is  that I have no goals. A life without goals is like a ship without a rudder, a car with a flat tire or no gas. In other words, I am getting no place fast.

Today as I cleaned my office, I contemplated the handmade stuffed eggplant that my writing friendeggplant Susan Kagan gave me to celebrate my first publication, a story about an eggplant in Delectable Magazine. (A now defunt New Orleans’ food magazine that was a casualty of Hurricane Katrina)

Her special gift reminded me that I used to set goals. In 2003 I joined a writers critique group, decided to become serious about my writing, and said to myself, if I can’t be published in two years, I will stop writing. My goal was achieved within 23 months when The Desperation of Beauty was published in Delectable, a freebie magazine. I was thrilled when I opened their acceptance letter and stunned when a $100 check greeted me.

I’ve been lax about setting goals the past two years, and I’ve accomplished little.  I need a  carrot, or in my case a piece of chocolate in front of me, in other words, something to aim for. So, I have given myself a  year to sell a story to the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher. This might not be obtainable as the Chicken Soup editors take from 3-9 months or forever to select their stories, and they don’t contact you until they decide, so I’ll spend most of life the next year in limbo, la-la land, the black hole of waiting, but I have a goal and that is important.

Chicken Soup has numerous prompts, so I’ll have options.

Do you have a goal?  If not, how can you measure your progress?  Set a goal today. Here are some suggestions:

  1. write one page a day
  2. send a query letter to  2 agents or publishers a month (log your contacts)
  3. join a critique group
  4. attend a writers workshop
  5. complete a chapter a month on your novel
  6. submit one article a week to a magazine
  7. set aside a specific time to write each day

Be sure to share your goal with a friend who will challenge you to keep plugging away.


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