If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Big and Bold

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.  ~ Crazy Horse

"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough." ~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Africa's first woman president)



Lately, I’ve been rethinking my 2014 writing goals. They are manageable and will keep me plodding forward the rest of the year, but they’re not BIG and BOLD. Honestly, while challenging, they don’t rocket me out of bed in the morning, fired up to write. So, I’ve been considering…should I set an audacious and, hopefully, motivating goal for myself? Or, continue with many small goals?

Glass artist Dale Chihuly doesn’t think small. He turns delicate glass into large-scale sculptures then has the audacity to exhibit them outdoors. Last November I walked among his sculptures displayed at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. I was awestruck by the artist’s creativity and daring. How can these fragile glass sculptures withstand the elements? I imagine many people said it couldn’t be done.

A seemingly unattainable goal like the one President Kennedy set for putting a man on the moon within ten years, captivated and inspired a generation of people to do just that. If he hadn’t set that goal and put a deadline on it, would we still be earthbound?

Awesome is an inadequate word, but the only one I can think of to describe the scope of the Crazy Horse Memorial being carved in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
 
The story is inspiring. In 1947 self-taught sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, was invited by Chief Henry Standing Bear to carve a memorial in the mountains dedicated to Lakota leader Crazy Horse who was killed in 1877 while under a flag of truce. With only $174 to his name, Ziolkowski began working on the world’s largest in-progress mountain carving. It has become a family enterprise carried out by his children since his death.

Chief Standing Bear and Ziolkowski must have known that neither would live to see the memorial finished, but began it anyway. The memorial’s motto is “Never forget your dreams.”

The dreamer in me believes I should have an audacious goal. However, my practical side recognizes that setting challenging but realistic goals helps ensure that I will complete them. Also, large goals have equally large failure rates.

But, small goals are important, too. I read that it’s good to start each day with a ridiculously easy goal like filing a few papers because when you accomplish one goal, you are motivated to complete more.

I suppose goal size is ultimately subjective—what seems like a BIG goal to me may be SMALL to you. Also, over-the-top goals may need a larger-than-life personality to carry them out.

What are your thoughts about setting goals? Do you have a big, bold writing goal?

*****

Photo of Crazy Horse Monument courtesy of J. Stephen Conn licensed under Creative Commons.

20 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

One of the SMART things I learned in corporate life were to set SMART goals. Now this was between management and employees, but I think it works just as well between superego and id. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-based. They work. Whenever I try some huge, overarching goal it crashes for lack of structural support.

Which is not so say that one should not dream and search for a way to create your dream. I quit working for pay because I knew there was more to life, even if I didn’t know at the time exactly what I wanted to do. The six-month goal was to (1) turn down all offers/suggestions/opportunities presented by friends and associates, and (2) figure out what I wanted to do.

I decided to become a writer. And twelve years later, here we are. So while dreams can and should be large and encompassing, the structure to fulfill those dreams should be based on SMART goals.

Or not; your mileage may vary.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

How impressive, Jim! I think quitting your job for pay and figuring out what you wanted to do was a bold goal. I hope that you blog about what those six months were like for you. I'd love to know how you narrowed down your choices to writing. My guess is that you had a measureable system in place for doing that.

E. B. Davis said...

My overall goal is to be a professional fiction writer--hopefully for profit. But like business plans, I find people find more time writing a business plan or goals than actually achieving the goals. Most of the time, those goals are quite lofty. Like usual, I do the best I can every day. If an opportunity comes along, I jump on it and rearrange my priorities to encompass the opportunity. Usually, I'm a planner, and yet coming from D. C. where everyone tends to analyze everything to death, I think too much time can be spent in contemplation and planning. Time is enough of an issue without taking more time away from writing. Anyway--doesn't life, like writing, happen when you busy planning it?

Warren Bull said...

My goals change when I achieve them. I wanted to write a novel. Then I wanted to be published. Then I wanted to have a novel published and so on.

Kara Cerise said...

Good thoughts, E.B. I agree that it's crucial to take action otherwise goals will never be achieved. I like how you jump on an opportunity and rearrange your priorities.

You're right that life happens when we're making plans. This morning I planned to run an errand that I have been procrastinating for weeks. Just as I was about to leave the house, I received a text alert that there was a police standoff in that area and streets were closed. I guess we have to be flexible and roll with it.

Gloria Alden said...

I think smart goals like Jim suggests is the way to go. However, in spite of my incredibly long "Things to do" list I write each week and never finish, I'm prone to let whims take over which is why I have more gardens than I can manage and have taken on new projects throughout my life.

Martin Buber said, "To be old is a glorious thing when one has not unlearned what it means "to begin." When I faced my mortality and realized I might not actually reach 100,that's when I began writing more than the occasional poem and concentrated on being published. I have kept to that goal of writing; novels, short stories and poetry and have managed to get published albeit small. Although I'll never become a well-known author or poet - I've always been realistic about that - putting down words and creating a story or poem is the major part of my satisfaction.

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, I forgot to mention. Last summer I saw amazing glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington. Most were smaller works, but in the large reflecting pools outside the museum, there were huge glass blocks representing ice breaking up in a river or lake. Inside there was a whole room of glass sculptures not only by him, but numerous other artists, too. My sister and I spent hours in that mueseum.

Kara Cerise said...

Warren, I like how you set a goal, achieve it, and move on to another goal. You know what you want and just do it.

Kara Cerise said...

Facing mortality is a big motivator, Gloria. I’m happy that you stuck with your writing goals because I enjoy reading your stories--Ladies of the Garden Club is en-route to my house.

Museums are inspiring and Chihuly's work fascinates me. He has created glass miniatures as well as large scale sculptures and everything in between. It sounds like he has learned to be flexible about how he achieves his goals. After losing sight in one eye and injuring his shoulder, he hired artists to actually create the glass.

Carla Damron said...

What's great about goals is that they keep us from being static and complacent. My goals: find publisher for literary novel. Finish WIP by August. Attend writing residency this summer. Now, somebody smack me if I don't succeed or at least make good progress!

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, I didn't know about Chihuly's injuries. I know there is some amazing glass flowers at a museum in Boston - I think at Harvard - but I'm not sure who the artist is. I want to visit it someday because my sisters who have seen the glass flowers found them amazing.

KM Rockwood said...

I'm a plodder.

Goals that are too lofty or ambitious set me up for failure. And I can fail quite well on my own, thank you, without any help. I do try to learn from my failures. I look at things like the overly optimistic real estate market, the people who embrace extreme healthy living and then become ill anyhow, the parents who are so sure the unrealistic goals they set for their children can be met if only the poor kid would try harder and follow their advice...

I have a set of fairly realistic goals, and I work toward them. However, I am open to the new and unexpected, and try to embrace opportunities that I didn't expect. I remember What Seneca said: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

Gloria, I too am aware of the limitations of time. On a certain level I subscribe to the idea that everyone must die, but surely, in my case, an exception will be made.

Kara Cerise said...

Exciting goals, Carla. I've heard that accountability (peer pressure) is a good way to make sure we meet our goals. So, I wrote a reminder on my September calendar to find out if you met or made progress on the three you listed here.

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, I heard about a collection of glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see them when I lived near Boston. I hope that you are able to go one day.

Kara Cerise said...

KM, you make a good point about setting realistic, achievable goals instead of overly ambitious ones that can set us up for failure.

I see history beginning to repeat itself in the real estate market. People are flipping houses (buying low and selling high) again. Hopefully, the investors learned their lesson from the housing bust and are more selective about what they purchase this time around. Perhaps slow and steady does win the race.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Kara,

I am using peer pressure -- actually my fear of fessing up to failing -- to help me meet my weight loss and exercise goals for 2014. At the end of each month I post the results -- and since March was not quite what I wanted I promised to do a mid-April (due tomorrow) update to see if I was back on track.

~ Jim

Shari Randall said...

The Crazy Horse Memorial is so impressive - not just for its size but as a powerful symbol of faith in the future - I love that it is so big that it won't be finished in one, or even several generations.
My goal is to get my WIP (which is now completed, and just a Work) published. This trying-to-get-published part of writing is not as much fun as the actual writing, but it's the goal.
I did get a kick out of your attempt to get your errand done being foiled by a police stand off! Good grief! Hope all ended well.

Kara Cerise said...

You're a brave man, Jim. I don't think I could submit my exercise goals and monthly progress (or embarrassing lack of progress) for a peer review.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

But Kara, if it is something you really want to do, then why not. I didn't pick huge goals. Twelve pounds off and KEPT off by year's end and a reasonable exercise goal, which if I'm doing what I should will not be a stretch.

If it is truly a SMART goal, and mine is, then why not add a bit of extra incentive and for me, fear of embarrassment is perhaps a stronger motivator than maintaining good health. (And that's the fact I should be leery about publishing, but I fear it is the truth.)

Besides the numbers show that such tactics work, and y'all know I'm the numbers guy on this blog.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Chief Standing Bear must have been an true visionary. Seeing the memorial inspired me to think bigger and not limit myself.

I hope you find the perfect home for your WIP, Shari. What a wonderful feeling to have completed your novel.