Friday, September 14, 2007

Goals Schmoals, I’m 40!

“I’m in a hurry to get things done, I rush and rush until life’s no fun.”
- from “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why), by Alabama

Ever feel like that? Running around getting things done but never stopping to enjoy what you’ve done? Never feeling much of a sense of accomplishment?

What’s the point then?

Obviously, there are times when you sacrifice some of the enjoyment part of life so you can achieve some of the accomplishment part. But what about when the achieving something part never ends?

For me, D-day was always my 40th birthday.

Recently, I started to re-read Shirley Kawa-Jump’s (awesome) book, How To Publish Your Articles, and was struck by the first sentence. I apologize in advance for cutting it short, but here’s the part of the sentence that stopped me in my tracks: “Every writer—whether he dreams of getting a single article into print, launching a freelance career, or...”

(“Or what?” you’re screaming at me. Well go get the book! You’ll be glad you did, I promise.)

The very first time I read that sentence, I would have been happy just to have one article published. It would have been a BIG accomplishment!

And that thought brought me freedom.

Thanks in no small part to that book, I did get an article published. Then many more, to the point that I'm working on being a freelancer full time. But I can, if I want or need to, get a different job. I could clean houses. It’s a lovely job. No really! I did it for years while I dreamed of being a writer.

The point is, I have other options for making money. Freelancing might be something I want to do for the joy of it, rather than for the income.


I have assignments right now on my desk waiting to be “accomplished.” I’m going to try to remember the joy of doing them while I’m doing them, and not the pressure.

I used to think what I wanted was to make a living by writing, because I like words. They’re fun.

But will I like them if I do this for a living? We’ll see. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my dustrag near the door.

I hear 40 is an age of self-assurance, of coming into one’s own. I think I like that concept! The pressure’s off, in any case. I get to make new goals for myself.

Hey, I finally understand the purple-hat-wearing women – it isn’t because you no longer have to put on airs to impress others; it’s because your self-imposed deadline is up. You don’t have to put on airs to impress yourself.

By the way, speaking of having fun with words, Linda Formichelli helped me remember how much fun it is to play with words when she started Tom Swifty contest at The Renegade Writer blog. I’m so thankful for the fun, it’s almost not fair that I won the contest too! My winning Swifty:

“I hate writing articles with bullet points,” he said listlessly.

She’s sending me a signed copy of Query Letters That Rock. Woot!

Hey, I’m not too old to rock!

What kind of writing do you do for fun? Is it still fun for you?


Serenity Now! said...

Hahaha... listlessly... that is a RIOT!

Yes, Shirley's book is awesome. I, too, bought it at the start of my writing career and read it cover to cover. I love it.

I'm reading a book right now (I'll blog about it later!) and there's a line about "the more you focus on achieving a specific end result, the less likely it is to happen". Instead you are supposed to focus on the steps, the NOW, the actions today.

I like that because I get all wound up about "The Goal" and easily frustrated when it doesn't happen NOW!

(For proof, check out my nickname... Serenity Now!)

Carolyn Erickson said...

Yeah, that's good advice about focusing on the steps for another reason, too. We can't always control the outcome (particularly if it depends on someone else's free will choice).

But we can control the steps. And we can believe positively for a good outcome - which still keeps the goal in view...


Linda Sherwood said...

I loved your entry, Carolyn! I can see why it was the winner. :)

Carolyn Erickson said...

Thanks, Linda!

If only I could add this to my resume. Hey, I get a free book out of the deal, lol.

I can't wait to read it. Query letters are not my forte'! Well, maybe they will be after I read this book!


Karen L. Alaniz said...

Aha! I found you...I found you!

That's a great one...listlessly! Congrats!

Love the blog too! Oh and did I mention that today is my birthday? Yeah. I've yet to reach one that was depressing and I hope to keep it that way.


Carolyn Erickson said...

Oh! Happy Birthday Karen!!

I don't care how old I get, I'm still excited about my birthday. It's probably not very "mature" of me. :)

But bring on the cake, candles, cards, and presents!


Carolyn Erickson said...