Monday, January 23, 2012

BHAGs for 2012

]\Big Hairy Audacious Goals. We all have them. They might hover within our own heart and mind, never shared with family or friends, but they exist as much as we live and breathe. They are goals we might be hesitant to make but find necessary to note. After all, we're told to dream big and this is our opportunity to do so.

As writers, we tend to chart out some annual goals, 5-year goals and even beyond. We want to see some progress in our careers and this makes total sense. If we're serious about this writing life, then we need to push ourselves to produce, to create, to make some headway. Personally, it begins with writing each day. I see a definite increase in not only quantity of words but quality when I write each day. Maybe it's the satisfaction of knowing I've completed what I set out to do, or just modest word count goals.

The key is to build on these goals and to reach for the sky. I have many writer friends who are amazing with their output, their ideas, their creativity, their spunk. I find myself quite envious at times. But most often I find myself inspired. Writers are a different breed and we all know it. Inspiration is hard to find and a welcome friend indeed. So when I see friends entering contests, having an article published, signing with an agent - I'm just as giddy as if it were happening to me.

So, now you're wondering, "Ok, Kirk, so what IS your BHAG for 2012?" Honest question. I have ten goals for the year. Major ones, not just fluff 'n stuff. At the top of the list would be finding an editor or agent who falls in love with my novel(s). Let's not even worry about whether they purchase the story. While certainly the reason for celebration, I would much rather receive some positive feedback, have someone "get it", first.

Now it's your turn. What is your BHAG for the year? In future posts, I'll be sharing my ten primary goals for 2012 and how I hope to reach each of them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thought for the Week: Facing Your Fears

"Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a classic quote and one you could take a number of directions. As this is a writing blog, let's focus on facing fear in that arena. I've been writing since third grade but it took me many, many years to reach the point where I felt confident enough to actually write something I wanted other people to read. I'd boxed up most of my writing aspirations (my dreams!) and left that life behind me. At 40, I unboxed story ideas and worked on finishing a novel. As with anything in life, to overcome a fear, you must face it. My fear was that I wasn't good enough and that no one would ever want to read what I wrote. I won't lie and say I've completely eliminated that monster, but I have come to realize my writing is a gift. To not write is to neglect a precious blessing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moving Write Along

2012. It's amazing to me that yet another year has passed. Each one seems to end up in the past faster than the year before. Perhaps it's how short the Washington summers seem to be. Or that my children are growing at an astronomical pace. Or maybe it's just as you get older, time seems to pass more quickly than when you're young and carefree. No matter. I'm convicted more each day to live --- and write --- with more purpose, a brighter outlook and a youthful heart.

But each year does present its own challenges. Thankfully, last year only brought forth the challenge of unemployment. Yes, thankfully because they didn't include hospital stays and liver transplants. While my own parents' health slowly deteriorates, I see my young children and realize soon the baton will be passed. Theirs are the lives of promise, of unbounded optimism.

I don't mean this post to be filled with sadness or regret because there is indeed great promise in the days ahead, for all of us. For me, part of the promise will be rediscovering my daily writing habit. Thrown off by the layoff and period of unemployment, it will take some effort to regain what I thought was a sure thing.

At the same time, regaining confidence in the quality of my writing will be key. I've faced some measure of rejection and yes, overly harsh self-critique in the past year but I know I CAN write. And so I shall endeavor to reacquaint myself with the stories and words I love.

Finally, I realize 2012 is my year to write the "hard" stories - those of things closest to my heart, particularly my youngest daughter's liver transplant and our family's journey through that valley. The story does not yet have an ending but there are many lessons to be culled from that field of uncertainty that I pray will be a balm and encouragement to others.

What challenges do you face in 2012? Do you have "hard" stories of your own that need to be told?