You’ve been thinking about it. C’mon, I know you have. It’ll be 2014 before you know it. Man, where did it all go? With all the writing, marketing, submitting, and researching, sometimes it’s hard to keep track.
How did you do this year? Did you accomplish your written short-term goals? Make good progress on your mid-term and long-term goals? How about progress goals? Did you re-assess where you want to go for 2014?
Or did you not have any goals written at all in 2013?
There’s plenty online about goal-setting, achievement, progress vs. objective goals, and motivation. And maybe I’ll post about those things in the future.
But for my final post of 2013, I want to share a story. One that makes me cry, almost every time. And it’s not even about real people.
It’s a fairy tale called Peter and the Golden Thread. I’ll tell it based on what I remember, with a few additions here and there.
In this story, Peter makes a wish, or something like that (I don’t remember how it happened). An old woman gives him a crystal ball with a shiny thread stuck in it. She says he can pull on it to skip over life’s boring parts.
Peter’s jazzed about this. He has a quiz at school. But it’s a great day to be outside running around. He eases the ball out of his pocket, and pulls the thread, just barely. He looks up, and the teacher’s excusing everyone to go home for the day.
A few years later, Peter’s on his way to his apprenticeship to a blacksmith. But why spend all those years, just waiting? He tugs the thread, hard. Next thing he knows, he’s outside the doors of his own shop. He meets an attractive girl, soon enough. They get engaged. He yanks the thread. BAM! Beautiful wedding, after what seemed like only a few minutes.
I’m sure you can guess how this ends, but I have to say it anyway—Peter winds up an old man who’s unfulfilled, and full of regrets at the end of a life he didn’t really enjoy.
If you’re anything like me, you visualize time for what it is—a sort of invisible wall at your back, inching you forward. Now, what you do with the time is your own. But every day, that wall slowly pushes you down the path of your life. It can’t be stopped, controlled, or anything like that. We can’t get time back (which has spawned many a science fiction story, by the way).
Goals are important. Improvement is important. But along with that, sometimes for me, came a lot of regret about not doing what I could have.
Regret sucks. Regret doesn’t help anyone. Coulda, shoulda, woulda is no way to live.
Maybe I should take a step back…
As writers, we’re good at keeping people in the moment—reading our sales messages, fiction, or what-have-ya. That’s how life should be—staying alert with loved ones, events, and getting everything we can out of every experience (even those we don’t like).
Imperfection is okay. It’s not an excuse to be sloppy or unprepared. People can be so afraid of making a mistake, or being rejected, that they do nothing at all. Which doesn’t help anyone get better at querying, submitting, marketing, or anything else that improves one’s grasp on the craft of writing.
No matter what we write, getting better matters.
As I close out the last post of the year 2013, I want to thank you, most of all, for hanging out with me on the blog.
2014’s almost here.
Let’s make it the best, all right?
Until next year,