If you don’t do it yourself…

Some people who follow this blog and a lot of people who know me in real life know that I set a lot of odd and arbitrary goals for myself to get things done. Often, they’re almost OCD in nature: this has to be done first for this to happen, and if this happens this way, then that happens, and if it happens that way, this happens. They’re not exactly easy to explain, but I do incorporate them into a lot of aspects of my writing. Posting in this blog every day and at least 200 words is an example. The writing a page a day of a new novel is another example, and, in a way, the trying to get through all those books this year is a third. And I’ve been doing relatively well on those aspects of my writing. The current book I’m trying to finish just will not end, it seems; I was planning to have it finished for three days now, and if I don’t finish it today, I will be very annoyed.

I realized, though, that I haven’t really incorporated any sort of goal for sending out my short stories to journals. As a result, I haven’t been sending out much. Originally, I wanted to force myself to set aside time to do that as I have for the other things, but the problem was that, with the other things, I never would get a chance to do anything else if I threw in editing all my shorts stories and sending them out, too. I didn’t quite have the attention span to add that to the list.

So I had the thought this morning that perhaps the goal for sending out my stories shouldn’t be personal. It should be monetary. It’s probably a crazy idea, but it might be worth a try. Every writer would like to be paid for their work, right? Well, what if I paid myself? For every story I managed to successfully send out to a publisher, I allow myself five dollars of spending money for non-bill related things. Groceries, clothing, you name it. Money is extremely tight and I do a lot of goal-planning with my money, too, again almost OCD-like, and the concept is intriguing for me. If I want to be able to spend a $20 grocery budget, I have to have sent out at least four stories. If I want to buy that sweater that was on sale or that new book, better get out the SASEs. It does sound a little crazy, I’ll admit that, but the prospect of seeing how it works and if I can keep up with it, or if I’ll just give up and give in and buy groceries anyway, is really exciting! In a way, it’s using the starving artist concept as a motivation. Want to eat this week? Better get cracking…

It would be interesting to consider the psychological analysis of the reasons why I have to set these goals that usually deprive me of something to get anything done, really…

And then, I swear, if none of this really ever takes off at all for a while, I’m going to see about pulling a Walden and just living in the woods behind my grandmother’s house for a few years…


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