#ROW80: Do You Know Which Dream You’re Chasing?

Bob Mayer wrote a post this week called True Grit As a Writer – a definite “must-read” post – and it got me thinking. Bob always  gets me thinking.

One of his comments back to his readers stood out to me:

Bob Mayer says:
There is much you don’t control.  But never stating a goal in the first place is the big mistake most people make.

For many years, that non-statement of goals was one of my biggest problems as a writer. If I didn’t state it, no one but me would know that I was too pansy-scared to chase my dreams. None of my fellow ROW80 participants have that fear problem, right? *clutches sides laughing*

We all state our goals using the SMART method:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Sensitive

Just to hedge my bets, I also made out a Life List where things could be a bit more esoteric. The goals are still specific and measurable, for the most part, but many of them deal with work/life balance rather than a page count.

You know what I noticed about some of my Life List goals…particularly the ones I want or need the most? I used wishy-washy language.

I’ve corrected a few (below in red) so you see what I mean.

  • Finish the polished first draft of my high-risk pregnancy memoir by July 31, 2012.
  • Take the first Warrior Writer course offered by Bob Mayer in 2013. again when I have time to devote to it.
  • Take two courses Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist and Deep Editing:  The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More from Margie Lawson’s Lawson Writer’s Academy by the end of 2012 with the goal of attending her Immersion Master Class in 2013.

Do you see the difference? Do you see how my fears of over-extending myself and succeeding  helped hold me back? I wasn’t “going for it” when I wrote my life list. With the changes above, now I am. I’m going to go back and update all my goals with strong language.

ROW80 is about chasing dreams, and dreams take work. And GRIT. Don’t forget that part.

Stating your goals for the world to see takes quite a bit of courage.

What if we go for it…and FAIL?!
What if we go for it…and SUCCEED??!

Holy Cowbell, what do we do then??

It always comes back to the Undies here at More Cowbell...

We put on a NEW pair of titanium undies, make some new goals and chase those. We’re writers, dammit! Writing isn’t for pansies. Writers have GRIT.

Jenny’s Round 2 Goals

  • Write 1 hour a day on my WIP, no matter what – that’s 7 hours a week. Report the number of pages completed at each Sunday check-in.
  • Walk 10 miles per week.
  • Lose 10 pounds by the end of the round. Since taking off weight feels like chiseling a cement block these days, this is a very lofty goal, but it’s time. Hopefully the gluten-free eating will continue to help.
  • Get Baby Girl into pre-school by the end of May and work to make sure the transition is successful (and try not to cry over it).
  • Teach my first online course before the end of May. Teach three by the end of this round.
  • Read Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! and James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure by the end of the round.
  • Encourage my fellow ROW80 peeps every Sunday – minimum of five. Click here if you’d like to encourage your teammates too!

Though my goals might change a bit each week, these are the biggies for the round. I’m making a big career transition right now and the list above will help move that along.

Have you used strong language with your current list of goals? Which goal are you most excited about? Which one scares you the most? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here are More Cowbell!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
This entry was posted in Team #ROW80, The Writing Journey and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to #ROW80: Do You Know Which Dream You’re Chasing?

  1. Excellent specific, time-sensitive goals Jenny!!! The red edits definitely make sense. I haven’t decided on my goals yet. I better go write the check in post to get the gears a turning. 🙂 Have a great Round!!!


  2. Great Goals.
    On March 14,2012, I wrote down the following goals:
    In one month, I will guest post on another blog site.
    In three months I will publish a short story and finish the outline of my first novel.
    In twelve months, I will finish my first novel.
    In eighteen months, I will publish my first novel.


  3. Jenny – I love when I visit your blog! Your writing had such a great flow. I like how you took the open endedness out of your goals and made them definite.
    I never even thought that I could lose some weight by walking. Thanks for throwing that in there! (see how I made that all about me? ;))
    Good luck this round, Jenny. I think you’re gonna do swell.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Darlene, I think you need to be going up and down hills and pushing 30 pounds in front of you for the weight loss part, but you can certainly come walk with me and push the baby. LOL…

      Seriously, it’s about building muscle and raising your heartrate – walking can absolutely do it. Thanks for the heaps of compliments – can’t wait to go check out all the ROW80 posts after my Easter party!


  4. LauraDrake says:

    Showing your goals rewritten in color is a very powerful visual, Jenny.
    I think you may be overreaching what is possible, given your obligations, but
    you go for it! You know what they say, “What if you reach for the stars and fall
    short and get the moon?”


  5. showard76 says:

    Greta goals, Jenny. I have to admit to not having made mine very SMART this time round, but I need to ease back to things gently at the moment and not achieving my goals would just stress me out at the moment, so being wishy washy ones gives me a bit of a break!? Good luck achieving yours! 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thank you, Sharon! Trust me, when I made the goals, “wishy-washy” was all I could take. I’ve kicked myself in the keister for this round because I’ve been stagnated on a few things and I think a little shaking up was in order. 🙂


  6. Emma Burcart says:

    Such a good point! Sometimes we are so scared that we don’t want to make our goals specific or measurable, because then we won’t really have to check in with them. I need to work on this too. I LOVED the examples from your life list. Now I know how to go back and work on my goals. Thanks for the help, Jenny!


  7. These sound like really smart changes, and I’m convicted. I need to stop wimping out when it comes to my goals too. Now that things are quasi-stable in my personal life, it’s time to buckle down. Thanks for a great post 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re welcome, Marcy. Trust me, I am a master at “wimping out” when my personal life is in a state of flux. (Even though real people just call that work/life balance, I get where you’re coming from. 🙂 )


  8. Gene Lempp says:

    Great ideas on goals there Jen – gives me much to think about. No matter how good we think we may be at goal setting and follow through there is always more that can be done. You are always an inspiration, my friend. And you are right – it always comes back to the undies 🙂

    Have a great week – all the best!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      It’s so heartwarming to have pals who get how freaking funny Undies are. Thanks, Gene! I’m delighted to have given you back some food for thought. You heap my plate full of it all the time. 🙂


  9. KM Huber says:

    Hi, Jenny!
    Just finished Bob’s Conflict and Idea workshop and was it worth it! Finally framed the idea for a draft of a novel I’ve had for seventeen years. As you know, he is so good at drilling down to the kernel idea. I, too, have my eye on more Write It Forward workshops.
    Really like the specificity you have inserted into your goals and am attempting to do the same. The first week I stopped eating sugar, salt, flour and dairy, I think I lost more than ten pounds but it is a huge change in diet. Again, SMART changes.


    Good luck


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Karen, my critique partner, Laura, took Bob’s Conflict and Idea workshop too and loved it. I’m so glad to hear it was helpful for you. And I cringe to think of giving up dairy too…I’ve had a ton of people suggest it, but I’m having a hard enough time with gluten. 🙂


  10. Ryan King says:

    Ha. You were reading over my shoulder this morning weren’t you? I talked about my ultimate writing dream but I think it may take more “grit” than there is sand on the beach. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way. Thanks for the encouragement.


  11. authormarieandrews says:

    I’ve taken all of Margie’s workshops and LOVE THEM!
    Great job on making clear and concise goals.
    Hope you have another great week! 🙂


  12. Reblogged this on wordsbydesign and commented:
    This post definitely gave me insight as I redefine, refocus, and tighten up my goals. Check it out! .


  13. The body language/dialogue cues class will be amazing! I had to take a class similiar for a job and it fascinated me. I learned so much! And it certainly made me more sensitive to body movement, tone, and inflection as well as choice of words. It is telling. I’m excited for you.


  14. Great goals, Jenny. love that they’re so specific.


  15. Juliana Haygert says:

    Great post! I’ll go check my goals list right now and see if I used strong language (I bet I didn’t and have to fix it). Thanks for the tip!
    Have a great week 😉


  16. Julie Glover says:

    I suggest one change to your goals list: About baby girls’ preschool – “and try not to cry over it more than three times.” I’ve been that mom, and I’ve run a preschool. Most moms cry. In fact, the ones who didn’t were drunk when they dropped their kid off or already had five older kids and couldn’t wait to drop the sixth off. LOL.

    Great list, Jenny! Best wishes with your goals. I have gotten more specific with my goals each round. Now I need to go back and tackle my 40 After 40 List (aka bucket or life list); I’ve only knocked off maybe 7 things so far and I ain’t gettin’ younger. Happy ROW80 Round 2!


  17. Sarah says:

    Titanium undies! I love it! I’m reading Plot & Structure now and have Save the Cat slated for later in the round. 🙂 We’ll have to compare notes when we’re done.


  18. CC MacKenzie says:


    That’s a lot of goals, Oh Great Pantster.

    I work on 10,000 words per week when I’m in the flow, which is about to start soon. Most times I double, treble that but that’s okay. I try to work out three times a week and sometimes I do more. Using weights now and that’s a killer let me tell you.

    Diet’s gone to hell in a hand basket due to Easter and the chocolate fairy delivering too much sugar. Back on track next week.

    In the middle of edits too and since I’ve changed the title of two books to say confusion is reigning in this house is an understatement! Who said this gig was easy? And why am I not better organised?

    Great post, but maybe consider halving the goals? Just say’in!

    Much Hugs
    Christine x


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I totally need to get back to weights! (And of course your diet goes to hell in times of heavy chocolate pimping. Those Cadbury people? Pimps, every one of ’em.)

      I love to see other people write there goals here. Thanks for sharing, Christine! It could be that I’ll scale my goals down but I must at least TRY. Catch me in 40 days. 🙂


  19. K.B. Owen says:

    Oh, Jenny, I’m so proud of you! Way to go, girlie! It is so true about the wishy-washy language – that’s why I’ve made my writing goal a lot more specific, too – otherwise, it’s too easy to duck out of!

    Good luck!


  20. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Your goals are really smart this round, Jenny. Good luck! And aww to your baby girl going to pre-school. It’s a big change for the mommy too.
    Thanks for sharing the titanium undies. They cracked me up


  21. Coleen Patrick says:

    I’ve been wishy washy too. I definitely need to be specific! Good luck with your goals Jenny. 🙂


  22. I never “met” Bob Mayer until today. Thank you for the introduction. Your cowbell rings loud and clear.

    My eldest baby will be heading to her Junior Year abroad in the Fall. The thought of her being not 3,000 miles away every day but 6,000 miles away everyday is more thought than I can bear right now and yes, I still cry sometimes for no apparent reason except I miss her.

    And I use that missing her to fuel my writing. It works wonders.

    Excellent job with Round 2. Keep chiseling away!


  23. Stacy Green says:

    Love your red edits, Jenny! Good luck on your goals this round – I’m looking forward to your progress:)


  24. Em says:

    My goal is working on self discipline. I need to write more often and edit less. I am more of a tortoise type. Slow and steady, just plodding along. I always get there in the end. 🙂


  25. Shawn says:

    love your post. got to use SMART myself. and love the idea of encouraging fellow ROWers. look forward to your Sunday post.


Comments are closed.