May 15, 2012

Writing, Purpose and other Illusions - Tracy Krauss

It's hard to believe we are almost at the halfway mark in 2012. When I look back at my writing goals for the year, I'm also halfway between elation and dismay. Let me explain.

Last year I set out some very specific goals for myself in terms of my writing. These included increasing my blog following to a certain number, acquiring an agent, and seeing my third novel, PLAY IT AGAIN, in print. I'm happy to say that I managed to achieve each and every one. In some ways, though, last year's "success" set me up for a more lackadaisical approach in 2012. I decided to go with the "one word' trend for 2012 instead of a traditional list of goals, and chose the word "purpose" as my word.

It's been good in many ways. I re-read Rick Warren's PURPOSE DRIVE LIFE, perhaps gleaning more the second time around than the first, and I do consider the word 'purpose' on a daily basis in my prayers and as I plan my activities. However, not having an actual list of goals has left me 'purposeless' on some occasions as I sit down at my computer to do my online marketing and promotion. Exactly what am I trying to achieve? A broader reach? Increased sales? More hits on my blog? I'm not quite sure, so I just go about my business and hope for the best ... generally not the best method if you're at all interested in tracking measurable results.

All is not lost, of course. I obviously have some vague ideas about what I want to accomplish in terms of my writing, and just because I didn't list them in January doesn't mean I can't do so now. My fourth book found a contract thanks to my agent and WIND OVER MARSHDALE should be coming out this fall. As well, I've had some great success with my stage plays. I'll have four new plays in print this year, since I just mailed off two new contracts today for two more plays. Oddly enough, my first play, "Ebenezer's Christmas Carol" is making more money on royalties than all my books put together.

With so many irons in the fire, its often difficult to find the time to write new material, however. Perhaps this is where a self imposed daily word count would be in order. I enjoy the NaNoWriMo flurry of writing, and to be honest, I work best under pressure. Perhaps this is why concrete 'lists' tend to work for me. Even if I don't get around to completing everything on my list, it helps me to stay focused and gives me a sense of purpose. (There it is ... that word again.)

Its been a good year so far. Next year, however, expect to see a concrete list of goals come January. Some 'old tricks' still work best.


  1. You're a busy girl, Tracy. Thanks for inspiring and making me rethink my approach. Great post.

  2. I think it's good to find a system that works for you. In these last two years, you can see that having a clear set of goals pushes you to achieve those. I think I prefer to have simply have a purpose. :)

  3. Oh, and congrats on all your achievements in the last two years! So many books and plays published is exciting. :)

  4. Wow, you've done a lot! Congratulations for the plays, the contract and the three pub'd novels. (And you're working full-time too, right?)

    I can somewhat put myself in your mindset (always feeling like there's something I've missed; something I should be doing more of). For myself, I'm trying to be less driven. Perhaps it's the age of life I'm in. I want to savour people and events more, not be so productivity oriented. Do you suppose our reactions to work change as we go through different life stages? And so for me, a one-word approach, to assuage my guilt when I'm not working, would be just perfect.

  5. Hi! Thanks for the visit and comment on my blog.

    I normally write goals down for each year. This year I went with a different approach, too.

    It's working for me though - probably because of WHO I'm focused on! ;o)

    Blessings to you!

  6. Hi Tracy,

    I can relate to your need to set goals. If I don't, then I flounder. I'm looking forward to your next novel. The last two were superb. And where can I find your Christmas play?


  7. Sometimes we need to try something new to learn what works for us.... and sometimes it just confirms what we already know.

    Enjoyed your posting and learning all that you're up to these days!


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