In 2004, I took a Franklin Covey course, the main purpose of which was to become more organized, and by doing so, accomplish more. Some might argue that the purpose was to sell more planners, and, yeah, I’m sure there was some of that from the company’s part.
We tend to become tunnel-visioned and focus in on just one thing. Some people who go to college are there to party, some to learn, some to get a degree because it’s the next box to check off on their list. Some are working toward that piece of paper because it will look good on their job search. Each of us can become so focused on that ONE THING that we miss the benefits of what else is there.
The Covey class contained a learning that I didn’t anticipate, and which became my main takeaway: It is important to get things done, but it’s even more important to make sure they’re THE RIGHT THINGS. One of the class assignments was to determine our life’s mission statement. WHAT would give our life more meaning? What was really important to us? Then we could choose the right goals to work toward. I decided that what I was missing was a creative outlet, and my Midlife Renaissance™ began from this. I wanted to become a writer, and I started (very slowly at first) to work toward that goal.
By 2011 I had only written TWO stories, and I knew that to really be a writer, I needed more output. I started setting what were for me aggressive output goals that I could measure, and I started hitting those goals. I’ve created a decent-sized body of work (and some people have even read my stories), so I’ve been comfortable for some time now with calling myself a writer.
There is no question I’ve trained myself to generate output. But that isn’t all there is to it. Something I advocate a lot is a reexamination of what we are doing and why we’re doing it. I find that, particularly as LIFE has intruded on me and made it more difficult to hit my marks, I’ve put more emphasis on the wrong parts – it isn’t just about getting a certain number of words written, or a specific count of stories completed. I should also be improving as a writer. This is something I assumed would happen through the practice of writing, but it’s a hard thing to measure. It’s easy enough to count words, or tally how many stories I’ve written or ePubbed, but how do you measure whether your writing is better? I don’t think there’s an objective measure for that. It’s like with a band that’s been around for decades and you’ve just discovered them. You like what they’re doing right now, but you may look at their earlier work as inferior. At the same time, some of their earliest fans liked them at the beginning, but see their later work as a disappointment. Who’s right?
I’m in the process of rethinking WHAT I want to get out of my writing. What is the purpose? For that matter, what is the purpose of life? And does there really have to be JUST ONE purpose that we work toward with single-minded devotion? Or is life a collection of side-trips. Not a destination, but a journey. Maybe I should stop complaining about life inserting its own meaning on my plans, and get the point.
Yep – I’m meandering. Just saying…
The release date for “Stalking Rebecca” is Friday, October 20th.
A reluctant date hears a tale from a no-longer-secret admirer explaining her fate. Maybe a love that lasts forever isn’t such a good thing.
“Stalking Rebecca” is a short, creepy, speculative fiction (and just in time for a Halloween read); it’s available now for preorders in many places, including:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent collection Just Some More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get Out of My Mind – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri