Friday, April 27, 2012

Demon Goals

Leisha here, and as you can see from the title, I'm talking about goals.

Now, don't start groaning.

Goals can be fun.

They make you happy.

Really.

And I'm not talking about the kind of goals you make on New Year's Eve. You know, the I'm going to lose weight, or the I'm going to write a novel goals. I'm talking about smaller ones. Let me give you an example:

I (shamefully) admit to being addicted to DragonVale. It's a simple little game app for the iPad, in which you raise dragons, grow food for them, and build them lovely little zoo-like habitats. Yes, I know, it's kind of pathetic that a grown woman spends some of her time trying to cultivate dragons.

But it's fun.

Why? Because at the beginning of the game they have all these goals for you. Things like: raise a lava dragon, build ten farms, raise a rainbow dragon, win a gold medal in a dragon contest... Just little stuff like that.

It might seem corny, but it's not. Here's why. The game creators didn't set a goal that said: Win the game. They set a whole bunch of little goals that are really achievable. They gifted the players with milestones.

And here's the thing, I went through the game checking off those goals like they were the yellow brick road to Oz. It gave me pleasure to strive for them and meet them. It kept me coming back each day for more.

And, when I reached all the goals, I kind of felt sad. I floundered. I lost all interest in the game. UNTIL the game makers, in their great wisdom, came out with new things for players to strive for. New dragons. New goals. Suddenly I was interested again.

Goals are powerful IF we use them right. They're like presents that tantalize us with shiny promises. They urge us forward. They offer a sense of completion. And I'm telling you, that in the novel writing business, where writing THE END doesn't come around that often, completion is a big deal.

I have this goal to finish my present novel. I've had it awhile. Sound familiar to anyone out there? Yeah, thought so. Anywho, this kind of goal is big. It's huge. It's amazing.

It's hard.

Hard sucks.

BUT, setting a variety of smaller goals isn't hard. It doesn't suck. And I'm not talking about just breaking your novel into scenes. I'm talking about turning the writing into an adventure. How so? Well, setting a goal to write a scene today sounds boring and sluggish and boring. Setting a goal to discover my main character's greatest fear is fun. Why? Because it's doable. It's different. It's tantalizing.

And guess what? I'll do that in a scene that magically gets me closer to THE END. Tricky huh?

Tomorrow I might set a goal to find out what might be worse than my MC's greatest fear. The next day, what it feels like to kiss an elf prince, or how flying feels, or what rotten fire peppers taste like. Anything that sparks that creative demon inside my soul into wakefulness.

Demons hate being bored. And so do I.

What goals are you going to set to wake your demons today?

Leisha Maw

14 comments:

  1. Ooh, I've never thought of setting goals like that- mine always have to do with silly things like word count or revisions. Hmm...what kind of juicy goals can I come up with?

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    1. Juicy is good, and never boring. :)

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  2. Baiting the demon is a great analogy. I always think of my novels as wild animals and I have to observe and prod them for a draft to see what they do under which circumstances. I'm ready for the final draft when I feel like I know enough to harness the beast without killing it, and can get rid of all the prods and bait I was using to see how it behaved.

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    1. Thanks. I like the taming the wild animal angle, too. Very nice and adventurous.

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  3. That's brilliant, Leisha! And here I was doing my old boring goal of five pages a day. I'm already scribbling down adventurous discovery goals for tomorrow. : )

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    1. I love discovery. It makes me breathe deeper and live out loud. Bring on the goals!

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  4. Love this! Off to set set some demon waking goals. Thank you for the inspiration.

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    1. What a great post!
      We all need motivation. Writers require it more than most because that yellow brick road is painfully long, and hard, and exhausting. Oh, and then there's that evil witch that tells you you can't write.
      Do you get points for liquidating that shrew? LOL

      Another gem, Leisha!

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    2. Alison, thanks! Waking demons is always a great idea. Just carry a stick. They get cranky.

      Sandy, that witch deserves liquidation. Extra points for sure. Thanks!

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  5. Hello, beautiful space, passing to say hello, nice to read your text.
    if you like the poetry I invite you to my espacioes, thanks.
    happy day.

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  6. Yesterday my goal was to turn a personal experience into a short story. It was kind of a fail - I still can't figure out what motivated me to do something so stupid. So that means the main character's choices aren't making any sense.

    Today I'm writing sci-fi horror again, and trying for suspense.

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    1. I am really liking short stories. You get to write THE END so much sooner. Bonus!

      And your attempt wasn't a fail, because you recognized a problem and can now work on fixing it. The only true fail is quitting. And our captain is too bold for that. Arggh!

      Sci-fi horror sounds so delicious. Yum.

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    2. Yes, I really enjoyed reading my last sci-fi horror short to my teen writers club. It's that moment when you suddenly realize you're surrounded by DEAD SILENCE because your listeners are hanging on every word. And then someone squeals in total freaked-outed-ness at just the right spot. Oh, yeah, that's the best.

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  7. Dead silence is the best. Way to make them speechless. Woohoo!

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