Six Lines: A Story About Checking Off Writing Goals

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As many of us are gearing up to attend blog conferences this summer, this 2014 post by Kristin Shaw seemed like a great source of inspiration!

Originally Published On Two Cannoli by Kristin Shaw

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade.
At the time, the Russians were winning the space race. The U.S. needed a goal; something to aim for, both figuratively and literally. JFK set the goal nine years out to give the space program life… to tell the world that this is what we are going to do.

In 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut in the world to set foot on the lunar surface.

[bctt tweet=”‘You can’t reach a goal unless you set one’ via @AustinKVS “]

You can’t reach a goal unless you set one.

This year, in January, I approached my group of writer friends with a proposal: let’s set our goals together, publicly within our group. I needed a target.

Six Lines-  A Story About Checking Off Writing Goals - By Kristin Shaw

My list was short: only 6 lines.

1)  Win a VOTY in 2014.
2)  Be chosen for a spot in the HerStories friendship anthology
3)  Choose a direction for a novel and get at least half done before the end of this year.
4)  Get a children’s book published
5)  Go to the gym 2x a week and fit into my clothes better
6)  Be published on Brain, Child
7)  Submit an essay to Precipice

Each goal looked like a small mountain; in fact, the very first goal was one I saw as a major stretch.  Last year, when I sat in the audience at BlogHer and listened to Adrienne Jones, Ann Imig, and Kelly Wickham as they made me laugh and cry, I knew that I wanted to be up there, too. I didn’t think for a second it would happen a year later.

When I got the message that one of my essays had been chosen as a BlogHer Voice of the Year, I picked up my son and twirled him around. Out of 2,500 essays, they picked mine as an honoree. And what was even more amazing to me was that it had been chosen to be one of twelve to be read on stage at the annual conference.  I had purchased a ticket with hope in my heart, but I wasn’t at all sure I could swing the trip without a good excuse. It was a thrilling moment, and my friends online were incredibly supportive and shared my celebration from the moment it was announced.

Last year was the first time that I had attended BlogHer, and I loved it. When I walked into the hotel lobby, the first person I spotted was Lizz Porter of Am I a Funny Girl?  I walked right up to her and gave her a bear hug.  She’s a hugger, see, so she didn’t mind. That one hug set the tone for two days of connection with people I never knew I needed. But I do.

RELATED: Expanding Beyond Your Blog – Bloggers Share Goals

This year, I walked in feeling confident and excited. Maybe a little too excited, because my nerves were on high alert on Friday before my on-stage reading. I dropped several things in the room while getting ready, because my hands were shaking. During the day, I know I was more distracted than usual, and I’m sure I missed out on meeting some wonderful people because I was stuck in my own head. Luckily, my friends rallied around me and walked me through it all.

Support system:
Top row: Kristin, Angela, and Greta
Middle row: Jennie, Arnebya, and Tonya
Bottom: Elaine, Jennifer, Katie, Leigh Ann, and Poppy
Photo by Elaine Alguire

Backstage during the Voice of the Year presentation, I got to meet some amazing women that I have admired from afar, and it is a privilege to now call them friends. Their stories were riveting and beautifully crafted. Their photos were haunting and gorgeous. And when I took the stage to read mine, I started out fast and then remembered how I had practiced it, and eased into a rhythm. I worked hard to keep my own tears in check.

The women themselves lined up to hug each speaker after her time on stage, and the support and love was tremendous. Women, catty? Not there. Not anywhere that I saw. In fact, maybe it’s the company I keep, but I met scores of talented and beautiful and sweet women (and one man, Neil Kramer, who has the most amazing Instagram account).

[bctt tweet=”‘The support and love was tremendous. Women, catty? Not there'”]

The exhilaration of reaching this goal feels so good, and last week, when Scary Mommy published my essay on her site, more than 30,000 people shared it.  Perhaps it struck a nerve.

This is what my goals list looks like now:
1)  Win a VOTY in 2014 – Check! — and won a VOTY in 2015!
2)  Be chosen for a spot in the HerStories friendship anthology – Check!
3)  Choose a direction for my novel and complete half before end of year – in progress
4)  Get a children’s book published – Book written and waiting for publication date
5)  Go to the gym 2x a week and fit into my clothes better – well…
6)  Be published on Brain, Child – Check!
7)  Submit to Precipice – Check! And chosen for a spot in the book to be published this fall

It’s time to create some new goals.

Kristin Shaw profile pic smKristin Shaw is a freelance writer, 2014 BlogHer Voice of the Year, and co-producer of the Listen to Your Mother show in Austin, where she is the mother of a mini-Texan. Her work has been featured at The Huffington Post; Washington Post; Brain, Child; Erma Bombeck Workshop; In The Powder Room; and Scary Mommy, among others. Shaw is also a consultant in the aviation industry and Director of Social Media for Airport Improvement Magazine.  Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

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7 Comments on “Six Lines: A Story About Checking Off Writing Goals”

  1. Such an inspiring piece. I believe in setting goals in my athletic life, but I’d not been quite so specific with my writing life. Clearly, it’s an area where I need to fine-tune my focus.

    The other takeaway from this is the importance of a supportive network. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this and being a wonderful mentor to the community.

  2. Very inspiring. I am realizing that I am not really setting goals, voicing them out loud or writing them down. I believe what you say about not reaching a goal unless you set one. Things won’t miraculously fall from the sky. I needed this reminder – thank you for this post!

  3. You’re amazing! You inspired my goal list too, and I’m glad to say that I can check some off too. You’re onto bigger things this year!

  4. YOU have inspired me to set my own goals. Come to think of it, you’ve inspired me to do a lot of things, my friend. You should be SO proud of yourself, Kristin. Keep it up!!

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