Goals and Train Rides

Cutie and I were watching a Great Big Story on a far-flung pub in the UK that you can only reach by train and ferry, and I got very excited.
“Let’s do it!!”
“What? There? Why?”
“Why?? Because it’s everything we like! Long train rides! Scenery! Things to take GoPro footage of! FERRY RIDES! WHALES! And at the end of the day, beer and a great story.”

Sometimes it’s good to re-evaluate goals in the middle of a project. There is of course value in perseverance; you only need to google ‘motivation’ to find tons of medium articles on how you just have to stick to your guns to succeed in your goal.

But what if you don’t know what your goal is? Worse, what if you are charging toward the wrong end of the field?

I don’t think there’s any advice that works 100% of the time. Life is too complex and weird for that.

I thought my goal for NaNo this year was to finish a novel in one go, egg-to-apple, once-upon-a-time right up to the-end. But I’ve been thinking about it. I think that’s a very good aim, but I don’t think it’s the prize. I think the prize is having fun while I’m writing. I think the ultimate prize is sharing my writing with people and letting them experience the same fun I had exploring the world. It’s hard to remember that, especially as I start querying and researching publishing houses and all that career-oriented stuff. It’s easy to get down the garden path thinking ‘my goal is to get published above and all else”. Will that take perseverance? Sure. Never said it wouldn’t. But that’s not all.

A long train ride is a slog. It’s long and boring and must be endured before you can get where you want.


A long train ride is where you watch the scenery and listen to music or just your thoughts and is a nice way to spend the time, with the bonus of ending up somewhere you wanted to go.

Perspective matters. Thinking about what you really want matters. Effort matters. Think about what your goals are, and whether you need to take your bearings again. The alternative is living life by default and waking up one day realizing want you wanted isn’t what you wanted after all.

Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy NaNo. Good luck, everyone.



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