Goals Refresher Part 3 – Creativity

“Let’s set ourselves up for our future selves to be grateful,” my favorite millennial recently said on her podcast.

It’s going on 7 months since COVID-19 upended our world. I took advantage of the forced time with myself to work on a few goals I’ve claimed to want to achieve for years. How am I doing? Let’s find out!

GOAL: BECOME A WRITER.

COVID-TIMES: Thanks to F&A’s goal-setting strategies, I create a three-pronged approach. 1) Write every day: short stories, scripts, blog posts, whatever! 2) Revise. Repeat. 3) Submit: contests, magazines, agents.

TWO MONTHS IN: I’m blogging! A few people read it! Thank you, people! I found Carrot Ranch and entered their 99-word contests and won one! I entered a short film contest and a flash fiction contest too – didn’t place in either but who cares? I entered! I found a scripted podcast contest via the Austin Film Festival that I was too late to enter this year, but am dying to enter next year.

MID-JUNE: George Floyd was murdered. Black Lives Matter took center stage. COVID continued to rage. My creativity seeped away, replaced by deep sadness, loss and anxiety.

TODAY: I see the culture changes coming. They can’t come fast enough. Breonna Taylor. Jacob Blake. We need our moral compass to right itself. Like many of us, I now live with the tightness gripping my heart. There’s work to do, but there’s room for my storytelling too. I need the outlet to stay sane.

I’m back to blogging. Have I mentioned how much I missed you? But so far, this is all I’ve done. I haven’t drafted any new fiction. I’m not revising the slew of unfinished stories on my laptop. I haven’t started the scripted podcast.

I’m so, so far from selling anything I’ve written. Looking back at my original goal, I see how unfocused it is. It’s such broad, bland goal. I need to reign it in, make it specific, and then figure out what the steps are to achieve it. For example, in reverse order:

* Sell something I write
** Submit for publication and cross my fingers it’s accepted
*** Draft, revise, revise, revise, revise…repeat
**** Find places to submit material. Review submission criteria
***** Build up a stockpile of creative material
****** Draft, revise, revise, revise one story at a time

Of all of my goals, being a writer is the one I claim I want to do the most, but have the hardest time doing. “The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.” This is absolutely true. When I write, that moment feels magical. So what’s my problem? Why don’t I do it?

Does this happen to you? How do you get yourself unstuck? Please drop a comment or send me a message. I’m grateful for any and all advice.

Can You Breathe?

Eric Garner couldn’t breathe in 2014. George Floyd couldn’t breathe in 2020. Learn about how little has changed in six years here.

The Groveland Four were wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in 1949. In 2020, white woman Amy Cooper called NY police on a black man after he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park. Learn about how little has changed in 70 years here.

My mother taught me that it is wrong to not like someone for something they have no control over, like skin color or gender or sexual orientation or a disability. I’m not the only well-meaning white person who wants to help my fellow Americans and can finally see, plain as day, that meaning well means nothing.

For all of my generation’s luck to be born after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For our TV diet of Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Schoolhouse Rock. For the rise of rap and hip-hop as legitimate music. For the first generation of black athletes paid their worth. Generation X has had very little impact on systemic racism in America.

Generation X is pessimistic about social transformation. Millennials are more likely to oppose racism, according to Data for Progress.

Last night I checked in with friends in San Francisco, which just enacted a city-wide curfew. We talked about how sad and helpless we felt. “Donate! That’s what I’ve been doing,” Marshall said. Marshall is one of the smartest, kindest, most gorgeous people I know. And yes, he’s a millennial. “Put your money where your heart is! You want to help but you don’t want to feel like you’re just sad and angry and powerless. But I think by doing the research, understanding why and how black Americans have always been discriminated against, and then taking some sort of action, you’re playing a role.” He immediately DM’d links to resources all over social media.

I’m a white middle-class American woman. I have a lot to learn. But I’m a dutiful student. After going through Marshall’s links I went to Black Lives Matter and started at the “About” tab. Next was donate. Money makes policies change. Check out this great resource for donating by The Cut.

Learn more about how to be an effective ally here.

Read the LA Times’ Op-Ed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge here.

What about you, how are you feeling? What actions are you taking? What else can well-meaning people do to help? Let me know in the comments below.

Karens for Good, a reddit thread