Writing Goals and Contentment

Posted Feb 28 2018, 7:00 am in , , ,

Circling back around a little this week to that other thing I love writing about…writing. Specifically, writing goals and contentment and contemplating if hitting the bullseye is mandatory or if the outer rings will suffice.

Goals for me are a constantly moving target. They shift and change. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes on accident. All part of being flexible, I tell myself. And, as my Downward-Facing dog can attest, flexibility isn’t my strong point.

One goal I work to keep constant though is contentment. Underneath all the other goals, I believe this one is the most powerful. And it’s the hardest to attain. A slippery fish we can hold in our hands one moment and drop the next, watching as it flops across the dock into the water until we catch it again.

Here’s a quote from the Dalai Lama I’m considering as wallpaper for my office:

When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’

In a world where our computers, phones, televisions, and even watches bombard us with things we need, it’s hard to imagine this.

Let’s look at some synonyms and antonyms for the word contentment, shall we?

  • Synonyms: Fulfillment, gratification, serenity, ease
  • Antonyms: Dissatisfaction, upset, worry, sadness

One look at my bathroom countertop tells me I have some more work to do in the synonym category. Whitening toothpaste, Retinol, Goop, and neck firming cream greet me every morning and say goodnight to me every evening. My maintenance crew. But do they speak to something else? Maybe. There’s a fine line (or maybe it’s a deep chasm) between products helping you feel content and feeling content without the products. 

But more than superficial contentment, what about the contentment that grows from within. A seed we plant and water and nurture, every day. A garden of peace. Our true North. That’s what my writing goals are testing at the moment.

I see a crossroads coming. Crossroads make me fidgety. 

My writing goal started as – acquire an agent, traditionally publish my first novel. I’ve queried that novel a year now. It’s still being considered by three agents. So I’m waiting. If those three say no, I have new decisions to make. New goals to ponder. Self-publish? Tuck that novel away in a drawer? Drink lots of margaritas? 

What will I be content with? How will I balance contentment and ambition?

Maybe it’s all about working toward a goal and if that goal proves (momentarily) unattainable, adjusting to a new goal…and being content with that. Letting it be. Doesn’t that sound awful difficult?

Then I hear stories like Jamie Siminoff’s, who went on Shark Tank in 2013 with the goal of making a deal for his WiFi-enabled doorbell. He was rejected. He said he left the show “literally being in tears.” But the publicity from the show helped his failing business, and he decided on a new goal, re-brand and make more products. Amazon reported yesterday it is buying his company, Ring. Reuters estimates it will cost Amazon $1 billion. Quite a goal shift. I wonder if he’s content. 

One thing I know for certain, shaping words into stories makes me content. A crazy, light feeling washes over me as I tap out sentences. Writing this blog makes me feel content. Connecting with y’all and sharing life’s ups and downs and forming friendships makes me feel content. (Thank you.) And yet…I still want more.

I want strangers to read my stories (even if that means bad reviews). I want to write and sell books. I want a book signing. Sorry Dalai Lama, I’m not there yet. But I promise to grasp onto those things above that do offer contentment. Make them my entire target. Keep writing and aiming and see where the road leads.

Until then, stay tuned and stay content.

Tell me your thoughts. How do you manage your goals and contentment? 



4 responses to “Writing Goals and Contentment”

  1. Raegan Comeaux says:

    I love this piece. In my line of work (my passion), I am always asking the question: Did I do all that I could to help a student and a horse reach their full potential and/or goal? I think the the most content I feel is when the goals are broken up into a series of tiny goals. These tiny goals are the steps up the mountain to the lofty goal. Contentment, is to turn around and look at all the tiny steps you have taken. The peace is in the “pause”. Enjoying the “pause” is the best part of the journey. Can’t wait to read your next piece!

    • Jennifer Moorhead says:

      Absolutely Rae! Well said. I love tiny goals. And you’re right, looking back on what you’ve accomplished helps! That’s why there’s base camps on Everest. Sometimes I have to remember to focus on the base camps not the peak!

  2. Rachel Thomas says:

    Good stuff! Something I am struggling with myself. But we can always plan our next goals over a margarita!!!! Write on sister!

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