What keeps you going? I’m not talking fibre food here, although, granted, prunes are very good to keep things ticking along in the old bowel department – we aren’t getting any younger. No, I refer to, in this instance, what drives you forward in achieving what you do? What are your goals?
Back in the day, I didn’t need much by way of things to keep me going, happy as I was with a bat, ball and some friends to peg it around a field with, the day stretching out ahead of us, packed full of Grifter bike riding, football and the odd game of knock a door run. Fast forward a couple (or so) decades, and while I can still knock the bejesus out of a rounders ball game, my goals are different. No more Grifter bike sessions for me.
Goals you see are the lighthouses of writing – without them we cannot see where we are going. Goals stand on the edge of the sea, solid, unwavering, beaming out a light that can be seen for miles away so that if, when stuck, the wind whipping your hair into your face, the sea swirling your stomach into a dangerous lurch, you find you need to find your way, goals beam a light so strong, you find your course and re-set on your path.
I have the best family in the world. Utterly the tops. We are a solid, nutty unit of four, 2 adults, 2 kids, 4 brains. And one crazy goal: to own a farm. We’ve had this dream now for a couple of years and, instead of abating, it’s only snowballed, rolling down the hill faster than Usain Bolt at the Olympics. The dream’s getting so large we can’t ignore it. ‘Farm!’ the kids will shout, which is difficult at 6 in the morning.
My kids, you see, are country girls. Give them a pair of wellies and some mud and you give them a dream. They love to be outside, obsessed as they are about all things animal, vegetable, and sweet lord, I bet mineral. Once, we went to a place, for our Easter holidays, called Feather Down Farm. You stay in this yurt thing – glamping, I believe it’s called – where you sleep in a posh tent with feather-quilt beds, a table, home-made casseroles and a wood burning stove. It’s bloomin’ great – and it’s on a farm. The eldest got to hold a lamb one day and oh my lordy, you should have seen her face. She was in love. She had that gooey eyed look that said, ‘I have found myself’. I didn’t hold the lamb – country is not my thing.
But, no matter, we have a goal. Last week, I had a little falter with my writing. I had hit a wall and was doubting what I had done, if I could move it forward. I know. Numpty. And then the youngest came in and said, ‘Mum, when are we getting a farm/small holding?’ (We’ve taught her well – she knows a small holding exists and is perhaps the more realistic option. I am not slopping out. Think City Slickers).
And that’s when it hit. My goal. I had lost sight of my goal, my light house. Because, for me, while personal success in writing definitely does motivate me, my family motivates me more. And if that means my goal to write is to help us to buy a farm (small holding), with wellies on my feet and straw up my backside, then so be it.
So, that’s my lighthouse, or, farm house, if you will. I have found my course again through the choppy waters of writing and I am set sail to a farm (small holding). Granted, as a city girl, it’s not my ideal choice, although, to be fair, it beats coughing your guts up on exhaust fumes.
How do you set your goals? What are they? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about rape opinions and a Gloucestershire MP…**