There are a few words in the English language that make a shiver of revulsion travel down my spine every time I encounter them. Some are innocuous words like romance, pink, and Valentine that for one reason or another have a negative association. A few only make me cringe when spoken by someone with a particular accent. For example, folks from a particular corner of Washington state say "warsh" instead of "wash." There are other words that are more obviously objectionable like the F-bomb. However, there is one word that has always been able to make my stomach churn.
I don't know why this word sends me into a fit. It's not the word's fault. In fact, it's a perfectly fine word. One that I celebrate during sporting events. (Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!) But those positive associations seem to vanish the second I leave the arena.
Why is that?
Perhaps it's because I had to fill out so many goal lists in school that I have a trained aversion. They are one of those things that we never see the usefulness of until we're adults. Or maybe it's because once I've taken the time to set them, I feel obligated to follow through? Hmmm. Could it be that simple? Could my fear of failure cast an unnecessary pall on what should be a good and noble word? Perhaps. They are kinda like New Year resolutions and pirate laws. They're only made to be broken.
Regardless of the reason, I haven't let my aversion prevent me from setting them. I just use other words in its place: promise, objective, benchmark, deadline, thing-that-I-must-do-before-I-die. I also have a pretty awesome incentive program to ensure that I don't forget why I want to accomplish them.
My ultimate (gulp!) goal is to be a NYT bestseller. I know. It's a lofty aspiration, but it's certainly not unreachable and it is what I ultimately want. Besides, I figure I'm never going to become a bestseller if I don't try. As a daily reminder, I have these on my bookshelf.
These are the Matchbox versions of two of my favorite cars. The silver one is a 2010 Nissan GTR and the black one is a 2011 Audi R8. (For those of you who aren't motor heads, they're really fast, really sexy, and really expensive cars.) When I reach the top 10 of the NYT (I say when, not if because I'm trying to think positive) I'm going to buy myself one of these cars. It'll most likely be the Audi because I fell in love with the real one at the Portland Auto Show. I named it and everything! :)
While the Matchbox cars are pretty effective, let me tell you, nothing will put a fire under your ass faster than coming face to face with the object of your desire. (Especially when said object is a smoking hot V10 convertible.) When I saw Excaliber, I was finishing the first draft of my YA novel. I'd been writing at NANO speeds for three months in order to finish it by my self-imposed deadline and was really burned out. But all of my creative fatigue disappeared when saw her gleaming carbon fiber and titanium alloy. The cruel fence that sepererated us only made me want her more. I was so close and yet so far away. The symbolism of the moment was quite poetic. It made me re-evaluate my feelings on the G-word. I can call it what I want at the end of the day but my promises, objectives, benchmarks, deadlines, and things-that-I-must-do-before-I-die are at their heart, still goals. Those goals and subsequent rewards have kept me going for the past two years and will continue to fuel my determination as I inch toward achievement. That night I realized that as long I felt that fire, I couldn't be defeated by publishers, bad reviews, depression, or really, anything. I am an unstoppable force.
In the immortal words of Wayne Campbell, "She will me mine. Oh yes, she will be mine."