30 Aug

What’s your Holy Grail?

Posted in DIY MFA, Goals, Process

As we gear up for DIY MFA, we’ll be talking a lot of about goals.  Yesterday we focused on operational definitions for our goals (i.e. small concrete and measurable steps that represent the bigger, abstract goal).  Today we’ll be emphasizing the flip-side of that idea, namely the Holy Grail.

What’s a Holy Grail, you ask?  It’s that elusive dream, that unbelievable quest that shapes all your creative goals.  Julia Cameron (of The Artist’s Way) calls this her True North.  I call it my own personal Holy Grail.  It doesn’t matter what words you give it, the idea is the same.

Two people might have similar goals but a very different Holy Grail.  For instance, two writers might both want to get published but to one, the Holy Grail is winning a Pulitzer while to the other the Holy Grail might be getting on the NYT Bestseller list.  Notice how both writers have parallel small goals (getting an agent, editor and having their book published) but ultimately the differences in their Holy Grails will shape how they approach these intermediary steps.  Even if they never reach that ultimate goal, the Holy Grail will influence the goals that lead up to their ultimate success.

But wait, you say.  Didn’t we just spend all of yesterday figuring out small, concrete, manageable goals?  Are we supposed to give up on those all of a sudden and go after wild and crazy dreams?


Here’s the secret: The Holy Grail shapes your goals, but it doesn’t define them.  So go ahead, dream big.  Let your mind go through all those fanciful scenarios you would never admit to anyone.

Your task for today:  What’s your Holy Grail?  Write it down and post it somewhere where you can see it every day.  Here’s mine.


Comments on this post

  1. Misa says:

    To sell the TV rights of TRtS and have My Boy play Corin.

    Hey, you said big!

    1. darksculptures says:

      To see the expression on my grandchildrens face when they find out that my current WIP is on their required high school reading list.

      Of course, I don't have grandkids, yet, and I haven't written this particular story, yet, but you said dream big and the draft will be finished by the end of December. Note to self – continue to break that down into concrete goals.

      1. Shaddy says:

        To take over the world with iggi.

        1. gabi says:

          Misa and Darksculptures – Those sound like fantastic holy grails. iggi and I are looking forward to celebrating and throwing confetti when you get there.

          Shaddy – Muhahaha!

          1. Sonia says:

            When I was little I always dreamed of winning the Newbery Medal one day! I hadn't remembered that until reading this post; thanks for reminding me : )

            1. Sonia says:

              and, of course, to get a short story published in the New Yorker!

              1. Kerryn Angell says:

                To have a whole bookshelf filled with novels written by me.

                1. gabi says:

                  Oh these are all such good ones! I love hearing everyone's dreams and iggi's so excited, he's already started throwing confetti. 🙂

                  1. Janice says:

                    Ultimate dream is to see someone on the subway/bus/plane/street/beach etc reading one of my books. I imagine myself asking them if they like it – of course they love it – and then telling them I wrote it. Sigh – I love day dreams.

                    1. kathanink says:

                      To see my published work on the new releases shelf at Borders and Barnes & Noble. In the store, not just online. And to be able to fund my writing habit fully so that the hubs can quite his jobs and pursue what he wants to do (since he's been so generous in allowing me to do it). 🙂

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