Goals Shmoals - by CJ Omololu

I don't set goals. Ever. I go to a writer's conference every year and at the end there is a big ceremony where you write down a goal on a piece of paper and then throw it into the fire. I always set fire to a blank piece of paper. Goals for me are just little scraps of reprimand, tangible evidence that I didn't accomplish what I set out to do.

Despite my feelings toward actually setting goals, there are things that I know deep down I always wanted to accomplish. When I'm feeling like I should quit writing, I like to look back on the thing I've actually done right:

1. Growing up, I always felt this nagging inside that there was something I was supposed to be doing, but it wasn't until I wrote my first story at the age of 38 that I even had an inkling of what that thing was. I'm grateful that I finally figured it out.

2. I started writing initially because I wanted to see more brown kids in books. I'm thrilled that my book TRANSCENDENCE that is coming out in June has a gorgeous, hot, brown boy on the cover (the one that's out there now on Goodreads and Amazon is NOT the final) that I hope to be able to show soon.

3. When my kids were small, I'd walk through the Scholastic book fair and wonder how a person actually got a book on those shelves and how it would feel. I'm thrilled to say, I finally found out this year:

This was at my son's middle school and I had no idea it was going to be there. Let's just say it was one of my life-highlights so far. And why yes, a poster just like that happens to reside in our basement room as we speak.

There are a couple of 'wants' that I'm trying to work on this year:

1. I want to listen more. I have very little interaction during the day with other humans, so when I get with people I tend to talk too much. I want to learn to listen rather than just waiting to talk. When you really listen, people have great stories to tell and you might be able to steal them for your writing.

2. I want to stop wasting so much time. I finally have a great writing space - lots of light, plenty of work surface, places for books etc.:

It even comes with a cat and a dog. There's only one problem with this workspace, which you might be able to spot with a photo from my work chair:

Yeah, it's in my kitchen. Which means that every time someone walks through the room, I get distracted. I spend a lot of my writing time cleaning, tweeting and fussing around - it takes a long time to focus. I'm not sure if I solve this by learning to drywall or just figuring out an iron-clad work schedule, but it's something I want to do.

3. I want to see my book being read 'in the wild'. A few years ago I was at a skate park in another town (yeah, I hang out at skate parks) and spotted a girl reading a friend's book. I texted that friend right away and we squealed about how cool that was. I'd love to see someone I don't know, on a train, in a cafe, reading my book in public (one of the reasons I'm not totally sold on ereaders - you can't peek at covers). Nothing I can do to make that happen except spend 2o12 writing the best books I possibly can.

Happy New Year!


  1. I can definitely get where you are coming from about goals. I also have that same desire to see my book being read in the wild. I used to ride the L in Chicago to my old day job and look at all the books and just dream of one day spotting mine. I'm glad I'm not the only one! Congrats on that awesome Scholastic display as well!

  2. Seeing that display in your son's school must have been a jumping and squealing moment, too. It would have been for me. So cool!

  3. Wow, that book fair display is great! And I'm with you on not wasting so much time...

  4. Yes--congrats on that display! And I love the idea of seeing your book "in the wild!"

  5. Love this post and yay for a wish come true! I must confess, I did something potentially mean today. I gave DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS to an obsessively clean friend who is recovering from surgery and can't do any housework for five days. But in my defense, she requested my favorite reads, so I had no choice. ^_^


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