Goal-Setting Essay

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not….Habit is persistence in practice. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.”–Octavia Butler, “Furor Scribendi”

“Learn and Run!”–Octavia Butler, Dawn

“I chose a spot near the river. There I prepared the seed to go into the ground. I gave it a thick, nutritious coating, then brought it out of my body through my right sensory hand. I planted it deep in the rich soil of the riverbank. Seconds after I had expelled it, I felt it begin the tiny positioning movements of independent life.” –Octavia Butler, Imago

In my English 431 class on Octavia Butler, the concept of thinkING is always urged by professor Beth McCoy. With Octavia Butler being one of the main focuses of the class, understanding and thinking about her writings is crucial. I consider thinkING to be more of an action rather than just a simple thought process. When thinkING, you can be more cognizant about your thoughts in terms of expressing them in an easily understandable yet intellectual level. ThinkING is to expand your thoughts rather than just state them. The above epigraphs are encouragement for our thinkING on what we have read and learned so far in the class.

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not….Habit is persistence in practice. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent” (Octavia Butler, “Furor Scribendi”). This epigraph could not be more relevant for a first year student taking an English 400 class, especially when it comes to goal setting. In terms of forgetting inspiration, I agree with Octavia Butler that habit is more dependable. It does not matter if you are lacking in talent or a natural born prodigy, the way to succeed is through hard work and dedication. Inspiration is fleeting, hence why most writers experience “writer’s block”. Habit, the urge to continuously work to become better, is not fleeting, but constant. Octavia says “continued learning is more dependable than talent”, and by that I can only begin thinkING about how she means that through absorbing new information and working to improve is far more reliable in terms of skill than simply being naturally talented. Natural talent comes without hard work and effort. As someone who is fresh out of high school, a goal to set would be to continuously work and strive to have writing that belongs in a 400 level class. I did not come into this class believing that any natural writing talent I concocted in high school would serve me well, but rather to improve and build off of the skills I already have. To make improvement a habit.

“Learn and Run!”(Octavia Butler, Dawn). Another epigraph from Octavia Butler, this time not as lengthy, but still possessing a deeper meaning. Learn and run? To learn and run, meaning, gather all the information that one possibly can from an experience, situation, class ect., and continue on through life with that knowledge stored away in your brain? With the concept of “thinkING” playing such a major role in this course, to “learn and run”, how can the reader take time to truly THINK before acting with this new information? To “learn and run” effectively would be to digest the text/reading and be able to have an in depth conversation with peers, classmates or professors on the topic provided. A student oriented goal that can be created from this epigraph is to be fluid in ones ability to think about information and then create conversation from the topic. Being able to learn and understand and carry it with you throughout your life.

“I chose a spot near the river. There I prepared the seed to go into the ground. I gave it a thick, nutritious coating, then brought it out of my body through my right sensory hand. I planted it deep in the rich soil of the riverbank. Seconds after I had expelled it, I felt it begin the tiny positioning movements of independent life” (Octavia Butler, Imago). Octavia Butler’s words in this epigraph can have a reader think about the concept of care. Octavia plants a seed, picking the optimal setting and care (“nutritious coating”) before planting it. Soon after, life. Nothing can grow without care. One may also think that this epigraph is an allegory to Octavia Butler’s own work. She nurtures her writing, and when it is published it is brought to life in the eyes of the reader. A lot of this English course emphasizes care. Care in one’s reading, work, thinking and most importantly one’s own self. My interpretation of this epigraph is that something can be brought to life with the proper nurturing. From a student’s prospective, especially when it comes to setting one’s own goals, being able to take time to care for yourself can be most important on the path of growth. In the class discussions, care for accountability is often emphasized. To understand, acknowledge and address one’s own growth as a student producing work.

The majority of these epigraphs take into consideration the importance of growth. Hard work is more notable than natural talent. Only through continuous, diligent hard work can one improve beyond just natural talent. To learn and run (not to be confused with learning and wanting to literally run AWAY) is to absorb information and then be able to move onto the next awaiting challenge. Growth is only apparent after care. It should be a goal amongst student’s to desire growth in every aspect of their life, whether it be personal or academic. Octavia Butler’s epigraph require thinkING to understand the many different underlying meanings that a reader can conjure from her writing.