Thursday, 3 December 2020

 Pressing on To Meet our Goals

by Ruth Bonetti

Procrastination – let me count some ways:

Day Job (as in, don’t give up...) 

I’m grateful that teaching music has allowed ongoing income, where others have gnawed fingernails in an uncertain 2020. Ouch, the challenge to conquer technology platforms and teach online. I progressed from “Moi? Tech and I are incompatible!” to “OK, work is bread and butter.” Each day/week/month/term I grew confidence, skills, tricks. Brain exhausted. But jubilant that I could communicate in another way.


Online, I was welcomed into homes, met dogs, cats, goats, fish–and parents. Some thrived with parents at their elbows, reinforcing. One girl logged in from her vista on a Noosa beach. 

(Memo: time for down-time!)

A lad appeared with a box on his head. Students emailed photos of playing Last Post in driveways.

Dear readers, I survived the year. Now it's time for writing. Flick switch in head. Clunk.


Are my ideas useful, words worth reading? WORSE. Meet its ugly sister:



It’s so hard to get a book published, to find an agent. OK, self-publish.

I’m a shy introvert, I hate marketing! People must think I’m always pushing my barrow, blowing my trumpet in their face.

It’s HARD to tempt people to buy a book. Let alone write a review. 

My last book burned me out. I’m a resting author.


                        Without Vision the people perish.
                        Without Vision the writers languish. 


Set Sensible Goals

Mid-year (and what a year it was!) I announced I would publish Book 3 of my Midnight Sun to Southern Cross saga in October. Que? Crazy. 

Plus, a children’s musical story is underway. (Um, I’m a musician but a less confident composer).

Committing to another book, St Lucia and the Art Deco Mansion: What drove the man who built it?  cranked me from stationary lethargy into first gear. My revised goal is early 2021. February? 

Because music teaching dries up in December-January (as do incomes) I have time – and NO excuses – to hone, polish, finesse.


Set do-able goals

Last week a reputable publisher offered an online pitch for children’s book submissions. After wasting time in a new-genre funk, the deadline approached and whoosh! Write, rewrite, cull, revise, rewrite, edit, run past supportive writing buddies (thanks, Jeanette O’Hagan and Debbie Terranova!), rethink, rewrite, prune to word count, edit, proof. Press SUBMIT! 

Eyes blurred, dry yet watery, muscles creak, RSI wrist. 

I met the goal!

One-Step-at-a-Time Goals

A picture book will grow into a musical story. I’m heartened to see a need for social-distanced, small-ensemble performances, as in There’s a Sea in My Bedroom. A when-the-time-is-right-later goal. 

Way-Out-of-Comfort-Zone Goals/ What’s-to-Lose Goals

A mentor taught me a lesson that illumines my teaching and life. I dedicated Sounds and Souls: How music teachers change lives to conductor John Curro. In it (and again in Midnight Sun, so life-changing was this experience) I tell the story:
While at university, John Curro, conductor of Queensland Youth Orchestra, sees that I need a challenge. The Copland concerto is virtuosic but also allows me to express the instrument’s singing tone and lyricism. There are altissimo register and jazzy syncopated rhythms to conquer. And John knows that I will enjoy exploiting its introvert and extrovert qualities.
‘Why not?’
‘Because the next round performance is two weeks away and I have not learned, let alone played, the Copland.’
‘There’s nothing to lose. You can fall back on Weber. Just do it.’
How I practise. Never have I worked so. I climb a technical Mount Everest; slay dragons of my weaknesses; my rhythmic vagaries are drilled into precision, altissimo register runs conquered. Day and night for a month I live, work, sleep and finally surmount the Copland Concerto. My performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is already a triumph; there is no apprehension about winningI did so already. This is my moment, charged with electricity. I shine, ecstatic. 


Last year, the day of my students’ concert, “Big JC” was elevated to conduct celestial orchestras. I dedicated to him their performance of a seat-of-pants Boogie. Did they nail all the notes in the right places? No. Was it a riveting performance? Did they learn improv? Do they now welcome challenges? 


                                                    It’s time to stretch my writing muscle. 

                                What goals haunt the too-hard section of your mind and heart?

 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NRSV) 

                St Paul didn’t always know where he was heading, but trusted God’s driving directions. 


Ruth Bonetti feels she's written all she can say (famous last words?) about her fields of music, performance and pedagogy. She's nearly done with award-winning historical biography/memoir. Her grandchildren inspire new horizons of children's picture books. 

Memo to self: a blog is ages overdue. 

Facebook pages (See also Music, Presentation) get more airplay. As sometimes does the magical realism channelling of a long dead great-uncle. 


  1. Ah Ruth, I love your indomitable writing style and spirit! What a great motivator you are! You manage to inspire such optimism and hope in me as you combine your gentle, self-effacing manner with such audacious positivity. No wonder your students adore you!

    Confession time: Your challenges got me good!

    "Self-sabotaging" Ouch! Rip the bandaid off and let the Son shine in to heal it, much.

    "What goals haunt the too-hard section of your mind and heart? ... St Paul didn’t always know where he was heading, but trusted God’s driving directions."

    I've been vacillating and procrastinating for weeks over writing the blurb for my novel. I've accomplished too much in my journey towards publishing this novel to find myself faltering at the final hurdle.

    Thanks for the nudge (or boot!). Challenges received and accepted.

    1. Mazzy my dear, thank you. Glad it hit a spot, though I winced at the ripped bandaid.
      And blurbs? Ugh! You and me both. An aspect I tend to outsource after my own best efforts wilt. So hard to be objective, and a blurb is the one part people read first. Here's a thought; a blurb for my next book is on my to-do list. We could swap and give feedback. Start a Blurb Club. (Someone suggest an alliteration, please?)

  2. Well done, Ruth, for stepping out of your comfort zone and attacking those tech demons and other esxiting goals. 2020 has certainly been a learning curve. No doubt all of the new skills you've learned will be a bonus for you and your students in the future. Good on you for plugging away and trying new things. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Nola. Interesting that even after the luxury of face-to-face lessons again, some students who are home sick can still catch up on Zoom.

  3. Great post Ruth. I am impressed on all you have accomplished in a difficult year. Well done. And those online lessons must have been something new and wonderful after you got through the tech stuff. Loved the pictures too. Thank you for your words of wisdom and for some reminders of how to set goals and what works and what doesn't. May 2021 see you climbing big ladders of success in all you set your hand and mind and heart to.

    1. Thank you Anusha, sad how easily we succumb to the "what we didn't do in 2020" instead of what we DID. I'm glad the photos added human interest. May your words shine in 2021.

  4. Sorry I was slow to respond to your encouraging validation, Mazzy, Nola and Anusha. I took my own advice and spent down time at Noosa beach! :)