Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

Checkmarks

Or, A long overdue update that got held because I was waiting for news to actually report.

Back around New Year’s, I made a checklist of goals to achieve this year. 2016 has reached its final quarter, and I have finally crossed off enough of the items to warrant an update regardless of desire to resume blogging (which has, coincidentally – or incidentally, perhaps – finally returned).

Let’s see how I am faring:

  1. Get divorced
  2. Sell the house
  3. Move home
  4. Clock my last day working as someone else’s employee
  5. Formally start my own business (website up, registered as LLC – to be done only after I am divorced and back in the state where I will be living for the foreseeable future)
  6. Finish updating my wardrobe
  7. Figure out the proper make-up
  8. Find at least a couple scents to start my “perfume wardrobe
  9. Finish writing Anything But a Gentleman 
  10. Write at least one non-romance short story

The list is more than half complete. And, other than item 4, literally everything else on it is both within my control and within my ability to attain yet this year.

No longer having an external employer is still a goal I intend to work toward, but it is going to take longer than this year. My thought was, use proceeds from the house sale to invest in me. As things outside of your own control tend to do, things played out differently in the real world and the amount left over was…if not insufficient to support me not working externally for a few months, insufficient to give me long enough to guarantee a clear answer about whether I *could* generate a sustainable self-employed income. So instead I am going to moonlight with my freelancing on the side of a day job. I should know within a year or so if I will be able to find sufficient work to justify scaling back my external work hours.

I have added at least one goal to the list, which is:

11. Make my first art-sewing project.

Over the course of this year, I’ve realized that I want to do more than sew clothes and costumes. Those are enjoyable and satisfying and often represent genuine challenges I set for myself. But they are also a little unfulfilling. A sort of minor league game, when I am capable of playing for the majors – and want to play at that level, at least some of the time.

That leaves me four goals on my list for the last 82 days of the year.

  1. Finish ABAG
  2. Write a non-romance short story
  3. Start my freelancing business
  4. Sew a costume piece fabulous enough to count as art

Not impossible. A lot of work, yes, and crossing all of them off will require planning, dedication, and discipline to achieve, yes, but not impossible.

And for the first time in a long, long time, the only impediment is…me.

(I’ve been here less than a week and have had approximately 2 days of near-relaxation. And this is the to-do list I make for myself. So INTJ it’s painful.)
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Baby It’s Your Call; No Pressure at All

I have been thinking a lot lately – the last few months, since the drastic change in life-course appeared on the horizon – about what I want to do when I have absolute freedom to build my own life. What do I want it to look like; what do I want it to be.

Perhaps the most important part is that I do not want to remain a 9-5 slave in the employment of someone else. I can work very hard and very dedicatedly, but the only times I am happy giving that much of myself is when the work is for myself. I dislike giving the best of me to someone else for a paycheck when I know they are not really utilizing my talents to the fullest. I would rather work for myself, because I as an employer of my self would understand how to best use my own talents. So foremost on my mind has been considering how to pimp out my various talents and expertises for a cash flow.

Funny thing: fiction writing doesn’t even make the list.

I have 4-5 different ideas and schemes in mind (and intention to implement all of them – the whole many small streams make a sustainable river income idea), some of which do involve writing – but not fiction.

Part of the reason for this, I think, is that fiction writing is slow (for me, anyway) and the return is not guaranteed – nor is it guaranteed to come right away. But a lot of it is inclination. The things that energize me, that make me excited to do with other people, that make me feel my entrepreneurial and innovative oats to sow, are not fiction writing. Fiction writing is personal. It is for myself, and if others enjoy it and give me a little money for it, great – but I cannot write for the money, and I don’t want to make myself hate writing because it’s not paying the bills. I realized, texting with a friend last night, that probably part of the reason writing has been so un-joyful for me in the last couple years, is that I had focused on it as a means of ending my day-job, and I was upset at myself for not being able to produce fast enough to keep up with the plan, and upset at the uncontrollable nature of selling. I was forcing myself to write because that was the plan, and it wasn’t enjoyable or inspiring. Sometimes you can only realize your dreams when you let an old dream go.

I am letting go of the idea of making my income writing fiction. I have a lot of other talents and skills that can be exploited without the use of an external employer to keep a roof over my head and food in my son’s mouth. That is my real dream. If I let go of novel-writing as the means of attaining that dream, I can make it a measurable and quantifiable goal with a probability of success by using those other talents and skills as the basis. And I can keep writing as a hobby, an artistic expression that I do for myself because I can’t not do it – and I can still publish the things I finish, when they are ready, and let my work find its audience. Maybe someday I will have enough work and enough audience to re-think the “day job” side of my work life. And maybe I won’t. But this way I don’t have to feel bad if I don’t, and I don’t have to despair that I will never get out of desk-job hell because my writing isn’t doing what it “should” be. I can have my dream – and my writing.

Sometimes wildfires are necessary to clear out debris and detritus.

We don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn – burn, motherfucker, burn.

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2015 Goals

Let’s evaluate how well I achieved my 2014 goals:

I am setting a few goals for myself for the year.

  • finish A Yuletide Wedding (prequel/companion to A Christmastide Courtship)

  • revise the novel I finished last spring that I know needs so much work

  • write the 4 companion short stories/novellas that go with Courtship and the other novel, so I can close those loops in my imagination and move on to other character sets

  • finish one of the other novels I have started…either the one I was working on last summer and abandoned before DCon, never (yet) to go back to, or the one I started during NaNo that is still at the forefront of my imagination

Boy, 2014 was an epic fucking fail.

I think I’m going to be more modest with my goals for 2015:

  • finish A Yuletide Wedding (prequel/companion to A Christmastide Courtship)
  • revise Anything But a Gentleman
  • publish AYW
  • rework the ebook files and covers for my three currently published works and republish them

Bonus goal: write anything else. Don’t care what. Don’t care if it’s new, old, related to one of the things I have finished or not.

I am holding Anything But a Gentleman from publication until i have its two companion novellas written and can publish and publicize them together. Perhaps antsiness to publish the main book, once I get it revised, will help inspire me to write them.

Perhaps this year I will not fail so abjectly at the modest tasks before me. If nothing else – I can’t do WORSE than I did last year.

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Looking Forward/Looking Back

2013 Year in Writing

Novels finished: 2

Stories started: 4

Previously started stories touched but not finished: 2

Stories started in calendar year 2013 finished: 0

Books published: 1

Estimated words written, new fiction: 100,000

All in all, not too bad for a year which continued the heavy workload at my day job and also saw my honeymoon, my first DragonCon cosplay crunch, the horrible and debilitating first trimester of my first pregnancy, and the continuing drain on my energy through trimester 2.

2014 in Perspective

I begin 2014 in a state of waiting.

My life is going to change forever sometime in mid-spring, and while part of me feels like I should be desperately working to achieve a few writing goals in the last months I am yet childless, the truth is…I do not have the energy or mental capacity to pursue any goal relentlessly. (The second trimester energy surge is a lie! A brutal lie told by true believers who are simply too un-self-aware to recognize that their energy is merely more than it was during the first trimester but nowhere near what it was before pregnancy! I, at least, have empirical data to prove that I am still only at 75% capacity.)

Now that the stress and flurry of tasks relating to publishing a book are almost done (in direct work, I need to send review copies out to the few bloggers who reviewed one of my prior books, as a thank you for those kind and/or instructive words as much as for particular hopes of more publicity…and I still have to re-do the covers and files for the Twelfth Night novellas), I am planning to refocus on writing. I think I will have to go back to doing it in the mornings before work–I’m just too drained after work to try in the evenings–and that will mean forcing myself to go to bed early, perhaps earlier than is really comfortable for me (8 o’clock versus 10).

I am setting a few goals for myself for the year.

  • finish A Yuletide Wedding (prequel/companion to A Christmastide Courtship)
  • revise the novel I finished last spring that I know needs so much work
  • write the 4 companion short stories/novellas that go with Courtship and the other novel, so I can close those loops in my imagination and move on to other character sets
  • finish one of the other novels I have started…either the one I was working on last summer and abandoned before DCon, never (yet) to go back to, or the one I started during NaNo that is still at the forefront of my imagination

Looking at expected word counts for the various pieces, this would put my desired production for the year somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 words – an eminently achievable goal if I can stay focused for the winter and early spring, and get back into the groove of writing not too long after the baby comes (preferably before I go back to work from maternity leave!). If the work were to be split evenly across 50 weeks of the year, that would be 3000-4000 words per week. Even splitting it across only 37 weeks (giving myself a full 15 off for baby) yields 4050-5400. Those are realistic weekly word goals, if I actually put my ass in the chair four or five days a week for an hour or two of focused writing time.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found more general resolutions to be better than really specific ones (goals are not the same as resolutions!). So this year I am giving myself only two, or really it’s maybe one and a half since the second is a reprise of my 2013 resolution:

Don’t panic.

Finish it.

Finish it

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Twelve Benedictions for My New Year in Writing

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I am not making resolutions this year.  Instead I wanted to offer myself a theme for each month in the new year to reflect on and use to help keep me on track.

1.  Hope

The beginning of the year is the time to get stars in my eyes and look forward to what can be accomplished this year. I want to dream big and use the excitement of dreams to renew my energy toward creative output.  The year is young, and I can do anything with it!

2.  Commitment

Make a conscious choice of which project(s) to take on and with the understanding that I will stick with them.  Dreams are all well and good, but at some point you have to make a plan to make them come true.  This is the time to commit to a dream and the path to realizing it.

3.  Faith

I need to have faith in myself if I want to finish anything. If I don’t believe I can accomplish something–whether it’s finishing a novel, or writing a story that challenges me, or keeping on top of both writing and real life–I won’t be able to. I have to trust myself to be able to do what I dream of.

4.  Balance

I have to make sure I am spending time on the things that make me happy–all the things that make me happy. I don’t want to focus too much on writing to the detriment of my relationships, but neither do I want to get so focused on the world around me that I neglect my writing. That happy, Goldilocks medium is hard to find but worth the work.

5.  Ambition

Sometimes defining actual goals can help motivate me. I want to challenge myself to do something attainable but not easy.  I want something to aspire to; not something so warm and fuzzy as a dream but an actual trackable outcome. If I have no ambition to do more, push more, be more, how will I ever actually try to do it?

6.  Dedication

I will have to make sacrifices to achieve my hopes/dreams/goals/ambitions. Writing isn’t a game. It takes discipline and focus. It means early mornings or late nights, time spent working after I’ve already put in my 9 hours for the day instead of relaxing. This is a measure of how I value my dreams.

7. Openness

I never want to close my mind off to new possibilities and new paths. There is such a thing as being too open-minded, of course, but I don’t want to get tunnel-vision that blinds me to better ways and ideas.

8. Pride

Aristotle had it right: take pride in your work. Take pride to make it as good as you possibly can, for the sake of doing the best work you can. For a disintermediated writer this is a commitment to quality of presentation as well as quality of craft. This is the idea I would describe in Twitter-speak as #standards.

9.  Determination

Sometimes you have to keep pushing forward when you don’t want to, when it’s easier not to. I don’t care if I am DFL (dead frakking last) as long as I am not a DNF (did not finish).

10. Perspective

Take a step back and focus on what you have done, not what you haven’t.  Notice where your life is, not where it isn’t. Don’t get so wrapped up in casting judgments that you forget to feel pride in what you have accomplished.

11. Grit

Moxie. The bullheaded doggedness to just keep going even when it’s stupid, even when it hurts, even when you think you can’t. It’s not the same thing as determination; it’s more primal than that. It’s the logical proof of your own mind that rejects the conclusion of giving up when you make that decision…the part that rejects it and finds a way to keep going, after all.

12. Courage

I want to be unafraid of putting my work out into the world. I am writing it to share, and I can’t let a fear of what people will think get in the way of creating or polishing or publishing. If I took proper pride in my work when I created it, then I have no cause for fear in sharing it.

Happy 2013, everyone. Blessed Be.

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2012 Year in Review

Goals failed: 4

Goals accomplished: 0

Words written: approximately 100,000.

Works finished: 0

Works started: 6+

Previously started works touched: 3

Books published: 0

Books sold: 150-200

Blog hits: approximately 5,000

Moments of existential despair regarding writing: at least 2

Moments of renewed hope: at least 3

Resolutions made: 1

KEEP WRITING TILL IT’S DONE.

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Is This a New–What Year Is This?

Or, The Ubiquitous Goals for 2012 Post

I sat down yesterday and took a look at where I am on various projects right now, and tried to set a few attainable but challenging goals for myself.  For posterity acountability, here they are:

  • Write 300,000 words of fiction (not all on the same project!)
  • Fully commit to and complete NaNoWriMo 2012 (either a complete novella from scratch or 50,000 words on a novel, new or otherwise)
  • Publish 4 new ebooks, at least one of them a full novel
  • Keep better stat’s for my writing

I would love to have my word goal divided more or less evenly between the four quarters of the year.  That would mean finishing my current novel-in-progress before April and the two related novelettes/novellas, along with any revisions and rewriting on the novel, by July. That would be a good start toward my goal, even if it would be a bit less than halfway by actual word counts (successful NaNoWriMo mitigates that!).

I think the important things for me to do are to keep track of both the big picture and the daily/weekly steps to get there. 300,000 is a big number…but it’s less than 1000 words per day if I write every day, or exactly 1000 if I write every weekday and one weekend day most weekends of the year.

So really the only thing I have to do is hammer out 1000 little words every day, and the goals meet themselves.

Anyone out there trying anything radically different in their goal-meeting approach this year? Let me know what goals all y’all are setting!

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