Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Gotta get Crows done before the end of the year. Progress updates at House at the End of the Road.

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I’ve spent at least a couple of hours a day most days since Christmas trying to work out a plan and a strategy for 2013.

It hasn’t gone much of anywhere.

I had a mental picture of what I wanted to accomplish and worked out a detailed plan. It didn’t last out the first week.

I put together another plan. That one never even got started.

But I’ve been making progress anyway. Getting things done. (At least I was until I got sidetracked by planning a late winter vacation escape…but a person’s got to have her priorities :D ).

So I’ve decided that for now, for at least the first part of the year, that’s my only goal. Get things done. I’m still recovering from the grief over my father’s death, still coming out of a long dry spell, still tender inside. I need to give myself time and space.

So: I’m going to try to get things done. I’m starting with short story submissions. I would like to start new writing as well, but while the urge is there, the direction is not. But that’s all right. It will come.

Today’s post was inspired by the “projects” prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour! Up next: D Jordan Redhawk.

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change and no change

I just ran across a blog post by Christina Katz that has some interesting things to say about decluttering your career.

She makes some excellent points about letting go of the old things so you can accept the new, which seems to have been the message I’m supposed to learn this year since just about everything I read has been harping on it in one way or another. I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues since early in the year when we cleared out the house. I keep waiting for all the new opportunities that are supposed to fill the empty space, both literal and emotional. They aren’t happening.

Am I expecting too much? Apparently I’m supposed to take it on faith that something will be there when I step out — but so far I’m just wandering in circles.

Maybe I haven’t cut enough old stuff? Maybe I need to take the old bumper sticker advice and do something, even if it’s wrong…

Oh. Wait. Is that what they mean by stepping out in faith? Trusting that it won’t be wrong?

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Erin M. Hartshorn
tagged me in a meme that’s going around, The Next Big Thing. The quickmeme entry seems to have been hacked by somebody with a Newt Gingrich fetish, but some googling turned up this as the main question list:

What is the title of your next book?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What other books of the same genre would you compare yours with?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s geared to writers who are published, with a new book coming out soon, so many of the questions aren’t very relevant to me yet.

I have several projects under way that I’ll begin submitting in the new year.– short stories, a couple of novellas, and a novel titled “Overamped,” about a professional snowboarder dreaming of Olympic gold who gets the woman of his dreams instead. If I took out all Joey’s sex fantasies and all the f-bombs and other modern terminology, the book would shrink significantly, so it’s not a romance :) I’ll probably just bill it as mainstream when I start to market it. I plan to start with conventional publishers, which means finding an agent. Self-publishers have done well in genres, but mainstream is still pretty much the property of, well, the mainstream.

I also have a bunch of ghost story/dark fantasy/somewhat erotic short stories and novellas to go out. I’ll use a different name for those and I’m planning to focus on small online publishers, at least to start.

It doesn’t take me very long to write a first draft. It’s the second and third that take forever. Generally the “first” draft is more of a proof of concept, to make sure the characters are interesting and complex enough to sustain the story, and there’s enough story there. So throwing out an idea after first draft is pretty common for me. Then I’ll expand it in the second draft. Way overexpand it, usually. Then the third draft will be about locating the heart of the story and cutting out non-essential stuff. Usually I wind up combining subplots and characters. For instance, in Overamped, Joey owns a small sporting goods store. In one scene he waits on a customer with a small kid. I was able to combine that woman with the mother of a kid on the snowboard team to turn two “furniture” characters into a bit of emotional trouble for Joey.

I’m not going to tag anybody in particular. If you’re reading this, and it sounds like something you want to blog about, consider yourself tagged.

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Right now I’m trying to write up my September results and October goals. I had very modest expectations, since the primary business of the month was to give myself some space to grieve and recover. I’m to the point where I want to get back to work and feel restless and all that when I don’t, but while I can write down goals that sound good, they’re just in my head. I can’t really commit to them with any belief or desire.

You know the old joke about how bacon and eggs illustrate the difference between being involved and being committed? The hen’s involved, the pig’s committed? In a lot of ways I’ve just been involved with my life, not committed to it. I don’t mean that in an angsty or depressed sort of way, either. I’ve been doing what I want and working hard to get it. But enthusiasm waxes and wanes. Goals change. Discouragement sets in when what once seemed attainable is still just a rainbow on the horizon. And losing someone close to you can make you question all your life’s assumptions.

I’ve been through ups and downs and dry times before. I know that sometimes, commitment means just putting one foot in front of the other while the trail sinks down into the mud. This is probably another of those times. But sometimes it pays to pause and make sure you’re still on the trail you think you’re on.

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Walking to Sanity

Last week Neil and I attended a talk by Nancy Sporborg and Pat Piper, two New Hampshire women who climbed New England’s 67 mountains taller than 4000 feet. (Note for people from western states: a 4000-foot mountain here is about the equivalent of about a 9-10,000-footer in the Rockies.) Nancy wrote a book about their adventures (It’s Not About the Hike) and now they travel around New England giving inspirational talks about their experience.

Nancy and Pat started with noontime fitness walks and quickly expanded to the challenge of peakbagging. The talk covered what they had learned from their hiking: things like “I’m not ready to give up” and “when we commit to something, you can’t stop us.” They talked about how everybody has their own mountains to climb, and they aren’t all literal, and that we can all live our lives and pursue our passions.

They speak frequently to book clubs, libraries, hiking groups, and women’s groups around New England — if they’re in your area, I highly recommend that you attend. They have some lovely photos, too; it’s worth attending just for that.

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We’ve been planning for quite some time to sell the house after youngest graduated from college — a plan that was indescribably far in the future when we came up with it and is now bearing down on us from the high speed lane, without brakes.

It sounds simple enough. Sell the house, buy a smaller one that’s easier to take care of and doesn’t have so much empty space that’s just there to collect junk. And stuff. So much stuff…but I’ve complained about that in other posts. For now, I’ll just say that between getting the house ready for sale (cleaning, painting, fixing, calling contractors, supervising contractors etc. etc.), going through the process of selling (more cleaning, paperwork, phone calls and showings, and then more paperwork, etc.), and finally moving us into someplace new (oh, wait, yes, find a new place while all this is going on, and go through all that paperwork, etc.) my life and schedule are going to be unavoidably disrupted for an unknown amount of time.

That means that planning anything on a tight deadline is not going to work. Planning anything that requires certain things be done at certain times of day is not going to work. I won’t know what days are available for writing or when unexpected tasks, appointments, etc. are going to fling themselves at me from hidden corners. But I don’t want to be totally without goals, either. When I do that, I wind up spending all day playing Fitz or Wordslinger.

After poking around at my goals, at the work I have in progress, and the time I have available, I figured out that most days I’ll have a couple of hours first thing in the morning when I can write. We get up early, so even if I have contractors coming over, I’ll be up before they are.

And I will have other breaks during most days. As long as I know what I’m spposed to be working on, I can make quite a lot of progress. So I’m going back to something that worked for me when the kids were little. I’m putting together a portfolio with half a dozen works in progress to carry with me, and whenever I get a chance I can pull out one of those to work on. When I finish one, I add another to the queue.

That will let me reserve my time at my computer for work that really has to be done at the computer: research, marketing, submissions, and so forth. Oh, and those video games…

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