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Posts tagged ‘Goals’

Two Years – Still Consumer Debt Free

About two years ago, I paid off the last of my graduate school bills. I got my Masters in May 2015 and for two years I sacrificed and worked to pay the degree off. It was tough, but I had paid off debt before (my undergrad degree and my car), so I knew I could do it.

Two years later, I’m still consumer debt free. I do have a mortgage, so I don’t consider myself totally out of debt. It hasn’t been hard, I love being debt free. There is no part of me that wants to go out and charge up my cards, or make any other foolish money decisions.

Why?

Because of the freedom I have now. I can spend my money on the now (regular monthly bills) and the future (savings & retirement), instead of the past.

But paying off debt also gave me something else. It reminded me that doing something long-term, eventually pays off. I had forgotten about that side effect.

Writing can sometimes be lonely and isolating. But sticking with a long-term project like a novel, or a collection of stories will eventually pay off. For me, just knowing that I did something empowers me. I’ve written novels before and they didn’t sell. No one wanted them. However, knowing that I could do it gave me the confidence to write more. Sooner or later, I’m going to write a novel that sells.

It’s Almost Spring 2019!

The first two months of the year are done. My winter season was pretty boring, as I spent most of it recovering and hunkering down in the snow. No blizzards this year (Yay!), but snow doesn’t make me want to get out in the world. I’d rather stay and sip hot chocolate.

But I haven’t forgotten about my goals this year. I’m pleased to write that I did finish a new story. So one down five more to go. Hey if I write one every other month, I’ll complete that goal.

One other development is a bit tough to swallow. For over a year, I’ve been stuck in almost the same place in my book. I keep saying I will work on it, but the truth is that I’ve been avoiding it. A few days ago, I took a hard look at it and asked myself why I wasn’t working on it. It wasn’t because I wasn’t working. I wrote a few stories. I still hand write almost every week in my journal. I even update this blog every so often.

Why, then, had I barely made any progress in over a year on this novel?

The answer: It’s the wrong book. I love the main character and I love her story, but this is not the book I should be writing. I had tried to write a more commercial books with mystery and magic, but that’s not the writer that I am. I need to rethink how I’m going to tell this story.

And probably start all over again. *Heavy Sigh*

This is not the first time this happened. The first time I started this story I stopped after about a thousand words because it was wrong. Now I’m doing it again. Well, at least I know what NOT to do. I’m not throwing everything away, but it needs a major redraft. I am excited by this. If I can figure it out, the book can move forward. Progress! If not, I may have hit a dead-end and need to start a whole new book. We’ll see. I’ll give it another month or so.

Goals for 2019

It’s 2019! Happy New Year!

I’m 26 days out from my surgery and feeling good. Not going to lie, it was a tough recovery and I didn’t really feel good until around the 14th (about a week after I came home from the hospital). But day by day, I felt better and while I didn’t get any writing done, I did have a lot of time to think about what my goals were going to be for the year. For the first time in a while, I can really concentrate on writing. I don’t have to think about money, or my health. I’ve cleared those hurdles, and while I’ll keep an eye on other parts of my life, this year, I’d like to shift the focus back on getting my writing career moving forward.

Also, please enjoy these snowy pictures I took. It may be cold, but winter can be beautiful.

Goal #1– Finish my novel

I’ve been working on and off since 2014 on this book. It needs to be finished. Even if it is bad, I need to finish it. For a long time, I didn’t think I had another novel in me. I wrote two other novels years ago (think late 90’s and early 00’s) and they were bad… but I finished them. This new novel is the first idea I’ve had that I think could be a full novel. I JUST HAVE TO FINISH.

Goal #2 – Write 6 new short stories this year.

This one is a bit of a cheat. I have 2 stories that I’ve started and I need to finish them. So really, I just need to write 4 completely new stories. Not too hard. I’ve found that calls for themes in journals, or, anything really, can spark a story for me. I also find them to be a good break in between novel writing.

Goal #3 – Write 100K words

Not hard if I finish my novel.

Goal #4 – Grow followers of the blog

I’ve had this blog for a while now. 10 years (next month) I think. And while, I’ve never been too hung up on growing my following, I shouldn’t ignore it either. I think the best way to do this is to post more often. Consistency breeds growth.

Other Goals

  • I haven’t forgotten about my 100 rejections challenge from a few years ago. I’m still doing it. I got 3 more rejections this month. Currently, I’m up to 75.
  • I also want to attend more writer conferences. So I think I will set myself the goal of going to 4 this year — one for every season.
  • More consistent with the blog. I’m thinking about changing the look, but we’ll see.

That’s all my writing goals for 2019. Wish me luck. See you on the next post!

What are some of your goals?

 

2018 Recap – The Highs and Lows

Hi Everyone. 2018 is almost done and I thought I would share the good and the bad that happened this year. Usually at the beginning of the year, I have such lofty goals. I tend to aim high with my writing ambition, but reality always has a way of bringing me down to earth. In a way, this is good. “Swing for the fences,” I say.

But it can be a bit of a let down when you get to the end of the year and you’re nowhere close to where you thought you would be. Still I did accomplish a few things.

First, let’s recap the tough stuff:

  • I didn’t publish a blog post once a month like I said I would last January. Honestly I got too busy with the day job, house hunting, and health stuff (more on this later). Now that I finally have a few days off, I can post something.
  • No story acceptance this year. If you don’t submit, you don’t get accepted. In the first half of the year, I didn’t submit anything. I got better in the second half and got a couple of personalized rejections (always nice), but I was so used to getting something accepted that I am kinda bummed I won’t have a new publication to share. Still maybe this means I will have more than one in 2019.
  • I didn’t write enough this year. What is enough? Yes it’s arbitrary, but I wanted to finish far more than I did this year.
  • I wasn’t a good literary citizen. I didn’t go to any¬†book festivals or conferences. I didn’t go see any writers speak, nor did I buy many books this year (I got a gift card for Christmas, so this will soon change.)
  • Finally, my health declined somewhat. Starting around February, I noticed that I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t feel bad, just different. My energy level was low and I felt a familiar ache in my lower abdomen. Needless to say, my fibroids, that I had surgery for 8 years ago, had grown back. I couldn’t have the surgery right away because I didn’t have enough vacation days. Pair that with an outpatient surgery on my right breast (not cancer) to remove some abnormal cells and the anemia that came with the fibroids, and you see why my fall and early winter felt like an endless stream of doctor visits.

Now let’s look at the good:

  • I had a story published this year at 4StarStories. I’m so happy this story found a home! After years of rejections, this really gave me a boost.
  • Without any marketing, I managed to sell a few copies of my chapbook that I self-published a few years ago. Considering that most self-published books never sell one copy, I’m proud that a few copies made it out into the world.
  • I finished 2 stories this year. Despite my lack of writing, I did finish a couple of stories. And a finished story is always a good thing.
  • Despite having no acceptances this year, I did submit to new places. This year, I submitted to a few markets that I read, but never really considered submitting too. They were either doing a theme that I had nothing for, or I didn’t have any story at the time to submit. This year I tried my best to send something to new markets, even if I didn’t think it would be a great fit. In other words, I didn’t self reject. I submitted work that I liked and let the editor reject me. You never know until you try. (Side note: I submitted things that were still in the market’s parameters. I just didn’t let the voice in my head that keeps telling me to pass on the market because the story isn’t good enough win.)
  • I did a writing retreat this year. I’ve already written about it, but I loved it and can’t wait to do another.
  • I bought a condo. Even after months, I still have to get used to the idea. But so far, I’m liking it.
  • Even with all my health problems, I’m getting better. My first surgery went really well. I had very little pain and recovered quickly. My second surgery is this week, and I’m glad it is so early in the year. I want to start off 2019 with a healthy beginning. Plus, thanks to the iron pills for the anemia, I have some energy back. I think in about 2 months, I’m going to feel so much better!

So that was my 2018. After my surgery, I’ll post my “Goals for 2019”.

Happy New Year! See you in 2019!

2017 was slow. How about 2018???

The new year has started and I’m feeling like I need to get down to work. Although a lot of progress was made in 2017, my writing was not one of those things. If anything, I feel like a took a step back. I don’t think I finished one piece last year. I did write some, but I didn’t hit any of my goals. So this year, I have to pick up the pace. I’m aiming to finish my first draft of my book by the end of April.

Yup. You read that right.

That is an aggressive goal, but I need it. I’m tired of have half-finished stories floating all around me (and in my head). I want some finished material! I may lose some sleep and be grouchy, but, dang it, stuff is gonna get done!

On a positive note, looks like this spring I will be house hunting. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I might drive everyone crazy with my need to go and see open houses, relentlessly watch HGTV, and pay more attention to Zillow than conversations. Hopefully, they will forgive me. I worked hard last year and gave up a lot to get out of debt and save up money. I’m in a really good place financially now. Time to put that savings to work.

Also, I’m happy I was able to get another story accepted. I don’t know when it will be published, but for me, the important thing is that another one of my stories found a home. As writers, we write into the void, not knowing if anyone will see or care about our stories as much as we do. This particular story was written in 2013. That’s a long time to see a story find a home. I believed in it and am thrilled that I stuck it out.

If anything, 2017 taught me the value of investing in long-term goals. Not only can I achieve them, but they are worth it too. I first got the idea for my novel in 2014, so it’s time to wrap it up. No more stalling.

My other writing goals for 2018:

Write at least one blog post per month. (I slacked hard last year. I need to do better.)

Earn more money from my writing.

Submit more. (I’ve fallen off my 100 rejection goal. Maybe start over? Not sure yet, but definitely submit more this year.)

Happy 2018! I hope you are working on some awesome goals too! Let’s get things done this year.

50K by June 1st

I am now officially debt free. It feels good, but the work isn’t done yet. I still have to tackle some of my other financial goals. Time to rebuild my savings, turn my focus on retirement (it’s never to early to start), and get that down payment for a house. All of these goals are long term, so in the immediate future, I shifting more attention to writing.

I’ve been slow these first few months of the year. I always am, so now is about the time I will shift into a more productive mode. So, I’m setting new goal for the next two months.

I want 50,000 words of my novel done.

I have no idea how much I currently have. It’s half written/half typed. I’m not sure where I left off and the book needs to be organized. It’s screaming for attention and I’m going to give it. So from now to June 1, I am going to try my hardest to get to 50K.