December Goals

Howdy, howdy!  It’s December again (didn’t we just do this?).  Happy holidays and all that jazz!  I don’t really have anything to talk about this week and I’ve been super slacking on the writing front (and at life in general), so I thought I would take a minute to make my goals for the month known.  This way, you can heckle me until I succeed.  I know these posts are pretty boring, so I try not to do them a lot.  Apologies in advance.  But here are my goals in no particular order!

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Cute pictures are fun.

December Goals:

1. Submit stuff 10 times (2 every Monday).  I’ve consistently submitted two stories a week all year long.  Granted, it wasn’t always on Mondays, but it got done even when I really didn’t feel like it.  I’m super proud of that.  Now, I just have to keep it up the rest of this month and do it all over again next year.

2. Revise more of LR.  Revising has been beyond slow and I have no one and nothing to blame but myself.  I love the story and I’m excited about it, but I can’t get into a good rhythm with the revisions.  I get into it a few days then can’t bring myself to open the files for a while.  It’s weird.

3. Read 2 books.  Actually, I need to finish two books (at least) this month.  I started them both last month.  When I got the okay on The Razor, I stopped in the middle of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.  There was just no way for me to finish both last month.  And I decided to start this month’s review book before I finish European Travel.  I somehow clumped too many long books together and it’s thrown my whole reading schedule off, but I’m past my goal for the year, so it’s okay.

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The lazy voices in my head often enable me by telling the productive ones to shut up.

4. Make time for people.  It’s just really hard to talk to people when I like being a recluse so much.  Luckily, around the holidays, I randomly text people to wish them well and usually end up chatting with a few of them.  It’s the only time of year I’m not a completely shitty friend!

5. Decide on a couple of days to go through my files and tidy everything up.  I seriously need to do this.  I used to know exactly where every song, picture, and file was on my computer.  Now, I can’t find half the stuff I go looking for.  It’s a mess.

6. Start ripping old CDs to my computer.  A few months ago, I got a new radio because my 60 disc player stopped working.  Do you know how hard it is to find a new 60+ disc player that is it’s own stereo, not a component to a make-your-own stereo system?  Impossible.  In other words, I have a bunch of CDs that I need to transfer to my computer so I can play my old favorites and annoy the crap out of Dad.

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Okay, I have that one on my computer, but this made my smile.

7. Attack the slush pile.  I’ve been sporadic with my first reader duties over at Pseudopod.  I need to buckle down and help get through this period’s submissions.  It’s always a fun experience.

Those are my goals.  What about you?  Do you have any stuff you want to focus on this month?  Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

August Goals!

Howdy, howdy!  Can you believe it’s already August?  I feel like I’m still stuck in June.  Time just keeps getting faster and faster.  Am I alone in this feeling?  Yeah?  Well, okay then.  I don’t really have much to talk about at the moment, though I am trying my hand at some revision techniques that are new to me.  If they work out, I’ll probably talk about them more next week.  Anyway, since this Wednesday actually falls on the first, I decided to simply share my August goals with you.

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It’s a pretty picture.  That’s all.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, I present to you…

August Goals:

1. Submit stuff 8 times (2 every Monday) to semi-pro markets or higher.  This is one of my goals for the year (submitting two stories to magazines or anthologies every Monday) and I’ve been doing really well with it.  I haven’t missed a week yet, though I do believe I submitted stuff on Tuesday a couple of times.  Sometimes, I’ve dreaded submitting or felt like I’ve submitted everywhere I possibly could, but I pushed through it and found new places anyway.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up!

2. Write 50+ words OR revise 1+ pages EVERY DAY.  I’m back to the small goals every single day thing.  It’s just really helpful to me when I feel like I’m between projects.  In my head, I know I’m prepping for in-depth revisions on LR, but if I don’t keep track of words or pages, I don’t feel productive.  This goal might change once I find my rhythm with LR.  For now, though, it’s good for me.

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George R. R. Martin

3. Read 2 books.  This is another one of my goals for every month this year.  Honestly, I’ve kind of lost track of how many books I tend to read in a month because some overlap months and others I deliberately read over a longer period of time (almost always craft books).  But I do know I’m up to 18 books this year (thanks to GoodReads tracking feature), so I’m ahead of schedule.

4. Make time for people.  I’ve been a bit reclusive recently, though I still try to answer every message I get.  I just don’t initiate as many conversations as I should.  This is nothing new.  It’s something I struggle with all the time (as you know if you’ve read earlier posts).  I’m just far too comfortable not talking to people and stalking them on Facebook instead.  Yes, I’m creepy like that.  My friends know this and many of them do the same.  But I really do want to be better about socializing.  I swear.

5. Finish timeline for LR.  This is one of those new-to-me techniques I mentioned earlier.  There’s about one more day’s worth of plotting before I have a timeline that I can work with (I’m plotting it on the computer before I write anything out).  I even bought a bunch of Post-It notes in pretty colors to make everything easy to differentiate.  I just have to figure out where to stick them that’s easy to see.  Then, I have to recruit Dad to do the sticking.  I bet he never thought my novel writing would include work for him.

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That’s a lot of Post-It notes.

6. Work on revisions of LR.  Hopefully the timeline will make revisions go more smoothly than usual.  It’s already given me ideas for new scenes and how to rework some old ones, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  I should have some updates on this in the next couple of weeks.  Wish me luck!

Those are my goals for the month.  What about you?  What are you hoping to accomplish before September?  Feel free to share your goals or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Goals Vs. Allergies: The Struggle Is Real

Howdy, howdy!  Welcome to February.  Today, I want to share my goals for the month, but I also want to talk about allergies.  Down here in Texas, the trees are getting ready for spring by spewing pollen everywhere.  Depending on which way the wind’s blowing and which trees are shaking off their dust, this can create a miserable environment for people with allergies.  People like me.  Which, in turn, makes completing goals hard.  So, along with my goals, I’ll talk about how I work them around the worst of my allergy days.

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Pretty picture.

So, here are my goals:

1. Finish DS1’s shitty first draft.  Writing in general is super hard when your head feels like it’s going to explode and your mucus can’t decide if it wants to hole up in your sinuses or pour all over your face (spoiler: it decides to do both).  Sure, you can take a bunch of allergy meds and hope they don’t knock you out before you get your words done, but we both know that won’t work.  Instead, I try to make sure I work as much as possible on the days I feel okay, so that I don’t feel too guilty for slacking on the days I feel like crap.  That’s really all we can do to get the writing goals done during allergy season.

2. Submit stuff 8 times (2 every Monday).  This is the kind of thing I do regardless of whether allergies are kicking my ass or not.  My cover letter is already written and my manuscript is properly formatted.  All I have to do is double check submission guidelines, make any formatting tweaks, and send stuff out.  It doesn’t take much energy or time, so if I’m feeling really bad, I can put it off until the initial medication drowsiness has faded.

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Just add some snot and drool and it’s close enough.

3. Write 1 flash piece OR short story.  For those days you feel good enough to write but don’t have the brain function to focus on your novel.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes I just need something quick to distract me from all the plot lines I have to keep straight in the novels.  Especially when my brain already feels fuzzy from allergies.

4. Read 2 books.  I tend to save reading for the days when I just can’t bring myself to write, but feel like I should be doing something productive.  If  it gets too hard to focus, I can always switch to Netflix.

5. Make time for people/leaving the house.  I’m always bad at this whether allergies are involved or not.  But I do have a tendency to say yes to leaving the house (running errands with Dad) when I don’t feel up to writing.  It makes me feel productive in a different way and I don’t have to worry about the allergies making my words come out weird.

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It really is.

Those are my goals for February.  I figure it’s easier to stick to a few just in case my allergies get evil.  What are some of your goals this month?  How do you work around your allergies?  Or do you prefer to push through them?

The Year Of Persistence, Revision, And Submissions

Hello, hello!  Welcome to 2018.  I hope everyone has a wonderful year.  May the year be filled with everything you need and something you want!  A few weeks ago, I talked about my goals for the new year (here).  So, I thought I would go ahead and share my January goals this week.  Even though it’s only been two days, I’ve been doing pretty well so far.  Let’s hope the rest of the month is just as productive!

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Definitely not the view here in Texas.

So, here are my January goals in no particular order.

1. Get DS1’s (the current novel attempt’s code name) shitty first draft to at least 60,000 words.  It’s currently 44,000 and I’m aiming for a complete draft of 70-75,000ish words.  For a month, 16,000 words is a pretty reasonable goal.  Hopefully, I’ll get further, but it’s always a good idea to stick with tough but reasonable goals.

2. Submit stuff 10 times (2 every Monday).  This refers only to short stories, flash fiction, and poetry.  Not agent searching.  Last year, I focused primarily on my novel and neglected my other work.  I don’t want to do that this year.  Sure, it means more rejections, but I can’t get any acceptances if I don’t submit, right?  (More positive thinking is also something I’m working on this year.)

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Sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but I’ll try it.

3. Write 1 flash piece OR short story.  I should probably include poems in this, but it’s been so long since I’ve written any poetry that I probably suck at it now.  That’s not negative thinking, it’s just the truth.  I’ll probably set aside some time for writing poetry when I start focusing on my revisions.  For now, I’ll stick with short stories and flash fiction.

4. Read 2 books.  I recently joined GoodReads to try to keep better track of what I’ve read throughout the year.  I’m a slow reader, so my goal is to read 24 books in 2018.  I’m currently halfway through a book I started a week ago, so I guess technically my January goal is only 1.5 books.  Is that cheating?

5. Stop dwelling on rejections and sucking and just do the damn work.  This is where the positive thinking really comes in.  I’ve been down about all the agent rejections I received last year.  After 100 rejections (or just flat out being ignored), it’s hard not to think it’s me and my suckiness.  But!  I just need to suck it up and move on.  I’ve got other projects that might interest people.  It’s time to focus on those!

6. Make time for people.  I always say that I need to talk to more people and I always fail.  But I will keep adding it to my goals until it actually happens!  I used to be so good at keeping in touch with people back when Yahoo chatrooms were a thing.  I don’t know what happened to that me.

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This is not wrong.

7. Turn 32.  Yup, I’m a January baby.  In about 9 days, I’ll be turning 32.  I’m old.  But I’m okay with that.

That’s my plan for January.  What about you?  Do you have any goals for this month?  What about goals for the new year?  Feel free to share them here or on my social media pages!

September Is Coming

 Hello, hello!  August is coming to a close, bringing the beginning of September with it.  I’ve been having trouble finding the motivation to keep up with my work, despite my current novel attempt being enjoyable, so I thought I would post my main goals for the coming month right here.  I find it more difficult to avoid the things I need to do once someone else knows what my goals are.  The potential for public shame is an awesome motivator.  Plus, I know I have a few friends who will crack the whip at me if they know I should be doing things and they catch me on Facebook instead.

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Whips and pleather can be motivational too, I guess.

Goal 1: write 18,000+ words.  I know I’m capable of writing 4,500 words a week and September is about four weeks long, so I should at least be writing this much.  Only words toward the WIP, short stories/flash pieces, and the blog count towards this number.  And only words over my current written words, not revisions.  It’s the goal I’ve been struggling with the most, so if I’m slacking, feel free to break out the whip.

Goal 2: read at least 2 books.  One book will be for my review on the 27th, and the second will be for a book club I just joined.  I’m also currently reading a book with my writing group, but we’re taking it slow, so I might not finish it by the end of the month.  I admit that I don’t read nearly enough, so I’m trying to change that.  I was able to read 2 books a month at Stonecoast and keep up with my writing, so it seems like a reasonable thing to do.

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That’s what they keep telling me, anyway.

Goal 3: query 16 more agents.  I’ve been querying four a week for what seems like forever now.  No, I really have no clue how or why I settled on the number four.  But I do know that I’ve currently sent out 84 queries and have no idea how many rejections/assumed rejections (because some agencies don’t send out rejections, but give you a “if you haven’t heard back in x weeks we’re passing” instead) I’ve gathered up and I don’t feel like checking my spreadsheet right now.  It’s a numbers game, I’m told, and I’ll keep trying for a while longer.  But I’m thinking 100 sounds like a good place to take a break and regroup and wait to see what happens with the queries still in limbo.

Goal 4: submit at least one thing to my critique group.  The group seemed to go on hiatus for the past couple of months as our members used the summer for some much needed family time.  But now that school has started, critique submissions are starting to trickle in and I want to be among them.

Goal 5: make time to text/message some people besides the usual two or three.  Because I’ve been a shitty friend and I know that.  I promise I’ll try to be better, but I usually fail miserably at this type of stuff too.

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And I don’t even talk to them much.

So, those are my September goals.  It feels a little overwhelming to see them written out like this, but I can do it.  And if I can’t, you get to publicly shame me!  What about you?  What are your main goals for the month?  Feel free to share them here or on my social media pages!

See you next week!

Writing Challenge Q&A: Improvement Needed

Hello, hello!  Welcome to the final installment of the Writing Challenge Q&A.  I must admit that it’s been really nice knowing what I’m going to write about these last few weeks, but I’m kind of looking forward to just randomly picking a topic next week.  This week’s ramble is courtesy of the lovely Morganna Williams.  She chose number 26 (“write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve”).  So, I suppose I’ll be talking about self-improvement for a little while.

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Self-care is important if you want to improve yourself.

Honestly, there are a lot of areas in my life that could be improved upon, just like there are areas that are great just the way they are.  It’s hard to pick one.  I could definitely use less procrastination.  I could be more optimistic.  I could be more adventurous (rather than sticking to the “plan”).  And I could definitely work on not overthinking everything.  But this is all stuff that I’m relatively okay with.  It’s stuff that I’m slowly working on.  I’ve found a way to overcome procrastination with my writing at least.  I try to steer myself away from worst case scenarios.  I’m saying “yes” a little more to last minute plans (only once or twice so far, but baby steps).  Overthinking is still my downfall.  So what would I like to improve?  I guess I’m still not that great at socializing, which is something I’m okay with, but I know it’s not a good habit to nurture.

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This!  So much this.

 

I fully admit that it’s me when I lose touch with people.  I suck at remembering to text or message people unless they get in contact first.  It’s really weird because I never had this problem when I was online with people at four in the morning.  I was always the person to initiate chats back then.  Adulthood has changed that.  I’ve fallen victim to the “I talked to them first last time, so it’s their turn” mentality, which eventually warped into “I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” and we all know tomorrow never comes.  I’m also super bad about thinking of texting someone while I’m in bed, then forgetting about it when I wake up.  Socializing and I just don’t get along.

It also doesn’t help that most of my friendships are long distance.  I hate the phone and always forget to email people back in a timely manner if it isn’t business type stuff.  Hell, I can’t even write letters to my oldest sister (the jailbird) on anything like a regular basis.  And yes, I realize this is all on me.  I apologize for it repeatedly with different people.  I just don’t know how to break myself of my reclusive habits.

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Also, when I do talk to people, this kind of stuff happens.

 

I’m sure my hermit habits impact other areas of my life besides friendship too.  After all, how am I supposed to meet a potential significant other if I’m never talking to people?  How am I supposed to network for business connections if I don’t want to bother people (another big reason I hesitate when texting or messaging: I don’t really want to pester them, I just say I do)?  I need to be more sociable.  As much as it pains me to admit that, it’s true.

So, what about you?  What area could be improved in your life?  Do you have any suggestions for overcoming reclusive tendencies?

See you all next week!

Developing A New Rhythm For A New Year

Howdy howdy!  As I’ve rambled about before, I’ve been having a bit of a tough time getting back into a writing and reading rhythm this year, but things seem to be looking up (finally).  I’m reading with zeal again (thanks to a random desire to finally read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series).  I’m also revising my screenplay, which has both smooth patches and a couple of big issues that are giving me problems, but it counts as work!  I’m still wary about getting back into my novels without feedback, but I’ll get there soon.  For now, I’m still learning, changing, transforming.  As is my rhythm.

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They said I could be anything… I chose Sailor Saturn.

Last year, I had a nice rhythm that let me get a lot done, but I neglected certain areas of my life in order to get so much done.  It eventually drained me.  Combine that with the whole lack of feedback feeding my “I suck, what was I thinking?” mindset, and it’s a recipe for depression.  I’m hoping to avoid that by adding a few things to my schedule.  Of course that will require adjusting other areas, so it’s all just trial and error right now.

First and foremost, I plan on taking reading more seriously this year.  I haven’t read much since leaving Stonecoast, because I got wrapped up in the idea that productivity equals new words on the page.  Even revision felt like a way to avoid being productive (even though I know it’s an extremely important part of the process).  So, I want to devote at least an hour three days a week to reading.  It might cut into my writing time on days when writing is hard, but that’s okay.  You can’t write well without reading.  I’m going to keep that in mind this year.  If you see me slacking, feel free to crack the whip.

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Heise gets it.

Secondly, I want to take a few minutes just once a week to write a note or something by hand.  I recently bought some postcards to help me stick to this goal.  I’m hoping for a twofold result from this practice: a) it’ll be a way to let people know I’m thinking of them even though I’m not very good at keeping in touch, and b) it’ll help keep me writing even when I’m struggling.  I’ve heard a lot of people who were having problems writing in their usual method have more success getting over a hurdle if they switch writing methods (go from typing to handwriting then back again).  Maybe jotting something down every now and then will help keep things fresh in my head.

Lastly, I want to make time for socializing.  Whether I go to a reading with a friend or Skype with some of my Stonecoasters or make time to IM/text someone, I need to keep in touch with people.  I like being a recluse, and I’ve been getting worse and worse about it again, but it worries people, so I’m going to make an effort to really interact with someone at least once a week.

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Maybe not this close, but I should be closer to people.

 

So, what does all of this mean?  It means that sometimes you have to tweak your rhythm, especially when it’s no longer working.  Bear with me, and don’t freak out if I suddenly pester you for no reason.  I’m just trying something new.  How’s your rhythm?  Is it working or could it use a little change?

Until next time!