Goals for 2018

new year meme

During the month of December, I had a vast number of projects and deadlines going at once. What kept me from collapsing into a quivering mess from being so overwhelmed was taking out my physical notebook and writing down every necessary item that needed to be completed that month. That list, which I was able to return to daily, helped me focus my attention in order to actually get things done — not to mention the absolute pleasure of scratching a line through an item once it was accomplished.

This experience has prompted me to try out a Bullet Journal, essentially a system of tracking and planning one’s daily life in a way that’s entirely adaptable to one’s specific needs. There are hundreds of tutorials and inspiration posts about bullet journaling throughout the internet, all with their own unique way of approaching the system. If you bullet journal, I would love to know about your process too.

I’m not starting fresh with a shiny new book the way most people do. First, because I hate leaving a notebook only partially filled (it makes me twitch). Second, because this is kind of an experiment and I want to see how effective it will be for me.

Essentially, I’m hoping it will help me with the tracking of my goals throughout the year, as well as with breaking down the bigger goals into bit sized bits for progress on a day to day basis. So far it’s going well, which brings me to:

My Goals for 2018

1. Clear My Schedule Enough to Be Able to Focus on THE NOVEL – I would love to be able to put “Finish the Novel” on here, but I know down in the depths of my wailing heart that would not be practical. I can’t seem to focus on the novel, while I have a number of projects going that need my attention right now. The plan is to clear the handful of things that are most important to me, with the aim of launching into novel revisions by July 1st.  These things include:

  • A Kickstarter project to create a chapbook of erasure poetry that I’m launching this month.
  • Finish story/chap based on the 12 Dancing Princesses fairy tale
  • Write all of the episodes of a webseries that I’m working on with some filmmaking buddies (probably most important on this list since it involves obligations and deadlines and other good things like that)
  • Finish and submit various poem and story things (though some of these could be put on hold once the noveling recommences)
  • Prepwork for the novel (a bit of research, outlining, and so on that will be helpful when I get to the editing)

The trick is going to be not piling on more projects in the meantime, which is going to take some self control.

2. Return to THE NOVEL – Assuming all goes well, I’ll spend the second half of the year focusing on the novel. Just doing that — digging into the work and making progress — would be amazing.

3. Run a Half Marathon – This has definitely been on my list for a couple of years, and I refuse to give it up. I’ve run 10K races before, so running a half marathon should be doable. The key is sticking to a running schedule (4 times per week) that allows me to accomplish training goals.

4. Blog At Least Once a Week – Donna Vorreyer and Kelli Russell Agodon have started up a blogging challenge for poets for the year, in which every participating poet agrees to post something about poetry (craft posts, reviews, interviews, etc.) at least once a week. Since I’m always trying to make sure this blog stays active, I jumped on board. If you want to keep up with my posts without having to think about it, you can subscribe in the sidebar. The list of participating poets is here

5. Other Goals:

  • Attend an open mic or author reading at least once a month
  • Obtain 100 Rejections – in other words, send out oodles of submissions
  • Sketch, poem, and/or journal daily
  • Bring journal everywhere (because it doesn’t help me if it’s sitting on the couch)
  • Meditate every night (10 minute min.)
  • No hitting the snooze button (which is how I get more time in the day to accomplish all the things here)

I have a tendency to want to go very detailed on my goals for the year, and this seems like plenty… and fairly achievable.

What goals or resolutions have you set for yourself? What are you hoping to achieve this year?


6 Responses to “Goals for 2018”

  • Seán Wright Says:

    Hi Andrea,

    My goals are to try and kickstart my poetry process again. I took half of 2017 off to finish my first collection and get it ready for publication, so I am keen to get back into some workable routine.

    Funnily enough I checked out the bullet journal concept yesterday – watched the video on Youtube. It did seem quite a lot of work though. Do you have any sites or links you’d recommend that explain the concept better.
    Seán Wright recently posted…Magpie Tales Book PlatesMy Profile

    • Andrea Blythe Says:

      Good luck with getting back into poeming!

      When I first heard about the Bullet Journal, I was interested but was put off by the amount of work I imagined would be involved. Seeing how complex people make things, it can seem overwhelming, but what’s great about the Bullet Journal, is that you can make it however you want. Once I finally started it, I aimed to make it as simple as possible. For example, I skipped the whole Index thing, because I knew I would never use it, and I also don’t bother with different symbols for tasks/appointments/etc., because that’s just one more thing to remember.

      My journal includes a Future Log (a guide to the next six months), a 2018 Goals page, the coming month at a glance with a tasks page for the month, a page for poems & stories that I’ve read in journals and want to remember, a habit tracker, then my week planner. All of this took no more than 20 minutes to set up, and then it will only take me about 5 minutes to set up each new week when it rolls around and maybe 10-15 minutes to set up a new month. (Maybe I’ll post some pics of my pages at some point.)

      The most time I spent was watching youtube videos of people doing their bullet journals, which gave me some ideas both on what looked good to me and what looked like something I would never do. A couple of videos I watched:
      1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQL0jCCVNjI
      2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5G2JrTtTcY&t=547s
      3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urs2Xs6QdpQ

      All of these are more complex than I do it myself. Really, it’s just a matter of experimentation to see what works.

      For online guides, you might try searching for minimalist bullet planners, since they tend to be more simple in design and don’t go into the elaborate headings and illustrations that people do.

  • Donna Vorreyer Says:

    This is A LOT of goals – so impressed that you are setting are varied and broad. I just ran a half marathon yesterday, so I KNOW you can do it, since I am old and slow and have asthma & arthritis & bad knees. Looking forward to reading that 12 Dancing Princesses project!

    • Andrea Blythe Says:

      Hi, Donna. Lol. This is actually my trimmed down list. Years ago, my goals list for the year would list EVERY project I’ve ever wanted to do and was probably 50 items long. It was ridiculous. This list is much more of the manageable variety. Heh.

      Awesome on the half marathon — and thanks for the encouragement! I appreciate it. 🙂

      The 12 Dancing Princesses project keeps evolving. It started as prose poems, not it’s morphed into more like flash fiction vignettes, and who knows? it might progress into something longer. I’m hoping to just finish the vignettes for now, though.

  • Heather Derr-Smith Says:

    I love your goals and I am super excited for your NOVEL!! I do lists, everyday, just rolling with everything I can think of that I want to do (eventually). I know some things need attending to today and others can keep getting put-off (fix the garage door). Thanks for writing and I look forward to following you!

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