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?

The 15 Minute Rule: Goals for 2017

GIVE ME JUST

This is the second year in a row that I’ve been hesitant to set forth concrete goals for the year, paranoid perhaps that if I set down anything specific I won’t complete them (a strange paranoia, since I’ve been known to accomplish at least a goal or two in the past). This feeling is mixed up with the general sense of feeling overwhelmed by life, the universe, and everything, not to mention my writing. But I think I’ve settled on an idea that works for me (at the present moment, at least).

Writing Goal: The 15 Minute Rule

In my writing lately, I feel like I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions — with numerous poems and short stories and even a novel all halfway drafted or needing a rewrites. The pileup of things to finish (not including all the ideas that haven’t even been started yet) is so tall that I’m not even sure where to begin.

It reminds me of having to clean a cluttered room — clothing piled on top of papers piled on top of other random things, covering every surface and the floor, the things you need on a daily basis lost underneath the junk. When decluttering a room, I’ve sometimes used a technique recommended to me by a friend. Pick a small section and spend just 15 minutes clearing that out. The next day, pick another section. And the day after that. Until the room is clear.

This year, instead of trying to set specific goals, I’m going to try to apply the 15 Minute Rule to my writing — 15 minutes everyday working towards finishing or editing a draft, sending something out on submission, or drafting something new. Or a total of 1.75 hours for the week.

Rather than trying to nail down the goal of finishing a specific story (or the novel glaring at me from the corner of the room), the 15 Minute Rule will allow me to refocus as needed without feeling guilty about working on something other than what I initially planned.

So far, I’ve been fairly consistent about getting work done, with some editing accomplished and some submissions sent out. As a result, I’ve already received my first rejection. Yay?

Other Goal Stuff

I’ve set myself a goal of reading 70 books for the year, a bit more than the 57 books I finished last year. At some point, I’d like to get back to reading an average of 90 books, like I used to, but keeping myself above 50 still feels acceptable.

My one other concrete goal is to complete a half marathon (finally). I’ve signed up for a gym near my work, so that I can get some runs done in the morning before work. My sisters and I are registered for the She is Beautiful 10K in March, which is a good starting point. If I can keep up the training, getting to a half marathon will be entirely doable.


Do you have goals for the new year? Share them in the comments.


Transitioning into the New Year

Looking back on 2015…

If I could sum up my experience of 2015 in just a few words, I would say that it was a strange mixture of overwhelming and astoundingly wonderful.

In Writing:

At the beginning of 2015 I wrote about seeking minimalism and creative focus. The idea was to step away from doing ALL THE THINGS and focus in on the work that mattered most to me. In some ways, I achieved a sense of minimalism through an increased sense of focus on my writing and in other ways I failed miserably.

At the beginning of the year, I focused in on the YA novel I’ve been trying to get drafted for a couple of years now. A few month into slogging through the novel, however, I faltered and couldn’t find my way any further into the story.

Somewhere around that time, when I was starting to feel lost, I reconnected with poetry, writing and editing and submitting it to number of markets. Around the end of the year, I joined the Brainery Science Fiction Fairy Tales short story writing workshop (which I wrote about here), which brought me back around to fiction.

In 2015, I submitted more poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for publication in a single year than I have in all the years I’ve been pursuing writing combined (I’m fairly sure, although I don’t have old data back that up). As I result, I’ve received more rejections, acceptances, and publication credits than before. Around six poems (three of which were collaboratively written with Laura Madeline Wiseman) and an essay have been published since the beginning of the year.

Even more amazing, two of those poems have been nominated for awards — “The Things I Own” (published in Thank You for Swallowing, July 2015) was nominated for Independent Best American Poetry and “Eve and Pandora” (published in Nonbinary Review, Issue #4: Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, April 2015) was nominated for Sundress Best of the Net.

I also attended more open mics, readings, and writing events (such as FogCon) that I had previously, including a few events in which I was a featured performer. Through these events, I’ve made some great connections with other poets and writers and artists, all of whom continue to inspire me in a variety of ways.

In blogging, I started a series of Poet and Artist Spotlights in late 2015, an attempt to highlight and acknowledge creators I admire. The first three in the series — Jill Allyn Stafford, Laura Madeline Wiseman, and Kristina Marie Darling — all shared insights about their work and their process. Doing the spotlights was a fun exercise and I hope to be able to significantly expand this series in the new year.

Other Non-Writing Things:

Running and improving my distance (with the ultimate aim of running a marathon) has been a major goal for me over the past few years. I did participate in a couple of events, including the She is Beautiful 10K, which was wonderful, and the UROC not-really-a-half-marathon half marathon, which I didn’t actually run and was miserable. After the UROC, I fell out of my running routine and I was okay with that. I think I needed the break.

Travel included two work trips to Orlando, Florida in the spring and Detroit, Michigan in the fall, as well as an amazing journey up to Anchorage, Alaska to visit family (which included an intense hiking excursion, or intense for me anyway, my sister thought it was no big deal).

Looking forward to 2016…

I’m hesitant to make any major writing goals, or even life goals, encompassing the entire year. One of the many things 2015 taught me was that priorities shift throughout the year and what’s important at the start is not always going to be what’s important at the end.

At the moment I find myself wanting to be drawn in several different directions. I have a number of stories drafts that came out of the Brainery workshop that are calling out to be polished. The novel is also calling to me again and a couple of poetry drafts and poetry book manuscripts want some attention. It would be easy to end up mentally dismembered by letting myself be pulled every which way at once.

But 2015 also taught me that by focusing in on a specific project (or maybe two at most), fantastic things can be accomplished.

For the moment, I think I’m going to focus on the short stories. A couple are near-ish to done and two more need to finish being drafted. In the second half of the year, I may go back to the novel after I’ve done some more research.

I know that I also want to stay physically active and to that end I’m doing a trial run with some early morning yoga classes (maybe too early) before work and I’m going to try to get back into a running schedule.

And other than that, I’m just going to let the year unfold as it may and will keep readjusting my goals along the way.

How was your 2015? What sorts of goals, if any, do you have in mind for 2016?

Seeking Minimalism and Creative Focus in 2015

For the last few of years, I’ve posted massive lists of goals for the year (such as in 2014), making note of ALL THE THINGS I want to do an accomplish. While I’ve always had fun creating this lists, I’ve noticed that I’ve only ever been able to accomplish a tiny corner of them, if that.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read several articles and posts about eliminating and approaching minimalism in order to be better focused on achieving one’s goals. “It’s not enough to have great ideas. Lots of people have great ideas. The problem is that too many great ideas cancel each other out,” explains Olivere Emberton, noting that trying to focus on too many separate ideas will get you nowhere. He adds, “Monomaniacal focus on a single goal is perhaps the ultimate success stratagem. It’s a pattern found in everyone from Edison to Einstein. When you’re able to focus on a single goal, constantly, your achievements reach their theoretical limit.”

Continue reading “Seeking Minimalism and Creative Focus in 2015”

The Giant List of Goals, or What I'd Like to Accomplish in 2014

Image by Jay Roeder

I love the new year, if for no other reason than I get to create my giant list of goals. As a whole, it’s not entirely sensible and is partly wrapped up in my love for list making as it is for actually getting anything done — but I can’t help myself.

Goal making in general is a good thing, I believe. Though what works best, in terms of what kind of goals and how they are approached, really depends on the individual. Massive lists like I make don’t work for everyone (and sometimes it doesn’t entirely work for me).

Figuring out what works best is experimental, a process of testing the goal-soaked waters to figure out what works. Every year I take a look at last year’s goals, see what I accomplished and test out some adjustments to the system in order to see what else might work.

Lightning Droplets talks about choosing process over goals, focusing on developing systems for ongoing progress, rather than setting a single goal that can be dropped once it’s a completed.

Last year, I came up with a plan that involved creating “Primary Goals” that would be my main focus per year, as well as a set of “Secondary Goals” that represented wishful-thinking kinds things I hope to get done, if I hve the time. Also, because some of my goals are giant in and of themselves (e.g., write a novel), I also created weekly goals in order to break things down in to bite-sized pieces that wouldn’t over whelm me. The weekly goals also allow me to work toward process, creating a habit of getting something done every week. On the whole this plan worked for me, and I was pleased with what I accomplished in 2013. So, I’m using the same method this year.

I would love to hear about your own goals or plan for getting sh!t done 2014! Please leave me a note in the comments below and/or link to your own goals/resolutions post.

Primary Goals

1. Edit Under the Midday Moon into a novel draft ready for beta readers

I’m feeling at a standstill with my novel. I’m getting close-ish to the end, but I’m struggling through it. So, my plan is to write the main ending scenes, so that I have a better sense of the end, and then proceed to the rewrite with the aim of having a complete novel in readable form by the end of the year. Rewriting the beginning chapters to understand the conflict and relationships better should put me in a better position to know how to make the ending work.

2. Participate in at least two 5k events

Since, as of this weekend, I’ve run two miles straight through, and I know I will be able to run 3 miles by the end of January, the next step is to participate in some 5k running events for fun and glory.

Bonus round: Run a 10k (6 miles!)

3. Submit two chapbooks and/or full-length collections of poetry for publication

I managed this last year, so I’m sure I can pull this off again.

Continue reading “The Giant List of Goals, or What I'd Like to Accomplish in 2014”

Wrapping Up 2013

In January I posted my 2013 goals, both primary and secondary.* Here is how I did this year.

Results of My Primary Goals

1. Finish a coherent draft of Under the Midday Moon (my no-longer-untitled werewolf novel)

Almost there. I would have preferred to have finished the entire draft, but I’m close enough that I can reasonably consider editing the novel as my main goal for 2014. The progress feels good and I think I might actually be able to pull this whole writing a novel thing off.

2. Work up to running three miles

I ran a mile!

I may not have completed my goal, but I kept up with running throughout most of the year and I improved. It took a big push in December, but making it to a mile and feeling like I can now do it again, whenever I want, is a huge thing for me. I feel so great about this. I’m fairly certain that I can run a full three miles by end of January. I just need to keep pushing myself.

As a side effect of all this, I’ve also lost around 40 pounds. It’s interesting to write that out, because the number itself is unimportant. I look at myself in the mirror and don’t really see it (even though others have noticed it), which is why I chose to have my goal be about accomplishments in running, rather than about weight loss. I feel good about the running. I’ve achieved something and I can continue to achieve my goals. And as I result, I feel physically strong and healthy. That’s the most important thing.

3. Submit a chapbook- or full-length collection of poetry for publication

Done! Twice this year, I submitted collections of poetry. They were both rejected, but one came back with a really kind comment suggesting that I submit again. Yay!

4. Address finances

Unfortunately this was my biggest flop. I hate to say it, but I think I’m actually a little worse off than when I started the year out. I’m going to have to refocus on this all over again and try to get a handle on things. I know the amount of trips, though worth it, have had an affect on my finances, so I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Overall

I didn’t manage to get hardly any of my secondary goals done, but I feel good about what I’ve accomplished this year, which included a number of great trips, including San Antonio, Texas, Pensacola, Florida, Washington DC, Mexico City, and Venice and Florence, Italy. All great experiences.

How was your 2013? Did you accomplished your writing or personal goals?

*Okay, so maybe I’m a little list obsessed. But just a little.

My mom is awesome and other news

Saturday, my mom and I decided to hit the local trail in Los Gatos. I had intended to just do my run and then head home, but upon hearing my mom’s plans to walk the entire trail loop (a 4-ish mile stretch that involves some steep hills). In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.

We did the running intervals first, which went smoothly, then started walking up the hills. It was hot and one of the hills looked almost like this /, so it was very difficult. I probably didn’t drink enough water or eat enough food that morning, so I got extremely light headed halfway up. I was fine when I reached the top and the trail leveled out, but it was rough going for a while there.

But the trail being rough isn’t the point of the story. The point is that my mom is awesome.

At one point during our walk, my mom drifted ahead of me with her headphones in her ears. To music only she could hear, she began to fan her arms over her head in circles and loops and spirals in a kind of walking dance. She followed this with childlike skips and hops and tippy toe sprints, all smiling and in tune with what ever she was listening to. I couldn’t help but smile at her dancing, at her freedom of self, at her willingness to just play. It made me want to skip and cavort, too, so I did (for a little bit). It made me think of the way as a kid I could just run around and play without embarrassment, and that I wanted more silliness in my life.

Here’s a new goal for myself: Live life with childlike abandon and joy.

So, in other week roundup news, exercise was very successful with four of three completed.

Writing and organizing was less successful, as in nonexistent. I’m giving myself a break on the organizing, though, since I’ve been housesitting and thus haven’t been at home to work on it. I’m housesitting this week, too, but I’m leaving my organizing goals on the list, because maybe I’ll work on it next weekend.

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Five of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):
• Shred papers and dispose of them
• Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
• Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

Trimming

I had all of last week off and chopped off most of my hair and got new color is kind of eggplant, which I LOVE. I lost a total of ten inches this week, which I will be donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that makes wigs for women with cancer.

Here’s a before and after:

Before and After of new hair cut Before and After of new hair cut

 

My week was a good cross between relaxing, hanging out with friends, and getting things done. In terms of writing and Spanish practice, no progress was made.

But I did a total of four and increased the walk/run interval difficulty levels by two increments, which felt fantastic. Seeing the progress on my running skills is keeping me so motivated and I know I’ll eventually meet my goal of three miles, if I keep this up. 🙂

I also made some great progress on my paperwork. I have all my past years separated out and put in appropriate envelopes and stored away, as well as all my paperwork for the current year filed in the filing cabinet. I still need to buy a new filing cabinet that would be more accessible, as well as organize other stuff in my closet so things are functional, but I feel really good about the progress I made this week.

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That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Five of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):

— Shred papers and dispose of them
— Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
— Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

“Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.” — Ann McGee Cooper

Last week progress was made on Under the Midday Moon, which was sent to the Writing Gang, who gave me some fantastic feedback about the friendship between my two main characters. Rewrites will require me to work to show their intimacy (as friends have who have known each other since childhood would have).

I’ve also realized that I have a potential timeline problem in that starting my story at the beginning of school year probably won’t work, since basketball season doesn’t usually start until November. Will require some rearranging of events.

(Did I mention I love my Writing Gang? Cause I love my writing Gang.)

In terms of exercise last week, I got in only two days of my exercise training and Saturday’s run was miserable. I couldn’t complete my intervals and felt like I was going to have heat stroke. But it was a super hot day and proves that I need to run really early in the morning on these hot summer days.

No attempts at organization were made last week.

In other news I have vacation this week! Woohoo!

In theory this means I should be able to complete my entire list of goals, as well as bonus goals (shopping, make some phone calls, help to hang living room paintins, etc.), because you know TIME IS AVAILABLE. And yet, it never likely comes out that way, because vaca should be for relaxing, too. Anywho…

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Four of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and find a place to submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (1/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (1/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):

— Sort paperwork out by year for filing and set up system for the current year
— Organize craft supplies
— Shred papers and dispose of them
— Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
— Take box of items to donate to Goodwill
— Measure pictures and buy frames

New Poems Published

Linden Avenue is one year old today, and in celebration, the journal has a shiny new web design! Yay!

I’m pleased and honored to announce that three of my poems have been included in Issue Thirteen, along with work from many fantastic writers who have been previously published in the online journal.  For joy!

Other than this announcement there’s not much to announce (though isn’t that enough), as I was entirely non-production last week (with the last minute exception of scouring my bathroom, because gross). In the scope of this procrastination, I managed to miss two contest deadlines that I had been planning to submit to.

*sigh* Oh, well. Onward!

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Four of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook and find a place to submit it
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Practice my Spanish
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):
— Sort paperwork out by year for filing and set up system for the current year
— Organize craft supplies
— Shred papers and dispose of them
— Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
— Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

"At the end of the day, we're just trying to prevent each other from going mad." ~ Will Champion

Writing was a bust last week. I feel like I’m going a bit crazy with this. I mean, it’s not that I’m block, per se, but I’m avoiding writing like a mad fiend, which is not helpful for my sanity. I always like to see at least a little forward progress each week, however minimal. I think I’m going to have to break up my routine, because it seems like as soon as I get home, I’m done. A few evenings at the nearby coffee shop might break me out of my slump.

I’ve been doing great in terms of running though and have been meeting all my goals in that regard. I’m seeing slow, but steady, improvement in my running abilities, so I’m feeling fantastic about that.

Walking into my room, I was greeted with quite a mess and so immediately set to work organizing the space. It wasn’t a complete job (you’ll notice the solution to the problem of the closet was to just close the door), but I feel like I can breath easier in my room now. This small progress has me wanting to work toward finally getting the closet where I want it, just because of how good it feels to have it clean.

Room Cleaning

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Three of Under the Midday Moon (need to get a move on)
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Edit Letter Box poetry chapbook
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following):
— Sort paperwork out by year for filing and set up system for the current year
— Organize craft supplied
— Shred papers and dispose of them
— Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them
— Take box of items to donate to Goodwill

Cross-posted to my livejournal.

Being a bit o' this and that at the beginning or end of one week or another

A Brief Aside, or, There’s This Cool Thing on the Web (not the sticky, stringy thing in the corners, but the electronic aether upon which you are reading this): Liz Argall posted a delightful blog post, “Jealousing is the new writing exercise“:

When I get professionally jealous it’s often an exciting thing. “Wow! I never thought of doing that, that’s amazing!” But excitement can turn into sad feelings… “I don’t know if I’ll ever be awesome, eloquent and organized enough to use a moment in front of doorknockers to do the sort of tight exposition, character development and micro-tension that’s now sucking me through this book.”

Fortunately these moments of wonder/jealousy/despair are the perfect place to find a writing exercise.

The post is worth a read over just for her fun facial expressions alone, and the exercise looks like quite a bit of fun, and I’m definitely going to have to give it a go.

Last Week in Writing: I received one rejection and visited an open mic. Yay!

I also finished up the last of the Napowrimo challenge, which required me to write 15 poems over the course of Monday and Tuesday. Another yay!

I did not, however, submit anything or work on my novel. And I have no excuse for this. Boo!

Last Week in Exercise: All three required workouts done and one yoga morning (sort of) completed. Though the run on Saturday was Rough McGruff. I made the mistake of going in the middle of the day and it was too hot and too dusty on the trail. It also didn’t help that I didn’t have any water with me. I will have to remember to start earlier in the morning during the rest of the summer.

Last Week in Other Stuff That Needed Doing: I bought envelopes and some other tools to help me with the filing process, but did not actually start the filing process. Still, baby steps.

That which must be accomplished in the coming week (which looks a lot like last week, but isn’t):
– Finish Chapter Three of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (1/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place

PS. As I’ve  been writing this I’ve completed the draft of a new poem (408 words!), which I will probably submit somewhere this week. I’m tempted to do so now, like RIGHT NOW, but am forcing myself to wait until I’ve let it rest a day and can give it a fresh read through.

Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

2013 Goals Assessment

Inspired by whipchick, I’d thought I’d take a look at my year long goals and assess how I’m doing overall.

Primary Goals

1. Finish a coherent draft of Under the Midday Moon
Progress is perhaps a little slower than I hoped, but it’s still progress. Not sure that I’ll actually finish the entire draft by the end of the year, but I just might, especially if I pick up the pace a bit.

2. Work up to running three miles
Again, progress is slow, but steady. I’m feeling myself grow stronger week by week and I’m certain I can DO this. *believes*

3. Submit a chapbook- or full-length collection of poetry for publication
Done! Well, sort of. After sending the submission out, I realized that I might have forgotten to include an SASE, a profoundly stupid and newbie mistake. If I did forget, it doesn’t really count, since it wouldn’t be legitimate submission. This sucks. But never fear, I have every intention of sending out another manuscript to another publisher before June, so as to have this officially done.

4. Address finances
Complications have sort of sidetracked my intentions to start up an IRA or retirement savings account. There’s still time for me to start something up by the end of the year, but for the moment I’m putting this aside.

However, the second aspect of this goal was to start earning some money from my writing. I can’t control that entirely, but I can submit my work to paying markets on a regular basis, which I’m working on.

(A rather long list of secondary goals can be found here.)

What I’ve Learned So Far and/or Could Improve Upon

Bite Sized Pieces – Big goals can be a bit overwhelming, so the weekly goals has helped me break things down into little pieces that I know I can accomplish. This way I know that each week forward progress gets made in some way or another.

Plan for What’s Doable – That said, it’s equally important to make sure the list of weekly goals is doable. I have a life beyond my writing, family and friends I want to hang out with, trips to take, events to go to, errands to run, and downtime that needs to be had, so I try to make sure that the weekly goals I set are doable from a practical stand point: Do I really have time to do these things, assuming I use my time wisely? The answer is always yes. It doesn’t mean I always get the list done (in fact, more often than not, I don’t), but it means I could do it.

Accountability – Whenever the fantastic Kima Jones posts on twitter about her writing she always uses the hashtag “accountability”, and I love that. Hold yourself accountable, because no one else will. You’re life is what you make of it and the effort you put it. So, while my weekly goal posts are always public and I do get some kind feedback, it really comes down to my own sense of being accountable. It’s really about making choices, such as getting some writing down before turning on the TV or video game, which is something I personally need to work on.

How are you doing with your goals? What have you learned or what could you do to be better about meeting those goals?

Cross-posted to my website. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

La-de-dah and tra-la-la

Things accomplished in writing: Received rejections for the two flash pieces and sent out three poems. Also started Chapter Three, completing 1,200 words. Yay!*

*Honestly, I count the rejections as a yay, too, because it means I’ve been submitting and the process is ongoing.

Incidentally, a large portion of this work was accomplished on Thursday, when upon arriving home from work I wrote and edited new poem to completion (not a napowrimo poem), got a submission package prepped, and wrote 1,000 words of Chapter Three — at which point my head exploded. It took most of the rest of the weekend to pick up the bits of brain and skull and assemble then back into working order.

Things accomplished in health: Two running training workouts and one strength training workout with my trainer — all of which has me feeling great. I think I’m going to count the strength training workout  as a part of my three required days (the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to do three days of running, plus the strength training). If I can manage four days, great, but it’s good to have rest days and it’s not always practical for me to do more than three days. I think the strength training will really help me meet my running goal of reaching three miles, so it should all work out fine.

The one thing I need to start including is some yoga, even just a couple rounds of sun salutations, because I just know that will make my spine feel so much better.

Things accomplished in other stuff: State taxes are done and sent! Woot!

Haven’t made much (or any) progress on my filing, but I started cleaning and organizing my room a bit, because the clutter is killing me. No seriously, I think it’s crawling off the shelves and trying to throttle me in my sleep. Hiding it in the closet isn’t good enough, because I still know the monster’s there.

That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Finish Chapter Three of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Finish the rest of Napowrimo poems (15 poems in two days O.o)
– Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3)
– Do three yoga workouts, three sun salutations min. (0/3)
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place

Cross-posted to my website. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

That which hath been accomplished…

In writing: I submitted a couple of poems/flash pieces to Nano Fiction and wrote four new poems for Napowrimo. One of the poems you can read here.

I spent a considerable amount of energy avoiding writing Chapter Three. Once, I even had the laptop out and in front of me with the blank page open, so, I, uh, started fleshing out the outline a bit more. Sometimes I just need to get a hold of the big picture in order to be able to focus on the specifics of a scene. I start to get annoyed if I don’t know what to write and verge off into generalities, rather than get to the heart of the scene. It feels all wrong as I’m writing, and while I know sometimes it’s best to just soldier through, it can be frustrating to put work down on a scene that you know you’re probably going to have to rewrite from scratch later. At any rate, I hope the outlining will help me with getting Chapter Three done this week.

Edited to add: I just saw whipchick’s mapping post on triggers, which notes how the triggering event is what really get the story started. Perfect right now, since I think (part of) the reason why I’ve been stuck on the opening chapters is that I’ve been burying the triggers a bit. Will have to think about moving them forward to get some more action going.

In exercise: It was a very good week. Did a run on Monday (which went very well), did an excellent workout with my trainer on Wednesday, another run on Thursday (which didn’t go as well — in fact, it was a bit rough), and did a four mile hike on Saturday with my sister, niece, and mom (which involved lots of hills and felt great). So, I’d say I accomplished my goal with flying colors.

In other important stuff: State taxes did not get done, which is very, very bad of me. I must accomplish them this week. MUST.

I think the filing thing is kind of a spin off of the taxes thing. It would be fantastico, if I could get more organized in that regard and I keep saying I will and then, um, not. If I even just do some baby steps this week, that would be awesome.

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That which must be accomplished in the coming week:
– Get California taxes done (must happen today)
– Begin Chapter Three of Under the Midday Moon (write a minimum of 1,000 words and hopefully finish)
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Finish at least a handful of Napowrimo poems
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (0/3)
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place

Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

Another week, another list of thinks to do

In addition to all the joy and productivity of the Writing Gang Retreat attended over the weekend, I also completed a revised version of Chapter One (a few sample sentences of which are here).

No submissions were sent out.

No running last week. However, in terms of exercise I completed two sessions with a trainer, who I will now be working with once a week in conjunction with my running activities. (I’ve convinced myself that I have the money for this.) He’s apparently worked with others to help them run marathons and the like, so it’s a good match and will add some variety to my training. If I can just get some morning yoga in sometimes, I’ll be golden.

If I count the leisurely 2 miles I walked one Saturday with my writing gang (which I totally do :P), then I have completed three days worth of exercise and have roughly met my goal.

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Things to do in the coming week:
– Begin Chapter Three of Under the Midday Moon (write a minimum of 1,000 words)
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (1/3)
– Get California taxes done (must happen today)
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place

Be gentle with yourself

For a multitude of reasons, I was a quivering ball of stress last week. It was all I could do to just come home and read or watch TV or play video games, let alone be productive. So, I’m going gentle on myself and not giving myself a hard time about not getting much done. I needed the mental break, and that’s okay.

Nevertheless, I recovered enough on Sunday to get another 599 words written on Chapter One and a few new poems down for Napowrimo. It’s not quite done yet, so I’ll need to finish it before Wednesday and get it to my Writing Gang for critique.

Speaking of my Writing Gang, we’ve planned a mini-writing retreat for ourselves. We’ll be spending the weekend at a hotel and have planned out our own idea for a workshop, with writing periods and critique sessions. I’m looking forward to it, both as a chance to get some writing down and as a chance to have a relaxing escape from life right now. It should be fantastic.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Finish off Chapter One of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Come up with a writing workshop idea for Writing Gang Retreat
– Workout at least three days (1/3)
– Have a fantastic time at the writing retreat and get lots of words down.

Cross-posted to my webpage. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

Happy National Poetry Month!

I tend to forget that it’s April Fool’s Day (if not for the fact that everyone on the interwebs talks about it) and I’m also easily fooled, so chances are someone is going to have a laugh at my expense today. If you’re into that sort of thing, Jim Hines has a round up of some of the better Fool’s Day jokes that have already cropped up online.

But that’s okay, because today begins National Poetry Month! and that’s way more important. (^_^)
I will be participating in the National Poetry Writing Month challenge, which is essentially to write a poem a day in the month of April, or 30 poems total. Following the Poetic Asides prompts is an excellent way to stay inspired, if you’re participating.

I’ve been posting the poems to my tumblr the last couple of years, just to not have to cross-post and to have all the poetry in one place. I’m a bit torn as to whether I’m going to continue posting them online. On the one hand, posting them publicly is a way to hold myself accountable and actually make sure I get them done. On the other hand, posting the poems makes them ineligible for submitting to journals and I need to submit more often than I do. I’ve seen some poets put up their poems only temporarily, so maybe that’s one way to strike a compromise. I don’t know. Still thinking about that one.

Last Week In Review

My story, “The Shadow’s Flight,” was rejected by Strange Horizons. I read it over to see if I could clean it up anymore (I could), and immediately submitted to to Clarksworld, which also rejected it last week (wow! amazing response times!). So, I submitted it once again to Flesh and Blood (perhaps third times a charm?).

I managed to get through the first half of Chapter One of Under the Midday Moon. I like it so far, though it’s gone an changed where it’s going on me. So now I have to re-figure out just how I’m going to end Chapter One, which is all well and good, I suppose. At least words are getting on the page.

I ran 1.5 miles on Monday, and my foot was killing me by the end, but it started to clear up again rather quickly. But I didn’t push it on Wednesday and just did some sit ups and planks and squats instead. By Saturday my foot was feeling almost 100%, so I did a run and it went pretty smoothly. Almost no pain, which was bleeping fantastic, and I’m all set to get back to my running schedule this week. Yay!

Still struggling with my finances and trying to figure out how to handle them. I’m taking “contact accountant about retirement plans” off my to-do list for now, because I literally don’t have any extra income to invest. I need to figure out how to earn some extra money first.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Finish off Chapter One of Under the Midday Moon
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (0/3)
– Get California taxes done
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place
– Get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)

Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.

This was my week…

… in Writing: No new words, but there was this (which makes me want to faint everytime I see it). Also, I submitted a story last week, which makes me very much want to continue by submitting something else this week.

In Health: I ate extremely well last week, which I attribute to making mason jar salads at the beginning of the week, making lunch packing so simple. Furthermore, I not only completed three out of three of my run/walk days, but I also did a mellow six mile walk with my friend and her dog on Sunday. I feel all light and shiny.

Although, the downside is that I apparently overdid it on my long Sunday walk. I felt perfectly fine during the walk, but a few hours after a pain started in the bottom of my foot. It kind of feels like the muscle was overworked or is bruised or something. The result is that I’m hobbling today and won’t be able to run. I hope this foot thing doesn’t put me too far off track from my running goals. *sigh*

In Finances: I got my taxes done! (Well, most of them and I didn’t quite get as much of a refund as I hoped, but I’m still happy!)

Overall: Last week was probably the most productive week I’ve had since the beginning of the year. I accomplished four out of eight thinks on my to-do list, which makes me feel like this. Huzzah!

Things to do in the coming week:
– Complete Chapter two of novel
– Submit something (poetry, fiction, whatever)
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (0/3) (depends on the status of my foot)
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Get California taxes done
– Sort paperwork out by year for filing
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place
– Get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.]

a proper home

Much of last two weeks was spent preparing for, enjoying, and recovering from my trip to San Antonio, which was quite enjoyable. The result was that I didn’t get much done in terms of running or writing or financially, but since I gave myself permission to take it easy, that’s fine.

The one thing I did manage to do this week was to do a preliminary sorting of the stacks of paperwork in my bedroom, which has allowed me to locate some of the past tax information I needed. I now have a stack of paperwork that needs to be sorted into years and eventually filed, and I have another stack of paper work that needs to be shredded. It feels really good to be getting this done.

I also found out that the short story I submitted to Rustblind & Silverbright, an anthology of speculative fiction set in train stations. While I’m sad to have been rejected, I’m happy to say that it was a rather positive rejection and I’m confident the story will find its proper home.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Complete Chapter two of novel
– Submit the rejected short story to another publication
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (0/3)
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Get title transferred on my new car (I don’t know why I keep forgetting to do this)
– Get taxes done
– Get title transferred on my new car (I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet…. screw you, autopilot)
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place
– Get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.]

Giving myself a break

It was a bit slow going for me last week, which I am choosing not to stress about because of how full my social calendar was at the time.

I had started out with the idea of writing a short film script for the 10 by 10 Short Script Challenge from Stranger with My Face. They sent an email with a prompt and participants had ten days to write the script. A few wriggles of ideas were noodling around my head, but nothing came together, so I just let it go. There’s always next year.

After skipping the problem with Chapter One, I managed to half of Chapter Two down and into the writing gang, who seemed to enjoy it. Chapter Two is working better for me all around, so I’m just going to move on from there.

Nothing much else got done, as the rest of my time was taken up with movie watching and being lazy.

Since I’m going to be traveling at the end of this week through next week, and will need to run errands and prep for that, I’m going to go easy on myself and keep my to-do list brief.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Complete Chapter two of novel
– Walk/Run at least three days at least 2 miles each day (0/3)
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Get title transferred on my new car (I don’t know why I keep forgetting to do this)
– Get California taxes in for 2011, so I can start in on Cal and Fedral for 2012 next week

Feeling good about life

My biggest accomplishment of last week was getting the poetry manuscript out, which also happens to be my main goals for the year. I’m feeling quite good about that.

Did two days of exercise last week, neither of which included actual running, but I still felt good. I’ve also made it up some today, by walking over four miles today with some running intervals in the last two miles. So, I’m feeling great today.

The financial stuff was put aside last week, and getting that done, in combination with trying to get a short script written at the last minute, will be a priority for this week.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Write and submit horror script for 10 by 10 Short Script Challenge
– Rewrite Chapter One/Write Chapter Two of Novel
– Walk/Run at least three days this week & at least 2 miles each day (1/3)
– Do yoga (three sun salutations minimum) each morning before work (0/5)
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Get info and such together to send taxes in.
– Get title transferred on my new car
– Either purchase new a new filing cabinet(s), and/or buy folders/large envelopes, and/or go through the process of sorting and putting everything in its place.
– Contact Apple store or computer guys and get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days) – May hold off on this till next week, which seems to be my ongoing motto here. *sigh*

Lots of steps. No words.

(Look a’ that. Late by only a day this time.)

In terms of exercise, I was a very good girl! I did one morning of yoga and four days of walking and have started incorporating run intervals via the 5K Runner app on the iPhone. So far, it’s working great for me, and I can see how I’m
getting stronger already. Having the intervals managed through a program, rather than my own volition, is helpful. I don’t have to think about it too much, and over thinking and mental stuff has been a big block to my ability to make progress.

In terms of words…, writing last week was a no go. Though things have been gestating and plans are being plotted, which is a form of progress, right? Right? The good news is I have to get my next section of the novel in to the Writing Gang by Wednesday night or Thursday morn this week, so words will be appearing without question this week.

In terms of the poetry collection, oye. I blew through the submission deadline for a chapbook publication that I really, really wanted to try for, so I’m a bit disappointed on that front. But what’s done is done. — WAIT! I just found out the deadline’s been extended! I can totally do this still! There’s another publisher that is looking for full length manuscripts with an upcoming deadline, so I’m thinking I should gear up for that one now.

In terms of financials, no progress has been made.
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Things to do in the coming week:
– Rewrite Chapter One/Write Chapter Two of Novel
– Walk/Run at least three days this week & at least 2 miles each day (1/3)
– Do yoga (three sun salutations minimum) each morning before work (1/5)
– Make a list of poems I want to include in the collection
– Make edits to two of the poems I know I want to include
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Get info and such together to send taxes in.
– Contact Apple store or computer guys and get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)

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How’s did last week go for you?

[Cross posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.]

Being a belated Monday Update…

Saturday was spent in babysitting my niece and a significant chunk of that time was spent with her sleeping on my chest, while I watched The Goonies. Honestly, she’s the most delightful time-suck in the world. Going to hang out with her is a joyful black hole of baby love. No regrets.

Plus, I did a fairly good job at being productive before that, having managed to pull together a readable version of Chapter One of Under the Midday Moon in time for the Writing Gang meeting (it took me working on it through my lunch break and submitting it the day of the meeting — thank baby Jesus for deadlines, without which I would get nothing done). I’ve been having a hard time knowing where to begin with this story, but eventually figured that it was better to start somewhere rather than not putting words down at all. The resulting Chapter One was still not the right place to start, but the Gang offered some great feedback that now has me thinking of new scenes and perhaps a better place to begin. I couldn’t be where I am without having put those words down, so yay!

In terms of the physical, I managed to do two out my required three days. I absolutely could have fit that third day in there, but didn’t. Turning on the TV without specific purpose (eg., having a specific show to watch) is a problem for me. It’s easy to let a lot of valuable time vanish that way.

No work was done on the poetry or the financial side of things. *le sigh*

Things to do in the coming week:
– Write Chapter Two of Novel
– Walk/Run at least three days this week & at least 2 miles each day (1/3 down)
– Make a list of poems I want to include in the collection
– Make edits to two of the poems I know I want to include
– Contact Apple store or computer guys and get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days, hard to do when I’m in the midst of wanting to write)
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Do yoga (three sun salutations minimum) each morning before work (1/5 done)

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Anyway, how have you been and how are you doing?

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.]

Second verse, same as the first…

Two walks were stashed under my belt this week (the second one was a bit rough, as it not only included intervals of running, but there were hills involved), and I got three days of morning yoga in. So, I’ve got the baby steps going in terms of physical activity.

Nothing else got accomplished this week. Again. I’m choosing not to beat myself up, however, because my day job was particularly stressful in terms of projects that need to get done on a deadline and so forth. I just needed the mental vacation when I went home at night. It was a good thing.

Things to do in the coming week:
– Contact Apple store or computer guys and get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)
– Write Chapter One of Novel
– Walk/Run at least three days this week & at least 2 miles each day
– Make a list of poems I want to include in the collection
– Make edits to two of the poems I know I want to include
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Do yoga (three sun salutations minimum) each morning before work

*

How are you all, mis amigos? Have a good weekend?

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either here or there.]

"The day mispent, the love misplaced, has inside it the seed of redemption."

~ Kay Ryan, Say Uncle

Work toward three out of my four main goals were a bust last week. No progress was made toward my novel, compiling my poetry manuscript, or gathering the tails of my finances together. “Write First” did not happen at all, and a part of the problem is if I’m at home, I tend to get too distracted to write. So, getting out to the coffee shop is where I need to be. Also, I tend to write more when there’s pressure, so I’ll be throwing down a bunch of words once my next Writing Gang event looms in a couple of weeks.

I did, however, manage to walk three days this week (with Sunday’s walk being a nice long 4 miles) and did two mornings of yoga. I can already feel how much happier my body is, just from this small beginning. Just walking is good for now, because I don’t want to progress too fast and injure myself. But I’m thinking I could start some interval running later this week or this beginning of next, which will get my started on the “Run Three Miles” goal.

Main things to do in the coming week:
– Contact Apple store or computer guys and get data transferred from the old computer to the new one (may require giving up my computer for a few days)
– Write Chapter One of novel
– Walk/Run at least three days this week & at least 2 miles each day
– Make a list of poems I want to include in the collection
– Make edits to two of the poems I know I want to include
– Contact my sisters accountant to find out about setting up an IRA
– Do yoga (three sun salutations minimum) each morning before work

*

How did your week go? Did you meet your goals?

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. Feel free to comment here or there.]

What I'd Like to Accomplish in 2013

I’m doing this a little different. While I liked my Massive List of 2012 goals (everything was together!), it was a little unfocused, allowing me to hop through willy-nilly. Instead I’m going to try working with primary goals (those that must be accomplished first) and secondary goals (things I would like to get done at some point, but only after I’ve made progress on my primary goals). If I can complete these four primary goals in 2013, I will be a very happy lady.

Primary Goals
1. Finish a coherent draft of Under the Midday Moon (my no-longer-untitled werewolf novel)
The spirit of this goal would be to submit a new chapter to each meeting of my writing group and thus produce a novel I can edit and feel comfortable sending out for beta reads. Using the writing group meetings as a way to break it up is a good way to keep me progressing.

I’ve worked on this one a number of times, beginning with some scenes posted online and with a previous Nanowrimo attempt, which provided me some good exploratory pages as I tried to figure out where I wanted to go with it. Since then, I’ve been pondering and been doing some mental stewing on the novel. I’ve decided to add another character point of view to the mix and have more clear ideas of the challenges my characters will need to face. The only thing causing me to hesitate at this point is that I don’t have Claire’s voice, which would give me the launch point into the novel. I don’t want to do a ton

Accomplishing this will require me to, as whipchick so wisely put it, “Write First,” which means before I do anything else (TV, reading, websurfing). I’m pretty sure I can pull this off, if I stick to that motto.

2. Work up to running three miles
I really, really, really, really, really want to do this. I’ve tried and failed to complete the Couch-to-5k program, and part of it was because the increases were too quick and partly because my head gets in the way (from “I don’t feel like it” to I can’t!”). Listening to music while I run will help some, and I’m also trying another version of the Couch-to-5k via an iPhone app. The app alerts me as to when to start and stop the running intervals, which takes the metal calculations out of it. I can just listen to my music and do as I’m told.

If anyone has any advice on how to beat the mindf*ck while running, I would love to hear it. I may just start with some affirmations for the time being.

3. Submit a chapbook- or full-length collection of poetry for publication
I have enough poetry written to do this. So it’s just a matter of selecting the poems and putting the package together. I know of one chapbook that’s open for submissions this month, so I’m going to start there. I plan to also submit a larger manuscript to a poetry book publisher that I’ve been looking at for a while. So that means two submissions in January/February.

I may have to follow up this submission with another manuscript in the middle of year, depending on the reply I get.

4. Address finances
This encompasses a number of factors that I may need to work on and adjust to as the year goes on. Essentially, I need to spend with in my means by sticking to a budget and set up a savings plan and making progress to pay off my debt, as well as begin an IRA or other retirement investment plan.

I would also like to earn an additional income from my poetry and fiction writing. I don’t have control over who chooses to publish my work, but I do have control over who I send it to. So, I plan to work toward sending my work to markets that pay something (rather than nothing) as my first choice.

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Secondary Goals
Fiction
– edit stories and submit them to paying markets (try for no less than 6 for year)
– finish Fay Fairburn 1st draft

Poetry
– perform morning poetry ritual at least six times per week
– submit new poems to paying markets (try for no less than 6 for year)
– begin work on my novel-in-poems idea
– finish 30 letter challenge
– post a new poem to wattpad as a part of The Poetry Project every week
– continue on my series of fairytale inspired poems

Events
– attend FogCon
– attend one additional convention
– attend and/or participate in 12 open mics/readings (1/month)
– attend poetry retreat
– 48 Hour Film Project

Finances/Employment
– create a system to track money spent/earned as writer and maintain receipts
– create a filing system that functions (which may mean I need to pull my mom in on this for help)

Exercise/Health
– do yoga five mornings a week (a minimum of three sun salutations each morning)
– keep using calorie counter, but more importantly try to incorporate healthier foods
– make appointments as necessary (don’t avoid doctors)
– participate in sunday/saturday hikes
– participate in Wharf to Wharf run (6 miles)

Inspiration
– adjust my perception of “having enough time,” because it’s not just about having enough, but using the time you have wisely
– meditate for at least ten minutes every morning after yoga & every night before sleep
– do a new set of affirmations every month
– go to monthly women’s circles or other spiritual meetings

At some point I would like to write a spec script and start making some short films, but that may be too much right now with everything else I already have on my plate, so that’s more of a tertiary goal.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to either comment here or there.]

Where I'm At — 2012 Round Up‏

Writing Assessment for 2012

Fiction
Stories Submitions: 1
Stories Acceptances: 0
New story drafts completed, but unedited and unsubmitted: 6

Poetry
Poetry Submitions: 2
Poetry Acceptances: 2
Rejections: 1

Published Poems:
“Comfort at Last,” Z-composition, Issue I, February 2012 (link)
“The Teeth that are Teeth,” Z-composition (on Google+), February 2012 (link)
“Bird Collides with Window,” a handful of stones, February 11, 2012 (link) and in A Blackbird Sings: a book of small poems [US | UK | Kindle]
“Annie Taylor, Niagara Falls, 1901″ and “Red Riding Hood Remembers,” Linden Avenue, Issue I, June 2012

Events
Total Open Mic/Readings attended: 5
Open Mic/Readings in which I actually participated: 3
Cons Attended: 1

Though I didn’t come anywhere close to completing what I set out in my Massive List of 2012 Goals, I feel fairly good about what I accomplished in 2012. I got a lot of writing done. Though I do need to step up with submitting my work, especially since I have a lot on hand to submit. Getting myself to FogCon was also great, and I’m planning to go again this year.

*

The following Self Assessment comes via whipchick who discovered it from kathrynrose’s Goal setting 2013.

Health
For many months (anywhere from 4-6), I have been off my walking/running and yoga routine. My days have been mostly sedentary, with my two hour commute, sitting at my computer all day, and then sitting to read or watch TV or write when I get home. It has been very rough on my body, and I can feel how my body creaks and how my muscles ache. It’s a clear sign that I need to get back to walking and running, as my health depends on it.

However, I have been (mostly) keeping up with my calorie counting (I didn’t bother much during the holidays, when there was so much good food about, figuring I would just let myself enjoy it). It works for me. I find that I eat healthier when I’m following it, and doing calorie counting alone has allowed me to loose 13 pounds. There are several shirts and dresses and such that drape better on my body, which makes me feel great (and how my clothes fit is a better indicator to how I feel than the actual pounds lost).

It would be great, too, if I kept more regular doctor appointments.

Education
I feel good with where my education is at with my BA. Though I’m always interested in learning more and would be open to take more classes. But I don’t really have the time for that at the moment. So, I will continue to improve my mind through reading (a given for me anyway), and participation in Cons can be educational as well as fun.

Though I would like to improve my Spanish speaking. I spent many years in high school and college, as well as ten weeks in Mexico, learning the language, soyou’d think I’d be able to speak it better than I do. I’d like to practice that more.

Employment
I still enjoy my job, though it has its frustrations. The work is often challenging and I’ve progressed enough in the office that my employer trusts me to handle most articles. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy having the opportunity to visit manufacturing plants and write about them. The commute is probably the roughest part of my work experience, and I wouldn’t mind figuring out a way to not have to deal with that as much.

In terms of my side job of freelance writing, I have not been as successful. I earned little-to-no money from my story and poetry writing so far and have not pursued it with regularity, making my output sporadic. I am less happy about that.

Daily living
I love my apartment, which is located at the end of the row giving a clear view of trees and grass, almost as if I had a back yard. However, I don’t have much, or well, any, artwork up, so the walls in the living room are very blank, making the space feel unlived in.

In comparison, my bedroom has too much stuff (since it must include office supplies, filing, arts & crafts, etc.) and it’s not very well organized (mountain-of-unfiled-paper work lives and breeds in my closet), so when I let things slip it gets cluttered. I’m sure that adds to any feelings of being overwhelmed I get throughout the work week.

Also, my household cleanliness is not great. My bathroom progresses to nasty before I’ll clean it, so I need to either abide by a cleaning schedule and/or invest in having a cleaning service come to the apartment once a month.

The commute to work is a pain in the ass, but I’m not sure how to get around it as public transportation is not viable in terms of financial savings or time and I don’t have a bicycle. I’d like to do something about it though, and it might be worth investing in a bike and trying it out one day a week.

Finances
Month-to-month I am living just above my budget, so some of my spending is ending up on credit cards. I hate that, and need to amend it immediately. I want to decrease, not increase my debt. As awesome as it is to have a job that sends me to places around the world, it also means that I’m spending a lot of money on travel, so I need to save better for my trips and plan my budget better.

I have no idea or concept of investing and have no retirement plan. This does not seem wise to me, so I need to start educating myself on financial matters and get help with a retirement plan.

As I mentioned in employment, I would like to earn more money as a writer. It’s one way to put aside money for savings and lighten my financial load a bit. Though I recognize that I can’t depend on it to save, but consider it bonus money for savings for trips and retirement investment.

Social
Between my family and a small group of friends, I’m generally happy. I don’t want to have my social schedule overly filled, and so trips outside of the usual routine need to be planned ahead of time. I don’t do well with spontaneity because of that, though I would like to bend the extent of the routine some and start going to stage plays, concerts, or comedy shows.

I’m not good at calling or contacting family and friends who live out of state, or heck, even in state. There are a handful or more close friends, whom I have not seen in over six months. I hang out with them for a day, but then don’t see them for ages — though they are often on my mind and in my heart. I’d like to reach out and connect with them a bit more, either by making phone calls or meeting in person. This includes contacting and touching base with my penpal and many of my online acquaintances.

I enjoy solitude, moments of just me myself at home reading, taking a mental break from interacting. I would like to spend that time more wisely, not in terms of working more, but in terms of walking and allowing for silence. Hence, no TV and such during those periods.

Leisure
I read (a lot) and I hang out with my baby niece.  I occasionally sketch just for the fun of it, and I’d like to do that more.

I also spend significant amounts of time flipping channels, watching shows that I don’t particularly care about. I’d like to use that time better, choose to watch shows I actually love or watch movies that interest me.

It would be fun to spend more leisure time doing outdoor activities. Geocaching, for example, would be spectacularly fun. I also like hiking and would like to explore more of the trails in the area.

Travel has been good for me with my job pitching in and allowing me to go places I might not otherwise. I’d like to do more day trips and weekend trips closer to home, though.

Inspiration
I used to attend Women’s Circles regularly and participate in group breath sessions and other forms of spiritual connection with self and community, but it’s been a while and I feel the absence. I miss the women I’ve met and the connection with inner calm through deep breathing (it’s funny how even as I write this I start to breathe more deeply). I’d like to meditate more on my own, but also attend spiritual events again. They were so good for me.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve fallen into the I’m-not-good-enough and I’m-not-worthy traps, especially as a writer. I know this is contributing to my procrastination around writing and submitting my work, and why I tend to choose market that pay nothing over those markets that do. So, it would be good for me to work through some affirmations and try to process that a big and dislodge some of my self-doubt.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. Feel free to comment either here or there.]

Poetry Projects

So, as a form of procrastination (one of many), I’ve been toying with various ideas for poetry projects* — some I’ve been thinking about for a while now, some are brand new.

The newest idea, and one that could be done both fairly cheaply and easily (uh huh), is creating one or more pocket/mini chapbooks (thank you Poets & Writers). They would be 4.25 x 2.75 inches in size and 6 pages long (not including the cover). So a tiny little book with a series of very short poems (possibly haikus) or one longer poem spread over several pages. It would be something that I could give out at readings and maybe sell on etsy for a buck or two each.

I’ve been thinking for over a year about putting together a kickstarter project, which would be called “As Yet Unwritten,” in which I would create a chapbook of poetry based entirely on prompts from backers. I like the cooperative aspect of the idea, but I’m also aware that there is a huge time chunk involved in terms of researching cost of publishing a chapbook, running the project, creating the project, mailing the finished product out, etc. So, while conceptually fun and exciting to me, it also seems very, very overwhelming.

Then there’s the infamous letter poem series, which is still not complete. In terms of publishing this set, I would hopefully (fingers crossed) work cooperatively with an artist friend of mine, who has created a series of collage art pieces on old envelopes, so that her art and my poetry would appear side by side. Also a fun exciting idea for me. Ideally, I would try to get this one professionally published, but I have no idea how to go about getting an art/poetry book published, or what publishers would be interested in such a thing. So, um, yeah.

And, of course, there’s always the final option, the one I’ve been meaning to do since forever, which is to organize and compile my existing poetry into a booklength collection for the purpose of submitting it to a professional publisher. The only think holding me back here are my own doubts as to whether or not I’m good enough or ready.

Anyway, because I’m still enjoying the planning-level of procrastination, I’ve put a poll up on my livejournal as to which project you think I should work on. Have fun.

Being an update sort of listy thing after a long reprieve

Hi, guys! It’s been a few weeks, and even longer since I posted a “massive list of goals” update, so… here ya go.

Things I Have Done
1. Attended Writers with Drinks, which had readings by Sarah Kuhn (I must buy her book, One Con Glory), Malinda Lo, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Glen David Gold (whose memoirs are hilarious), and Amber Benson, all of whom were fantastic in varying ways. It was hosted by the wonderful Charlie Jane Anders (aka [info]charliegrrrl), and her introductions, which are really long elaborate and fantastical stories, are definitely one of the highlights of going to the event.

2. Attended S.G. Browne’s signing and reading for his new book, Lucky Bastard, at the Booksmith. It was quite fun, and the book looks to be as funny as his other two books.

3. Also attended the Thursday night open mic at The Usuals, which both my friend Lorenz and I read at (and it went quite well, though I have a tendency to speak too close to the mic). It’s a new venue, built in the back of a clothing store, but it’s a great space, and I look forward to reading there again soon. I also encourage other poets or songsters to attend and participate.

4. I completed the first draft of the short story intended for an anthology, but blew the anthology deadline. So, it’s a halfway success, because at least I have a story that can be edited and submitted elsewhere.

5.
I sent out two poetry/flash submissions, and received one rejection and one acceptance. The rejection was a rather positive one, and encouraged me to submit again, which I shall.

I also received an email from a publication, saying that they wanted to include a poem they published in an upcoming anthology they are producing. An acceptance without a submission is so amazingly awesomesauce :D.

6. I completed 30 new poems (well, 32, if you count the two I didn’t post) in 30 days for the Nation Poetry Month Challenge. Seven of those poems were completed in an hour just before bedtime on April 30th, so there is a varying degree of quality throughout the lot. If you’re interested, you can check out the poems here on my tumblr.

Things I Need to Do
1. COMPLETE MY TAXES (it’s ridiculous that I haven’t, cause they’re so easy)
2. Write the flash fiction story that’s bouncing in my head.
3. Focus on edits, including rewrites for White Noise and other stories in the draft queue.
4. Submit at least one story mentioned above.
5. Submit one poetry set, ideally the 15-25 poems for a chapbook market.
6. EXCERCISE: yoga, running, hiking, whatever. Just something. My body needs it.

_________
*It occurs to me that my definition of long needs reevaluation, as it’s only been a week or two, but it seems like forever.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

Monthly check-in – Jan/Feb

It’s been a good month (see last month’s goals), despite some slow and lazy weekends.

Fiction: I successfully completed each of the therealljidol prompts that came up, resulting in four new Fay Fairburn posts and 6,114 new words. I’m enjoying working on this project and meeting the weekly deadlines is a fun challenge and is great at keeping my work count up. However, I’m starting to find that the addition challenge of reading all the other entries each week is starting to wear me out. A part of me wouldn’t mind if I didn’t stay in the competition much longer (another part of me really, really wants to get into the top 100).

I did not complete draft zero of my new story as I had planned. I have, however, been making progress with about 2,500 new words (I think). I have several random scenes laid down right now and I’m not sure how they all connect yet.

So, 8,614 (ish) words of fiction written over the last month brings me to about 12,474 (ish) words for the new year, which when seen all stacked up like that makes me feel pretty awesome.

Poetry: A few new incomplete tidbits of poetry have been laid down, and three poems have been published this month: Comfort at Last, The Teeth that are Teeth, and Bird Collides with Window.

Other: A new youtube video was posted for Valentine’s Day, called A Love Poem for the Books of Stephen King.

And in terms of exercise, I’ve slacked. Big time. I haven’t been doing my morning yoga the last couple of weeks and my back is definitely complaining because of it.

Thinks to do in the coming month:

  • Complete the draft of the new short story. This is absolutely necessary, as the deadline for the anthology is coming up.
  • Complete the LJ Idol prompts (i.e. Fay Fairburn chapters) as they come up, which is necessary if I want to stay in the competition.
  • Edit and submit “White Noise”
  • If possible in between everything else, get another 3,000 words of the Untitled Werwolf Novel down.
  • Write two new letter poems
  • Compile and submit some poetry
  • Put “Shaking Hands” up on my website
  • Do the damn morning yoga 5 days per week.
  • Buy a house plant and frame the art I have in an effort to make apt more homey.
[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

Being an update of things accomplished and things to do

One of the ways I’m planning to keep motivated on my massive list of goals is to check in once a month and assess where I’m at. I know it hasn’t been a full month yet, but for some reason I like the idea of doing my check in during the middle of the month. *grin*

I’m off to a good start at the races. Three poems (including two newly written ones) have been sent off to a for-the-love market and I’ve written about 3,860 words of fiction, including work on Untitled Werewolf Novel, a section of the Fay Fairburn story for [info]therealljidol, and the start of a new short story for the Awesome Anthology. So, I’m feeling good on the writing front.

In terms of physical endeavors, I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with the yoga every morning. I’ve only missed a few days. I also got a walk in there and an ill-fated attempt at ice skating (no falls, but the skates temporarily screwed up my feet in a rather painful way). Already my body is feeling better from the little I’ve been doing, which equals awesomesauce.

Thinks to do in the coming month:

  • Get another 3000 words down on Untitled Werewolf Novel.
  • Complete the LJ Idol prompts (i.e. Fay Fairburn chapters) as they come up, which is necessary if I want to stay in the competition.
  • Finish draft zero of the new short story.
  • Write two new poem drafts.
  • Edit and submit “White Noise”
  • Put “Shaking Hands” up on my website
  • Create and post a youtube video
  • Keep up with the yoga.
  • Buy a house plant and frame the art I have in an effort to make apt more homey.

How are you doing in approaching your goals for the new year?

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

The Masive List of 2012 Goals!

2011 Round Up – Highlight of the year was definitely my trip to Australia. Travel is one of the great bonuses of my job and that trip was amazing.

In general I feel pretty good about my level of creative productivity. I wrote a lot at the beginning of the year, slowed a bit in the middle, but picked up some nice word counts over the last four months or so. I wrote oodles of poems (mostly for my blog), one novlette, a handful of stories, and got a good chunk going on a novel. Considering I work full time with a commute, I’d say that’s pretty darn good.

I think I made about 10 (or so) submissions to magazines and journals this year, of which 3 were accepted and 6 rejected, with one response still pending. Not bad at all.

My personal everyday goals are the ones that collapsed a bit. After I quit on my plans for participating in the half marathon in July/August, pretty much all my exercise stopped. No running, no yoga, etc.

Any meditation, affirmations, or breath work was also almost nil. That said, I give you

The Masive List of 2012 Goals!

I always vacillate on how I feel about New Year resolutions and goals. I think they’re good to a degree, and I enjoy making them, because I love lists and I love the idea of scratching off the to-dos as they are completed. The past couple of years, I’ve been more in favor of loose, short lists, which allow for flexibility.

This year, however, I’m going back to the detailed style list. There are things I want done damnit (mostly career-wise), so I’m announcing them. The plan is to check back in once a month and update the list (i.e., strike out what’s completed or change as necessary).

Fiction
– edit stories that have completed drafts — i.e., “The Witch of the Little Wood,” “White Noise,” etc. — and submit them for publication
– finish draft of Untitled Werewolf Novel by mid-year; begin rewriting process
– write a short story to submit to Awesome Anthology; edit it; submit it on time (I already have ideas)
– write and edit one new short story or flash fictions a month, or complete 12 new pieces for the year
– submit one short story or flash fiction for publication each month, or a total of 12 submitions for the year.
– continue to write one Fay Fairburn stories for until the season is complete (without sacrificing my other work)

Poetry
– re-institute morning poetry ritual (read one poem, write one poem)
– finish stillunfinished-after-a-year 30 Day Letter challenge
– compile a chapbook/book of completed work and submit to a published
– start kickstart chapbook that I’ve had planned for almost a year (optional)
– submit for publication one set of 3-5 poems a month, or a total of 12 submitions for the year
– go through previous morning poem journals to see if anything sparks a new poem

Exercise
– begin a modified Couch-to-5k with my own modifications with the ultimate goal is to be able to run three miles straight through (this would require that I hit the track 3 days per week
– restart 28 Day Yoga Plan with the goal of doing yoga every morning, five days a week or more
– take a hike (with hills) every Saturday (optional, but hoped for)
– participate in Wharf-to-Wharf run (optional)

Website/Blogging
– write a minimum of three posts per week — one writing related, one life related, one whatever related
– post a new youtube video each month
– add to website “Shaking Hands” story with a drawing of some sort (perhaps a lizard on the wastes)
– add to website scans of “The First Kiss and Other Poems” chapbook
– add to website “Barbie’s Wonderful Life” screenplay (if I can find it)

Art (optional)
– attempt to sketch something – anything – once a week
– attempt to paint a larger piece – anything – once a month

Film (optional)
– write spec-script
– participate in 48 hour film project

Events
– attend and participate in 10 readings and poetry slams
– would really like to get my ass to some conferences this year (local SF suggestions welcome), so look up the list, mark it on my calendar in advance, and buy my ticket

Personal
– make an effort to call family/friends via phone or skype who live out of state. I am not comfortable with phone calls, so this is a challenge for me.
–  make an effort to visit family/friends who live in-state, but not in my immediate vecinty.
– meditate for at least ten minutes every morning after yoga & every night before sleep
– do a new set of affirmations every month (optional)
– go to monthly women’s circles (optional)
– do some breathwork (optional)

* * *
Some closing thoughts:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Neil Gaiman

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

My Category Reading Challenge for 2012

For some reason, I didn’t post about my category reading challenge for 2011, huh (well, here it is on Librarything). I’m not done with it yet, and it doesn’t look like I will finish — I’m currently at 90 books, with 9 more to be read. I’ll post my reading stats at the end of the month once I have a full tally.

In the meantime, I’m planning to do the category reading challenge again this year (what can I say, it’s fun, and gets me reading what I might not read otherwise.), so here are my planned categories for 2012 (my Librarything thread is here). Some categories have more required reading than others, but the ultimate goal is to read 100 books.

1. Hello, I Love You (0/6)
I’ve read one book by an author and loved it. Now I want to read at least one more by the same author.

2. Oh, How I’ve Missed You (0/6)
Books by an authors I once loved, but haven’t read in a long time. OR, rereads of favorite books.

3. It’s a Smoldering World After All (0/7)
Apocalyptic and Post Apocalyptic books, as well as some dystopian novels.

4. Unicorns from Space! — Science Fiction (0/10)

5. Unicorns from Space! — Fantasy (0/10)

6. I Don’t Wanna Grow Up (0/9)
Books for children and young adults.

7. Bam! Pow! Wham! (0/9)
Graphic novels and comics.

8. Just the Facts, Ma’am (0/8)
Nonfiction.

9. The Universe in Verse (0/9)
Poetry.

10. From My Bookshelf (0/8)
I have a tendency to jump at the new and shiny in bookstores and the library, rather than reading the stacks already on my shelves. This is meant to rectify that.

11. From the Modern Library’s 100 Best Books (0/10)
There are actually about 200 books, since there is also the publicly voted list (with some overlaps). I’m working off the list from 2009, which is posted on my blog.

12. Miscellany (0/8)
The catch-all category for whatever doesn’t fit in the above.

This is the season…

Christmas is past (I got a TOASTER!) and New Year’s has not yet come. This is when it’s natural to assess the previous year and plan goals, hope, dreams for the upcoming year.

Apart of me is like booyah, goals are awesomesauce! And an entirely different part of me is repelled by the whole process, keeps hanging its head like Eeyore and letting loose a moping, why bother? (My mood is very transitory at the moment and will probably be completely different in an hour.)

I don’t really want to present a statistical list of 2010. It was what it was with really low lows and really high ups. Assessing the year would be a very messy process and I don’t want to get my shoes dirty, thank you very much.

I’m all for goal setting — with the stipulation that goals actually get completed. Looking back at the goals I set for 2010, I see that I didn’t complete even one of my goals. How sigh inducing.

It would be easy though to take that little fact and use it as an excuse to get all depressed and not bother setting goals for 2011. However, that would negate the other fact, which is that I’ve actually been working my ass off this year — it’s just that at some point in the year my goals shifted and new priorities came up and things looked different than they did in January. My desire to finish my novel switched to a desire to complete enough poetry for a chapbook (still working on this one). My desire to run a half marathon was replaced by a desire to work my way through the 28 day yoga book (which I did accomplish). It would be ridiculous to judge myself based on a list that doesn’t meet my needs now.

So, here I go. Here are my goals for 2011, stated here in the full knowledge that things will change, priorities may shift, and this list of hoped-fors may completely different a few months down the line.

1. I will finish the 30 Day Letter Challenge that I started, so that when I get to the end, I will have a rather nice stack of poems to edit and choose from for submission to chapbook competitions.

2. I will aim to have at least two submission of either poetry or fiction out in the field while working on a third. The idea is to keep pressing the market, thus bringing me closer to my long term hope of actually making some money at this writing gig.

3. I will take my laptop in and get it fixed and/or buy a new one. This not being able to write on my own time and terms is unacceptable.

4. I will assign a day of the week to go to a coffee shop or the library to write. Preferably this will be on some short story or on whatever novel idea I’m inclined to work on.

5. I will get together with my friend Juliette and work together with her on this musical idea that we’ve been talking about doing for a year now.

6. On January 3rd when registration opens up, I will sign  up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Thus having already having paid my money, I will have no choice but to train for the event I know I’m going to.

7. Keep sketching, writing, collaging, dancing, in otherwords, keep creating in some way or another everyday.

8. Be joyful. (This is the easy one.)

Day by Day

I haven’t posted any weekly goals for a while, and for the time being I’m taking a break from it. The practice of posting my goals for the week and reporting on them doesn’t seem to be serving my any more, as I tend to post the goals and still not complete them, which is not very beneficial.

Instead, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m working my way through this 30 day letter writing (and for me poetry) challenge and right now that’s my main goal — to get that done, so I can seriously look at it as a potential collection. It’s an enjoyable process of coming up with these (even though it’s taking me far longer than 30 days), and I’m enjoying what I’m learning about myself and my writing as I continue it.

In other areas, I still have quite a few things that I want to accomplish, but for them I’m going to day-by-day it. If I make progress, great, if I don’t, it’s probably because I’ve been doing something else enjoyable, so that’s great, too.

I’m sure at some point I’ll want to lasso myself back into seriously attacking all these personal projects with more concrete goals (probably in the new year), and at that point I may go back to weekly updates or maybe some other form of goal creation that suites me.

But for now, I’m going to allow myself the mental break of saying, “It is what it is,” and just enjoy what each day gives me.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you can comment either here of there.]

One Word…

I saw this on [info]ying_ko_4‘s blog, and thought I’d do it, too.

One Word for 2010? I’m going to go with growth, or perhaps development.

I suppose I say this mostly in relation to the second half of the year. My memory seems to be confined to shorter terms (i.e. within the past few months) or to specific events which are vivid, but loose all but a vague sense of when it actually happened. I’m really having a hard time remembering at the moment what “important events” happened from January to June.

However, I do feel that I’ve grown this year. I’ve made several leaps and bounds in my personal life that I’m rather proud of — paid off my car loan, earned enough money to start lowering my debt, moved into my first apartment. I also traveled to Germany on my own and enjoyed being lonely in a foreign country. And (shhhh) the big shocker, I’ve met a guy that I would actually consider dating (don’t know yet what’s going to happen with this one, maybe nothing, but it’s fun to imagine).

In my creative life, my progress has been a little slower. Novel and fiction writing has not gone so well, but I’ve kind of decided that that’s okay. There’s been a lot of other things going on. I’ve been a busy, busy girl, so I’m going to let it go. I could have also submitted more work this year, and that one, too, I’m going easy on myself with.

Jumping back into art, sketching and drawing, has been fun and beneficial for me. I don’t do it daily like I should (but then, I don’t do anything except getting dress and brushing my teeth daily like I should), but I can already feel how it’s slightly easier than before to create pictures that please me. I have tons more learning to do in order to get where I want to get with this, but for the moment it’s a fun pastime.

Where I’m really pleased creatively is in my poetry, however, and I really feel like it’s going well. I’ve written a lot of poetry this year — some of it’s bad, some of its okay, and some of it I’m proud to have written. Discovering blackout poetry was a great boon for me. It combined art with words into a meditative process that helped focus me into a writerly frame of mine and helped to inspire me with my original poetry.

The 30 Day Letter challenge, even though I’m not nearly done with it after several months, has also been a great thing. For a while I’ve thought my poetry too disjointed in subject matter and style to be able to pool it together into a collection. Silly writer, indeed. But this challenge has helped me through that by not only keeping me writing, but also with the knowledge that when I finish all 30 prompts I’ll have enough poems to attempt to publish as a chapbook. How awesome in that.

I hope my one word for 2011 will be thrive. Like a vine that’s continually growing and climbing up the wall, I want to thrive in heath and joy — to live each day fully. I want to continue to be abundant in money and love, and heck yeah, abundant in sex, too. Why not.

I want my words to flow like Niagara falls. I want the patience to sit and plan a novel and work through a draft from beginning to end. I want the courage to submit my work for publishing. I want to be paid for my words.

So many wants, and all within the realm of possibility.

Thriving doesn’t mean that the days will be without challenges, of course. There will always be challenges and long days in which I wish I had just stayed in bed. It just means that I take it all in and live it. That I weather the storms and if all goes well come out a little beat up, but also a little stronger after wards. Oh, yes, I want to thrive.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Is it really November already?

I’m a little stumped as to how the year warped by. Christmas decorations are already out (granted they’ve been out for a considerable while now, but still). And Nanowrimo has begun. I can hear the clacking of keyboards as frenzied writers get to work.

Unfortunately I’m not one of them. Nano is too much for me this year. I’m traveling to Alaska to visit my grandmother and moving into a new apartment. But the bigger issue is that I do not have my laptop working, and without regular and easy access to a computer, it’s very difficult for me to work at that kind of a pace.

I am, however, participating in anti-nano (set up by[info]naomi_jay), in which we set our own smaller goals for whatever project we want to work on. My goal is to write 10,000 words on the Untitled Alternate World Fantasy Novel that I started last November. (Hopefully, I can finally figure out where the plot, if there is such a thing, wants to go.) My plan is to head to the library every Tuesday and Thursday and use their computers to get writing done. I may also borrow a family member’s computer and head to some write ins because I enjoy the collective writing experience.

To do in the coming week:
— write/edit 2-3 poems
— submit something for publication
— post a youtube video
— draw anything
— write 2,500 words for anti-nano

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you can comment either here or there.]

In the previous week I wrote some poems and sketched some…, well, one thing. I didn’t do much beyond that, but then I didn’t really expect to. This week I expect to be fairly productive along the same lines.

I really need to get back to doing some exercise. It’s been a while, and I can feel the tightness in my back from not doing yoga. It’s been really hard to motivate myself in that direction, though. Anywho…

To do in the coming week:

— write/edit 2-3 poems
— submit something for publication
— post a youtube video
— draw anything
— get some words down on that blasted short story

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Monday Update: I'm a busy, busy girl

I’ve been extremely overwhelmed at work. We are extremely behind due to the multiple trips to conferences (including Germany) and time off this month. Several days last week, I worked late, and it’s highly likely that I will be spending several days working late this week as well. Doesn’t bode well for creative progress, since all I want to do when I get home is to watch TV or read a book.

That being said, I did get a few poems written last week. I seem to be doing really lately with that. The more I do it, the easier it comes, which is a nice feeling.

This week on top of writing some new poetry, I would like to get back to writing/sketching in my daily journal as I was doing before I left for Germany. If I could get the youtube video I promised to do last week done, that would be great, too.

I’m not really going to set my goals above that, because there is just too much going on.

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Whoops. I'm a day late. Just pretend it's Monday (or don't, I want the weekend to come too much).

I felt fairly productive last week, not as much as I could have, but still fairly productive. I wrote several poems, including some blackout poetry and one in particular was written for a specific market, but needs some more polishing first. I also posted a quick youtube video, after I found out that I now have over 100 subscribers. I got some more of my Germany stuff posted, too, but should really wrap it up soon.

On Saturday I went to the open studios art tour in Santa Cruz with my mom (after a giant greasy breakfast, of course). I was hungover, so I felt like I was floating the entire time I was there, but I really enjoyed seeing all the art work on display. Some of my favorites were:

  • Robert Larson, who takes discarded cigarette and matchstick packages and turns them into art work.
  • Nick Anderson, who does amazing fantasy and surreal paintings that just drip with eerie beauty
  • Susan Vaghan, who creates elaborate, sculptural assemblage pieces out of a variety found objects
  • Jennifer Pond, who’s paintings are playful and funny

There were many other amazing arists, of course, but these were the ones whose cards I managed to grab.

* * * *

To do in the coming week:
— finish posting photos and any write ups for Germany (some were done last week)
— write/edit 2-3 poems (already on my way, as I wrote one poem this morning and began another)
— submit something for publication
— post a youtube video
— draw anything
— get some words down on that blasted short story

I suppose I should post some goal orientated sort of thing, as it is Monday afterall.

Currently I am faced with a spiraling siege of procrastination, though this revolves mostly around my day job, it has leaked in to other aspects of my life as well. Thus, I give you my weekly goals list with a slight sense of trepidation.

To do in the coming week:
— finish posting photos and any write ups for Germany (which turned out to be a bigger task than I thought)
— write/edit 2-3 poems (already on my way, as I wrote one poem this morning and began another)
— submit something for publication
— post a youtube video
— draw anything
— get some words down on that blasted short story

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you can comment either here or there.]

I love it when things get done, even if it's only a few of them

Things Accomplished
In writing... one new poem written and a rough draft of another. Morning poetry continues, off and on. No progress on the short story.

I also submitted four poems to ZYZZYVA, which would be awesome to get in to. 🙂

In art… I got a few drawings done. I’m finding that it’s getting easier to get things to look the way I want them to on the page — which shouldn’t be a surprise. Practice is good. I really want to improve to the point where the more elaborate ideas and painting that I have in my head and translate them to canvas. One in particular would be a large portrait of my grandmother, but I don’t feel skilled enough yet with painting to be able to pull it off right, especially since it’s sucha personal subject.

In body... again, only the yoga class. I get like this sometimes, where I’m just not in the damn mood. I really need to get over this, since my body just feels so much better when I keep up a regular exercise routine.

In miscellany... I also managed to sneak a youtube video in there, which I just now realized that I forgot to post here. *sigh* At any rate, you can click the link to view it.

* * *

In other news, I’m only two weeks away from Germany. Which means I should probably ease up on my to-do lists, so that I can get all my pre-travel stuff done. But I’ll leave it be for this week and see what happens.

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue editing/rewriting the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— draw two pages for the 30 Day Challenge
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you are inclined, you can comment either here or there.]

not so much

Not so much was accomplished last week. I give no excuses.

I did do my morning journal pages and even put together a blackout poem, but not much creatively otherwise. And thank goodness for the yoga class I’m signed up for with my mom and sister otherwise I wouldn’t have done any exercising last week.

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue editing/rewriting the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— draw two pages for the 30 Day Challenge
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you can comment either here or there.]

back in the groove, discovering black out poetry, and getting some art done

Things Accomplished in the Past Week
In writing… I’ve finally pulled out my short story and started editing it. I’ve worked through two scenes, which is a good (re)start. These were the most polished scenes in the story, though, and I have a feeling that I will have to do drastic rewrites to make them work. *sigh*

On top of putting down the rough draft of a new poem, I’ve also discovered a kind of found poetry called blackout or erasure poetry, which is fabulous fun. There have been several books, published using the style, include Mary Rueffle’s A Little White Shadow, which I reviewed here, and I’ve learned about a book called Newspaper Blackout, which I’m itching to buy.  I’m obsessed with this form, and can’t seem to look at Newspapers the same way again. Every time I pick up the paper, I start scanning it to see what words might come together to form a poem. I love the visual element that is inherent, and as a lover of collage, I try to incorporate that into it.

Not only am I having fun creating blackout poetry, but It’s a relaxing way of getting into the poetic mind. I’m finding that working in this way is helping me to feel more inspired when I face the blank page, too. You can see a few of my blackout poems here.

In art… Several sketches and a new drawing were completed, all in good fun. You can see them here.

In body… I have not done much yoga or running this week. I blame the stress of going to press, and the fact that I’ve had to work overtime several days this week. Which is all well and good, but means that all I want to do when I get home is rest.

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

I'm all arty inside – Monday Update

Things Accomplished Last Week
In art, I’ve been doing fairly well. I’ve done some fun sketches in my morning journal, one of them in color, and I had a good time making a collage inspired by India. It’s not really surprising that I’m keeping up with my art, my tumblr is like a shiny new toy and I want to keep playing with it (sometimes to the neglect of my other toys, like writing or livejournal or even twitter).

In writing… well, thank god for my morning poetry journal, because if not for that I would have no new words to report. I’m trying to get back into the habit of things, but trying is not the same as doing. I also received a rejection this week for one poem. Well, on to the next!

In body, I did excellent. I finished Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan, which is an amazing feeling. I now need to keep up with my morning routines as suggested at the back of the book.

I also did week one of the Couch to 5k running plan. I’m feeling pretty good about it. Saturday was a real push for me, though. I think this was because I ran midday when it was rather warmer out than I’m used to. I tend to get lethargic in the heat, so it felt like a much harder run. This is good to know about myself, because I’m going to need to keep that in mind whenever I get around to actually participating in an

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment here or there.]

the lists monsters (a monday update)

I love lists. I love making them, lining up my to-dos or to-be-reads or hope-to-bes all in a row of possibilities. I love their logical assertions, or their assumptions of logic regardless of whether any single item has anything to do with any other single item. I love the feeling you get when you get to cross one off and feel as though a job’s been well done.

But I have a habit of making and then poking them idly from a distance with sticks. Or of simply abandoning them entirely as soon as they are composed.

This is a dangerous thing, this making and then abandoning. Because lists have a tendency to grow of their own accord, to become feral and monstrous and hungry. They will attack you in your dreams if you do not attend to them. They will scratch and paw and bite at your inner calm and security.

It’s best to tend them, to bring out the shears and prune them by striking out your accomplishments. Or better yet, by making your lists no greater than you can manage.

Which is to say that other than a few minor sketches in my morning poetry journal, I mostly ignored my list this past week (and many more lists in the weeks before), and I am beginning to grow concerned. So, I post this week with tentative fear and the hope that I can accomplish what I set forth in order to keep myself from being eaten alive.

To Do in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Monday Update

What’s been Accomplished

I have written, edited, and submitted a poem to the Bang Out Reading Series, which means I may or may not be participating in the even in August. Will let you know if I do.

I also managed to get some more work done on a couple of other poems, and have made tiny, itty-bitty baby steps toward continuing the short story that seems like it will never be done. I’ve also been periodically been adding some sketches alongside the words in my morning poetry journal.

My ass is sore. Seriously. Though I suppose that’s a sign that I’ve done something right, because it means that my workout went exceptionally well (or was perhaps slightly overdone) this weekend. On Saturday, I did lunges, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, which was immediately followed by my 45 minute yoga routine, which was immediately followed by a 2 mile walk/run at the track. While I admit that I most probably over did it (I had a major headache Saturday night), I also know that my currently sore muscles are a contributing to my good mood this morning.

Relatedly, I’ve learned about a training program, called Couch to 5k, which is a plan for a beginner like me to get up to running 3 miles in two months. The plan will be slightly interrupted by my trip to Germany, which is now less than two months away (o_O). But I’m hoping I can pick up from there afterward, as I really, really would like to meet my long time goal of comfortably running a mile (let a lone three) and eventually running in some sort of marathon or race.


To Do in the Coming Week

– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3 walking/running routines for Couch to 5k
— do 5-7 days of morning yoga
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]

Monday Update

I am not even going to bother with a round up since my productivity (or lack thereof), was pretty much pathetic. I am, however, going to set some Work Week Rules for myself. Numero Uno being Fallout 3 can only be played once one of the day’s tasks has been done, and then only for an hour. In fact any form of television-related entertainment can only occur after completing a task.

I have to comply by this because my semi-conscious decisions to simply veg instead of getting things done is kind of becoming a problem at this point.

I’m starting a free yoga class this week, so at least I’m guaranteed that amount of exercise, and I’ll still be keeping up with my morning yoga routines, as well.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 1-2 of my current poems
— write a 500 word article to submit to Matador
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 2-3 walking/running routines
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you wish to comment you may do so here or there.]

Monday Update

The big announcement for this week is that Bear Creek Haiku has selected three of my short-short poems for publication. I don’t have the dates, but at sometime in the next several to six months “Dear Tree”, “Shrodinger Haiku”, and “white cat in a windowsill”. Bear Creek is a great little publication with some rather nice short form work in it.

I meant to get my entire list done over the two week period since I last posted. Didn’t quite happen. I finished a new poem, kept up with my daily yoga and some of my morning poems, and got a few sketches completed in the notebook, too.

I really need to get more submissions out this week. I think that’s my main priority.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 walking and/or running days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. you can comment here or there.]

Monday Update

Feeling good about this last week. I’m slowly building up my level of “getting shit done” again.

A set of four (short, short) poems were submitted to Bear Creek Haiku. I’ve been published in that journal before. Some really nice short poetry and haiku in that one.

In terms of actual writing, I’ve finally managed to turn back to the short story that I’ve been avoiding for a while. Up until this point, it’s been in a jumble of different pieces, which I have now assembled into one document. Now I just need to work my way through a rewrite so that I have a draft that I would actually allow someone to read.

I also edited and polished three more poems, which are now not quite complete, but at the point where they are starting to resemble completion. The morning poetry journal progress was only sporadic this week, mainly due to my keeping up with yoga in the mornings, which sometimes conflicts.

Also got two really good walking days in. In fact, my Saturday walk was more intense than intended. My sister walked the loop we always walk, taking us up a rather long hill, and then down a short steep one, before looping around to our car. Except, there was no looping around, because the trail was closed off. Our only choice was to return up the really steep hill in order to get back — which kind of sucked, but also turned out to be less difficult than I though. I guess I am improving, after all.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 walking and/or running days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. you may comment here or there.]

Monday Update

I have been productive in terms of preparing a for my brothers graduation and helping my mom haul some valuable items (i.e. a stove, an extra fridge, some old filing cabinets) out of our old house for sale. I also got one walk day in last week in between all the goings on (this one has been hard to focus on, since my family has decided not to do the Disney marathon in September, which was a huge motivator).

However, I have still not been on top of things in terms of creative progress. This is partially due to the fact that my laptop is still not working, and so computer access at my sister’s apartment is limited. Though it’s mostly due to the purchase of an X-box and the subsequent time suck that is Fallout 3. It would eat every waking moment of my life if I let it. (And it’s so easy to let it.) Therefore an immediate priority readjustment is required.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 marathon training days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[X-posted my livejournal. You can comment here or there.]

Monday Update

I am more or less moved into my room in my sister’s apartment. I’m still not dragging all my stuff out of storage yet (which is leaving me to buy new summer clothes rather than dealing with that whole storage shed mess). A part of my moving in involve buying an X-Box, in part so that I could have DVD set up in my room. I bought Fallout 3 along with it, however, which doesn’t bode well in terms of distractions.

Creatively speaking, I finished off another poem and spent some time getting a submission packet together. I intended to have it done and sent off last week, but realized that I was confused about some of the submission guidelines. So I sent my question in and haven’t received a response yet.

To Do in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 marathon training days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my blog. you can comment here or there.]

Oh, hello. Here's a weekly update thingy.

Between my trip to Vegas the previous weekend, and my relax-time at Clear Lake this weekend, as well as all the ins and outs and recoveries in between my to-do lists have been left mostly unchecked.

I have reinstated my morning poetry and journaling practice, and I have been studiously keeping at it for the last few weeks (even though Vegas). The result of this is that I managed to finish and polish one shiny new poem. Still thinking about which market it will fit best.

I’m currently in the process of moving out of my mother’s apartment and moving in to my sister and her husband’s apartment. I pay rent at both, so it’s virtually the same, except that at my sister’s apartment I will have my own private space, which is MUCH needed.

That Which Need-ith Accomplishing in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– write, edit and/or polish 2-3 of my current poems
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication (which will be some poetry to Apex Magazine, because I have some stuff that will fit rather nicely)
– do 3-4 marathon training days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal. You may commenter here or there.]

Monday Update

The “getting things done” thing did not go over too well last week. I did do some writing each morning, just letting brief poetic phrases flow out onto the page as part of a morning ritual. It’s a good warm up for the day, and sometimes a real poem actually comes of it.

The coming week is going to be interesting, because I’m 6 days away from arriving in Vegas. Much of this week will be spent in finalizing all travel plans and making any last final purchases for the trip.

My list of Creative To-Dos that get done will be like a bonus round above and beyond all the Travel To-Dos. They’ll have to all get done by Friday, as well, because once I’m actually in Vegas, I’ll be in pure pleasure seeking mode. 🙂

Travel Things That Need Accomplishing in the Coming Week
– get primped: hair cut and colored and eyebrows shaped
– buy bra clip thing-y for use with my fancy schmancy new tops
– get a chiropractic adjustment or two so I’m not totally whacked while I’m there
– figure out where the hell my luggage has vanished
– more will come up, I’m sure, as the week goes on

Creative Things That Need Accomplishing in the Coming Week (bonus round)
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– edit and polish 2-3 of my current poem drafts
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 2 marathon training days (all I’ll have room for)
– post a youtube video *fingers crossed*
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

Monday Update

I was significantly less productive this week. I have no legitimate excuses for this — not even mother’s day counts. It was all a general lack of focus more than anything else.

That Which Hath Been Accomplished in the Past Week
1. One more poem has reached a “finished” draft. A few more took long strides toward completion, and a couple drafts of entirely new poems have come into being.

An Aside: I find that the more I write, the more I stay inspired to keep writing. One of those “an object in motion tends to stay in motion” kind of things. Does anyone else find that writing ideas and writing in general tends to flow more easily if you keep up the habit of writing?

2. Youtube video completed. A round up of my challenges for National Poetry Month, as well as a reading of one poem that I wrote.

3. I completed my walking/running days — barely. It’s starting to look like we’re not going to make it to the half marathon in Disneyland in September. To make it, we should be really focused on training, and we’re not. Not to mention the financial aspect of the trip.

There is a local run (6 miles-ish) coming up here in June. I’m going to aim for that one.

That Which Need-ith Accomplishing in the Coming Week
– continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
– edit and polish 2-3 of my current poem drafts
– submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
– do 3-4 marathon training days
– post a youtube video
– art, doesn’t matter what, but something

Monday Update

All in all, despite being sick, last week was a fairly productive. The only thing that was really harmed was the whole walking/running/marathon training thing. I didn’t feel it would be a good idea to overwork my lungs when I had a racking chest cough.

That Which Hath Been Accomplished in the Past Week
1. The April Poetry Challenge in officially over. I began several new poems this week. None were actually reached a finished (i.e. publishable) stage. So my final count is 9 completed poems, 11 poems in draft form, for a total of 20 poems. This does not include the various haiku I wrote, or that which was recording in my morning poem journal. If I include those I’m closer to the required 30.

Any way you slice it, however, this was an incredibly productive poetry month for me. I probably got more work done in April than I had in previous six. So I’m probably going to challenge myself again in June. In the meantime, I will be spending this month trying to get those drafts polished to completion.

2. I submitted four poems to The New Yorker. I don’t really have any expectations of getting accepted (though it could happen), but I figure what the hell, anything could happen. I’m not terribly afraid of rejection anyway. I just figure it’s par for the course.

3. I killed two birds with one stone by creating A Zombie Limerick, in which I created a youtube video by reading a poem I wrote and making some collaged and painted artwork. I think it turned out rather well.

That Which Need-ith Accomplishing in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— edit and polish 2-3 of my current poem drafts
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication
— do 3-4 marathon training days
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[x-posted to my livejournal.]

Monday Update

I woke up Friday with a serious head cold, which consisted of much mucus and misery. It extended through the weekend, eventually moving down into a chest cough, which put a damper on some of me efforts.

That Which Hath Been Accomplished in the Past Week
1. Two more poems finished, for a total of 9 complete poems. Another 8 poems in the Idea/Draft stage. I am way, way behind on this 30 day challenge, so I’m going to need to hustle this week if I hope to complete it. (Even if I don’t this is more poetry progress than I’ve made in a while, so I’m happy.)

2. Marathon training was something of a bust. I only walked one day last week (so, okay, not a total bust), but being sick kept me from Saturday’s four-mile hike through the hills.

3. No progress made on the short story. I’m feeling somewhat lost again. I need to figure out what the hell these final scenes are supposed to look like.

That Which Need-ith Accomplishing in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— finish the drafts of 15-18 new poems
— submit a set of poems or a short story for publication (I do have some ideas on this)
— do 3-4 marathon training days
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

That Which Hath Been Accomplished
1. Over 2200 words have been written on the short story that seems to have no end. Many of these words were of an outlining sort as I tried to figure out just how I was going to wrap things up. The good news is that I may actually know how I’m going to wrap things up. I don’t know whether the jumping back and forth between the past and present is going to work or fail, but I suppose we’ll find out once I edit it all together and actually let others read it.

2. I have successfully finished (ish, because poems can always be further edited) four poems for April’s 30 poems in 30 days challenge. (Some of which have been posted to my blog.) I also have seven poems in the ideas/draft stage of writing. It’s not a bad start, but I should really “finish” ten to twelve more by the end of this week.

3. I have completed all of my marathon training days (along with some supplementary exercises on other days), which means I ran/walked a total of 9+ miles last week. Whoo!

4. A new youtube video was completed for both my personal and the collaborative channels.

All of this means that I more or less completed three of my four to-dos from last week. *does a little dance*

That Which Need-ith Accomplishing in the Coming Week
— continue to make progress on the story (actually finishing = triple bonus points)
— finish the drafts of 10-12 new poems
— do 3-4 marathon training days
— post a youtube video
— art, doesn’t matter what, but something

[This post has been x-posted to my livejournal.]

Ten Years to the Day

The question of the day over at livejournal was: What do you expect to be doing ten years from today, and where do you hope to be living?

I always find these kinds of questions somewhat odd, especially in terms of expecting specific things. The future is such a wide open field of possibilities that I don’t want to tie it down to one in my mind. To quote Shel Silverstein: “Anything can happen. Anything can be.”

In my mind, expectations are an attempt to define the way you think reality should be. When you expect a specific thing, you place a “should” on reality. “Should”s, in my opinion are rather stupid. Reality is what it is. If it was meant to be anything other than what it is, then it would be. If you don’t like a situation or your current reality, instead of wasting time lamenting the way it should be, you have the right to change your reality. (I know I’m oversimplifying here.)

The point I’m going for here, is that arguing with reality is a waste of time. It’s much more productive to do something about reality as it’s presented to you.

I try not to “expect” anything.

However, I am a firm believer in hope. I think hoping for things is good. I think having goals is good. (It’s even better if you combine hoping and goal making with action.)

Therefore, here are some places that I may be in ten years (possible hopes, as it were):

  • I will be living my cottage-style home that I purchase five years before. The laser printer in my office will be pumping out page after page of my latest writing endeavor to be published later that year. Meanwhile, I’m on the phone with my sister and we’re jointly planning a surprise trip for the whole family to head off to Costa Rica for the week.
  • Year five of my plan to live in a different country every year (having already lived in Dublin, Mumbai, Tokyo, New York, and Paris) finds me in Rome, sitting in a small cafe, drinking wine and taking notes on my impressions of the people passing by.
  • I am pleasantly lost in the side streets of a South American town on my long term trip, whose goal is simply to find my way back to the U.S. via car, rail, bike, of feet after landing in Buenos Aires.
  • The snow is slowly drifting out the window, as I try to decide to drive into Anchorage that day, or just stay home and enjoy the fire.

There are, oh, so many more possibilities that I would find wonderful. All of them involve me making a living of some sort in the writing world.

Above anything else, though, I hope for happiness in whatever shape or form that is to look like. And I expect that I will find and have happiness in my life, because happiness is something you shape from what’s present and available in the world currently around you.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

The New Year – A Grand Symbolic Gesture

Even though I know that the possibility to change, grown, and improve one’s situation exists every day, there’s something about the symbolism of a new year starting that helps to inspire me to help me refocus and to get my rear in gear and jump start my goals again. So here I am publicly setting my goals for the new year.

Last year, I didn’t set any year long goals, and instead tried to stick to weekly goals (which are posted on my livejournal). I only sort of succeeded. I still intend to set weekly goals this year as a way to keep me constantly aware of what I’m up to, but I also have some BIG things that I want to get accomplished in the course of this year, so I’ll go ahead and post those, too.

2010 Goals:

  • Finish draft 0 of my Untitled Alternate World Fantasy Novel (currently at 51,189 words). In order to accomplish this, I plan to set aside time to write. There’s a local coffee shop, where I know there’s no wifi, so I can go there and get some focused writing done one to two days a week. Otherwise there are just too many distractions at home. It’s the same way I was able to complete Nano.
  • Actively write poetry and short stories for submission to anthologies (which will give me focus and a deadline), preferably a minimum of one submission a month. This is rather scary for me, because completing that many stories and poems on top of completing a novel feels like a lot, not to mention the possibility of facing rejection. However, I’m trying to look at it this way: if I complete a story that’s rejected by an anthology, then I will still have a story that can be reworked for submission elsewhere.
  • Train for and participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. I’m not putting “lose weight” as a goal, because I don’t think that’s a good thing to focus on for me. But running in a marathon with my mother and sisters will be a lot of fun, will challenge me physically, and will probably achieve the “lose weight” thing in the process.
  • Attend a convention of some sort. This is just something that I’ve been wanting to do and talking about doing for quite some time. I think it’s about time I actually did it.
[X-posted to my livejournal.]

The Writing Life: Long Term Goals

Today I thought it would be good to follow the writing prompt set by young adult author Laurie Halse Anderson .

The prompt? “Write down where you want your writing life to be in 2010, in 2024, and in 2026.”

Goals are excellent things to have. They help keep a clear purpose in mind. I know I’ve been writing small weekly goals (some I meet, some I don’t), but I have a feeling that now is a good time to get some of my larger goals anchored down. It’s also fun to look back at goals you set years in the past and compare them to where your currently at.

2010: One of my main goals for next year is to have a chapbook or full collection of poetry published. I’m getting to where I have enough poetry that’s completed, that I like, and that has the same sort of tone that such a thing is possible. I’m going to be submitting to a couple of poetry chapbook contests in the next couple of months and we’ll see what happens with that.

I would also like to have several completed and published short stories, more single poems published in journals, and my really big goal: to have a novel completed that is manuscript ready. By which I mean that the novel is edited to point that I could consider sending it out and shopping for agents (slightly scary).

2014: Five years from now? My goal is to have several book-length collections of poetry published. By then, I would love to have many novels written, two to three of which would be published with another on its way. (Idealism and high hope are good. Really.)

Somewhere in there, I would like to have had at least one feature film script written and hopeful produced into a film. I really enjoy the filmmaking process, how so many ideas from so many people can come together into something that (hopefully) works.

On a personal note, I would like to have done some more extensive traveling. I especially would like to spend some serious time in South America as well as hit various points in India and Europe.

2026: I’m not really one to reach that far into the future, and while I do think setting goals is important, I also think it’s important to live in the moment. Besides a lot can happen in seventeen years. I would hope that my career would continue exponentially, with all the good spiraling into more and more good. More books and poetry and scripts written and ultimately published. And if there’s award or two in there, all the better (Though just getting published is joy enough for me, hell, just completing something to where I’m happy with it is joy enough, or better yet, just writing is in many ways joy enough.)

I think these goals are entirely realistic and possible. Accomplishing all of this, however, means that I will need to have a higher productivity rate than my current level. Again, do-able. It is a simple requirement of making choices. Watch TV or write 500 more words? Hmm, let me think about that.

[x-posted to my blog]

Train Tracks

Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.

~From the movie  Under The Tuscan Sun ( book by Frances Mayes)

I’m rather fond of that story, and in my own way, I am presenting this site as a similar foundation for myself. I have not yet published a novel (have not even finished writing one), however, as I build my career as a writer, this site will serve as a portal, for not just my noveling adventures, but all my creative endeavors.

I will use this homepage to point out projects I’m working on, when my work gets published, events or readings I will be attending or participating in, and any other such announcements. Please also visit my blog for posts about my daily writing progress and challenges, book and movie reviews, and other meanderings.

If you are an aspirant (“a hoper, a dreamer, a magic bean buyer”), please leave me a comment or write me an email about your own tracks. Pursuing our passions doesn’t have to be a lonely affair after all.