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.