The Things That Need Doing

1. Because I thrive (go mad-hatter crazy on) deadlines, I have put off compiling this poetry chapbook until the day before the competition ends. At least it’s only 16-18 pages. *sigh*

2. Oh, and I’ve also signed up for the 10 by 10 Short Script Challenge, which has begun this week. I now have ten nine days to complete a short indie horror script that challenges the genre’s portrayal of women.

3. And lets not forget that I have to provide a rewrite of Chapter One and/or Chapter Two of Under the Midday Moon, my YA werewolf novel to my writing group by next Wednesday.

4. Did I also mention that my entire Saturday will be taken up by attending the AMC Best Picture Showcase, leaving me next to no time to do any of this stuff? No. Well, I am.

5. Somewhere in there, I’m also supposed to exercise.

6. *dies*

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either 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.

*
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.

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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.]

Happy New Year!

I have several 2012 round ups to post for books, movies, and life in general, as well as new goals for 2013. Those will all be thrown up this week.

In the meantime, be merry and safe with all your celebrating tonight. (I personally shall be wrapped in cuddly pajamas, playing board games, drinking beer, and being joyfully mellow with family.)

To one and all —

X All the Things

Sketch by The Oatmeal.

[Cross posted to my livejournal.]

Letting go of "should" in order to enjoy "is"

People tend to have high expectations for the Holidays, a lot of ideas of what it should be, from decorations to food to family coming together in certain and specific ways. When things don’t line up with the shoulds, things get uncomfortable. This collision of what we think it should be and what it is is where most of the conflict and tensions rise.

My family is no exception to this. There has been a lot of shifting of what the holidays look like in recent years that has required reajustments of expectations, but this year has involved an especially uncomfortable shifting. It started with Thanksgiving, and now we’re faced with it again for Christmas. It’s not even close to what it used to look like.

So various family members are pissed upset. Different family members have different expectations — each with their own set of should be‘s. I’m seeing a lot of upset feelings and a lot of unwillingness to compromise, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m willing to give my support where I can, but for the most part how everyone chooses to handle it is beyong my control.

I’ve already had a freak out over Thanksgiving, which I processed and let go. I think that experience has let me be okay with allowing Christmas to be whatever it’s going to be. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me what it ultimately looks like — it doesn’t matter whose house it’s celebrated at, where Christmas dinners happen, when the presents are opens, and etc., etc., etc. — just so long as family comes together in love and laughter.

Because that’s the important thing. Family and love and laughter (and maybe a few carols and some spiked eggnog and some good food). All the rest is just details.

If one can just let go of the idea of the holidays they have in their heads, they can enjoy the holidays for what they are — a gathering of those we love.