Sunday, January 12, 2020

Goals for all of 2020

A bad sign when the park bench looks like this. 

I am still trying to decide what I want to accomplish this year, where I want my writing path to take me, or if I want it to continue sitting on a park bench as it had been doing most of 2019. Before I dive into weekly goals, here, I need to look at the big picture.

All right. Here it is, my list of goals for the entire year. Of course, this list is open to continuous tweaking.

WRITING     
1)              Edit the novella “Finding Justice”.
2)              Finish typing the novella “No Body Found”.
3)              Finish writing the short story “Where the Dogs Bark.”
4)              Finish writing the novel “Ice Cream Spies”, previously called “Old New Spies”.
5)              Start the second book in the “Ice Cream Spies” series, once I finish the first one, of course. (As if that is going to happen!)
6)        Post three times weekly to “The Dino Chronicles.
7)        Post here once a week.

REACHING
As if any book signings were a success
1)              Self-publish “The Truth Beyond the River”.
2)              Submit twelve pieces, somewhere, anywhere.
3)              Attend two book signings.
4)              Give one presentation.  
5)        Redo my website. 

READING
1)        Read twelve current novels, two novels from the “classics” list, two nonfictional (self-help?) books and one devotional.
2)        Read an average of five other blogs per week, commenting on three of them.
Traveling partner


REMAINING
1)        Travel to Cambodia in the fall. I’m so excited about this! This has been on my bucket list for over 45 years!
2)        Empty my box of old pictures.  
3)        Finish my family tree.  
4)        Clean out all of the closets in my house.
5)        Keep my weight right where it is. It took me most of last year to lose that five pounds to even make the weight I wanted. Now to keep it there. 

What do you think? Any of that sound attainable? After my last few years of long lists of failures, I’m going to really work at this in 2020.

Wish me luck!

How about you? Does your list of goals look achievable? Realistic? Overly energetic? 


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Recapping 2019's goals and a lists of failures

First of all, let’s recap those abysmal goals from 2019. I’m looking this over and thinking to myself, “Did I really come up with these goals? What was I thinking?”

Oh, well, it’s 365 days I can’t relive; let me just spill it.    

WRITING     
1)    Finish the proposal for “The Truth Beyond the River”. Finished 6-26-19
2)    Edit “Finding Justice”. Hmm? Hardly even remember writing this.
3)    Finish typing “No Body Found”. Didn’t touch it.
4)    Start the next novella to go with that series. I had ideas for four novellas to put together - the two above, one with the working title of “Ghost House” and one more that I can’t remember. Hmm? Don’t remember this goal either.
5)    Finish writing “Old New Spies”. This is a lofty goal indeed. But I will give it a shot. At least I wrote four chapters. Yea, Me!
6)    Continue posting three times weekly to “The Dino Chronicles.” Pretty close.
7)    Continue posting here once a week. Not so close.   
REACHING
1)    Find an agent. Submitted proposal to Diana Glaz 6-26-19, which was, by the way, rejected in September.
2)    Publish “The Truth Beyond the River”. If I haven’t found an agent or a publisher for it by June 1, the end of the year, I will self-publish. I have not found an agent and have given up getting one. Hope to self-publish a few months into 2020.
3)    Submit fourteen pieces. Not even close.
4)    Redo my website. Not even looked at.
READING
1)    Read fourteen books, two from the “classics” list. Have read 23 books, four of which were classics. Finally a goal that I smoked.
2)    Read an average of five other blogs per week, commenting on three of them. Not sure, but kinda don’t think I made it.
REMAINING
1)    Return to Kenya in the fall. Done
2)    Empty the box of old pictures in my office. No, but I did work on it.
3)    Finish my family tree. This has already consumed a lot of my time this year. When does this ever end?
4)    Clean out all of the closets in my house. Last year’s ridiculous goals was to get the whole house as clean as possible. I don’t know how that could happen, so I’m trying to be more realistic. And by cleaning, I mean – empty all the junk out of those puppies. Cleaned a few.
5)    Keep my weight at 140. Last year I was going to get in the best shape of my life. Didn’t know how that would look, so am being more specific. I got there, stayed there for a couple weeks, then the holidays happened. Argh. But I’m still counting this!

That’s it for now. Next Sunday, I’ll come up with a revised and doable list of goals for the year.

Hoping that you did better in 2019 and are looking forward to a 2020 full of success! 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Time to Gear up for Thanksgiving


The cold that attacked me three weeks ago and which seemed to have totally abated, came back with a vengeance last Sunday. Either that or a different virus attacked me while I wasn’t on my game. Whatever the case, I called in sick to work on Monday and mostly laid around getting caught up on old episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I’m mad at myself for not rallying enough to get at least a few things done on my to-do list, but, hey, I was sick, right?

I remained punky most of the week, so missed my church meeting Tuesday night and the church service Wednesday night. Again, Chris, you had enough time to get more done this week. Then Thursday was my boss’s 25th year anniversary of working for the organization, so I got it in my head to go into work an hour early to decorate his office. I don’t know what came over me. I hate that kind of stuff. Plus, payback stinks and I do not abide by it, so now I feel I have to watch my back. You know?

Anyway, here is how I did on my goals for the week:  

1) Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles. Done.    
2) Read five of the blog posts that other ROW80 participants post and comment on three of them. Read five but only commented on one. Sorry, guys.
3) Spend one night working on my short story “Where the Dogs Bark”.  Yes.
4) Read six chapters in my novel “The Truth Beyond the River”. Yes.
5) Spend one night working on my family tree. Nope.
6) BONUS: Since I have pretty much decided to self-publish “The Truth Beyond the River” on Amazon, I need someone to make a cover for me. I had come up with this one, as a working version. The picture is from the location which inspired the story, but the building needs to be changed. So, I messaged a friend from high school and she agreed to work on it. I sent her a copy of the manuscript to read so she gets a better feel for it. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m sure she’ll do a fantastic job. She’s very talented. I’ll keep you posted.


This week, of course, is Thanksgiving. Right now, there will be fourteen around my dining room table. Possibly fifteen.

My brother-in-law and his wife from out of town will be coming up and spending the night Wednesday. Then an old friend from out of town will be driving over Thursday morning and spending Thursday night. I have to work Friday morning for a couple hours as well as Saturday until eleven. Sounds exhausting. We’ll see.

Here's what I’m going to try to get done. It appears my goals have been attainable so far, so I really need to start upping my game. Maybe in another week, though, huh?

1) Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles.  
2) Read five of the blog posts that other ROW80 participants post and comment on three of them.
3) Spend one night working on my short story “Where the Dogs Bark”. 
4) Read six chapters in my novel “The Truth Beyond the River”.
5) Spend one night working on my family tree.
6) Survive Thanksgiving dinner.
Last year's turkey, resting before he is destroyed. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Once again, too busy


  Ok, let’s see what did I do this week? Hmm? I can’t remember.

I know I baked cookies one night for a potluck at work the next day. I also worked Friday morning, which used to be my day off, but now I have to work at least a couple hours every other Friday. Yesterday, I attended a “Fall into Wellness” event using essential oils, but we also did some yoga and practiced a little meditation. I’m glad I went to it.

It sure seems like I did more this week. My printer died so I was emailing back and forth to the company about it, and they decided to send me a new one, an upgrade even, because the old one was still under warranty. The new one arrived via UPS on Tuesday, but I didn’t get it hooked up until Friday afternoon. I was excited about that.

Oh, and lastly, I sold my old digital camera on the Facebook marketplace, so I delivered that Friday night. I was glad to get rid of it and I think it went to a good home.



But on to my goals:

1)    Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles. Done.   
2)  Read five of the blog posts that other ROW80 participants post and comment on three of them. Read four and commented on two. So close.
3) Spend one night working on my short story “Where the Dogs Bark”. Done. I used to keep track of word count but have decided to not worry about that for now.   
4) Spend one night working on my novel “Old New Spies”. Nope.
5) Spend one night working on my family tree.  Yep.
6) Read six chapters in my novel “The Truth Beyond the River”. Read nine. Yeah!

This week might not be as productive. I have a church meeting Tuesday night and church itself Wednesday night. I’ll be off all day Friday but have to start deep cleaning house for Thanksgiving. How is it possible that Thanksgiving is only ten days away!!!

Because next Saturday is the opening of the gun deer hunting season here, there are craft shows all over the area for non-hunting women and men, or those just starting their Christmas shopping. For many years, I was one of those selling at the sales; we had a table for our nonprofit, selling Kenyan-made items to raise money for our projects. We decided to cut back on that, so I finally have this weekend off from that. So, I told my sister I would take her to some of the craft shows around her town, and I just got off the phone with my daughter and invited her to join us. She wants to make us appointments for pedicures that day – yikes! I don’t know about that, but we’ll see.
 
Yup, a lot going on in the coming week. I will still shoot for most of the same goals, though, and we’ll see what happens:

1) Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles.   
2) Read five of the blog posts that other ROW80 participants post and comment on three of them.
3) Spend one night working on my short story “Where the Dogs Bark”. 
4) Read six chapters in my novel “The Truth Beyond the River”.
5) Spend one night working on my family tree.
6) And all the other stuff I mentioned above 😊 .

How are things going with you? Still working on NaNoWriMo? Or planning a big Thanksgiving dinner?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Whoa! How'd I get this much done?

Well, here’s a surprise – I didn’t get much accomplished this week. As if anyone thought I would.

The last three days, though, I visited with six different friends or relatives in four different locations. Came home last night and told Hubby that if I ever think about cramming this much into one weekend again, that he needs to stop me.

Had good visits with everyone. Some of them needed it more than I did – you know, being the supportive friend and such. But sometimes I do need to get out of my house and be with people other than co-workers and clients at work. Exhausting though.

Here was my to-do list from last week.

1)    Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles. Done.  
     2)    Read all of the blog posts that other ROW80 participates post. I did quite a few. I shouldn’t use the word “all” here; that is asking for failure.
     3)    Spend one night – yes, just one night! – writing something, anything on one of my multiple works in progress. Again, this was a little vague. I’m kinda feeling like vague is my new modus operandi. Anyway, I did write on my short story, “Where the Dogs Bark” for one night.  
     4)    Spend one night working on my family tree. I had been gung-ho about that last spring, but just haven’t done much since then (kinda like the rest of my life). I did spend several hours last Sunday night working on the Hubby’s family’s tree.
     5)    Re-read my novel “The Truth Beyond the River” in anticipation of self-publishing it on Amazon. Read through chapter 6.


Riding way back in 2011. 
Whoa! That looks like I did all right. It sure didn’t feel like it. Guess that’s why we make lists. I guess for now it’s better to take baby steps and at least feel like I’m getting something done.

So for next week, let’s keep it simple again.

1) Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles.   
2) Read five of the blog posts that other ROW80 participates post and comment on three of them.
3) Spend one night working on my short story “Where the Dogs Bark”. 
4) Spend one night working on my novel “Old New Spies”.
5) Spend one night working on my family tree.
6) Read six chapters in my novel “The Truth Beyond the River”.

This week my work schedule doesn’t look bad, or at least it didn’t when I left for the weekend on Thursday. Anything may have happened between then and tomorrow morning.

Wishing you all a happy and productive week.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The struggle is real

Speaking of the day job, here I am with my co-workers
as Care Bears for Halloween. 

I was hoping that I would have a big revelation for you today. An unveiling of the new and improved goals for me for the rest of the year.

But, alas, nothing new to report. Argh! I wish I could figure out what is wrong with me, why I have no ambition and get nothing done all day (when I’m not at the day job, that is).

I’m going to cut myself some slack for the past week, as I have been battling a cold. Because I rarely get sick, I just don’t do well when I am coughing and hacking and sneezing and holding a Kleenex to my nose 24/7 as it continuously drips. Maybe I need to get sick more often, so that I know how to handle this. I pretend I’m not sick at all and power through day after day, but psychologically my brain is mush and – well – my body is shot.

But to not beat myself up too much, here are some of the things I did do last week.

  1)    Wrote and posted three blog posts to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles.
  2)    Read and commented on two blog posts by other ROW80 participates.
  3)    Spent a couple hours last night working on my husband’s family tree.
  4)    Sewed two quilt squares.
  5)    I almost forgot the real achievement. I submitted two inspirational reflections to my employers 2020 daily calendar. The deadline was the end of September, but they sent out another email last week that they hadn’t gotten nearly enough submissions and were begging for people to send them something. So I am pretty much a shoe-in for this, but it is still a creative blip that I put out there.

So, moving forward. Let’s just at least try to get something done this week.

  1)    Post three times to my other blog, the Dino Chronicles. I’ve been writing about my recent trip to Kenya, so at least I have a plethora of things to write about.
  2)    Read all of the blog posts that other ROW80 participates post.
  3)    Spend one night – yes, just one night! – writing something, anything on one of my multiple works in progress.
  4)    Spend one night working on my family tree. I had been gung-ho about that last spring, but just haven’t done much since then (kinda like the rest of my life).

That’s it. Baby steps and keeping it simple.

Am I just chicken to get published?
(I realize it's a rooster, but you get it.) 
The other thing I have been thinking long and hard about is my second novel, which has just been sitting in my computer collecting dust and probably even mold by now. I’ve had a few agents turn it down, not sure that traditional publishing is ever going to happen. I’ve been tossing around the idea of just biting the bullet and self-publishing it on Amazon. I might work on that process in the next few weeks, too.

How about you? Have your publishing goals changed? How do you handle that?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

"I'm Back"

After one of our longest walks,
while carrying bags of groceries and getting lost. 

Wow, here I am, finally, after a two-and-a-half-month absence.

I returned to Kenya the last two weeks of September. Leading up to that, I had a lot going on and the muse was just not with me. I haven’t done much writing the entire year; haven’t worked on any of my to-do lists actually. I told myself that the trip to Africa would rejuvenate me and I’d return home the first of October ready to rock-n-roll.

And here it is – October’s almost over. I need to explain what I have been doing all month.

First of all, the trip was fantastic. One of my best ones (this was my sixth, by the way). The friend who went with me and I were healthy and injury-free, and after a few days in-country, we were both sleeping better than we did at home. We ate only one or two meals most days but were never hungry. We walked several miles almost every day. We reunited with old friends and met some new ones.

By the end of the first week, even though I had enough other stuff to do, the muse returned, and I started writing a story, based in – of course – Kenya.

I think that this is a fact, but I don’t suffer much jet-lag going over, but coming back home – yikes! Jet-lag for a week. No sleeping at night no matter what pills I took at bedtime (sounds like an addict, huh?). I suppose it was mostly from being on a high from the trip (another addict metaphor).

I still had to hit the ground running. Got home about eight on a Tuesday evening and had to be back to work at 7:30 the next morning, and the following two mornings. That first Saturday back I even had to work.

By the next week, I was starting to sleep a little. Then the second Saturday I already had to give a talk on the trip, for a women’s group out of town, which meant being on the road by seven. The next day, I gave the same talk to my church.

Last weekend, we had a family wedding, which meant out of town family spending Saturday night at my house. Which meant tearing through the entire house cleaning on Friday, as it really hadn’t been deep-cleaned in over a month.

Oh, and I almost forgot. We also bought a new car the Monday after I got home, and I got a new haircut a week ago last Friday.

Yikes! No wonder I’m tired!

With all that already on my calendar, I had hoped to jump back into writing and keeping up this blog at the beginning of the new round the first of the month. And here we are on the 27th.

Oh, well. Moving forward.

I did work some more, the other day, on the story that I started while in Kenya. I guess I have no immediate goals other than to finish that, maybe by the end of the month.

I had a crazy thought while I was in Africa. That I would participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Yeah, a really crazy thought. We’ll see. I’ve taken a few unnecessary commitments off my November calendar already. I even told Hubby that maybe we should cut back on Thanksgiving dinner, just inviting our kids, instead of the twenty-plus people as in past years.

This has run on long enough. I’ll review my life this week and come up with some goals by next Sunday. In the meantime, how is life treating the rest of you? I’ve missed reading all your blogposts, so maybe that will be my immediate goal – to get caught up with you all.

Take Care Fellow Rounders, Chris