2014 Goals

Jan. 10th, 2014 09:24 am
devarae: (labyrinth)
It's already January 10th, so I should probably post my goals for 2014, especially as I've been enjoying reading everyone else's.

Here's how I did on my goals from 2013:

Finish a new book draft two half drafts
Didn't do this as originally stated. Instead I wrote first chunk of a draft, then rewrote it a different way. My overall wordcount was more than my normal first draft length, so I still feel good about it, though

Knit The One Ring fingerless gloves
I didn't end up knitting the One Ring scarf I had planned, but I revised this goal to be "knit a pair of fingerless gloves and learn to use double-pointed needles" which I did!

Go to Paris
Done!

Read four books I've had on my to-read list forever
Partially done. I did plenty of reading in 2013 but only read one of the books on this list (Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers). I did read the first few chapters of the others, but I wouldn't call it a real strong effort. So they stay on my to-read list!

Send emails to the authors of books I read and love, and blog more recommendations here
Partially done. I did manage to blog about several of my favorite reads, but I failed at sending emails! I know well the joy of reader mail, so I am sorry I didn't do better at this!

Pick strawberries
Done. Nom!

And now here are my goals for 2014:

Finish the Hermione hat
I started knitting this back in July (!)

Avoid watching/reading bad news that has no redeeming qualities
It's one thing to educate myself about world events, but I really don't need to read any more articles about horrible car crashes and murders...

Finish drafting my current writing project
And revise it sufficiently so that I can send it to my critique partners and agent.

Draft (or get a good start on) something new
Ideally something that pushes me in one of the areas I want to improve craft-wise, or explores a new genre.

Send letters to five authors whose books I have read and loved lately

Read at least 25 books by diverse authors and/or about diverse protagonists.

Write up my Paris trip journal

Play Journey
So many of my friends have recommended it (I already bought the soundtrack and use it for writing music) and we now own a PS3!

Reconnect online
I want to reconnect online with my friends (especially the writer-friends I don't see in 3 dimensional life). I've been kind of a hermit for most of the past year or so, and lately I've felt more lonely, missing the awesome folks I used to communicate with. I realized this year that while I read blogs and FB (and occasionally twitter and tumblr) I barely ever post anymore. I want to change that, to reach out, instead of just passively observing. So to start, I'm going to try updating at least three times a week on FB/G+ and at least once a week on my blog for the next month-- then reevaluate. If that doesn't feel comfortable, I'll figure out a replacement goal! Perhaps I will even dust off my unused tumblr account...

Do you all have any goals for 2014? Do you share them online?

Revitalized

Jan. 1st, 2014 07:53 am
devarae: (labyrinth)
I love reading other folks' year-end reviews and plans for the new year ahead, so here's mine!

I think the best word to describe 2013 for me is "revitalizing."

I started off 2013 in kind of a low place, feeling as if I was flailing in many ways. I was struggling with ongoing anxiety and depression, and sad that I was in a publishing dry spell. But I finally sought treatment for the anxiety/depression (and I am telling you all this in the hopes that it will encourage other folks to do the same, if you are hesitating). It took time and effort, but by the middle of the year I was actually enjoying life again.

The second half of 2013 was excellent! I went on a lovely writing retreat with one of my long-time critique partners where I got to hang out with a bunch of other awesome writers, swim in a lake formed by a meteor, and spend my days writing. Bob and I visited both our extended families in Minnesota. I explored more of Maine, picked strawberries with my best friend, went sea-kayaking with my brother, and started playing a new LARP campaign with a crew of amazing people. And I got to go back to my beloved Paris for ten days, with my husband and my mom, where I ate all the pastries, saw heaps of beautiful things, and spent hours wandering magical streets.
From Paris 2013


By the end of the year I think (hope!) I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have any new books under contract. It helps to read posts like this one, by Jessica Spotswood (author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles, the third book of which I am dying to read after gobbling up the first two this summer), and be reminded that the only thing I can really control is the writing itself, and that the best reward is the joy that comes from falling in love with a story and trying to record it as faithfully and truly as I can.

It also helped that the end of 2013 brought me some of the coolest reader feedback on my published books I've had so far, including my first actual paper fan mail. Circus Galacticus is on the Sunshine State list in Florida, and I've had some lovely correspondence with readers and teachers and librarians there. I am truly grateful that I do have books out there in the world, and that they are reaching readers.

I wrote 135K new words this year on fiction, a little more than last year. Some of them were on a revision of a book that is searching for a home, but most of them were on something new (still in progress, after a number of false starts). The past two months have been especially good, possibly due to the fact that I started motivating myself with cute stickers:



Hopefully I can keep it up in 2014. I have plenty of stickers!

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

2013 Goals

Dec. 31st, 2012 05:52 am
devarae: (labyrinth)
I love the energy of the new year. It's partly because, as Anne Shirley says, "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it." 2013 is fresh, open with possibilities. So it's this time of year when I'm thinking about what I want to do with that potential. As in, setting goals: concrete things I have to potential to accomplish (as opposed to more general resolutions).
Of course sometimes one has to be willing to fail and make mistakes, in order to learn and grow. So when I make goals, I do so knowing that in some cases I am going to fail -- especially if I push myself a little beyond my comfort zone

Here are my 2013 goals:

1) FINISH A NEW BOOK DRAFT. I just (re) started a new YA fantasy project, and am only a few thousand words into it. I've been taking a little "reading break," but come Jan 1st, I am sitting down and getting to work again!

2) CRAFT THE ONE RING. Well, not really. But this is my next knitting project. It's going to require a couple new techniques, so I think it will be a good next step.

3) GO TO PARIS. I've been once before, back in 2006, for a week. I've wanted to return ever since the day I left. But with so many other fantastic places to visit, it's been hard to justify returning. This year (hopefully in September) we will finally get the chance. It's possible we might split the trip with another destination, maybe Amsterdam, or somewhere else in France? Any suggestions? Ideally somewhere reachable by train.

4) READ THOSE BOOKS. The ones that I've had on my to-read list for ages, by authors I have never read but that so many of my friends sing the praises of. Specifically, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett, and Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigred Undset. I may not actually end up finishing them, but I want to make a good faith effort to read each!

5) SHARE THE LOVE. Send email to the author of any book I read and really love (the ones I give five stars to on Goodreads) this year, telling them how much I enjoyed it. Also post a recommendation here!

6) PICK STRAWBERRIES. I am always sad when I miss the too-short local strawberry season, since they are one of my favorite fruits. So although this is a small thing, I am making it a goal this year: to get out there to one of the local upick places and fill up my freezer!
That's it! I might add a few more when I re-evaluate in July.

Anyone else setting goals? Do you find them motivational?
devarae: (Default)

One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite books (Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace) is when Betsy and her friend Tib stay up all night on New Year’s Eve (to ring in 1908) making resolutions to be different. Betsy wants to become Dramatic and Mysterious, and thus compounds a list of things such as “Start signing your name Betsye” and “Don’t laugh so much” and “Use only Jockey Club perfume… be lavish with it.”

As Betsy (Betsye!) says:

“Jockey Club is perfect!” Betsy doused her flannel night gown rapturously. “And Tib, I’ve read that women of the kind I’m going to be always match their eyes in clothes and jewels. So I’m going to start wearing green.”

“Your eyes are hazel,” Tib objected. “And blue is your best color, Betsy. Always has been.”

“Blue!” scoffed Betsy. “It’s namby pamby. And there’s lots of green in my eyes. Green for jealousy,” she cried in a thrilling voice, resuming her stroll around the room.

“Whom are you jealous of?”

“Oh, nobody! I just like the sound of it.”

Hee! It’s a wonderfully funny and sweet and painful book — because I think many of us have felt that same desperate yearning to change ourselves. I won’t give away the ending to those who haven’t read it, but (as you might expect) Betsy’s plans to be Dramatic and Mysterious don’t quite work out as she plans. I love it! Especially because once-upon-a-time I made similar resolutions, trying to change essential things about myself.

[I may even have gone through a phase myself-- long ago-- during which I signed my name Diva. To be Dramatic and Mysterious.]

But! I am reasonably happy with who I am now. Not that I don’t have flaws (I do! Plenty of them!) but New Year’s Eve is (to me) more about setting defined goals that will push me in the directions I want to go with my life.

2011 was a transitional, inward-looking year for me, especially in terms of writing. I worked on something brand new and different, and I poured my heart into it. I started working with a new literary agent I adore. I tried to re-focus on what really matters to me: writing the best books I can, and making connections to other writers/readers/book-people. It was a quiet year, but rich with friends and good entertainment and delicious food and hikes and pine trees and strawberry-picking and adorable tail-wagging dogs.

That said, I have high hopes for 2012! And new things I want to push myself to try. Here are my goals:


  • Write a brand new book. Do my best to make it better than anything else I’ve already written.

  • If I sell my new YA romantic fantasy by spring, then go on a vacation to London and the Cotswolds in the fall.

  • Get together with friends to play music, céilidh-style, at least once.

  • Try at least five new soup/stew/curry or salad recipes. (I have no problem finding motivation to try new pastry recipes!)

  • Invite at least two people over to dinner whom we’ve never had over before.

  • Listen to an audio book or podcast on meditation.

  • Bike to work at least 10 times. (I only live 5 miles from my day job! It’s shameful that I never once biked to work this year!)

  • When reading, make a point to flag the passages and lines I love most, to try to analyze just why I love them, and what I can learn from them. (I have a brand new pack of Post-Its ready and waiting!)

I’m pretty happy with these goals! I met almost all my goals for 2011, and I think these ones are doable, if I pay attention.

Do you make goals or resolutions? And do you keep them?

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