It’s that time of year again! While a lot of people are celebrating Thanksgiving (you’re all staying home tomorrow, right? Trust me, no deal is worth the rampage you’ll be caught in if you try to step foot in a Walmart), I’m celebrating birthday number 35. I’m old enough to run for president! I officially announced my candidacy yesterday on my personal Facebook page. I’m running under the Cupcakes and Bacon platform, and I’ve already filled several cabinet posts. My presidency will be dominated by awesomeness.
But that’s not what you’re here for, right?
Let’s take a look at last year’s goals:
1. Finish Blink: Blink was an urban fantasy I’d started about a young woman with the gift (or curse) of foresight. It was also the only unfinished book I had where I knew exactly how it was going to end and what I needed to do to get it there. I figured finishing it would be relatively easy.
What have we learned about Amanda making specific writing goals? Oh, yes, she shouldn’t do that. Blink did not get finished. I didn’t even write more words on it. And despite still knowing how it will end, I’m debating the merits of finish it. I don’t quite know where I’d go with it if I did, so until I do, I should maybe devote my energies to other stories. You know, that’ll sell. That was the other thing – urban fantasy is still a tough sell, and spending time with a book that would likely not be bought seemed like a waste of time.
2. Pay off my credit card: Well, I did. Then the balance went right back up again when I had to come up with the funds to pay for some editing.
3. Create a calendar: Success! While I did use Google Calendar for the first part of the year, I had much better luck with Wunderlist. Unlike a number of other things I’ve tried, this one’s stuck so far, and I’m quite pleased with it.
4. Finish the bookcase: Technically, this project is done. All of the remaining pieces have been stained. I could put it together this weekend. But to protect the surfaces, I need to seal it, and that’ll require still more work. Fortunately (if I can ever get my butt to the basement) this step won’t take as long. It’ll require one or two coats of sealant, compared to the six to eight coats of stain.
5. Watch more movies: So…kind of? For good, long chunks of the year, I did a pretty good job with this one. I made it through the first two seasons of White Collar, two seasons of MI-5, and the first couple of episodes of Hawaii 5-0. And Jessica Jones. Dude. That show. THAT SHOW. THAT SHOW IS EVERYTHING I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS MISSING.
The point is, I did make more of an effort to make time for myself. There were times when that wasn’t an option, and I found myself working through dinner or an hour and a half past the hour time limit I’d set for myself. And a lot of those times it was because I was in a crunch. I didn’t have a choice unless I wanted to miss a deadline. That’s happened a lot in the last couple of weeks (the crunching, not the deadline missing) because there’s so many moving parts on various projects. And I’m okay with that. Well, not really. But I’ve accepted that it’s necessary.
6. Start a vacation fund: So that happened. Then I blew it all (and then some) on the trip to NYC. Yes, I realize that’s kind of the point of the fund, but I’d hoped to have some left over.
So what will year 35 bring me? Hmmm…
1. Take one weekend day off: I write or revise every day. Sometimes (like now) it’s because I have to. Other times it’s simply because I can’t stop myself. If there’s one thing I learned over the last year, it’s to accept that sometimes what I want has to fall behind what I need, and meeting deadlines is a need, not a want. There will likely be entire Saturdays where I’ll be in front of my laptop and don’t have the option of not being there.
But there will be times when I don’t have to do that. And those are the days I should just leave well enough alone and take the day to do other things. That don’t have to do with writing.
2. Create a business plan: I went about self-publishing sort of willy-nilly. It turned out okay. My sales numbers are way short of stellar, but the reviews have been mostly positive, and people are actually looking forward to my next book(s). That said, don’t be me. Have a plan. Be flexible enough you can allow for deviations, but have one. As it is, I have this vague publishing schedule in my head, and I need to get it down on paper so I can flesh it out, add details like, oh, release dates and deadlines and build in cushions for editing, that sort of thing.
3. Make time for yoga: The thing about getting older is your body starts to crap out on you. I already see both a chiropractor and a massage therapist once a month (sometimes twice) to keep my hip problems in check. Adding yoga once or twice a week seems like a good, low-impact way to help with those issues.
4. Start a new flower bed: The BF has taken over our backyard. He’s got raised beds, and he rotates crops through them; strawberries, tomatoes, green beans and peas, leafy greens, and other random vegetables. There’s no room for a flower bed (or he won’t let me make room for one). I love cut flowers, and one of our side yards faces south. It’s bare in patches and really pretty pathetic looking. We’d toyed with the idea of laying gravel over it and using it as an extension of the driveway so we could get our truck off the side of the road, but I think I’m going to turn it into a flower bed instead. Provided it stops raining on the weekends long enough I can get a good start on it. If that happens, I’ll be taking pictures and posting them to my Tumblr so you can see the progress.
5. Hike more!: We live in a place surrounded by gorgeous hikes. Tomorrow (Black Friday) has been deemed Opt Outside day by one of those true PNW heroes, REI – all REI stores will be closed tomorrow, and any orders made on Friday won’t be processed until Saturday. No REI employee will be working tomorrow. More businesses should be like them. *ends public service announcement*
Anyway, my point is, we don’t take advantage of it often enough. The BF and I went on one hike last summer. One. That’s better than the year before, where we went on none. Not next year. We’ll go on two! (I’m afraid to make it any more than that for fear we’ll end up going on none again.)
That’s it! Those goals seem fairly attainable, but, well…yeah, let’s just remain cautiously optimistic. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers, and happy Thursday to everyone else.