Let’s Talk About Expectations

There are many, many things to have expectations for/about in life, but this post is focusing on self-expectations, specifically in regards to goals/resolutions, because these are the expectations we have the most control over.

I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the year and by the second week of February I knew I’d built a pretty high mountain to climb. January went well. Book read, edits done, writing mark hit! Of course I also finished a book, so starting a new one was hard–immediately my word count plummeted. I finished edits, got beta reads, submitted the book…and immediately got developmental edits to do. While I was brainstorming how to fix February’s editing case. So my “edit a book a month” plummeted. Reading one book should be easy, right? But after reading all day, editing various books, and struggling to write, the last thing I wanted was another person’s words in my head. I read one page of a book and switched to another. Read a page of that and put it aside.

What I realized around the middle of the month, was that I might have burnt myself out by being too productive too fast. I need to reassess and adjust accordingly.

Revising: One book a month is kind of crazy, especially depending on how much work needs done. Especially since I edit for a living (duh, Alex). I think ifย  get 6 books revised this year, I’ll call it a win. It’s still going to be about 5 more books than I did last year!

Writing: Same basic 10K a month, but I think it’ll be a year-end goal of 120,000 instead, which will average out to 10K a month, which is pretty much how I looked back a 2017, so I think it’ll work.

Reading: I might need to “cheat” and read another volume of manga, but I do want to at least hit some of my titles on my to-read list. However, I also want to watch a bunch of anime shows (many of which are subtitles), so I’m giving myself flex here. Kind of a “we’ll see how it goes”. I know it sounds like I’m giving up, but it’s more a matter of “how much can I fit into my free time without feeling like it’s not fun anymore?”

The important thing, for me, is not thinking of the above changes as failing. Goals and resolutions should be flexible, especially in the beginning, so you can improve while also not killing yourself. Because once you start to fail, you give up. But if you lower the bar, then you might end up jumping just as high as you’d first planned, once the stress of failing is removed.

New Year, New Resolutions

Last year, my goals were:

I want to keep being better at my fitness ‘program’ and eating habits.
I want to write 10K a month every month.
I’d like to get three things published this year.

I…didn’t do awesome. In fact, I forgot about the first goal completely (or at least I didn’t try harder than I normally do).

I hit 10K roughly ever month. If I add up the months and average them out, it’s about 10,900 words a month.

Three things published? Er. Well…I didn’t think this one through. I submitted three pieces to publishers, and two were accepted. One got feedback, one came out a few weeks ago, and one comes out in April. So I think that counts as a success, even if I didn’t publish three things this year.

And this year?

My goals this year are similar to last year with some additions (and maybe some follow through :D)

1. Write 10K a month. I was originally thinking of upping it to 15K, but after November and December this year, I decided to focus on another resolution:

2. Revise a book a month. Writing is only worthwhile if I actually revise and submit books for publishing. Last year I focused on publishing books, but I think it was too abstract (and much of it out of my control), so this time I want to focus on taking steps to submit books–aka, revise the stuff I write and move it along on the path of publishing!

3. Read at least 12 books. This obviously doesn’t count work stuff, and last year I only squeaked by via manga (specifically What Did You Eat Yesterday?), which isn’t bad but wasn’t what I had in mind. This year I’m picking 12 books from my pile and want to read them:

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 10 lb Penalty by Dick Francis, The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins, and What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire

I figure some might get replaced by manga, some might get replaced by library books or new finds, but these are some titles on my shelves that seem like I should read or at least might be interesting. I tried for a variety so I wouldn’t get bored or burned out.

(If you’re interested in reading along with me when I start a book, let me know, I’m always looking for reading buddies, and I’m not a fast-paced reader…)

First up will be What the Dickens.

Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions!

Required New Year Post

I hope everyone had a lovely evening welcoming in the new year. I spent it with friends (which is the best way to spend it–and I’m counting family as friends, since your family should be your friends).

The new year means resolutions, right? I like to aim for a whole bunch of resolutions in the hopes of hitting one or two ๐Ÿ™‚ And this year, instead of doing monthly resolutions, I’m going to aim for more general ones:

– Read ONE non-work book a month

This one should hopefully be easy, or at least not a stressor. I really just want to read more outside my genre so that I can get exposed to different writing and thoughts.

– Write 5,000 words a month

This might be tough, but it’s a low enough number that I should be able to do it. I would like to put all these words toward one project and by the end of the year have a finished 60K novel, but…

Yeah.

– Focus more on the craftย of writing

I don’t just mean the craft of stringing words together. I feel like in my frenzy of writingwritingwriting, I’ve forgotten about things like plot and character development. Need to return to the livelihood of writing rather than the taskmaster I’ve made myself.

And yes, I see the irony that my previous goal is a word count. I don’t think the act of writing should stop me from improving in other ways.

– Waste less time online

I waste tons of time online and it needs to stop. Tumblr is a big one, but it’s also often my de-stressor, so I’m trying to tweak how I can keep a good balance here. This one is going to need to be a slow work in in progress, I know already ๐Ÿ™‚

– Live my life honestly

This will be the toughest. Not that I live a lie currently, but I want to slowly start being able to be myself in all avenues of my life. Mostly in being openly genderqueer. Getting everyone to use “they” pronouns. I hate change and I hate changing how people view me, so this is a tough one. I’m going to need to be a lot braver than I generally feel I’ve been.

Along those lines I’ve also been thinking more about having certain surgeries, and while that’s going to take A LOT of contemplation, it’s something that’s on my radar.

That’s it!

Mostly. I do want to get into better shape, but I’m not making that a resolution, because…I’m pretty sure I’ll fail to reach certain goals. But I do want to start afresh. Eat less crap, exercise a little more each day, that sort of thing. If anyone wants to be competitively fit with me, let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

May your year get progressively more awesome!

November is over!

Okay, so:

My goals for this month:
1. Edit/write every day I don’t have a conflicting event (like my GKE trip next weekend). *Holds up calendar* You can tell I’m serious ’cause I wrote it down.
2. The above should let me finish a pass of edits on SaP, SS, and HtPD. So hopefully.
3. I’d love to get 3-5 K written this month, and I’m keeping track, but it’s not make or break.

I am excited to announce that I was very successful this month.

My writing hit 3K, but it wasn’t as much original, publishable fiction as I would have liked. And I haven’t written anything since the 16th. So that one wasn’t a huge success, but it did keep me writing a little when I knew my edits would overwhelm me.

As for the edits: I finished doing a pass on SaP, SS, and HtPD. I sent SS out to two beta readers and have gotten feedback from one. Overall positive feedback, so that makes me happy. She pointed out an issue with the end that I also felt…but I need to ponder how to fix it.

SaP, sitting at just over 50K, was a close one. I just finished my editing pass today. I also have to ponder how to move forward with this one. There’s a submission call that it can be sent to, and the deadline for it isn’t until 1/31/15, so I could hunt up a beta reader and get feedback, or I can just send it off and get it off my plate.

I’m leaning toward the second, because I’d like to focus on finishing up SS and then returning to BaW, which I’d REALLY like to get done or closer to friggen done ๐Ÿ˜›

Which leads me to this month’s goals:
1. Finish writing new ending to BaW.
2. Enter handwritten edits into final file.
3. Submit BaW to the writing group.

National Month of Doing Things

November is National Novel Writing Month. 50K in 30 days.

I’ve participated before. Enjoyed the challenge. Enjoyed the amount of work that got done.

But I’m also being realistic that this year it just is. Not. Happening. For reference, see October.

Here were October’s Goals:
1. Finish first pass on SaP. If ready, send to beta.
2. Finish pass on SS. If ready, send to beta.
3. Another pass on HtPD. Try for 500 more words. Submit.
4. If time/energy, look at R&R on GR.

I…did none of them. Now, I knew I had GRL, which would take up the 12-20. I just wasn’t also expecting for the ramifications of afterย GRL. Exhaustion being a big one. I still should have gotten someย work done (and I did some edits on SaP, but not nearly enough).

I had vague plans at the beginning of October to use November as a chance to finish additions on BaW and alterations for GR. But since Nothing got done in October, I have new goals.

For November:
1. Edit/write every day I don’t have a conflicting event (like my GKE trip next weekend). *Holds up calendar* You can tell I’m serious ’cause I wrote it down.

2. The above should let me finish a pass of edits on SaP, SS, and HtPD. So hopefully.

3. I’d love to get 3-5 K written this month, and I’m keeping track, but it’s not make or break.

I’ve already started thinking about how I want to handle goals next year. I definitely want to try something different, but I’m not sure how. (Either something more consistent, something with rewards, or…I have no idea.)

I do need to do something that has more results, that’s for sure!

Now for my favorite month!

September’s Goals

1. Work toward finishing current WIP (trans* story).
2. Do an editing pass on SaP (shifters).
3. Work on baby blanket (for my second niece). This isn’t writing related, which I’m trying to focus on more, but this is going to suck some time and it needs to be done for the solstice, latest, so I need to give it some serious attention (and it’s going to take forever).

Okay. September went really fast.

1. I finished the WIP last week. I want to do a read over (um, I guess this weekend is the plan, but I dunno) and then get it to my betas. But this was successful.

2. I didn’t really make much progress on this one. HtPD and SS took more time and I wasn’t feeling my edits.

3. I am almost finished the second color of the baby blanket. I also finished 1 half-mitt that my mom wants for xmas.

Generally pretty happy with how things went. The end of SS involved a bit more pulling of teeth than I’d anticipated, and hopefully it will stand up to re-reading, but getting that done feels like one step closer to accomplishment.

October is going to be crazy busy. I’m cat-sitting for friends at the beginning, have a work conference in the middle (I’ll be at Gay Rom Lit, if anyone wants to say hi!), while trying to enjoy one of my favorite months of the year by getting outside.

My goals reflect this. I doubt I’m going to have much/any time for creativity.

October goals
1. Finish first pass on SaP. If ready, send to beta.
2. Finish pass on SS. If ready, send to beta.
3. Another pass on HtPD. Try for 500 more words. Submit.
4. If time/energy, look at R&R on GR.

So. Many. Edits.

September Progress Report

September’s Goals
1. Work toward finishing current WIP (trans* story).
2. Do an editing pass on SaP (shifters).
3. Work on baby blanket (for my second niece). This isn’t writing related, which I’m trying to focus on more, but this is going to suck some time and it needs to be done for the solstice, latest, so I need to give it some serious attention (and it’s going to take forever).

September feels like its been going well, so here’s how it looks:

1. Making progress. Probably have 2K left, but it’s all wrapping-up/ending stuff. Which I haven’t really thought through, so it may be like pulling teeth. I’m also looking for beta readers for this one, which I’m hoping will motivate me to finish this. Or maybe they can tell me how to end it ๐Ÿ˜›

2. I’ve started this. Slowly. I got a little distracted by HtPD this week. I’m actually happy with some of the additions I made to HtPD, so my beta gave good feedback. Now I’m waiting for my other beta. And I’m going to try to figure out who will take a 9K story (because I don’t see another 1 K coming out of it.

3. Working on it ๐Ÿ˜› This takes forever.

Overall pretty happy with things. I’m super excited/nervous about my WIP and if it’s any good. It was one of those that just came out so easily in the middle bits, which either means really good things or…not.