Category Archives: goals

Writing Wednesday: Goals and Accountability

A lot of people approach a new year with lofty goals and a list of things they want to do but many times, those lists and goals have floundered by week three or been completely forgotten by week 8. It’s most obvious in places like gyms where the sudden influx of people thins out observably. I have zero experience with that but my husband does the gym thing very regularly and he’s always a little annoyed the first few weeks of the year when his gym has too many people even at 5am.

I have the daily goal of 1500 words per day but there’s no one who will know, notice, or care if I flub it for three weeks straight (as I have through all of December). Sometimes I have a very hard time keeping myself accountable when there’s no real consequence for not keeping to my goals. When I have accountability in the form of deadlines, I do better (at least as long as I can actually type). Even posting here to the blog isn’t really any sort of accountability. I do miss my Dad a lot at times like these as he would often text me and ask me how many words I’d written that day.
When you’re setting goals, it is all too easy to set these big lofty goals – write five books, publish 80 short stories, lose 50 pounds – but if you do that often enough, you’re going to get discouraged. Even if you KNOW you’re setting an improbable goal, not reaching it is a blow. I did this exact thing for years and my confidence suffered greatly for it. Hell, I’m still suffering the effects of it.

Sarah’s Rules for Goals:

  1. Make them attainable. Many small goals can be better for the psyche than a few lofty, hard to reach ones.
  2. Do not make goals of things you can’t control. If attaining your goal is dependant on the actions or opinions of someone else, it’s more of a wish than a goal.
  3. Make your goals measurable. It’s a lovely thing to want to write more but what exactly is more? Give yourself an actual number or page count or even by chapter but make it something you can track and measure and not a whispy idea of a goal.
  4. Celebrate each small goal when you’ve achieved it. Every long journey is made up of small steps. Sometimes we get so lost in the big picture that we forget how awesome it is that we’ve made it this far (I am especially guilty of this!). This is especially effective if you have no accountability except to yourself.

Tips on Accountability:

  1. Find an accountability partner who understands your goals and whose goals you understand so you can help each other better and touch base frequently.
  2. Reward yourself for reaching goals. I find that negative reinforcement doesn’t work nearly as well for me as positive reinforcement so, treat yourself to that cake or that prize when you’ve reached your goal and you’ll be more likely to hold yourself to a greater standard.

I’d love to hear your opinions and ideas on this too!


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Looking Forward to 2019

I’m planning on keeping 2019 all about one thing – Forward Motion. It might take all I can muster somedays but so long as I manage a few words, a few steps, whatever forward motion I can find on a day, I’m going to call it a success. I know me well enough to know that I’m going to fail a few days and that’s ok so long as I don’t have too many of them in a row. There are so many things I would like to do this year, like every year.

Writing Goals: 2 new books, 12 short stories, 24 poems. One passion project that should run here on this blog every other Friday I think and I’m really hoping you all enjoy it too! If things go well, maybe this year will see a bit more of Leilani’s story. That’s my hope in any case. I’m not going to do the word counting this year though last year I did a really great job of it for 10 and a half months, it didn’t turn out to be quite the spur I needed. Certainly, I’m hoping for a good acceptance rate for my submissions but I don’t really control that part so much so that doesn’t really make for a good goal.

Health Goals: Find a medicine that works so I’m not hurting as often. Lose some weight. It would be better if I could force myself to stop worrying so much about the shape of me but some things are just ingrained at this point but, finding a way to not eat my feelings would be a good start.

Life Goals: The hard part about goals is the accountability thing – I’m not really accountable to anyone. I don’t have a 9-5 where I’m held accountable by an employer. I’m horrible at keeping myself accountable and that’s something I need to get better at. I think keeping myself accountable will be a big goal of mine this year. I’d like to really be more productive in general – with the etsy shop, the writing, and most definitely the promoting (I’m not always great at that part!).

I’m hoping that 2019 will bring good things in greater volume than 2018 did and certainly everything has been a step up from 2017 so there is that!

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2018 Is Just About Over

And I am so glad but it’s not quite done yet. Before it does finish out, there’s still a few days and during those few days, Hunter’s Crossing, Christmas In Bear Ridge, and Eldercynne Rising are all currently on sale on Smashwords starting at $1.25. It’s the perfect time to give my books a try if you haven’t yet!

By the end of every year, I’m glad to see it go. Part of it is that I look at the new year like a great big shiny new notebook that still smells like clean paper. It’s clean and new and shiny and has all the potential to be the best one ever. Sometimes the previous year was just really that awful. It happens but not nearly as often as it seems in my end of year posts. This year maybe wasn’t as productive or successful a year as I’d like to see but a lot of that is my health – I’ve spent a chunk of the year struggling to type, I had a pretty big bump in my depression this year that I don’t think I’m really out of just yet actually, and I’m finding that the medication is working a bit less effectively lately so I’m hoping January brings some changes and some relief. It’s nowhere near as bad as it what but sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s all I can do to crawl into bed and even my very light down comforter is so heavy on my feet that I can’t find a comfortable place.

I did write two books this year – one of them being Christmas In Bear Ridge and the other I’m working on polishing up but I hope next year sees the sequel to Hunter’s Crossing coming out. I did start sending out poems and short stories again, which is nice. I had one big acceptance for a DnD expansion book that was a LOT of fun. I wrote some poems this year that I think are better than anything I’ve done in a long time and I should be hearing back on soon.

I lost my Cas this year and I miss him a lot but I’m comforted some that he came home to me to say goodbye instead of doing what cats tend to do. As sick as he was, he came home so I would know and so I could help him. That means more than I have words to explain.

My favorite thing this year was the look on my oldest child’s face when the tour guide opened up the very real secret passage in the House of Seven Gables. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone as excited as he was in that moment. He was a child again for that quick climb up and it was absolutely marvelous. It wasn’t a thing that could be bought or repeated but it was the most amazing moment.


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Writing Wednesday: The Importance of Goals

Today is the first of August already! Since that’s the case, I’m going to make my Writing Wednesday Post and my July Wrap Up and August Goals the same post as they feed off each other a little bit. There are two sorts of goals: the big, long-term goals and the short, attainable goals. These are good for any step in life and essential for knowing what you want. Not every writer wants to be published or make a career out of their writing.

My long-term goals are absolutely to make a career out of my writing. I want to be able to help put my kids through college and retired to Salem (or some other pretty ocean community but the ocean is key here). My goal is to make a career out of it, my wish is to be award winning and well reviewed. I consider goals to be things that I can control and wishes to be things I can’t really control at all. I know what I want to accomplish with my writing so I can set my short-term and annual goals to reflect that. If I didn’t know where I wanted to end up, setting small goals would be a lot more like spitting in the wind. Goals should be measurable, attainable, and, to some extent, controllable. A lot of people mistake wishes for goals. I have a very long list of life wishes to go along with my very short list of life goals.

Short-term goals are easier. Writing so many stories in a month, losing so much weight in a month, finishing so many poems in a month or a year. With the right spreadsheet, they’re super easy to track also. I sometimes have a hard time holding myself accountable to my goals but I’ve gotten a lot better at it this year. In some ways, I think my health issues have made me really look at what I want to accomplish in my life and really start working at it. Perhaps it really was a bit of the kick in the ass that I needed.

I didn’t have much in the way of goals last month because I needed to get Christmas in Bear Ridge finished, which I did. I also got it accepted and contracted and it should be coming out this winter from Boroughs Publishing Group! I missed 7 days of writing one of which was a health day as I could not type much yesterday, I had the best writing day I’ve had in years the day before that though clocking a massive 6804 words on the day, and I had a total of 24897 words which was a few thousand better than June. I’m back to working on Hunter’s Hell and I got a new idea that I’m going to tackle maybe for Nanowrimo this year. I sent out four submissions, including Bear Ridge and two queries, got one rejection, one acceptance, made 4 art pieces, made 4 sales over at my revamped Etsy shop (now: The Crow and Dragon) and put up a few new things with more to come. It’s been a really good month. I didn’t lose any weight but I think we might finally be getting back to human functionality. Again, it’s been a really good month for writing.

I peopled a lot at the beginning of the month for my father-in-law’s birthday and got to see a lot of people we rarely see which was nice. But I lost my kitty-baby a few days after. It’s weird not to have my Cas perched on the windowsill when I’m doing dishes or looking at me like I’m a lunatic when I have my kitty-ear headphones on. My dad‘s birthday was yesterday, too. He would have been 70. It’s been a much less good month for the personal side of things.

In August, I’d love to double that word count but I don’t see that happening until the kids get back to school so I’m going to put the goal at 30,000 words, 6 submissions, and 6 art pieces. I know that’s doable.

What are your goals? When you think about what you want to do with your writing, where you want to go with it, where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty? How do you get from where you are now to where you want to be? Roads are always a little easier with a map, aren’t they?

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May Wrap Up, June Goals

How on Earth did it get to be June already? This year is going by much too fast. The kids are nearly finished with school which will make getting any real work done a little more difficult but not impossible. I’m planning on getting Bear Ridge completely finished by July. I did manage to get the Zero Draft finished and now it’s a matter of taking the bones and making them flesh and teach them to dance. Hopefully, it’ll be as good as it I think it will.

It’s been a relatively great month overall. I don’t really have any good news to share yet but I’m hopeful for some of that in the next few months. I didn’t quite make my goals for this month but there was definitely an improvement. I made 5 separate artsy things (2 of which went up on NestingDragon), I sent out 5 submissions (a very long way from my old totals but I’m wading in instead of jumping), I only missed 8 days, I went to 1 convention, attended 1 performance of my oldest child in Footloose, voted in local and primary stuff, and I wrote 25,196 words, up about 5000 from last month which makes me happy and I’m over 120,000 words for this year so far. I’m still not meeting my daily word count goals but it’s getting better every month and I’m more than ok with that.

On the health front, I think I’m getting closer to having it either under control or adjusting to the pain enough to work through it. I went hiking and my problems were more about my utter lack of fitness than my RA which is both awesome and awful. I know this last year has been really hard as far as getting moving so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself but it’s also really hard to get that fat-fairy in my head to shut her mouth – you know the one that reminds me I’m still fat because that’s a thing that can change overnight /s. I figure, once the kids are out of school, we can go to the park a few times a week and walk around for a while because I much prefer walking through the woods to walking on the sidewalk – it’s so much nicer on my feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Plus, there’s shade. I’ll get where I need to be eventually.

It’s harder to keep goals in the summer on the writing front and right now, it’s not about the word count so much as it is about getting the book done well and right. Edits don’t add a lot of words usually. They will a bit this time around while I’m adding flesh but my only goal for next month is to finish Christmas in Bear Ridge and get it right, clean and pretty, and readable so I can get it turned in. I’m not worried about the art, the crafting, or learning to use GIMP (though I’ll take any links or tips and tricks on that for after the book is done). In the end, June won’t be a letter grade sort of month but a pass/fail. I either get it done or I don’t.

Accountability has always helped me stay on track, that’s why I keep making these posts. By writing up my goals and my successes and failures, it gives me the motivation to do better, to keep striving a little harder to get it done. Hope you all have a happy and productive June!

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Filed under Crafting, Crafts, etsy, goals, Health, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Writing

April Wrap Up and May Goals

Happy May!

So, April wasn’t exactly as productive as I’d wanted it to be but I did take some time off to recharge a little and I’m still having memory issues so, I’m not actually disappointed in myself. In fact, I’m pretty happy with myself.

Submissions sent in April: 2

Total words written in April: 20056

Days missed: 12

Art projects completed: 1

I might have more missed days than last month and fewer words but I have more submissions sent, more art finished, and I went to a convention and had a few family days in there too. Maybe I’m not where I want to be but it’s still more than it could be!

Goals for May: I’d like to double that word count. Actually, I’d like to double all the things except for the days missed, that one I’d like to halve. I also have an upcoming interview, figuring out this summer’s craft fair schedule (I’m definitely doing at least one!), and other neat and interesting things. I’m going to end up with another category that I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to quantify – it’s art but it’s different than my crafty art, it’s something else and I hope to do some really interesting things with it. But I don’t want to talk about it too much before I figure out if I can actually do it well enough to show it off.

Health wise, I’m doing pretty good. I have one foot that just always hates me but the rest of me is getting really good at compensating for that foot (and I have a really neat cane for when I can’t). My levels are leveling out but not quite where they’re supposed to be yet. We’re giving it a few more weeks before adding or changing stuff. I hope it just settles out. I don’t want to get used to a whole new set of side effects when the worst I have now is the memory issues (as long as I’m drinking enough water anyway).

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Counting begins today

The title is relevant to a couple of things actually when I think about it…

I turned on the MyFitnessPal app again today for the first time since my knee first exploded last year and started me down this road. Really, gaining back 20 lbs after six months of being mostly inactive, Christmas eating, stress eating, and wanting to sleep all the time isn’t so bad. Especially when I remember that some of that was also the prednisone and, as of tomorrow, unless the doc says differently Wednesday, I’m done with that! So, I’m back to counting calories and minutes of activity. It worked very well last time I was consistent with it so I just have to really push to do exactly that. I’m working on some stretching and yoga for now until the hurt knee seems better able to do more than that. Next week, I’ll dig out the fit board and listen to horrible chipper voices tell me how fat I am before reminding me that my weight isn’t balanced right. As if I didn’t know that already!

The other way the title makes sense has nothing to do with weight but with words. My short-term memory is not what it once was. If I don’t set alarms and make lists, things aren’t getting done. I think that’s going to apply to my writing also – I was doing fairly well with word counting during NaNoWriMo and I can set up a spreadsheet with all the things I work on during any given day (and I’m including all writing that’s not my personal handwritten journal) and get back to writing consistently, regardless of the tired, the fingers (which are doing much better with all the things – gloves, braces, balms etc), until I can do 10,000 words per week, 50 weeks out of the year. If I have to count to make this work then that’s what I learn to do.

I’m making weekly to-do lists and trying to do daily schedules and it’s so weird because I never used to need these sorts of things to get stuff done. I’m really not a fan of this part of things. It is what it is. This week, the count will definitely not be that high because part of my list of things to do this week is prep one of my books for the submission process and have it out by next Monday and that’s going to take more time than I’d like because it has to be as perfect as possible.

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An actual productive day

I feel like I should have had more of them so far but, I’ll take whatever I can get at this point. I did everything on my to-do list today (not that it was a long list). I even put words in on Hunter’s Hell – a grand total of about 800 of them and that’s a whole lot better than yesterday’s 0. I put my face on and, while I need a lot of practice with the pretties, I can do my eyes. It’s not as pretty as what Heidi did yesterday but yeah. Pretty. I’m a very happy lady.

My list of things to do this year is pretty long and I’m doing my best to get on track to get them done. I added a few things to that list today, a few things I’d like to learn how to do or get better at doing. In theory, I know how to make paper. In practice, it’s been 25 years since the last time I did that and I don’t have my mom to help me now so I imagine there will be some trial and error there but I know I love artisan paper and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that. I’d like to learn nuno-felting only not with lamb’s wool because I would like to not make my skin hate me but it’s just such a neat idea and I’d love to see if I can make something like what popped in my head when I read about that the first time.

Now I’ve got to set up my to do list for tomorrow that hopefully includes getting the kids ready for school again… fingers crossed it stays just a two hour delay.

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Post-Craft Fair

So, I’m home and (mostly) unloaded with an ouchie knee and tired feet but I’m very happy with the overall results of the day. I cannot begin to tell you all how relieved I am to have this first event out of the way! I was far more nervous than I probably needed to be but I didn’t have any panic attacks and I peopled pretty well and I didn’t even get sarcastic once! You could say that today was a pretty big deal.

It probably helps that my friend was at the table next to me.

I went in with absolutely no expectations, which I think was very helpful. I talked to a bunch of people, I sold a few books, a few boxes, a few bookmarks, an Alice in Wonderland inspired miniature topiary, and a few magnets and I bought myself a pretty octopus bracelet. I came out way ahead on the day and I’m actually even looking forward to doing it again. I’m calling today a win all over – not just for my goals but for me in general. I really did expect to have trouble with the people part of it.

For those of you playing along at home, you’ve still got a short bit of time to enter the contest to win one of my books!


Filed under Anxiety, Books, Crafts, goals, Life

Perhaps Poetry

Alfred on Christmas Rug

Sleeping Dog at Christmas.

Hello to 2017! Given that this is my first post of the year (sorry about that!), I should probably get my first of the year stuffs out of the way…

I don’t really do resolutions so much. Goals, yes, but I find resolutions never really work out for me, at least not in the year that I make them.

Last year’s goals were pretty simple and the only one I managed to accomplish was to read 12 good books. I almost had a year without a panic attack. Almost. I had 3 little ones. However, I DID have an entire year without a super big, knock me down, push my head through the floor and pull my heart out of my throat panic attacks and that’s not nothing. I’m planning on doing better this year.




Writing Goals:

  1. Write Hunter’s Hell (Leilani and Blake #2)
  2. Find homes for Demonborne, The Soul Eater, and Purgatory’s Queen
  3. Rewrite The Long Way Home
  4.  Write 50 new poems
  5. Submit at least 5 things every month

Personal Goals:

  1. Lose 40 more pounds (I managed 50 last year. I can do another 40!)
  2. Have a year without any panic attack
  3. Keep up on housework better
  4. Learn a new skill.

I have been writing this year but so far, I’ve been writing nonfiction type stuff and poetry. I just find myself with snippets in my head that deserve paper and then these snippets decide they need to be real poems and not just pretty lines I keep in my journal to never see again. My fiction is there and I do need to get back to it but there’s something in the air for me so far this year that speaks in images and rhyming couplets and words that speak like they’ve always been meant to be in that order. This year is simple, purple, and in need of beauty. At least that’s how it feels for me.

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