Category Archives: goals

What can you accomplish in 5 years?

time bloomingHow about 20?

Taking a break from writing my YA Paranormal first draft, I hopped over to see what (one of) my fav YA authors was up to. Laurie Halse Anderson focuses more on writing her books, than blog posts, which I truly admire. But, Here’s a post she shared back in September, 2012 that got me thinking.

Yes, I’ve been struggling with my own creativity doubts, droughts and bouts of frustration. Some bouts and droughts last long. Too long. And then, I start to think… “Am I REALLY a writer? Or am I posing as a writer because that’s what everyone THINKS I am?” Have I been at this writing thing too long with not much to show for it? It’s depressing. It’s defeating. Anyone else with me on this?

So, reading Laurie’s post about giving herself 5 years to make a name for herself in writing gave me an idea. What if I started right now? Like, took it seriously. 5 years from now, I can have a book published. 5 years from now, my oldest son will be a freshman in college, my younger guy will be a freshman in high school. They’d both be pretty independent and not need Mom around as much as they do now. I could go on a book tour! Ha! O.K. One.Thing.At.A.Time.

Finish first draft.

Submit my piece to my crit group TODAY. (eek!)

Meet with said crit group on Wednesday.

Critique one more story on CritiqueCircle.com

Complete first draft for Anthology 7 & post on CritiqueCircle.com

Where will you be in 5 years with your writing? With your life?

Random tidbits…

Written to the musical muse of: A Fine Frenzy – “Almost Lover”

Movie I’m psyched to see: Warm Bodies

Book I’m reading: well, just finished Anne Lamott’s Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

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Filed under Believe, books, goals

today i shall write

keep up

for my horoscope tells me so:

Thursday, August 16, 2012 – You may experience free-floating anxiety today as you’re feeling a combination of excitement and annoyance. Although others could seem overly stubborn, you might actually be the one most responsible for holding yourself back. Even if you feel trapped by the current circumstances, don’t focus on your limitations. Instead, allow your feelings to take you wherever they go without judging them. You can easily find your way back to a more productive place later on.

I will write utter crap and just let the words tumble from my mind to my fingers and sticky-up the keys. I Won’t focus on my limitations! I will go without judging. I will find a productive place later. After the crazy screwed up swirls of ideas and images tangle, twist and crash into one another, bulging at my temples, pulsing under my left eye.

Go! Write Crap!

*created to the tune of My Generation, The Who*

 

^^^Update: I just wrote 1,045 words of an intense scene. I think I used the word “pierced,” “Twitching” and some sort of bird metaphor like 18 times.  But I surpassed my goal of 700 words! Today’s crap session was inspired by Thrive, Switchfoot

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Is it Planning – or Procrastination?

 

“Life is too short to waste. Dreams are fulfilled only through action, not through endless planning to take action.”  ~ David J. Schwartz, Trainer and Author

“Transformation isn’t a future event, it’s a present activity.” ~ Jillian Michaels, Fitness Guru, Author of “Unlimited”

“Planning is nothing but procrastination in disguise… Failure doesn’t come from poor planning – it comes from the timidity to proceed.” ~ Scott Ginsberg, “The Nametag Guy”

 

These are just a few quotes I reread daily to get my head in check. I am THEE Queen of lists and planning to a fault, I now realize. Overplanning, procrastination, over-responsible, not finishing projects: these are all traits of ACOA’s (Adult Children of Alcoholics) yet I struggle with denial. Anyone else do this?

Once I push past the “preparation” that pulls on every. fiber. in. my. being, I actually get a lot of real work done. For me, this means writing new or revised scenes for my LAKE-RESORT Novel. This Sunday, I sat on my patio in the gorgeous fall weather and wrote long-hand 8 notebook pages of  a pretty tense scene between my teenage protag and her estranged mother. The key for me? Don’t over think it and don’t work on the computer (the internet is called the Web for a reason!)

How will you push past the planning and onto productivity today? Share your tips and tricks!

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A Personal Request

Hello friends:

 

My husband Dave and I are writing you on behalf of our son, David.       

Our Tough Guy

 

As you know, David was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes last summer, at age 11. He will be insulin-dependent for the rest of his life. In the short year since his diagnosis, he already has endured over 2,000 fingerpricks and 2,500 insulin injections. In addition to his rigorous blood testing and insulin shots, everything he consumes must be weighed and measured, and his blood levels even need to be checked while he’s at school, hanging with friends and even while he sleeps. David is always a trooper and rarely complains. He is full of smiles, sarcasm, and pre-teen pranks, amidst his daily diabetes routine. He actually inspired a fellow diabetic student to begin doing some of his own shots!  David continually amazes us with his strength and compassion and is a blessing to have in our lives as a daily reminder of intelligence, creativity, and optimism.

 

There are many devastating diseases in our world right now, and that saddens us. The difference with juvenile diabetes is that wiping it out of existence is extremely attainable and within reach.  David asks us every so often, “Why did I get this stupid disease?” It’s a painful question to hear looking at his tearful eyes. We feel confident a positive outcome will be available before he goes to college. 

 

Please understand, we are not trying to have a pity session. We truly believe that out of every difficulty comes something good. As parents, it’s our instinct from the moment our kids are born to protect them from any harm. We must do everything in our power to help find a cure for him. It’s our mission to avoid the heart and kidney disease, blindness, amputation, and early death that is a reality for many people with juvenile diabetes.

 

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the #1 non-profit funder of diabetes research worldwide. One of JDRF’s largest fundraising events is the “Walk to Cure Diabetes.” This will be our first year since David was diagnosed, that we have formed a team named “Never Give Up!” and have raised money towards this cause. This year’s walk will be held on Sunday, October 2 at the Community Park of Lisle, as well as 5 other Chicagoland locations!

 

If you are interested, there are three ways you can help us make a difference for David:

  • You can join our Family Team, known as “Never Give Up!,” which consists of family and friends who collect pledges and walk with us.
  • You can send your donation and contact others in your circle of family and friends to donate as well. Just contact us and we will send you a pledge form. If you choose to raise donations yourself, you may forward this letter or write your own. You may also donate online: Never Give Up! Team Page
  • You can send our family a tax-deductible contribution in any amount, made payable to JDRF. We will deliver any donations in David’s honor the morning of the Walk. (Pls email me for a mailing address mjcwriter at cocmast dot net)

 

Thank you for helping our family team meet our goal of raising $750.00 this year. Thank you for your support and we would be honored to see you at the Walk on October 2nd!

 

7th Grader

    The Campbell’s

   Mary Jo, Dave, David (12) and Sam (7)

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Filed under Believe, goals

Tuesdays with…my inner muse

Every once in a while, I like to open my journal and spill my inner thoughts onto the screen. Here. For you all to read…

 

Comet ~ My feathered friend

9.12.2010 9:50am – on couch, open door, sunny, cool, quiet

I am alone. Alone in my house except for Comet who is picking through her wings and tail leaving an ash of bird dander on the arm of the couch, and the fish who swim silently under the hum and bubble of the filter.

I am alone with my book and terrified. I’m beginning to despise my characters and be bored with the whole plot line. Is this normal? Do I press on, muddle through with the passion of designing monotonous sales reports in Excel? Or do I take it as a “do over,” the white flag of defeat waving at my tired, relieved eyes?

Does every author go through the boredom phase? How can they? If the writer is bored, certainly the reader will be bored, too.

I need more writer interaction, camaraderie to bounce these feelings of doubt and despair off of.  Will they tell me they feel the same? Or, is this just another procrastination tactic, like doing character journals or creating Twitter accounts for my Protag and Antag?

I need to just do the work. Best I can. Read what I have. Read it again. Mark the places that make me squirm of embarrassment or gloss over because it is bland and weak like a wallflower.

Then I need to get in my character’s head, feel what they feel and do the “what if?” exercise. I tell my students to do this; I should practice what I preach.

But is it normal to already be thinking of the next book? Feeling the anticipation of getting to know new characters, new stories, new settings, kind of like the beginnings of a dating relationship. The wonder, the awe, the highlighted sensitivity to every emotion and exterior feeling in the air.

Yes, I guess that is normal, otherwise how would authors produce books so quickly? They have to have their inner muse weaving and developing a small seed of a new idea under the surface of revising the current project.

 Can anyone else relate?

Update: 9.27.11 – I’m STILL revising said novel from this journal entry. Though, I think I had a breakthrough on Friday. Yes, another one. Sheesh!

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Up, Up and AWay

This my horoscope for today…

Scorpio

This is just the kind of day you like, Scorpio – intense and supercharged, just like you! It seems there’s a deadline coming up, or a time-sensitive project. You’ll have a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to do it. This is when you’re at your most productive. Just remember to drink plenty of water and eat. Even superheroes need fuel in order to accomplish their heroics.

Some days, it’s just creepy-cool how accurate these are! I mentioned last week that I struggled to get my butt back in productive gear with writing and exercising. Well, I’m pleased to say I did not hit snooze this a.m. at 4:55. I completed my TurboJam, drank my lemon water and even jotted down my to-do list for today, which includes:

  1. grocery shopping
  2. write a new novel scene (brainstormed earlier from Writing the Breakout Novel wkbk)
  3. research a martial arts center for my oldest son

I feel supercharged. Maybe it’s a mindset, maybe it’s because the sun is shining and the temps are below 80 degrees. Maybe because school starts this week and that always makes me feel like it’s a brand new year gifting me with a beautiful blank canvas.

Whatever it is…I’m ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

What’s on your agenda today?

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Persistence, Not Luck

“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.”

Estee Lauder ~ 1906-2004, Entrepreneur

 

 

{photo courtesy of http://spri.uno.edu/}

I don’t ever play the Lotto, even the Scratch-off. Maybe because I don’t like to gamble. Maybe because I find it difficult to pass over hard-earned dollars for a card that MAY or may not hold the answer to all my problems.

 

I don’t believe is there is one answer. There are a lot of little answers, the way I answer the call of the early a.m. alarm to workout; the way I answer to my 7-year-old’s storytime vs. Facebook time; the way I answer the nagging questions about plot and character developement in my novel.

Little answers = little steps + continued momentum forward = SUCCESS

How about you – Are you pushing through with persistence?

This week, I plan to:

  • Complete 4 exercises in Writing the Breakout Novel workbook.
  • Send welcome packet to Summer Studio students
  • Resistance train 4 x (2 upper, 2 lower)

Share your climb with us!

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“You never know what you can do…”

 

… until you have to do it.”

 

Betty Ford ~1918-2011, Former First Lady and Founder of the Betty Ford Center

{Image courtesy of ohyesthisisish.tumblr.com}

Are you in awe of others’ accomplishments or their grace under fire? Maybe they’ve written a controversal essay. Perhaps they stood up to the bossy parent on the PTA.  Maybe they’ve let their teenager make his/her own poor choices without stepping in.

What about you – Do you ever wow yourself?

I feel living in the present and stretching myself to grow, try new things, say “yes” to experiences that scare me, all contribute to my authentic self. Sometimes, situations present themselves that are out of our control. Yet, we have to push through. We dig deep to find the courage or compassion or skill we didn’t think we possessed. Until today.

What have you done lately that you didn’t think you could do? If it’s been a while since you impressed yourself – plan an adventure this week. Do something that scares you! (In a good way, of course. I’m not condoning holding up a convenient store or picking up a hitchhiker.)

This week, I plan to:

  • Do 2 workouts a day (a.m. and p.m.) and commit to resistance training 4x (2 days upper body, 2 days lower body)
  • Get purple highlights in my hair – I’ll post a pic when it’s done!
  • Start looking for my dream cottage

Share your adventure – past or present - with us!

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Part 2 in the 3-part series to Stop the Chaos

Have you completed your Top 5 Priorities for Life? Heavy stuff, right? Good! It should be! Now, armed with our Top 5 Priorities list, let’s set some measurable, realistic goals that will help us achieve that dream lifestyle. Remember, these goals must align with our Priorities, otherwise we may end up with 10 ways to make more money, but forget that we also wanted to build intimacy in our relationships or learn to laugh at ourselves.

State your Priority

Let’s take an easy one from my list yesterday, which happens to be my #1 priority:

Reach and maintain a healthy size 4, while toning and defining all-over.

Find Your “Why”

Why is this priority important to me? Because losing weight, toning up and gaining energy will help me achieve the long-term goals I have and give me the added confidence I need to make some big life changes.

Your WHY is very important – it would benefit you to Write. This. Down. And refer to it often.

Make it Measurable

Well, it’s nice to have a goal weight – but I need to give it a deadline. A reasonable weight loss is about 2lbs per week. So, let’s say I want to lose 10 lbs by Aug 7 and fit a size 6. That would be my goal, it states the “what”  and the “by when.”

Now I need 9 more that align with my *Priorities.

Drop and give me 10!

Currently, these are my Top 10 Goals (NOTE: These will be reviewed and renewed every 4 weeks, so don’t stress about what to include on your list):

  1. By August 7, I want to have lost 10 lbs and be a size 6. {Life Priority #1}
  2. Earn $______ by Feb 28, 2012 through teaching writing workshops. {Life Priority #3}
  3. Earn $_______by April 1, 2012 through teacher workshops and speaking engagements. {Life Priority #3}
  4. Have Half Moon Bay Resort novel ready to query to agents by January 1, 2012. {Life Priority #3}
  5. By November 1, have our bedroom de-cluttered, repainted and my office area streamlined to promote focus and creativity. {Life Priority #2}
  6. Save $____ per month, so we can take a family beach vacation in December. {Life Priority #5}
  7. Stay true to my weekly planning and prepping nutrition. {Life Priority #1}
  8. Train to walk in the JDRF 5k on Oct 2, 2011. {Life Priority #4}
  9. By July 15, have hall and front closets cleaned out and repurposed. {Life Priority #2}
  10. By August 1, have the boys’ bedroom de-cluttered and organized into “zones” they can maintain to simplify their space and promote creativity and peace. {Life Priority #2}

I’m curious to see what you guys have on your Top 10 List of Goals – and your Top 5 Priorities. Please share with us!

*What happens when something on your Priority list is so far-off, you don’t know where to begin to reach it? Come back tomorrow when we’ll  talk about all the baby steps that lead up to the Big Goals. It’s the Motherlode List…

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Commit to 3, goals, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers

“Magic is believing in yourself…”

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~ 1749-1832, Poet, Novelist and Philosopher

 

When a process doesn’t work, you need to break it down and see where the fault line lies. I’ve been struggling with the “Commit to 3” practice. No kidding, right? I’m sure you can tell from my sporadic Monday postings.

So, let’s break it down: Am I  procrastinating because I just dread the things on my to-do list? Maybe a little, but some tasks are fun, like writing a new fight scene for my YA novel.  Maybe this is just another trait of being an ACOA – resisting authority – even if it’s by my own authority. That is very possible. {More on ACOA traits later; because it is a central theme in my novel.} Maybe these to-do’s aren’t very important on a daily or weekly basis and other, more pressing tasks take priority. Bingo!

I wasn’t scheduling to-do’s based on my overall goals. So, what are my overall goals?

With the help of my new Personal Trainer, Dani (check her out – she’s AWESOME!!), I discovered that I needed to write down my PRIORITIES for life, first. Or else fall into the chaos of mile long to-do lists with no real purpose.

Wanna do this together? Let’s go!

Step One: List your Top 5 Priorities for your LIFE . For example, look at each life category and list who/what is truly important to you and your happiness/fulfillment. Really give this some thought:

Family/Friends

Job/Career

Personal Health in Body & Mind

Spirituality/Humanitarianism

Finance

Home/Travel

 

Step Two: write down specific visions for your selected categories, what the ideal looks like to you. Use details. See my examples, below. (You may have several in one category and none in others, that’s fine – these are your priorities! )

Side Note: Don’t feel guilty if your list is heavy in the “you” category. Remember, when you are happy and well-balanced, you bring rewards to all areas and people in your life. I know that by reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will give me the energy and confidence I need to go after those other goals!

After several drafts, here is my final version:

My Top 5 Priorities for Life

  1. Reach and maintain a healthy size 4, with toned definition all-over.
  2. Have a home that is simplified and uncluttered, which will inspire creativity and be a safe haven for my family.
  3. Earn my full-time income and benefits through writing books, teaching workshops, speaking at events and having multiple streams of income (on-line platform? Rental space?)
  4. Have inner peace and balance, living in the present so I can be a supportive wife and mom.
  5. Financially secure with a healthy retirement savings and college funds for both boys, at the same time able to vacation four times/year.

What are yours? Share them here!!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at setting your Top 10 Goals, and how to make sure they align with your Top Priorities.

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