Tag Archives: goals for writers

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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Filed under Advice, Believe, goals, Inspiration

commit to 3

First, Accountability…

Last week I committed to:

  1. Bake cookies for teachers of KidsClub (deliver Wednesday) – decided against this, since the tray of cookies would be clamored up by 1st-4th graders and that wouldn’t help anyone!
  2. Complete Exercises from Ch 1 of Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress (use as Reader Wednesdays post in the future.) complete! (mostly)
  3. Phone call with (possible) new personal trainer – learn about her plan and rates – make decision (excited, scared!) complete! I’ve signed up for Team Beachbody on-line and will begin my personal training a week from today. Very excited to finally have direction – and accountability!

Salary:  2 hrs of uninterrupted reading time on Sunday (to catch up on FREE ebooks & workbooks  by Jonathon Mead) Instead, I rewarded myself with 2 solid hours of reading Jillian Michaels’ Unlimited. Fantastic book – highly recommended

How did you do last week? Complete the 3 goals you set for yourself?

This week, I commit to:

  1. Read & provide feedback on crit partner’s 1st chapter & send her latest version of my novel’s Ch 1
  2. 100 crunches 6x and 30 min walk after dinner 5x
  3. Review notes on novel-in-progress, write next scene

Salary:  Practice Lesson 1 of Rosetta Stone- Italian (library loan)

Baby steps, just pick 3. Share them here for accountability. (ha, I’m a poet!)


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Filed under Believe, Commit to 3, goals, Novels, Perseverance

Commit to 3 (goals)

 Last week:

  • Get up early to circuit train 4x – FAIL (though my 12-yr-old says no one over age 20 can use that term. To what I answer “What-EVER!”)
  • Send Summer Studio announcement via email (DONE!) AND contact two local publications for advertisement (NOT done!)
  • Find an exercise in Revising & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell to apply to Half Moon Bay novel- yes! Will post in a  future Reader Wednesday

 How did you guys do?

This week, deadline: 5/1/11

  1. Revise chapter 1 so I can send to my 3 new crit partners! Yay!
  2. Decide on our Wyoming trip and book it!
  3. Send email to my students announcing opportunity to guest post

Salary: haircut & color by Figen ; ) (already made the appt, should I post a pic when it’s done??)

What’s on your commit to 3 list this week?


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Commit to 3: Back in the Saddle


OK, padres, I’m ready to jump back on the trail to accomplishing goals, 3 at a time.

And this week, they are:

Work out 3x this week

Rewrite diabetes essay

Write 3000 words for “Nova” novel

BONUS: Call Cricket re: rebate denial : (

Salary: Master Your Metabolism, Jillian Micheals

What are you committing to this week? Share!


Filed under goals

Commit to 3: What will you accomplish this week?

{photo: Delaware Law Blog}I’m slightly past my deadline of Sunday with one more goal to finalize. 

How did you do? Do you find yourself finishing early? Or maybe, the goals are too big (i.e. time consuming, need cooperation from others to complete, etc.) If that’s stopping you, try breaking down the larger goals into finer steps.

For instance, my writing office is also in my bedroom and I have accumulated piles of books, notebooks, magazines, manuscripts, and teaching files and supplies in various areas of disarray. Instead of “pretending” I can take on the entire room in a week (along with all my other responsibilities) I took pictures of each of the 5 trouble spots, or zones, if you will. I am committing to sorting and organizing just 1 of those 5 this week. It is tempting to say I ‘ll just do it all at once, but I know myself. Sorting through paper piles makes my physically nauseous, and is certainly not something I look forward to after working 10+ hours in an office all day, making dinner and helping my kids with their homework. But 1 area, I can handle.

So, what do you want to focus on this week? Remember, only COMMIT to 3 tasks/goals. Make a longer list and keep it somewhere else, if you wish, but focus your time and energy on completing just these 3 things.

This week:

My Commitment to Me
I commit to:
1.  Workout 3 x this week
2.  Organize 1 of the 5 areas in my “office”
3.  Submit short story (Cruelty of Poetry or House of Good Intentions) to The Pedestal Magazine

My due date is:
_Sun. 2/13__
My salary is:
Purchase the $10 Desktop version of Write or Die

Copy and paste your “Commit to 3” in the comments. Let’s keep each other accountable – but realistic. And don’t forget to Pay YOURSELF!


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Filed under Advice, goals

Help for Hump Day: Picture your success

“When you paint success pictures in your mind, you initiate an inner process whereby your attitudes, hopes, aspirations, and enthusiasm are elevated in response to an image of a more promising future. Every person who aspires must first sell themselves hope, the promise of a better life.” 

U.S. Andersen ~ 1917-1986, Author of The Magic In Your Mind  

If you’re familiar with The Secret or Law of Attraction, you may already have a Vision Board. A Vision Board is a snapshot of your life the way you visualize it being in the near future, in the form of a collage. 

Though I haven’t actually pasted my success picture into one place, I do have a collection of images, quotes, personal notes and momentos that give me ammunition to keep going. 

Keep going despite a rejection letter. Keep going despite family and work schedules crowding out my designated writing time. Keep going despite my unsatisfying query letter, written and rewritten 18,000 times. 

Here are some images (material things I’d love to acquire) and supporting words that keep me going: 

{from the movie EVENING}


{Mercury Milan}


(email from Amy 11/27/06) 

 Good morning. I have to say MJ, you are one talented writer! I didn’t get to read your story until this morning, but I couldn’t stop once I started! What awesome characters, and your descriptions of things made me feel I was right there seeing it. You need to work towards making this something you can do every chance you get! Wow, I am truly blown away. I don’t know what I expected, but it was great! Lets work hard on making our passions our daily work! 

email from another friend: 

Your writing is incredible. I seriously could see myself sitting for hours reading more, because just after the 15 pages or so, I want to know more about these characters! 

email from a teacher who attended my teacher workshop: 

Author : Debbie K. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:03:33 PM 

 Hi Mary Jo,


Just wanted to let you know I started my fiction writing unit this week. So, Monday I used the sixth sense cards from the writer’s toolbox. The kids in my class loved it…oh my gosh, I don’t think they realized they were writing for over an hour. They wanted to keep going and going and going with the pass along stories. It was great. 

 comments from writer friends on my novels-in-progress summaries: 

motherlogue  3 April 27, 2010 7:36 AM    

Thanks for a great interview. I loved reading more about your two novels in progress, Mary Jo. I can’t wait to buy my copies. Here’s to the Year of Clarity! 

Kristine  4 April 27, 2010 8:25 AM    

Mary Jo, your novel in progress looks great! Finish writing it NOW!! I will buy it:) You know I’m a fan! 

email reply on a flash fiction piece I submitted for a contest: 

Terrific again! 

You did not pay for a checkmark evaluation, but one evaluator did the work and gave you a Perfect 70! 

Feedback on another short fiction contest entered: 


The exquisite eye for detail immediately strikes me. (I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you’re also an artist or sculptor.) The prose, smooth and perceptive, rolls ever so delicately across the page. This establishes a consistent pace and casts an eerie mood upon the carnival setting. And the clever use of the mirrors—nice job! No wonder this entry made it to the Second Finals. 

I’ll put these together on a Vision Board, one day. Though I know where they are for easy reference when I need that ammunition to Keep Going

Who or what is on your painting of success? Share with us! 


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Filed under Advice, Inspiration, Perseverance

2010: The Year of Clarity

At the end of each year, I like to look forward: forward to the days and months ahead and how I will best enjoy, work, play and reach for my goals.

So, 2010 will be dubbed The Year of Clarity. My mission is to refocus my talents and align my true passions with what brings me most joy: writing & submitting fiction and personal essays, teaching my young writer classes, and hosting authors on my blog. Everything else can fall to the wayside and the world will not actually implode. Fascinating.

Cool thing I discovered, is that when you focus on something, The Law of Attraction brings people and opportunities and other instances into your line of vision.  Example: yesterday I received Chris Brogan’s monthly e-newsletter which had a similar theme  to clarity: ecosystems

“Translating that, “ecosystems” means that for every project I take on, I’ll ask whether it fits any of my existing platforms, whether it’s something that can grow beyond a standalone project, whether it’s something that helps grow my existing ecosystems, etc. The point being that everything has to match up, and I can’t keep saying yes to things that come along, just because they’re awesome.”

Are you a “yes” person? Are you overwhelmed? Think there’s a connection there?

I love Chris Brogan’s idea of ecosystems, building upon an existing platform.

As part of my Clarity for 2010:

  • I’ll be purging paper: many, many issues of magazines, print outs of articles and writers’ guidelines (I can find everything on-line, after all) – look for giveaways on my blog next year!
  • Restructuring my young writers’ classes so that my lesson plans can grow with me – not be recreated for each teaching session.
  • I will also discipline myself to workout in the morning whether Pilates, yoga or toning (Because there is ALWAYS a reason not to do it midday) and I feel so cruddy if days of sloth have gone by.
  • (Biting my lip I say this) I will not join or otherwise commit to any more projects/organizations/volunteer groups/invitations to write for free (that hurt a little)
  • Find balance between teaching/helping other writers and focusing on my own writing: i.e. during my teaching sessions just focus on my lesson plans and student work with journaling for myself. Work on my own drafts and submitting in between teaching gigs.
  • Continue my use of lists, but be more realistic and forgiving (give myself a lot less to do until I can master one or two things – instead of being spread way too thin)
  • Scale back on the mass amounts of research/reading about writing and refocus on the actual writing. I’ll do this by canceling many of my google alerts and free email subscriptions. There is such a thing as too much information! ; )
  • And most importantly, Have assigned writing days/time slots to work (without too much internet use -I’m very easily distracted.) Outside of these set writing times, I need to learn to let it go and focus on the people in my life, including myself.

So, what are you guys going to focus on in 2010? Write it down. Make it happen. Let’s keep each other accountable, shall we?


Filed under Advice, Believe, goals, Organization, Platform/Marketing