Tag Archives: goals

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

Commit to 3

I started this weekly series a few months back, with the intention of motivating myself and others. The purpose was to have that One Big Goal in mind and chip away at all the necessary steps in reaching that Goal, while maintaining the other “necessities of life.”  Commit to 3, i.e. baby steps.

Well, I’ve been slacking in the commitment department, at least in the posting and focusing of those commitments.  I apologize if I let my readers down.  Going forward, my promise to you (and myself) is to post my Top 3 Commitments each Monday. You can help me, by posting your goals, too. And if you don’t see the “Commit to 3”  post every Monday(by dinner time), I give you permission to email me and ask “What’s up, Mary Jo? What are you committing to this week?!” mjcwriter”at”comcast”dot”com

So, from my list, I’m going to choose only 3 items that MUST be completed this week. I challenge you to do the same! Oh, and don’t forget your “Salary.”  

*BONUS CHALLENGE: Make 2 of the 3  goals for YOU only(not your kids, spouse, friends, etc.)

This week I commit to 3:

  1. Bake cookies for teachers of KidsClub (deliver Wednesday)
  2. Complete Exercises from Ch 1 of Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress (use as Reader Wednesdays post in the future.)
  3. Phone call with (possible) new personal trainer – learn about her plan and rates – make decision (excited, scared!)

Salary:  2 hrs of uninterrupted reading time on Sunday (to catch up on FREE ebooks & workbooks  by Jonathon Mead)

As you’re creating your Commit to 3 list, keep this in mind:

“One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.”

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author and Speaker

So, how are you pushing yourself towards your goals? Make your list, commit to it, post it in the comments so we can keep each other accountable! Go!

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Filed under Commit to 3, goals, Perseverance, procrastination

Commit to 3: Do-Over!

Setting Goals is step one. Completing those goals is step two. But what happens if you never make it to step two? Chuck your plans out the window? Weep into a bowl of cookie dough ice cream? Pull your blinds down, unplug your phone/internet and become a mole?

No, you get back up, set new goals or trace back your steps –  how did you veer off course? Was it someone or some event that sideswiped your plans? Perhaps that someone was you.

Well, last week, that someone was me. I had a crazy-busy week of overtime at the office, shopping, cooking, blogging, emailing and yes, Tweeting on Twitter. But I’m not going postal and I’m not burying myself in a bowl of ice cream or darkness. I know I was in a sour mood most of last week, too overwhelmed and distracted, then full of excuses on why I couldn’t or didn’t get any of my 3 goals completed.

It’s OK. The world didn’t spin off its orbit (surprisingly!) and no kids or animals were hurt in the wake of my foul attitude.

I declare a Do-Over!

This week:

  1. Follow up on guest blog opportunity for my local news paper : )
  2. Email my students asking for fiction/poetry/essay submissions
  3. Revise Ch 1 and send to my crit partners
  4. Get up and do Ripped in 30 DVD every morning: Mon-Fri

Salary:  buy a pretty hanging plant for my patio

Got goals? Share them with us. If you write them down, you’re that much closer to accompishing them!

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Commit to 3 (goals)

I’m back, baby!

I completed my circuit training 3x this week and worked on my novel’s Matrix revisions, though that is still in progress, plus, I responded to a parent regarding my Summer Writing studio, though I still need to send an announcement to my entire young writer email list.

I changed my salary and instead of a pedicure bought: Revising & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell and Italian Phrasebook by LonelyPlanet (for my novel!)

How did you guys do last week?

This week, I commit to:

  1. Get up early to circuit train 4x
  2. Send Summer Studio announcement via email AND contact two local publications for advertisement
  3. Find an exercise in Revising & Self-Editing to apply to Half Moon Bay novel

My Salary:  Two hours of uninterrupted writing time on Saturday morning at the library. *happy dance*

What’s on your plate this week? You’d be surprised what you can accomplish just by writing it down!

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Filed under Commit to 3, goals, Little Things

Go ahead and Jump!

“To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.”

Og Mandino, 1923-1996, Author and Speaker

 

{photo coutesy of SparrowsFlame}

{photo coutesy of SparrowsFlame}

We all face fear, especially as artists. There is the doubt whether we are really “that good.” There is the evil little whisper of our inner critic that makes us pause long enough to forgo a unique idea. Or that good ‘ol “common sense” who has a list of excuses at the ready.

Today, my goal of moving out of the cubicle world and into a world of full time writing and teaching young writers is being stumped. How can I commit to teaching an on-going after-school young writers’ workshop in my community if I realistically don’t get home from work until almost dinner time? Are parents and students going to want to come back to school in the evening for this program, rather than a short walk to another class when the last bell rings at 3pm? Can I adjust my day job hours, again? Is that completely irrational, given today’s job market, to possibly jeopardize my steady income?

When faced with the unknown, we paralyze ourselves.  I know I do. I over think, over analyze. Then, you know what happens? Somebody else who has the same idea takes that jump – and makes it.  And I can kick myself.

So, I will muster up the courage and take the next step. Maybe not a full “leaping in with both feet,” but I will make the call, set the appointment and map out my plan with the school. Who knows? It may all work out.

What is stopping you from taking the jump?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Education, goals, Perseverance, Platform/Marketing, procrastination, writers block

Book Blog Tour: Mindy Friddle, Author of Secret Keepers

mindyTALK3-797755Today, I am excited to introduce novelist, Mindy Friddle, who brings a seasoned writer’s expertise to the muddle of writing we all face.

Bio: Mindy Friddle’s first novel, The Garden Angel(St. Martin’s Press/Picador), a SIBA bestseller, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program in 2004, and was a National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition summer reading pick.Secret Keepers, her second novel, was published by St. Martin’s Press in May.She lives, writes, and gardens in Greenville, South Carolina where she directs the Writing Room, a community-based nonprofit program she founded in 2006. skeepersorder2

Mindy will be checking for your comments, it’s her “favorite part of blog touring!” So, be sure to leave a comment or question regarding Mindy’s novels, writing in general, or even gardening!(She’s a Master Gardener.)

 

Interview by: Mary Jo Campbell

 
   1. Wow, Mindy, your list of credentials are a novel in itself.  Let’s talk about your fiction awards.  Are you always on the look out for contests that suit your writing style, or is this something your agent or publisher does for you?  How do you prepare your work for a particular contest?  What about a residency contest?

Something I love about entering writing contests: the deadlines. Sounds funny, maybe, but consider two important points:
1. You have to prepare and submit something by a certain date—which can motivate you to finish or polish.
2. You’ll find out whether your manuscript made it or not within a certain time frame. Even if your work didn’t make it this time, take heart. So often when you submit a story or article for publication, you wait a loooong time to find out if it was read, much less accepted. At least in contests, you’ll know for certain if your work was considered or not. And you can move on.
Poets & Writershas an excellent calendar and listing of contests. You can find it at bookstores and also online.

 
 2. I, myself, sit on the board for a national non-profit for young writers and volunteer my teaching for a local non-profit organization for children.  So, your non-profit program, the Writing Room, touches my heartstrings.  Can you tell us how you founded this program, and how much time you now are able to devote to the Writing Room?  How do you seek out reliable volunteers or do they seek you out?

I talked to a local arts foundation, the Emrys Foundation here in South Carolina, that was willing to sponsor a program for writers. So I agreed to direct the program, which offers seminar and workshops to writers of all levels. I’ve recruited some terrific writing teachers, and we offer at least one seminar or class at no charge every season, as well as multi-week intense workshops (from fiction writing, flash fiction, writing for children, and screenwriting) for a range of fees. One of our goals is to eventually raise funds to offer one or two scholarships every season for folks who want to take in-depth writing workshops, but need some financial assistance. It’s a new program, which I spearheaded because I sensed we had an untapped literary community. Our mission at the Writing Room is to “build a community of writers.”

 

 3. Aspiring novelists are often curious how much of a platform one needs before tackling the marathon that is a novel (both the writing and publishing.) “Where to focus our energies?” Can you tell us about your fiction writing credits and platform prior to landing your first book deal for The Garden Angel?

 
I didn’t have much at all, as far as credits. And no platform, really. I hope aspiring novelists will take encouragement from that. You can’t go wrong with focusing your energy on the writing. Easier said, than done—I know! But a set schedule—writing several times a week no matter what—and reading a lot—that will get you far. Also helpful: attending writing conferences and forming a supportive group of fellow writers to read each other’s work.  After winning a fiction award in my state—the first contest I’d won—I attended Bread Loaf Writers Conference. There, I met Julianna Baggott, a generous writer who recommended that I send my manuscript–when I finished it–to her agent. I followed up and queried, and was fortunate to acquire my agent that way.

 
 4. Back to your latest novel, Secret Keepers.  Where did you get the inspiration for Emma’s character and what kind of research was needed to write from the POV of a 72-year-old woman?

 
After I got to know Emma—her background, her yearnings—and observed her actions (which sometimes surprised me) it wasn’t hard to get into her head. I like to think that age, gender, race, class, etc. aren’t obstacles to writers. Yeah, I know– that’s one of those Big Ideas that crops up on panel discussions: Can you really write about characters outside of your own experience/age/gender? YES. Imagination. Empathy, Curiosity. They go a long way.  Also, the omniscient point of view in Secret Keepers allows the reader access to the thoughts of a cast of characters: Emma, but also her adult children, her teenage grandson, a landscaper, and a homeless guy.  I really loved using the omniscient point of view, with a narrator who occasionally chimes in.  I hope the reader does, too.  I have more about the story behind SECRET KEEPERS on my website.

 

   5. On your tour post at The Muffin, you gave great bulleted tips on the process of novel writing: how to be a “weekend writer” and get through the first draft of your novel before focusing on revisions.  What method(s) do you use to keep all of your writing, research and notes organized while pummeling through that first draft? Do you outline; use note cards; have a favorite writing software?
Organize…not one of my talents. I manage piles. I don’t outline, really, but I do take notes on subsequent drafts and revisions. I use notecards to keep track of characters’ basic bios—when they were born, for example—and also to track scenes. If I think a scene is missing—a conversation between two characters that needs to explain something that will figure in later, for example—I make a note of it on a notecard. “Dora and Jake need to talk about Will’s death before we know Bobby remembers…” something like that. Occasionally, when I want to see the big picture and step back, I’ll use flip chart pages to note when things happen—sort of a crudely drawn timeline. That usually happens in revision, when I’m having to nail down details. I think you can find out what works for you as a writer—I love colors, for example. Highlighting my notecards by character is helpful, and using the “highlight” function in Word to figure out what needs to stay [green for me], what needs to be cut [pink], what needs to be moved somewhere else [yellow].  It’s always interesting to see what works for different writers. I’ve interviewed a number of authors, and this topic often comes up. The interviews are posted on my website, on the Interviews with Writerspage, and there’s more commentary on my blog here, and here. I wrote about the zen of writing– you just walk the path– at A Good Blog is Hard to Find
 

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights!  Please tell us what is on the horizon and where we can find more of your work:
I’m drafting a novel….and between drafts I sometimes turn to writing short fiction. Please feel free to visit my website and blog for more information on writing and reading, and drop me an email with questions or comments. Happy writing and reading everyone!


SECRET KEEPERS:  strong storytelling, comic touches, prickly family dynamics, and the magical power of nature.

St. Martin’s Press
Read an excerpt at www.mindyfriddle.com
On Sale: 4/27/2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-53702-9
ISBN-10: 0-312-53702-6
Also available: THE GARDEN ANGEL (St. Martin’s Press & Picador)

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Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, characters, Fiction, Get Published, goals, Inspiration, Novels, Organization, Perseverance, Platform/Marketing, writer markets, writers, writing inspiration

Summer lovin’

Happy Summer!

Coppertone - 1953 ad

Coppertone - 1953 ad

OK, Summer doesn’t “officially” begin until June 21, which is also Father’s Day this year (and my mother-in-law’s birthday – Love ya, Rose!) But flipping the calendar page to June just sets my warm-weather clock a-tickin’.

School will be out, my work hours will shorten and hopefully the “lazy days” will be relaxing but productive for my writing.  A plan of action needs to be in place, not just for the next few months, but leading into fall and the new school year, as well.  Geez, Mary Jo, you’re saying, isn’t it bad enough that school supplies will be on sale soon? Can’t we just relax and enjoy this slower paced time of year?  

Sure, if you want to starve. Maybe not starve, but you will fall behind while other freelance writers are working their way up the ranks.  Businesses don’t close down for the summer and neither should you. If you’re taking your writing seriously, as a business, that is.  I’ve already emailed the principal of my son’s middle grade school to discuss the possibility of starting an after school writing club. And began plans for National Novel Writing Month, which isn’t until NOVEMBER!

Adjustments to your regular writing routine may be needed and beneficial to you and your family – but don’t STOP writing!

So, what are your writing plans for the summer?

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