Starting Over

What do you do when everything you’ve planned for and accounted for happening absolutely flops?

Simple. You start from scratch again with a new approach and a new vision.

For most people the thought of starting over is terrifying. Myself included. It sounds simple, to start over, but it’s anything but simple. Starting over means any ground you’ve gained is gone, right?

Not necessarily.

At the new year I promised myself I was going to get back on track with many things. Some in more easily manageable ways than previous years. This blog for starters. In the beginning of this journey I posted three to four times a week. I joined in the Snippet Sunday blog hop group every week, I tried to write updates and other tidbits every Tuesday and Friday, and I tried to keep up with P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Words flash fiction prompts. Since I started working full time with crazy hours a few years back this blog started to fall by the wayside, and with it went my writing.

So, this year I promised myself something smaller to get back into the game. I promised myself that this year my goal — at least in regards to this blog — was simply to post once a week, at any point in the week. (I try to stay away from Sunday’s and Saturday’s though.) It didn’t matter what I was posting either. I just had to make one blog post a week. As much as I miss the Snippet Sunday group and would love to join that again, too, I know I’m not ready to jump back into the mix. At least not until there is more coherent and stable writing going on in my life again.

But, as you guys can tell by the little calendar to the right, I haven’t exactly kept that promise to myself thus far. I missed the last two weeks in posting anything at all. I can make excuses for why I missed all I want. I forgot, the work week was too busy, I was too exhausted, college got in the way, blah blah blah. . . But it doesn’t change the fact I broke my promise to myself.

However, it also doesn’t mean I’m a complete failure. Life happens. Shit happens. A lot. I get that more now than I have in previous years of starting over. Did you know that if your goal is to form a new habit it actually takes an average of sixty-six days to integrate it into your routine successfully? No wonder I always fall apart after NaNo months! That’s only thirty or thirty-one days. I need two months, bare minimum, to make that habit stick. Or any habit for that matter.

Along with that habit tidbit I learned something else this year. One night last month while joining a meditation group (the New Leaf Meditation Project — great group, by the way) I was shown a new perspective that has since kept me thinking: You don’t have to wait for a new year to start over fresh. Everyone hangs all their hopes and goals on January 1st. New year, new me, new attitude. Right? Well, kind of. Sure, the change in the calendar year seems like a great fresh start and clean slate but that doesn’t mean the new year has to be the only time you embrace the new.

What about a new month? A new week? A new day? Every one of them is a chance to start fresh with a clean slate. Don’t hate Monday’s because it means life is back to the daily grind, love them instead because it’s a new week and a fresh start all its own. (I learned that from the group, too.) Just because it seems less impactful to pick a Monday, or even a random Tuesday in the middle of February, to start fresh doesn’t mean the energy won’t still be there to begin anew. There is absolutely nothing stopping you, or anyone else for that matter, to embrace the new day whenever you feel fit too.

Energy flows where intention goes, as they say.

So if your intention is to put aside the half-baked successes or complete flops in the middle of a random Tuesday during mid-February to start over with fresh eyes again, then you put aside the half-baked successes and complete flops from the last five weeks and you start over with fresh eyes. Fuel those fires instead of starving them. Find what makes them ignite and then cocoon yourself in the flames. Maybe it’s a type of music that fuels that passion and drive. Maybe it’s a certain practice that gives you the energy to conquer the day. Maybe it’s something slightly more involved like a vision board. Like this one…

Image result for vision board examples 2020

Image Source: Morning Coffee With Dee

Whatever it may be that fuels your fire, use it to the fullest.

Now comes the part you don’t want to hear. You have to want it enough to actively work for it or you’re just going to keep standing still in a repeated cycle.

So that’s my advice for the week. Starting over doesn’t have to be terrifying. You can take from what failed and what kind of worked and rebuild from there with fresh eyes. Or you can completely scrap and begin anew. All that really matters is you make the goals manageable, you put the work in and give it your all, and you stay kind to yourself as you wade and stumble through the deep waters toward success.

Long story aside, this is me saying I’m starting fresh this week and re-igniting my drive for the things I want out of life. It starts with this blog, and from there it’ll be wherever the wind takes me in writing and college.

What do you need to start over on in the new week? Or, how do you revamp what’s only kind of working to make it more successful for you?

Looking Forward

Related imageI’m well aware this entire blog has been quite silent for a couple years now. 2017 was the last year in which I more consistently blogged, but even then I think it was more just #SnippetSunday hops toward the end of the year. In reality, ever since I started a full time position at the evil day job a few years ago now my motivation, time, and energy has been drained dry on a daily basis. It sucks. A lot. 

A few years back (consequently also back in 2017) I made a similar blog post here listing out my goals and resolutions for the new year. In complete honesty, I am downright horrible at sticking to goals and resolutions. I’ve probably said that before but I’m saying it again. A part of me has long since given up even making any. Something about this year feels a little different though. 

Perhaps it’s the fact it’s a new decade as well. Or perhaps it’s the signs I’ve been seeing that are telling me this is the year, my year. Or maybe it’s the fact that the other assistant manager at work finally took the plunge he’s been talking about for more than a year: up and quitting on January 1st because it’s time to get out and move on. He’s right, I’ve realized. I’ve spent the last six and a half years in a job that sorely underpays and works me to the bone. My passions have suffered for it. Writing. This blog. Even my other hobby loves like horseback riding have been sacrificed for something I don’t want to do the rest of my life. 

So, he’s definitely right. It’s time to get out. It’s time to actually make it happen. I hate change. More accurately I hate the anxiety of and the effort change takes, the time it takes to find a system that works again. But the system I am currently in has long since worked for me. I can’t stay in this one for very much longer. So it’s time to start job hunting for something new. Time to find a new routine that will allow me to keep up with my writing consistently and be able to enjoy life a little more again. 

For the time being I have, however, found a new trick that may allow me to get somewhere while I search for a new normal. I have always wanted to be able to take things on the go with me to do when I have stolen moments of free time at work or camping or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve never found an easy way to do that. Or I’ve never found I have enough stolen moments to make it worth it. Writing in small bursts on the go has never really worked out for me unless it’s random spurts of brainstorming. I seem to only be able to work efficiently on anything writing related if I am given ample time to sit down and actually be immersed in it. That’s why Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo are good for me. It’s the consistency and fire under my ass that I need. Stolen moments don’t work for me and writing.

At least not novel and story writing.

You see, what I’m discovering is that maybe I can utilize those stolen moments of lunch in some other way. Maybe I can use those stolen moments to read. (I seem to have pledged myself to the 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge.) Or maybe I can use those stolen moments to work on blog posts. See where I’m heading with this?

Ever since I fell off the grid here I’ve been telling myself “what if I forget about a blog schedule of any kind and simply just put something out once a week? Doesn’t have to be a specific day, doesn’t have to be a specific set of posts, just something once a week.” I thought about it a little more, and then thought about it some more. While I hate being inconsistent and not having a schedule to my blog posts I began to realize that perhaps, with the unpredictable retail job I have, that randomized once a week posts might actually be what suits my schedule best. I’m pretty sure I might have mentioned that at least once last year and then just never actually stuck to it, but again, this year feels different. 

So that’s the plan at least. Once a week, at any given time in the week, I hope to put something about something related to writing or books or gods only know, released here. I spent the last several days of the new year tinkering around with ways to effectively do this and my working in progress solution has come out to be stolen moments, my fairly neglected Kindle, and a bluetooth keyboard allowing me to type and write in odd places while offline. This way I can have things down and all I have to do later is connect to the web, share to my laptop, edit up the post, and click publish. That’s exactly how I’ve written this post, in fact. We shall see how it goes.

For those of you writers out there faced with evil day jobs that suck up all your time and energy too, how do you find the systems that work for you to still pursue your passions?

Planning A Year

happy-new-year

It’s officially 2017. I hope everyone’s New Year so far is shaping up as they had hoped. I’m sure there’s lots of new goals and resolutions and hope out there. Whatever you’re aiming to better or do this year, good for you; and if you have no resolutions, well, then, good for you too.

After talking about my accomplishments, half accomplishments, and failures of last year’s goals on Friday, I spent the last couple days thinking over goals and resolutions and trying to organize myself for the new year. Normally I don’t do resolutions, I just do goals, but this year I seem to have written a few things off as resolutions.

Which brings me to something interesting I saw. The other day I was searching Google images for something relating to goals and resolutions. In a lot of images I found they were crossing out the word “resolutions” and replacing it with “goals”. Or they were simply saying “goals, not resolutions”. That took me a little be surprise and I wondered, “why?” Why do they say goals not resolutions?

Naturally, I looked into it a bit and found that the meaning behind those images were to set goals that you could physically work toward, a plan, not a resolution that you don’t know how to go about. Think about it…

Say your resolution this year was to get fit. Okay, great. You want to get fit. Now if I were to ask you how are you going to do that, would you have an answer for me right away? Would you have a plan? Maybe some of you do, but when you list something so vague and broad, it can leave you fumbling.

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That’s why they say make goals, not resolutions. Goals can be specific, goals can have a path you can follow toward. Goals can make you plan how to go about achieving it in tiny steps so it doesn’t look so daunting a monster to conquer. I’ve learned that over the past year, and now I’m really starting to see why it’s so much easier that way. Even so, it can be easy to overbook yourself on goals if you feed them too many growth hormones. Never forget though that goals can be broken down. Even the most humungous and fiercest of them all can be broken down into tiny little pieces, limb by limb, stage by stage until the monster you built can be seen as tiny little monsterlings that are more easily conquerable.  And each monsterling you conquer you can put back into place, now tamed, and watch how your goal is shaping up and building until you are so close to achieving it and becoming the master.

mistake-goal

That gives you motivation. To watch it grow, to watch yourself actually achieving the steps toward that monster of a goal. No matter your goal, it can be the same process, you only have to be careful you make the goal realistic in the time frame you set yourself for it, otherwise your monster will become too scary and seem to grow bigger and bigger day by day until he crushes you instead of you taming him.

And that brings me to the goals I’ve been putzing over the past couple days. I found myself labeling some things as resolutions, but only because they are something I want to make habit in a sense. They are still goals in a way that I have a plan on how to go about them, but for the sake of organization I labeled them as resolutions because they aren’t a one-and-done type of goal. They are constant.

Once I finally had my goals listed out and I had begun to shape out my planner, I tried to work out a timeframe that I could work with for each one. To do that I grabbed notecards — one for each month, and one simply for daily things — and started mapping things out.

While I may have a rough time frame worked out now, I still do not have a detailed, written plan of every goal. That was today’s plan, because it is much easier to type it out as I think in a post and then copy it down to my secondary planner, then it is to write it once on paper — in pen — and be perfect. I work it out in head here and then I’ll be good to copy it all to paper and get to work on achieving things.

So here we go. Down the rabbit hole for a look into the way my mind thinks. Hopefully you don’t get scared off by the monsters that are my goals.

RESOLUTIONS

As I said above, I am simply labeling daily things I wish to make more habit in my life as resolutions, but they are still goals I can work toward and achieve in order to make them habit.

Meditate
This is something I began to try my hand at last year and it never really worked out. That was partly due to the fact I wasn’t entirely sure on what I was doing. I had always believed that in meditation my mind was supposed to be utterly quiet, not a single wisp of thought. In just three days alone since this new year began I learned that isn’t quite true, and it’s already begun to help, because now I’m not so frustrated that I’m yelling at my mind to be quiet and I’m actually getting somewhere. (Yelling at yourself in mediation doesn’t exactly help you relax.)

So this is something I wish to become a daily habit, even if it’s only for a couple minutes a day. It certainly helps to have someone doing it with you, too, both for support and for making sure you did it. It also helps to follow a 30 day challenge to get yourself some instruction — if you’re a bit of a beginner like myself — or to simply remember to do it.

Do Yoga/Workout Once a Day
Another thing I wish to make a daily habit. Once again, I started doing both yoga and small workouts last year but it’s hard to have any free or alone time in my home to be able to do it. The only open enough space I have to work out is in the living room, and with a constant hovering patron of this house, it’s extra hard to get any alone time to simply do this. If I get lucky enough to score the house to myself, great! Either yoga or a small workout session is the first thing I’ll go to downstairs. If not, then I might be waiting until midnight to have the chance to be alone downstairs.

Granted, I can do some minor things that don’t require space in my own room, but it isn’t much I can do. Also, once the weather turns to spring, I can easily go outside to get away to complete this daily. I think the best thing about this one is I’m giving myself some leeway with it. Perhaps one day I’ll get to do some yoga and the next two or so I won’t be able to due to space constraints, but I’ll still be able to do some easier workouts that don’t require the same space. Or perhaps once it warms up I’ll count my workout as going for a walk, or a run. It won’t always be the same, and that’ll give me flexibility so I don’t get bored with it or tired of it quickly.

I won’t need to join a gym or spend a ton of money to do this either. I could grab a couple things from where I work that I can workout at home with, and there’s always YouTube to look up any kind of workout video imaginable. It’s not the same as a gym, but it’s still better than nothing and easier to fit into an ever-changing work schedule.

Be Awake By 11am
Everyone knows I’m a major night owl. In the past month or so I started to really, really sleep in late. My day wouldn’t really start until one or two in the afternoon because I wasn’t getting up until noon or later. I partly blame that on work and just being exhausted over the holiday season, but it’s also cutting into the ability to manage my time.

To help that, I’m trying to make myself be in bed, lights out, by or at 3am. That way even if I need to be up around eight or nine for work I’m still getting five to six hours of sleep, instead of my two or three I did a lot last year, and the year before. The reasoning behind this is to hopefully have somewhere between six to seven hours a night and still be able to get things done as I hope to since I’m most active at night. That’s the hope at least, we’ll see how it works out, especially if I start getting the ungodly shift of 5am again.

Better Time Management
I royally sucked at this last year and let a lot of things slide until last minute that left a lot of scrambling, a lot of stress, and a lot of weight on my shoulders. I hope to change that this year.

At one point I asked a friend last year how she did it. Her response was a simple one, but it stuck with me.

“It’s easier to stay caught up than to play catch up.”

Alright, so that may not be the exact words of months ago, but that’s the concept. It’s never left my mind, and I’ve realized just how right she is. It’s much easier to simply stay on track than to be running to catch up, especially when you have so much going on.

So this year I am going to try to manage my time better. Part of that ties in with being up a little earlier. As things come, I’m going to try to complete them. For instance… The Snippet Sunday blog hop always happens on Sunday (though it technically starts Saturday with a couple), so by Monday night I want to have gone through all the blogs so I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. If I work the long afternoon to close shift on a blog post day, I want to try to complete that post before I go to bed, or at least have a draft of it so I’m not scrambling the next day to write a half-assed one. As mail comes in, junk or otherwise, I want to have it gone through, paid, replied to, pitched and/or filed away within a day or two. If I shop at all, I want to put things away in a timely fashion instead of leaving them sit in the corner of my room as I started doing. Keeping my desk clear is going to be the same concept. Scheduling my Sunday Snippet posts will be something I take one or two at a time, so that doing four or five at a time doesn’t take so long.

In all I just need to keep on top of things instead of simply shrugging them off for later. “Later” is a word I want to stop using this year.

Use My Planner
This is what’s going to help with my time management. I started using a simple, kind of stupid planner last year. After the first two months maybe I just kind of stopped looking at it. This year I bought a new one, a better one, and the hope is to keep at this year.

The best things about this one are I can actually flip to a certain month via tabs, and it has both a monthly calendar and pages of day by day to write things in. The calendar itself will allow me to write down events, birthdays, mercury’s retrogrades, deadlines, what days need posts, and so forth. The day to day pages will help me plan out my week with everything else.

I used to keep a simple lined notebook that I would write down “Week of January 1st” at the top and then list the things I wanted to do that week. I never broke it down further though. Now, since I still use that notebook to help organize myself — and that’s actually the notebook I will copy these goals down into — I can organize even further by breaking that week page down into daily by writing them into my planner.

Now so long as I stick to that and actually open both my planner and notebook, I should be good.

Write Consistently
This was a goal I held last year as well, and pretty much failed on. This year I’m going to try once more to hold myself accountable to writing at least something each week, even if it’s simply a 100 words a day, even if it’s fifty words a day. I don’t care if it ends up being a 100 words a week, I just need to stop letting myself fall off the wagon during non-NaNo months.

This year, I hope that the support of friends will help hold me accountable to doing this. If they are expecting a snippet of something I wrote that week then I have to deliver every week for the group to see my proof of creativity, or be pestered until there is a fire lit under my ass. Even just working with them to make us all write should make it that much more manageable and easy to accomplish.

The goal of this group is to take the NaNo out of NaNoWriMo. That way every month simply becomes a Writing Month, even if the word count isn’t as huge as actual NaNo months. Just so long as I am doing something every week toward my goals of writing and publishing, whether it be writing or editing. And if we can make it more interactive with each other like NaNo then there’s motivation.

The only problem in this is that we all have to make the commitment to not slack off on each other, and then actually stick to the commitment, no matter how hectic life gets.

GOALS

So while all my resolutions are goals in a way, they are not the one-and-done type of goals as the rest of these are.

Read Two Books A Month
Alright, so this technically could have counted as a resolution to simply read more. However, as I talked of, the goal to simply read more is vague. Which is why I came up with the goal of reading two books a month, at least.

Ever since I started working and writing more the time for me to read dwindled further and further. As an author, reading is a must no matter what you think. This goal will help me get back into reading. It doesn’t matter what the book is, how long it is, what it’s about, as long as I am reading something. For instance, my first choice of this month was a book called Meditation For Beginners.

I did, however, give myself a little bit of leeway again in this goal. During the three NaNo months, I let myself slide on only needing to read one book that month.

The easiest way I’m going to accomplish this goal is if I set aside a specific time to read. I came to the conclusion that best time would be at night. If my goal is to be in bed, lights out, by 3am, then by 2:30am I need to be off my computer, phone, whatever I’m working on so that I can sit in bed for half an hour and read. Doing this might even help me sleep, it’s been proven that reading can help you sleep.

Revamp Blog Layout/Info
This is something I should have done last year. I want to go back through my pages and update any information in the About pages so that it is current and reflecting of me. Since, you know, I haven’t changed any of that since I first made this blog…two years ago now I believe. (Wow… Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.)

I also want to rework the pages that hold information on my stories and books. Instead of being one long list of books on the page, I want to turn each book into a tab under the page. On top of that, I wanted to create a separate page (and hopefully one day more tabs) for anything that is physically published and available for purchase, not my freebies on Wattpad.

I plan to have this completed by the end of January, so if you start seeing things changing a bit, that’s why.

Finish and Submit Clockwork Heart
This is one of my bigger ones that I’ve broken up into two parts. The first part is to simply outline and write the story; the second part is to edit it and submit it with all necessary information.

I have until February 20th to do this.

If the title Clockwork Heart rings a bell that’s because it was the title of one of my Wednesday Words last month. Just like with Embermyst, the story sprung into a full on plot bunny and I’m going to be submitting this to VTP’s Spring Anthology for another chance at publication. That deadline is obviously February 2oth.

By working out a timeline on how to go about this, if I can outline and write it — including a dreaded blurb — by the end of January, that will give me about two and a half weeks to edit and polish it before sending it in. I plan to have it outlined and begin writing by the end of this week.

Complete 2016 Camping Journal Entries
This goal looks very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because, like the year before, I failed miserably at staying on top of those entries during the camping season. So once more, I have six entries to write before May, and I think maybe one or two sets of notes to complete in order to do so again as well.

Since I have Clockwork Heart to focus on right now, I’m not going to plan to start these until the week of February 19th. Like last year, I will do one a week and I will complete them just in time for the start of April’s Camp NaNo.

The other side to this goal is when the 2017 season starts I need to stay on top of them this year so this goal doesn’t become something that happens every year. I believe I’ve figured out how I can do that too. The last few years I’ve only taken off work the days of the trip, this year I am going to take off the day after each trip as well. That extra day will allow me to catch up on lost sleep, get organized, and also sit down to write the entry while it’s fresh in my mind, as well as loading any pictures I took of that week to my Facebook. If I can do that, I won’t be scrambling at the last moment to write or finish an entry before the next trip rolls around right quick when they are normally only two weeks apart.

Obtain Driver’s License
Alright… This one was on last year’s list as well. To my credit I got half way to it last year, I got my permit. I just never got out much to practice due to circumstances beyond my control.

It’s nearly certain I will not get that dumb little plastic card by the time my permit runs out, so once more I have myself listed to re-acquire my permit once this one runs out of time. Just like last year, I hope to have gotten my license sometime before the snow falls. Say maybe by the end of October.

Providing schedules can work out better this year, I can hope that this goal will be achieved this year.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This goal is also quite familiar if you recall my last post. Re-editing this story was a goal I set myself last year and I just never quite started to edit it. I’m going to try again this year and I plan to use the month of May to edit it and re-release it on the Wattpad world.

I figured May would be a good time because it’s coming off a maddened induced month of writing for Camp NaNo and will be a little bit of a break from writing. Granted, I’ll still try to hold myself accountable to writing, but my focus will be on editing that month.

Finish Fated to Darkness
Yes, this was another goal I held last year as well. I got close to completing part of this goal last year, but my lack of follow through in non-NaNo months is what became my downfall on the goal.

Now that I’m only about six chapters away from the end of this book, I can definitely finish it this year. If I don’t, there’s something wrong with me. However, it is more than just completing the first draft that I want to accomplish with this novel this year. I also want to have the concordance completed so that I have something to look over in editing to help keep me straight. Lastly, I want to have this rough draft printed and in a binder by the end of the year to be able to begin editing next year. That print out may also include a print out of a list of notes and questions I left myself within the Word doc for when editing comes along. I haven’t decided if I want to simply print them or copy them to a notebook to have handy. Printing might be easier.

To do all this, I planned to have completed writing the book by the end of May. Honestly, if I don’t finish it by the end of April with Camp NaNo or even before that I’m going to kick myself. The more time I have to work on the concordance and print outs, the better. Because, you know, I only have 500 some pages to read through to make notes of and stuff.

If I finish writing hopefully by the end of April, then I will focus on completing the concordance by the end of October, before the holiday madness begins. That gives me time to worry about nothing else but NaNo in November and then gifts and work for the rest of the year. Printing everything will also be easy to do when I’m already out running errands during that time of year.

That’s the detailed goal, now I only need to stick to it again. I’m itching to get to work on it, but Clockwork Heart is going to take precedence right now with a looming deadline.

Get Rid of Yard Sale Items
This goal is the result of one of my goals last year. I had cleaned out my entire room and held a yard sale to sell what I no longer wanted or use. Unfortunately, the yard sale was less than successful and it left me with more than half the stuff I wanted to get rid of sitting around here with no time to do anything with it.

The goal this year is to simply get rid of it all. Whether it be by donating it, craigslist to try to sell more, a Facebook group to sell it, throwing some stuff out, or trying a thrift shop. This will be a good thing to do in June when camping will start to take up some of my time. Simple and easy, as long as I don’t start cleaning something else out in this house. Like the spare room.

Meet a Friend
I only have this listed as a goal because I have a couple online friends I have never actually met face to face. Well, one I have half met face to face thanks to a lovely thing called webcams and Skype, but I still have yet to meet the other.

It doesn’t help when both of you are such introverts that you talk of making plans to meet but then just never follow through on it. I’m totally guilty of that.

So to put it simply, I just want to finally make that meeting happen sometime during this year. Maybe after the snow stops flying though.

END RESOLUTIONS/GOALS

That’s it then. That’s my year in a nutshell. 365 days of planning down to one rather long, detailed blog post. Now I can be held accountable to these goals. They are officially written down in some form. All that’s left to do is copy them to my notebook and start getting to work.

Although, I have one last parting thought. If you were to consider one word as your attainable goal this year, what would you pick? What would you strive for? If I had to choose, my word would be creativity. Simply because it can cover such a wide variety of my goals in writing. Or it would be time management, since that is what I need to work on.

If I accomplish even half of these goals, I will be happy with myself. If I make nearly all of them happen, I will be ecstatic. If by some chance I am able to check off every single goal at the end of this year, and will proudly be able to say I didn’t give up on yoga, reading, meditation, writing, and working out, I will be without words. My hope is that this year I finally begin to take my life back in my own hands after years on end of struggling, and that in making new daily habits I will no longer be sitting around lazily or scrolling through my phone because I’m bored.

Here’s to a better year than 2016, and a brighter, better, happier me.

Reflecting On 2016

I’ve been quite absent here the past week or so. Last week was a total madhouse of things going on with the holiday season. The week before Christmas is the final and worst Hell Week when you work retail. Since I had my own things I had to finish to be ready for the holiday on top of working I was going non-stop and a lot slipped my mind, like blog posts. I hardly slept last week with the final rush of things.

(I know I’ve said something similar to this before but roughly ten hours of sleep in a matter of three days is not recommended. I crashed for about 18 hours after that little doozy of a nightmare.)

Things have finally begun to quiet down now that it’s over. At least, work has quieted down from the chicken without a head rushing, there’s still lots to do though. Home life, on the other hand, has not taken the memo to quiet down this week. After putting in two weeks of overtime, I somehow managed to score four days off this week and I was so looking forward to it because this introvert needs about three weeks of calm to realign after the last several weeks before she has to hit another two or three weeks of madness due to inventory.

Unfortunately that calm has not worked out.

Monday into Tuesday morning was my sleep for about 18 hours spell. Tuesday was my first day off (other than Christmas, I didn’t exactly count Christmas as off since there was still no relaxing about it) and I had completely planned for it to be a “fuck it all” kind of day where I was simply going to just sit around and relax finally. I didn’t care if I got anything done or not, and I was not planning to go anywhere.

Right off the bat that got screwed because I had to go out to finish an errand that I couldn’t do on Monday since the post office was closed the day after Christmas, and of course, other people wanted me to do things that day. I said no. The relaxation also got a little cancelled by a bummed out and irritated mood thanks to certain events. Thankfully, by the end of the night I was pretty alright though.

Wednesday I worked and upon getting home I began to hear the news about the company All Romance eBooks closing its doors at the end of the year quite abruptly without warning and basically screwing over its authors and publishers. It gave me a mini heart attack because for a moment I couldn’t remember if my publisher for Embermyst had used them or not. I got lucky, but many others haven’t, and just hearing about it is making me reel and shaking me off center a little.

Now Thursday into today has pretty much been an irritating hell in which nothing has gone to plan thanks to uncontrollable circumstances that don’t even involve me but end up effecting me. I even had off today and, yeah, nothing has gotten done.

At this point, all I’m praying for to whichever god or goddess will hear me is that the rest of this night goes more calmly and that tomorrow mellows out into a good day since I’m again off. Tomorrow better be a good day because it’ll be the first time I get to spend one on one time with someone I hardly see. I don’t want anything to ruin it, not the slightest hitch. You hear me, universe? Not one hitch. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s my one and only warning. I need something good to end this nightmare year on.

Speaking of this nightmare year, it’s just about over. I think a lot of people are saying “fucking finally” and will be jumping for joy when this year ends tomorrow, or they’ll be flicking off the ball as it drops. Myself included. There have been a few good spots to 2016 but there’s also been a lot of bad that has left a shadow of darkness hanging over this year forever. I honestly believe it will be a year that goes down in history as one nobody ever wants to speak of again.

As I sit here with six candles to light my room, my diffuser running with a blend of essential oils to try to ease my stress and relax, and a CD of hammer dulcimer instruments playing softly, I can’t help but look back on 2016. (Can you tell I was meditating before I began this post?)

A lot has happened this year, and a lot also hasn’t happened this year. Some things were amazing, others were horrific. Some things were half started and never finished, others were never began, and others still were huge accomplishments. It has certainly been a royal roller coaster of a year, and not just for me but for a lot of the world.

The world was rocked by terrorist attacks on Paris. Outrage flew out over the Pulse shootings in Florida. The world reeled at the results of the US Presidential Election. So many influential and amazing actors/actresses, singers, songwriters, producers, and authors passed away this year. DAPL’s heinous acts have gotten little media coverage and left many people outraged by greed and fighting back with the risk to their lives by this point. The Zika virus outbreak caused much panic in women and over the Olympic games. Let’s face it, no one was happy where the Olympic games took place either.

There were spots of light amongst the darkness though.

Thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of oh so long ago, the gene responsible for the disease has been identified, giving us new ground to work toward an effective treatment. Scientists learned how to link robotic arms with the part of the brain linked to intent so that they may use them just as we use our own limbs, just by doing. Endangered species’ numbers are growing, like tigers, and pandas, and manatees. World crime is still declining — even if it doesn’t seem like it after this year. A bank firm paid the college tuition for children of employees killed in 9/11. After the Pulse shootings, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival showed up at the funeral for the victims with angel wings to block the view of anti-gay protestors from the proceedings. The world of Harry Potter has not ended with a new book and movie out.

2016 has seemed bleak and despairing, but if we only look at the bad, we will never see the bits of good that have bloomed out of the darkness against all odds either.

The world has seen its massive ups and downs this year, that much is for sure, but what about for me?

With the year ending tomorrow I have found myself reflecting back on the goals I had for this year. Some I had actually completed, others I tried but didn’t quite get very far. A few fell through, and still 2016 held a couple surprises.

Does anyone remember what my goals were? (No cheating by clicking on the link. Lol) Well, I suppose I’d be surprised if ya’ll remembered what my goals were. Somehow I managed to remember them, maybe because I wrote them all down in a nice little journal entry at the beginning of the year.

And ’tis the season to take a walk down memory lane from the whole year so I might as well start walking to see what I accomplished — or didn’t accomplish — this year. Care to join me?

THE GOALS

Write Consistently
I suppose my only resolution of this year was to simply write consistently instead of my jumping around in writing this month and doing nothing the next month and so forth. Unfortunately, I still failed pretty miserably at that resolution. I need more discipline to make it work. Something I’m not at all good at.

However, this was the first year I successfully managed a win for NaNoWriMo in November, so I call that an accomplishment. (I tried for it in 2015 too but I had computer issues that rendered me unable to do it.)

After three NaNo sessions working on Fated to Darkness and my short story Embermyst, at the very least I wrote 156,792 words this year. And that doesn’t even include all my Shards of Imagination flash fiction writing or any other writing I did in non-NaNo months. So it’s safe to say I did at least write over 200k this year. (It’d be pretty cool to see what the actual number was if I could ever figure it out.)

*Couple minutes later*

Okay, I did part of the math. If I add in all the words I wrote for Shards of Imagination, I get 203, 177 words. That doesn’t include any of the little bits of writing I did on Fated to Darkness in non-NaNo months so I am definitely over 200k for the year. I wish that number was higher, and I wish I could know just how much I wrote, but I’m not sure I could figure it out exactly. Well… Maybe if I went back through my email to find where I kept leaving off in writing I could get pretty darn close to the exact number. As cool as it’d be to find out I’m not going to try. The 203k also doesn’t include any editing or rewriting I did on Embermyst either.

That’s still a lot of words though.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This had been one of my “dammit do it already” goals for 2016. I’ve been meaning to re-edit this story for quite some time because I believe it will get some better reads on Wattpad if I clean it up more. (I wrote it years ago at this point.) However, this was one of the goals I failed to get to. I started to get ready for it, I got everything I wanted organized to begin editing it. I just never actually started on it.

Fingers crossed this is something I can actually get to in 2017. (Someone better nag at me to do this.)

Complete 2015 Camping Journal Entries
This goal really should have been completed in 2015 after every single trip I had, as I did the year before. Obviously that didn’t happen in 2015 if it was a goal for this year, and I still haven’t learned my lesson on that one for this past season either, but I did get them done. Almost on the same time frame I had hoped to have them done too: one a week until they were completed. I think I finished about a week late on them but that’s pretty damn good for me that I stuck to it!

Hooray for that accomplishment at least, but I still need to learn my lesson on those entries, because, um, yeah, I did it again this year. Guess who still has all six entries of this year’s season to still write? I’m an idiot.

Obtain My Driver’s License
Yeah… About this one…

This goal had been one of my big, big ones. I’ve only been putting it off and putting it off — for multiple reasons — for a few years now.

To my credit, I got half way to this goal. I did manage to get my permit by the deadline I set myself, which was back in March. However, I’ve only been out to drive less than ten times and haven’t been out in probably five months. Part of that is because I hardly see my dad, who is the only person I trust enough and am comfortable with to teach me to drive; and part of that is simply because the idea of driving on the road still scares the living shit out of me.

Okay, let me rephrase that: it’s not the driving on the road that scares me. It’s the driving with other cars around that scares me. Last night, coming home from work at 3am when the roads were empty I would have been perfectly fine to ask my dad if I could try driving home, even though it was snowing lightly. In fact, he almost thought about asking me that, and if he had I’m 99% sure I would have said yes. But if you ask me to drive on the road during the day… I freeze up.

Sadly, the year limit on my permit will be up in a couple months and I’ll have to go through this whole process again because I know I will not have my license by then. Not when I’ve begun seeing my dad even less than the beginning of this year. Who says next year is going to be any different either with our jobs?

Start Horseback Riding Again
At the beginning of the year, I had really missed riding and had wanted desperately to go back. After talking with a couple friends, I was encouraged to pursue it again because it could have been that one thing that helped me get through each week in a life I was beginning to deem miserable for eternity.

Well, a few months ago I finally took that step and went back to riding at the academy I used to attend. However… While it started out great and I was beginning to gain the confidence I lost three years ago due to my fall, riding rapidly began to lose its charm.

The horse I normally rode switched to a different one that I enjoyed at first but then began to get frustrated with because I was spending more time trying to slow him down from running into the rider in front of me (I ride in a group of three or four per lesson) than I was having fun. I also tended to work every morning before riding and by the time I was getting home I’d have to change and leave. It became exhausting, it became more of a chore than something I enjoyed doing and looked forward to.

Now I haven’t ridden in probably a month and a half between the lesson itself being cancelled or me deciding not to go because I’m exhausted or have had too much to do. I’m to the point now that I’m honestly thinking of dropping the lessons once more, because it really isn’t doing what it used to for me. Perhaps it would be less of a chore if I could get those days totally off work, or if I could get a different horse again, but riding a different horse isn’t up to me, and I had enough trouble the first month or so with my boss screwing my schedule up. I can only imagine how much it’d be screwed again if I asked for Wednesday’s off completely now.

So I accomplished the goal, I went back, but I’m on the verge of giving it up again.

Organize Closet
This was one of my major goals of 2016. At the beginning of the year I didn’t actually believe I would accomplish it. I surprised myself though.

Not only did I organize and clean out my closet, I organized and cleaned out my entire room. I even held a yard sale to try to get rid of the stuff I no longer wanted. To my dismay the yard sale hardly panned out and wasn’t worth half the stress and sleepless nights I put on myself over this goal. Even now I’m still sitting on half the stuff I couldn’t sell because I have had no time to go through it and do something with it since then.

The intent of this goal was so I could finally start to reclaim my room as my own after about four years. Needless to say, it hasn’t really worked out. The only way it’s going to work out is if the spare room is cleaned out as well. Which shouldn’t be a problem since I just did one room, right? Wrong. Not when half the stuff in there is your lazy mother’s who can’t hold a single penny to her word and who is pretty much useless and disrupting if I were to do it anyways.

So while I managed to accomplish the goal of cleaning my closet and room out, it left a mess of things I still have to find a way to work with. I need to get onto either a Facebook group or Craigslist to try to sell the rest of the stuff, and start either donating what I can or throwing the other stuff out.

Finish Fated to Darkness
This… This was my most major of goals for 2016. The one that if I would have completed it I wouldn’t have cared if I accomplished nothing else all year.

Now, this goal included finishing the first draft of the novel and working out the concordance so when I began to edit next year in theory I wouldn’t be so lost. So there was a lot of work involved in this goal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get all that work done.

To my credit, I nearly accomplished half of that work. The first draft is about six chapters away from being completed after writing feverishly on it for every NaNoWriMo month there was this year, as well as in between at times. I put in over 150k to this story this year, and no, I’m not going to tell you how long it actually is. (I’m hoping editing takes it down in word count a little, the length is even starting to worry me.)

It’s been quite a ride with it this year. Some chapters I stared at my screen slack-jawed in shock with what I just wrote. One in particular I did. Others I wanted to tear my hair out. I got stuck a few times and other times I was on fire, but now I really do see the light at the end of the tunnel after almost two years of working on this novel.

I’m oh so close to the end of the first draft.

And while I wish I could have made it — I probably could have finished it this month if not for work madness — I’m proud of how far I came in it. It’s got a long way to go, and I would be much further if every other month was a NaNo month, but I’m proud of how it — and my writing style — have grown over this year.

Not only that, but I can also proudly say while I didn’t finish this goal, I did accomplish something else completely unexpected and huge:

My debut publication with Victory Tales Press for my story Embermyst in their Halloween anthology, Paranormal Pleasures.

This publication quite honestly made up for not finishing Fated to Darkness. It’s a foot in the door on a dream I hold, it’s the beginning of making a name for myself, and it’s also credibility for when I try to publish my series. So it was huge. Beyond huge even.

END OF GOALS

Overall, I think I came out about fifty-fifty on my goals. That’s better than I thought I would do, and probably better than any year before too. So I’ll take that as not so bad. Other than my publication I finally passed 100 followers on my Wattpad account, and I even passed 100 WordPress followers here. I call those two things accomplishments as well.

Looking back I think the way I laid out my goals and organized them worked fairly well. It could maybe use a little tweaking for how I do next year’s goals, and I also need to set up my calendar and planner for next year, but I think it’s going to be something I try again. Of course, that would work out even better if I knew what next year’s goals were yet. Because I don’t have a list of them yet, maybe a vague idea, but not a list of them.

That’s the next thing to tackle tonight and tomorrow. Well, that and organizing Christmas gifts I got, as well as setting up my Sunday Snippet posts for January. I think I need to just start with making a list of everything I want to do and go from there.

Hopefully by Tuesday’s post I’ll have an idea on my goals and how I’m laying them out. See ya in 2017, folks. Happy Freaking New Year a day early. Let’s hope this next one doesn’t suck as much.

‘Tis the Season

Happy Freaking New Year.

And you know what that means?

Resolutions and goals that you hope you actually stick to and accomplish throughout the new coming year.

But do you ever actually follow all the way through with them?

In my experience, no.

Then again I’ve said countless times I’m a total flop when it comes down to follow through, so maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s not. Who knows.

Yet every year (just about) I find myself sitting there in the days between Christmas and New Year’s thinking to myself of goals and resolutions. Last year I didn’t make any resolutions, what’s the point when I never manage them anyways, right? Just another hopeless let down.

But this year…

It seems I’ve caught myself in the trap of hope and have decided to brew up a few goals. Not resolutions. Just goals.

Some of them are turning out to be just odds and ends things, and others are all geared towards writing.

Going in the direction of non-related writing goals first, there are a couple on my list. One of which, and probably the biggest, is to finally get my driver’s license. I keep putting it off and putting it off for year after year now and I’ve about realized I have to stop. Of course, this means I have to go schedule for a physical again because my last one ran out, but…

I know I need to get that damned little plastic card finally. And I might now have a small incentive to do so, more than just freedom. The slight prospect of obtaining a sort of second job in exercising a couple horses. I would be in dream heaven if this actually fell into place, but it’s all very up in the air yet. Nevertheless though, if it can be possible, that’ll light a fire under my ass real quick.

Which that leads me to wanting to go back to taking show jumping lessons this year again. I need to get back in the saddle after my two year lapse because of a fall and a loss of confidence. I miss it dearly and as the months rolled by without riding, I realized I was at least five times happier then even though I was only riding one day a week.

The last upon the list of non-related writing goals is to get my room organized. I have closet full of crap — mainly childhood toys like Barbie dolls — that can be disposed of. But being the rather neat child that I was then (yes, I know, it’s so unheard of, but I was a neat child, deal with it) all of those toys are still in really good condition. I’ve been planning for a long time to go through everything and sell it, and I think it’s about time I do just that. It’ll clear up some other organization if I do.

Now moving onto the good stuff, all the writing related goodie goals.

I’m not trying for the 1k-A-Day Challenge my friend presented me with in 2015. I absolutely failed at it last year and only made that goal one month out of the twelve, and that was during July’s Camp NaNo session. Might have made it in November with NaNo, but…computer problems.

So, simply this year, my goal is finish the first book in the Dark Heir Chronicles. I think I’m about half way through writing the first draft where I am now, so I still have a ways to go. But when I also say finish the book, that is including all my notes and odds and ends I want to have completed with it. So there’s a bit of work going into this goal.

I want to keep myself writing consistently as well, not this jumping on and off the adrenaline excited train of bursts of inspiration. If I can do that, I’m rather sure I can finish the first book this year. Probably not edit it, but at least finish it.

Last of all, I want to complete my new run through edit of Rivers of Black. I had wanted to start and finish it last year — it’s only a short story — but things kept popping up. So I want to accomplish that.

And that’s about it, minus the mile long list of to do’s that I’ll always have. So there it is, all in black and white: my goals for the coming year.

Dare I say here goes nothing?