Birthdays and writing and goals, oh my!

When I think of those lofty yearly goals, I tend to mentally halve the year. There’s the “before my birthday goals” and “after my birthday goals.” After all, I’m a whole year older, and, therefore, a whole year wiser, right? That’s the idea, anyway. Maybe this line of thinking is a product of having a summer birthday that lands somewhat in the middle of the year, or maybe everyone does this and I’ve been living under a rock all this time.

Well, today is my birthday, which means it’s the time that I reflect on my yearly goals to see what I’ve accomplished so far, what still needs to be accomplished, and what can be revised. It just so happens that tonight is also a full moon, in disciplined Capricorn no less, so this is just the perfect time to sit down and contemplate this.

This year was busy. I didn’t accomplish many of my writing goals, but I think I was too hard on myself this year. I had a baby in January, and, even though I’ve been through the newborn phase before, I still expected myself to write a novel during January. It didn’t happen. February, March, and April didn’t happen either. In fact, I don’t think I picked up a pen to write with until May, maybe June? It’s been such a blur. Even though the first half of the year was a flop, I still succeeded in other areas of my life, like parenting (juggling a toddler and newborn!) and making plans to uproot my entire family across several state lines and start anew. During the first half of the year, though, I managed to work on my writer connections. After all, there’s very little to do while nursing the babe. I signed up to participate in several charity anthologies, and my friendships with writers have grown deeper because of it. I managed to write and submit two of five short stories already.

Now it’s time to focus on this half of the year and all I want to accomplish. Turning 26 this year means I’m leaving that early 20s age group and entering the late 20s one, which is terrifying for me. I’m still working on sorting out my identity and my place in the world, the place that goes beyond “mother.” A friend set up something called the whole writer challenge and challenged us to think outside the literary box and focus on some of those other areas of our lives that we may have been neglecting for some time. So this year, I want to focus on some of those areas during the second half of this year, too.

Writing/Occupation:

  1. Write and submit short stories for 3 charity anthologies (Disarm, Pride Park, Mental Health)
  2. Write three children’s picture books and send the stories to my grandmother to illustrate.
  3. Write a YA novella and women’s fiction novella in between NaNo events.
  4. Participate in NaNo and write a YA novella.
  5. Practice writing in different genres and with different styles using weekly writing prompts.

Spiritual:

  1. Finish two modules of the CMP course. (Lunar and Crystals?) My ultimate goal is to finish the entire certification course by the end of 2017 and pursue small business avenues.
  2. Participate in a Tarot monthly challenge to deepen my relationship to the cards and my higher self.
  3. Find a Buddhist group in the new city, which I’d imagine would be difficult given where I’m moving but it’s worth a shot.
  4. Maintain an active spiritual blog where I can freely explore my beliefs and share my findings with others.

Financial:

  1. Open an online Tarot shop to offer guidance to people while saving money to invest.
  2. Create and live according to a budget – a good plan even if we weren’t hoping to decrease spending.
  3. Save money to rent (buy?!) a home in new state by the end of 2016/early 2017.

Family and Social

  1. Designate one night a week as family night and have monthly family meetings where we can openly discuss things that are working and not working while we actively look for solutions together.
  2. Create a family routine – morning and evening – and honor it. Our kids – and, if I’m honest, we – thrive on routines.
  3. Limit passive social media participation in favor for meaningful connections. These connections can take place online (since I know so many people abroad), but it needs to go beyond the “hi, how are you doing” and “liking” a status pattern I have going on right now.
  4. Connect with a homeschool co-op or group to encourage older son to learn and play with other kids. Ideally, I’d want to schedule something once per week to make a habit of getting out of the house and connecting with other homeschooling families.

 

These are just some of my goals, and I know I’ll revise and add onto them as the rest of the year progresses. This is just a starting place to use as a stepping stone because we all have to start somewhere. Looking at myself, and by extension my life, as a whole being that needs to be fostered is a radical shift for me because I tend to become hyper-focused on one area while I neglect everything else. This has only proven to be disastrous at best and self-destructive at worst, so it’s time, in this new late 20s stage, to try something new and learn new patterns of being along the way.

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Camp NaNoWriMo

July is here, which means it’s a flurry of NaNo activity and writing. Except it hasn’t been for me. The first couple days of July, I went camping to celebrate my oldest son’s birthday. (There’s nothing like hiking a mountain while turning 3 years old!) Now, I’ve been trying to play catch up and plan the story.

It’s a cross between an adventure, coming of age, and young adult. Two friends drive halfway across the country to go to a funeral, but they learn things along the way. I’ve created the general itinerary, and now I need to write what happens in those cities. My goal is to finish that tonight and begin the actual writing tomorrow. 

My goal for the month is to write 30,000 words. This, along with paring down possessions and gearing up to move at the end of the month. It’s a busy time!