My Goals for 2020

2020 is upon us, and with it the obligitory Yearly Goal Setting Post.

Goals.gif

This year, I’m piggybacking onto the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

So what’s on tap for me this year? I’m trying to be conscious of the fact that I have a new baby, which obviously changes a lot in terms of how much time I have for any sort of goal setting. But here goes.

Writing

Obviously I want to try and do more writing this year. This includes submitting the historical romance that placed 2nd in three 2018 contests (yes, I know that was a goal last year, too). I also need to return to the first installment in my Sweet Somethings spinoff trilogy, which has sat in First Draft Limbo since last February.

This also incorporates freelancing. I had several excellent freelance writing gigs the past couple years and I want to keep that up, in addition to my independent contractor work with Newsela.

As an extension, I would love to finally set up a copyediting business as well. This has been sitting on my chairside table for over a year. I should probably start perusing it:

Ultimately I would love if I can make enough with my pen, so to speak, to cover Babycakes’s school expenses and maybe a little extra.

Reading More Books

Or just reading books.

More on that later.

Cooking

I love to cook and bake, but haven’t had time to do much of either since I went back to work in 2015.

Okay, since Babycakes was born and then we moved to Charlotte and most of my kitchen stuff stayed in boxes for almost a year.

Being a stay-at-home-mom again for a while will, eventually, give me time to cook and bake again like I used to. For now, it helps that I am now the owner of an Instant Pot:

Apparently I can make yogurt with it? I’m also interested in the fact that I can also apparently sterilze baby bottles with it.

Being Mommy

Of course this year, I want to focus once again on being Mommy. I am officially on maternity leave for the rest of the school year, and then we have to reevaluate our plans beyond that. But I have a 5 year old in kindergarten, and I want to volunteer at her school. And of course, Sugarpie is here.

I also hope to not only finish filling out Babycakes’s baby book, but also keeping up with Sugarpie’s.

what are your big goals for 2020?

The Obligatory New Year’s Goal Setting Post (Happy 2018)

It’s been a while since my last post – holidays, you know how it is. This December seemed to fly by, and I swear lost a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. As for the holidays themselves – a whirlwind. To sum it up, we drove to Western PA and Upstate NY to visit family, and the following shenanigans occurred:

  1. Power went out on Christmas day, requiring my uncle to dig his grill out of over a foot of snow. He and my cousin proceeded to finish cooking Christmas dinner – a ham, a pot of sauce and meatballs, and a pot of homemade macaroni – on said grill. Neither snow nor lack of electricity will keep hungry Italians from their food. (Of course, the power came back on literally ten minutes before everything was done cooking.)
  2. It was freaking cold. Like single digits. And we just barely missed a huge lake effect storm in my hometown that dumped about 3 feet of snow overnight.
  3. Babycakes caught a 24-hour bug at the tail end of everything while we were at my in-laws’, which of course hit at 3am. So we were doing a bath and hair washing and bed-linen changing in the middle of the night. The only bright spot is that I happened to decide to sleep on the air mattress with the hubs, rather in the bed with Babycakes. Otherwise I would have gotten a face-full.
  4. We drove 10 hours (give or take) from PA to NC praying Babycakes wouldn’t puke in the car. Fortunately the worst that happened was that we ran out of windshield washer fluid just north of Beckley, WV, and had to go to THREE different gas stations before finally finding a place that wasn’t sold out.
  5. Every adult in the house has subsequently gone through some version of that same 24 hour bug. It’s been rough around here the past few days.

So I was very ready for 2017 to end.

Now that 2018 is here, it’s time to set some goals. Remember, if you’ve read past New Year’s goal-setting posts, I don’t really do resolutions so much as make a plan for things to accomplish. This year, I’m keeping it simple.

  1. Implement Operation Self-Care. I blogged a couple months ago about how I’ve been struggling with stress management, wellness, and so on. I have a general plan in mind and have been chipping away at a few small steps. Now it’s time to put things fully into motion. Improve my nutrition (or at least start taking vitamins regularly again). Fit in exercise. Sleep better. Soak in the garden tub while burning candles that smell like the beach. Read more books. Breathe.
  2. Survive the school year. This sounds more doom and gloom than it is. I’m involved in a couple very cool initiatives with the district Social Studies department, in preparation for a coaching role I’ll be undertaking next year that I’m very excited about. But it’s busy and a lot of work. And then there’s the actual teaching part of my job. Guess who realized this morning, thanks to a coworker’s Facebook post, that she didn’t actually write any plans for January 3rd-5th?
  3. Secure at least one new book contract. I’ve been a bit between projects since HE TAKES THE CAKE came out in June (and the print edition should be out later this spring or early summer, FYI). I submitted a historical romance to Avon Impulse at the beginning of September, but don’t expect to hear back until March. If March comes and goes with no word, I’ll start shopping it around elsewhere. In the meantime, I’ve just finished plotting a trilogy that spins-off THE ONE I’M WITH. Now to write it.

And that’s it! Three pretty simple goals that I think are manageable.

Bonus points if I figure out how to clone myself so I can still teach history but also stay at home with Babycakes and write.

Welcome to 2017

I hope everyone has had a fun and refreshing holiday season, whatever holiday(s) you may celebrate. My own holiday hiatus was insane, between work and writing and family. But now that the cookies are gone and the confetti has settled, it’s time to get back to business.

champagne-1110591_1920

And as usual, that means it’s time for the annual….

Goal Setting Post!

I took a quick peek back at my goal setting post for 2016 and found, well, I didn’t do so hot.

Resolutions and me tend not to get along well.

That said, let’s take a look at some goals for this year.

  1. Finish Sweet Somethings Book #4. It took me a while to really get into this last installment, despite the fact that it’s been plotted since, like, February (I went back and forth over whether Book 4 should have come before THE ONE I’M WITH, so I had both plotted way early on and sort of went “eeny, meeny, miney, mo” with them). I have a soft-ish deadline to get the draft to my editor by the beginning of February, so once again, this is a no brainer of a goal. It’s non-negotiable.
  2. Have at least one hour-long writing session a week. I’ve struggled to pin down writing sessions once September rolled around, when I started a new position at a new school. Much of my extra time has been spent building a kick-ass online course platform for my 7th graders. However, since I’ve streamlined a lot of how my in-school planning time is being spent, I’m doing less at home and more at work. So that’s helping.
  3. Peddle my post-Civil War historical romance. I did some serious editing over the summer, and still need to do some touch ups (plus write the damn synopsis and query letter). But once Sweet Somethings Book 4 is in the bag, I can devote some time to this project and start making the rounds with the manuscript.
  4. Return to the “Magnum Opus”. I actually spent a good chunk of time this summer looking at Volume 1 and marking some areas that still need a bit of spit and polish. And I spent a full day’s work just reading through the mess that is Volume 2 (OMG THE HEAD-HOPPING!!!!). So at least I’m up to speed on what I actually wrote…four years ago…
  5. Flesh out some short synopses for future project ideas. Several years back, I started compiling a list of novel ideas, but most have just the barest basics of a plotline. I’d like to sit down later this year and build on a few of the frameworks, in part to decide where to go next.
  6. Be better at promotional opportunities. This encompasses a lot of things. In addition to the standard stuff I do around a new release, I’m also going to start hitting up review bloggers, looking into getting print releases into local bookstores (and potentially setting up more signings), participating in local author events, and doing more online promotional events, like the Romance Writers Gone Wild Facebook event I did in November.

As far as writing goes, I think I’ll leave it at that. Yeah, a couple of those are repeats from last year, but I don’t think I’m being overly ambitious with this list.

2016 proved a very tumultuous year in Casa de Rowan, for a variety of reasons, but overall our year has us moving in a very positive direction as a family and professionally. I have high hopes for 2017 to continue in that same vein.

And just to get you all excited, Sweet Somethings Book 4, HE TAKES THE CAKE, is slated for a spring release. Lots more details to come, so make sure you keep an eye on my socials, the blog, and sign up for my email newsletter to stay in the loop!

Here’s a little taste to jump start your craving…

dsc_0786

Mmmm… Red Velvet…

 

Off to Camp – Camp NaNoWriMo, That Is

Way back in the early 2000s, I attempted NaNoWriMo a couple times. I didn’t get far. November is sort of a sucky month for teachers to attempt a 50k word draft.

Then in 2012, I decided to try tacking JulNoWriMo. The result was the first three-quarters of the manuscript that, eventually, became my upcoming chick lit romance, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (which should be out this September if all goes as scheduled – more about that in the coming weeks). I gave the July version of this writing challenge another go in 2013, which resulted in the first half of a post-Civil War historical romance that, hopefully, will see the light of day now that I’ve pulled it out of First Draft Limbo.

Anyhoo, a few years ago the folks who run NaNoWriMo started holding these Camp NaNoWriMo events in April and July. Given that I have 3 more books planned to follow BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, I thought it might be a good idea to try drafting the next installment this July.

It’ll be messy, but it’ll be a starting point.

So tomorrow I’m off to Camp!

Checking in on the BIAW goal….

Well, somehow the nap and sleep fairies were very kind to me this week. Not only did I meet my Book in a Week goals, I surpassed my word count goal. Granted, only by about 200 words or so, but it put me square in the middle of what could be the penultimate chapter of the historical romance, so that’s good. I’d been stuck for a while.

Additionally, I managed to dust every room in the house, clean three bathrooms (the master bath shower notwithstanding, because that’s a whole party all in itself), vacuum, wrap Christmas presents, make and wrap my niece’s birthday present, and watch two episodes of “Crossbones” with the hubs.

Oh, I also got a request to submit some sample chapters to an editor. 🙂 I know nothing could come of it, but it’s the first time I’ve been asked to submit pages. So bonus points for me.

I’m signing off, for the most part, for the rest of the year. I hope everyone has a restful, happy, and safe holiday week, and I’ll see you all in 2015!