My Goals for 2020

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

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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?

It’s Good to Have a Group

Before I started seriously pursuing a writing career (translation: actively crafting specific stories with the aim of publication, instead of just puttering around on various projects), I was operating in something of a vacuum.

I was lucky to find an online community or two, and then sort of by chance I discovered that there was a local RWA chapter practically in my backyard. Honestly, if not for the support, guidance, and general cheerleading by the wonderful people who make up the Central New York Romance Writers, I may never have heard of Soul Mate Publishing, let alone mustered the guts to actually SUBMIT something.

After moving to North Carolina, I reentered the vacuum again, so to speak. My local chapter wasn’t local to me anymore, and I sharply felt the lack of community that comes from being part of a writer’s group. When we first moved, I was way too consumed with juggling life in a new place, stay at home mommyhood, then the rapid return to work and becoming a working mom, to manage much more than my own writing time.

I desperately missed being around other writers, talking about writerly things. Then finally, FINALLY, thing settled down, and I have once again found a community. This past weekend, I officially joined the Carolina Romance Writers, and I’m so thrilled to have a local chapter to call my own once more.

You see, writing, by nature, tends to be a solitary pursuit. Authors spend the majority of their free time having conversations with imaginary people, after all.

And sometimes it feels like you’re doing this thing, this great big thing that is so much of yourself, and you’re doing it all alone.

Except we’re not.

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No matter what you write, there are communities out there for you. Some are connected to national (or international organizations) like RWA. Some operate as critique groups. Others operate simply as meetups for local writers who want to get together and, well, be around other writers. Finding and joining these communities gives you a sense of belonging, that you aren’t just writing in a little bubble of your own.

There are others like you. And they’ll support you. You’ll support them.

The actual act of writing will never cease to be a solitary pursuit in some manner. But writer’s groups and communities give a definite sense of belonging.

Maybe it’s because we all are sitting there, having conversations with imaginary people.

Romance Writers Gone Wild

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be participating in Romance Writers Gone Wild, a week-long Facebook event that will spotlight 130+ romance authors in genres ranging from contemporary to historical to paranormal and suspense (and just about everything in between).

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The event runs November 14th-November 18th. In addition to finding some great new authors, readers have the chance to enter to win a slew of great prizes including:

  • Gift Cards to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon
  • A variety of book related prizes given away by authors themselves (think ebooks and print books!)
  • And one grand prize winner will walk away with a Kindle Paperwhite (to read all those new ebooks on, of course)

The Facebook event page is open and anyone can join the party! The week before the event, authors will begin introducing themselves, so be sure to check everyone out.

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!

Writing with a Newborn – Ha!

“Babies sleep most of the time.”

HA!

My daughter (let’s call her Babycakes, as that was her nickname before she was born and we were keeping her name top secret), is five weeks old today. (Holy crap, already?) It’s been an interesting few weeks. She’s a very good baby, really doesn’t fuss much unless she’s hungry, outside of her “fussy time” of course. And she sleeps like a champ at night. We’re already getting 4-5 hour stretches, and Monday, by some miracle, she slept almost 6 and 1/2 hours straight.

During the day? Not so much.

I figured we’d have a little bit of a writing hiatus until she was on a feeding and napping schedule, and I wasn’t bone tired and in need of naps myself. But then I’d be able to use those long naps babies are suppose to take to get some good writing done, both on my fiction as well as a few freelance jobs (I started freelancing part time just before Babycakes was born).

She did not get the memo, apparently. She sleeps for twenty minutes at a time, if that, unless she’s being held or worn in the Mobywrap. It’s just enough time to attend to Nature’s Call and stuff a sandwich in my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong. I love snuggling her. It’s hard to set her down (now even more so because I know she’ll wake up within minutes, wanting to be held). Yes, it is developmentally appropriate for a newborn to want that snuggly security, especially since I’m also acting as a 24/7 restaurant, and she gets very insistent when the service is slow. And the fact that she doesn’t really nap well during the day probably contributes to her sleeping so well at night already. Getting solid chunks of sleep at night has probably really helped me recover from the c-section I ended up needing after 12 hours of labor.

But, oh, to have her napping 2-3 hour stretches twice a day, rather than 5-6 twenty to forty-five minute catnaps! As rested as I feel in the morning, I’m fried by the time the hubs gets home from work. Thank God my mother has been able to come over every day to help with laundry and cleaning and occupying Babycakes so I can get a physical break a little earlier in the day than 5:oo.

So not so much with the writing yet. I’ve read and been told that, eventually, her sleep habits will mature and she will not only sleep through the night (meaning 7-8 hours before waking to eat), but she’ll settle into at least one longer nap during the day. So there’s hope.

That said, I have already informed the hubs that my September BIAW goal ¬†for next week is to finish chapter 27 of the historical romance, and it’s going to require some uninterrupted time in the evenings while he’s home and can entertain Babycakes. I’ll even take a half hour if I can get it. No word count goal or anything. Just finish the chapter I started before she was born.