Posts Tagged With: Life Goals

2015 Wrap Up


I am officially off work as of this afternoon, and very excited about it.  Christmas Eve is at my house.  There will be ginger cookies, powdered sugar snowballs, wassail, a heap of presents, and much merrymaking.  There may even be ukulele carols.  I don’t have to return to work until the 4th, which means that Brian and I get to adventure all over the place.  We have a train trip planned to San Juan Capistrano for the day, and I’m sure we’ll do other things as well.

This also means that I may not update until the new year.  Which then means that I should do the end of year wrap up thing now, right?

Right.  Here goes.

First, I want to say thanks to everyone who is following along with this thing.  The blog has grown in HUGE leaps and bounds this year, and it’s all because of your interest.  Every time I log in and look at my stats, I get warm fuzzies in my cold, cold heart (just kidding about the cold heart).  But seriously, you are full of awesome and you make me smile.  Thank you for reading.

I consider this thing not just a blog about bookishness, but also a blog that charts the efforts of a burgeoning writer (in the hopes that what I’ve learned might help someone else).  In that spirit, I want to look at my writing goals for last year.  I don’t think I ever wrote the official goals down on the blog, but I have them in my personal journal.  Here they are:

  1. Read 100 books (via Goodreads)
  2. Have a novel ready to shop around
  3. Make $1000 from my writing in any capacity
  4. Get 5 stories published, have 1 paid for

Those were all pretty lofty.  I tend to think lofty.  I know I won’t make the goal, necessarily, but I also know that by reaching for it I will accomplish more than I would have normally.  The only problem with these is that they failed to take my writing habits into consideration, making them impossible.  I didn’t even write 5 short stories in 2015, let alone get them published.  Here is the breakdown of the outcomes:

The Goodreads challenge is the only one I hit.  I’m currently in the middle of book 109, with another week of vacation left.  I’ll make 110 easily, and maybe more.

My book isn’t ready for publication, nor even for beta-reading.  The structure of the last half of it is SUCH a mess.  All the parts are there, they’re just in the wrong order and not detailed enough.  Some of the beginning also needs to be re-written.  Brian and I know the world so well that we don’t always get that the description of some things are unclear to newbies.  I do have a pitch letter and the first draft of a synopsis, which is the next part of things, and made immense strides towards getting it finished.  I am very close, and still plugging along.  But I didn’t meet the goal.

I had 1 thing published this year.  If you count the fact that Bewildering Stories also added that story to their Quarterly Review you could argue that it was published twice, although that’s a stretch.  I shopped a lot of stories around, got some really heartening rejection letters, and all-around had a great experience.  But you can’t say I made that goal at all.  No stories were paid for.  What I am proud of is that I have done slightly better this year than last.  The Wages of Sin was up and readable for a total of 15 days.  Plenty of Fish got much more attention than that.

This year, I’m prepared to be a little more realistic.  And I think I have a better idea of what realistic looks like.

So… in 2016 I will:

  1. Read another 100 books
  2. Have a novel ready to shop around
  3. Beat or match my previous record for published short stories (2) and/or be paid for 1 short story
  4. Write at least 20 days of each month

Right now, I’m expecting that I will complete everything but number 4, although I will hit 4 most months – I already do when I’m keeping track of my writing like a good girl.  It’s the making myself keep track that’s the problem.  I’ll report back next December and let you know how it goes!

Now go have a Jolly Holiday and consume more sweets than are good for you.  I’ll see you next year.

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Statement of Intent


I’m working on my grad school application again.  I missed the deadline to be considered for the stipend due to work craziness, but I was a terribly long shot anyway.  It is that damn statement of intent that is the real problem.  I have been through four full drafts from scratch, and I’m not convinced that it is any better at all this time than it was the first.  They are all equally awful.  I know why, too.

If I were to be brutally honest with the selection committee, I’m not sure that I’ll complete this degree.  I think there is a strong chance that I won’t.  My economic situation is such that I have to have a full time job.  Classes that start at 4:30 are classes I can’t take.  Even if I could handle the higher work load of more classes, Chapman’s regular schedule limits me to about two classes a semester.  Whether I can even handle more, though, is a big “if.” It will take me at least three years (and probably more) to get through the program as a part time student.  Brian, who works at Chapman, is pondering a new job within the next few years.  Without tuition remission, I can’t afford a Chapman education.

Even if all of the other things work out, I am turning 32 this year.  If I don’t start having children soon, my expiration date will fly right by.  Kids, full time jobs, and masters degrees don’t mesh.  Pick two.  I already know which two I choose, and it’s the masters degree that gets dumped.  That is not a position that will get me admitted, I’m certain of it.

That’s why this statement of intent has been hard for me.  My intents are nothing, not even to finish.  I only intend to take as many classes as I’m able, and become a better writer.  But how do you express that in three pages worth of words, a paper where most people want to talk about their hopes and dreams?  I find myself unable to lie, and unable to pretend that I have bigger goals that I actually do.  I’m not even sure what I can offer Chapman in return, except for a dedication to do well in class.  This is probably where being a twenty one year old idealist with no bullshit filter comes in handy.  That used to be me, but how the world does change us.

I’m making Brian read draft four tonight in hopes that he will be able to recognize how to save this Statement of Intent where I have failed.  I’m not writing draft five from scratch.  I refuse.   Unless this one isn’t good enough…

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