Progress, But Is There Purpose?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at school. End of semester, final exams, last minute makeup work to grade, then the start of a new semester and a whole crop of new students. I’m starting my check-in this way because all of this may actually be why I’m not feeling a lot of focus around my goals even while I’m getting some things done. My perceptions may be skewed at the moment.

These were last week’s goals and what got done:

  • Write and publish a blog post for MuseCraft–DONE
  • Write at least the bare bones of a second post–STARTED
  • Spend at least 15 minutes working on the web page for the new offering I want to put up–NOT DONE
  • Do writing practice at least twice–NOT DONE
  • Find three recipes to make and freeze next weekend for future meals–NOT DONE (although I did get a giant box of frozen meatballs to use for easy dishes and made a list of dishes to use them in)
  • Get my embroidery project stuff reorganized so I can get back to that and eventually finish it.–STARTED

So, things done. Things not done. But I’m feeling like it’s all been in the background of doing all the things I need to do every day. I don’t actually know if this is a problem. It feels a little bit like a problem. I think I want a shining light that I’m aiming for. Instead, I’m just moving along, but I don’t see anything I’m heading toward. Anyhow, these are things to think about. Meanwhile, I’ll keep moving.

For the coming week, some more pointed goals (experimenting here):

  • Write another MC blog post
  • Share the post more than once
  • Share older posts at least twice
  • Rearrange my couch working area and put a notebook for blog post notes in easy reach
  • Do writing practice about what I want to aim for
  • Set up a work pouch for the embroidery project

I like the feel of this list. I’m looking forward to seeing how it feels as I work through it. Hope we all have a great week!

The Little Things

Embroidery floss organizing project in process

I love details. No, I need details. I need things to be just so. Not everything, but my important things. Notebooks and pens and paper and how I keep things like embroidery floss and my most-used and loved art supplies.

Sometimes my need for the just-so makes me take a long time to get started or do things. And for many years I thought that this was part of my procrastination tendency. I thought it was a way of stalling or not starting at all. And just today–actually just about a minute ago–I realized that’s not what’s happening. At least not all the time.

When I figure out exactly how I need a thing to be so that it works right for me, then I use the thing and do the thing. And for years, especially in recent years with the growing deluge of productivity articles and coaches, I believed that I needed to stop working to find what’s just right and just plow forward. Get things done! Just do it!

I don’t stick with those things, though. Or if I do, I don’t like it. I don’t feel happy with what I’m doing. Things feel off. So it’s important for me to allow for the daydreaming time and the experimenting with different things so I can find my just-so spot. The trick is to find a balance between getting what I need and using this for procrastination.

Right now I’m trying out keeping a single notebook, and I have paused several times because I’m working out just how I need it to be. Until today and my lightbulb moment, I thought I was just avoiding doing work. Today I realized that I’m creating the tools and containers that will let me do the work. Funny thing is, as soon as I noticed this I figured out how to handle one of the issues I was hung up on (taking notes from a book I’m reading while also continuing daily notes) in a way that will let me do both kinds of notes while also feeling workable and comfortable for me.

This past week has been about organizing and putting things in place to be used. There’s also been some writing practice and a bit of blogging. Mostly, though, it’s been about readying those containers and tools. This coming week, this is what I’m planning to do:

  • Create at least the template for the image for my new creative dream tarot spread offering
  • Write a MuseCraft blog post
  • Participate in the Instagram Colour My Everyday challenge I ran across today
  • Continue daily decluttering through the end of January

It’s finals week, so there will be lots of grading of late work that kids are finally turning in. There will also be lots of making sure everything is ready to go for the first day of the new semester next week, so I think this short-but-sweet goals list is enough for this week.

I hope your week is sweet whether it’s short or long!

Choices

I’ve been thinking about something, or maybe around something, for a couple of years now. About the need to give one thing priority over the others in my list of things I want to do. Not stopping any of them, just making one the thing that gets the most time. But I haven’t been able to get myself to do it, because the thing I want to put at the top of the list isn’t writing, and somehow that makes me feel guilty.

But I’m ready to say it now. I don’t want to stop writing, but I want to put my writing on a lower rung than my teaching and coaching work. Why am I ready to say this now? I’m reading Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. In Chapter 3, “Choose What to Bomb,” he says, “The only way to accomplish a new goal is to feed it your most valuable resource: time.” This followed on the heels of talk about how you really can’t do it all and all sorts of other good advice and good ideas. And I knew that I’ve been fooling myself by pretending that I can get a blog and website up and thriving while keeping my fiction writing my top priority.

So my goals are changing. Not really that much, all the same things are still on there for the most part, but they are changing. This is where I’m leaning right now:

  • MuseCraft: write blog posts or copy at least twice a week; share things on social media at least twice a week.
  • Writing: continue writing practice several times a week; work on flash fiction when time and interest converge; I want to see how it feels to just write for fun and brain clearing and not think about writing stories, finishing things, any of that.
  • Making things: fit in time regularly, at least twice a week, to work on creative projects just for me.

I have other areas I’d like to work on. I’m not sure how they will fit in with my job plus trying to build up the blog and website and coaching business. But I’d like to have a clean and welcoming home. I’d like to go out and do things more; I let my pain and ongoing exhaustion and general ennui keep me at home and alone more than is good for me I think. I want to make clothes for myself.

I need to work on professional development hours for keeping my teaching license up to date, and I need to find a full time position. I want to do more photography. I need to have food more organized and easier so we have decent meals even when I’m tired.

Most of all, I need to find ways to make this all feel more organic. I’ve been feeling like my life is just checking things off my list. I get a lot of things done, but too often it doesn’t feel like it goes together. It’s just separate little check boxes, and I don’t like the way that feels. So a more amorphous goal is figuring out how to get things done without feeling like all I’m doing is moving from task to task. But for now, I am going to focus on getting things done while enjoying things more. As Jon Acuff says in Chapter 4, “Make It Fun If You Want It Done,” “Make sure there’s laughing and smiling involved with that thing you’re going to do.”

Goals and Wants

Last week on Sunday I set goals for the week. Somehow, I forgot (or disregarded) the fact that I had a big event this weekend where I was running a meeting, arranging and manning a display table, presenting projects and documentation of my own, and helping evaluate projects and documentation for two other people. I actually did not have time for the goals I wrote up last week.

They were really nice goals, though, so I’m using them again this week. I should have time to actually work on them even! I think it will go better this week. So, this week’s goals:

  • Clean out my working pouches of embroidery floss and detangle it all
  • Do some writing about writing practice to figure out why it’s feeling dull
  • Write a blog post for my MuseCraft website
  • Create a page for a MuseCraft offering I want to put out in the world, find an image for it, and do a list of things I want to include in the copy
  • Continue the declutter project

One thing I did do this week was continue my 30 day 5-minute declutter project. That is actually going really well, and I have some clear spaces and a fe things organized now that weren’t at all that way on January 1. I’m really happy with this 5-minute decluttering because I know I don’t have to do a lot so I don’t feel overwhelmed, yet it’s getting things done. I don’t think I’ll continue an every day version after the 30 days, but I’m definitely adding this into my weekly schedule.

Now about those wants mentioned in the subject. I have so many things I want to try or do or make! I am constantly enticed by new and fabulous things (mostly crafts, really). I want to do so many things, and I gather too many supplies and tutorials, and I don’t do much of any of it most of the time because there’s just too much. So I’m having a notion, not solidified or ready to be a plan yet, that I need to decide on my primary crafts and get all of the supplies and tutorial and books and whatnot gathered in one spot for each of them. Everything else needs to either get given away or stored away for the possible, occasional use in the future. I don’t know how this will look, but it’s a direction I want to move in, so at some point some of these tasks will go on my goals list.

That’s about it for this week. I hope everyone’s having a lovely Sunday. Have a great week ahead!

What’s the Plan?

It’s already time to start the first ROW80 round of 2019! And I don’t have goals set. I’ve been sick for three weeks, so that’s really sidetracked me. Last week I was so sick I didn’t even get to go to the family Christmas. I’m back to the base level congestion and headache that started it all, but the cough from last week is lingering, too. Bleah.

That’s not actually what I was planning to talk about, though. I wanted to talk about all the things I want to do. The list is huge. So I’m going to start with a general list and say that I want to work on all of these areas:

  • Writing practice
  • Writing fiction
  • Blogging (for MuseCraft and here)
  • Putting up coaching offerings on MuseCraft
  • Art journaling
  • Embroidery
  • Sewing
  • Decluttering

Getting more specific, I am going to try out setting some quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. The new planner I got for the year is set up to help with that kind of planning, and I think it will be useful for me. I’m also going to set weekly goals for myself in my Sunday check-ins.

This week’s goals:

  • Find all the stray embroidery floss that’s roaming around the house
  • Set up a project pouch for the next embroidery project I want to work on
  • Do writing practice at least twice between now and Sunday
  • Spend 5 minutes a day decluttering studio things (this is to go with my first 30 day challenge of the year, decluttering every day; I’m keeping it small and simple)

My overall goals are a little bit amorphous right now, but I feel like since I at least have categories that will let me set weekly goals. I’m going to take the next few days before school starts again to get clearer on these goals and work on those quarterly and monthly goals to help me keep with the weekly goal setting plan. Hopefully Sunday’s check-in will be all about how I got that all set up–that’s the plan, anyhow.

Round 4!

I can’t believe we’re already in the last round. This year swooshed by me! But here we are, time for the final round of ROW80 for 2018. At least goal setting for this round is always easy. It’s NaNoWriMo season! The goals practically set themselves.

The only hard part about goals for this round is what to do about December. I have so far never done a good job of keeping things rolling after NaNo, and this year I’d really like to change that.

I am mulling over how to make December not feel like a flop this time around. I’m thinking that separating my goals out by month might be useful, so I’m going to try that out.

So, here they are! My Round 4 Goals:

October:

  • Work on NaNo planning at least 4 times each week
  • Continue writing practice at least 3 times a week
  • Blog at least 3 times

November:

  • Work on my NaNo story at least 4 days a week
  • Run a weekly online write-in
  • Go to or host at least two in-person write-ins
  • Blog at least 2 times

December: 

  • On December 1, write a blog post with more precise December goals
  • Include some sort of work related to my NaNo story
  • Blog at least 3 times

ROW80 Goals–Round 3

I can’t believe we’re already heading into Round 3. We’re also fully into summer. School ended last week, and I have weeks stretched out in front of me needing to be filled. I’m limping along, trying to get some summer work, and if I’m not careful I’ll paralze myself with shoulds and wishes and end the summer stressed out and with nothing to show for the time spent.

Summer used to be one of my favorite times of year, second only to fall. It was my time to reset and reinvent myself. I always filled my summers with goals for exercise and better eating and writing and projects. And it kept me engaged and in motion, and I need that right now. Substitute teaching has ended, I don’t have solid summer work, and I don’t know if I’ll have a teaching job in the fall or if I’ll have to move on to some other work. This all feels like things that are out of my control, so I need a few things that are in my control.

I’ve been feeling pulled to return to my coaching work. I love working with writers and creatives and helping them move forward and keep moving toward their goals. I put it on hold when I moved to a new house and then immediately heard that my office was closing and decided to renew my teaching license and jump into substituting. All of that has kept me busy, but I really miss doing the coaching work and teaching creative writing and doing all of that fun stuff.

So my goals for Round 3 are going to be a combination getting MuseCraft up and running again and continuing with my personal writing practice.  I need to make sure the foundation for MC is sturdy and then start building up the blog and some offerings (see, just like that picture up there–a foundation and then one thing and then the next stacked up).  And I need to keep doing writing practice because my brain and my heart both need that, plus my writing is better when I practice.

Round 3 Goals

  • Write copy for a new landing page
  • Write new “about” copy
  • Work on essays for the new non-fiction book that has bloomed in my mind; get at least five of them done this round
  • After the landing and about pages are done, start blog posts at least once a week
  • Continue writing practice at least three times a week

Kicking Things Off

We’re back to writing at ROW80. Right now, I’m not actually writing a lot, at least not story writing. I’m doing character building work right now, mostly from Holly Lisle’s character clinic, but also from a few other sources I’ve gathered over my years of obessively collecting articles and books on writing.

I’m about a third of the way through the book/class, and I’m really liking the work I’ve been doing. I like the questions she uses and the methods, but the best part has been that as I’m reading it’s been sparking ideas for my characters. I realized my characters are younger than I thought, and I know what’s important to them and why, and I know enough about their personalities to know where they’ll clash. And all of this has sparked ideas for additions and changes I want to make when I dive into my rewrites.

I’ve decided that I’m going to at least read Holly Lisle’s plot clinic before I start those rewrites. I’m getting so much out of the character work that I feel like the plot information might spark even more good ideas for the story.

I was kind of worried in December that my story was too shallow and really didn’t have anything to grab hold of and work with, but that’s starting to change. Looking forward to more ideas that will help me shape it into something readable.

Goals!

It’s time for 2018 Round 1 of ROW80–it starts tomorrow. That means it’s time for a goals post. Which is almost the same as goal post, which is very sportsy and makes me want to cheer. So, GOALS!

Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what my goals are because I don’t know how long some of them are going to take. This round will take us into March. I know by then I’ll be working on revisions, but I don’t know exactly when I’ll be starting on that. I just know that it will be sometime this round, and that’s probably good enough, at least for the moment.

My first goal is to work through Holly Lisle’s Create a Character Clinic. I’ve been doing a little bit of character work during the break, but I want to get a clearer picture of my people and really get to know them so I can get their personalities to come out better in the story.  I’m going to work on this 4 or 5 days a week, at least 15 minutes or 300 words worth of work (depending on what the tasks are).

After I’ve worked through the characters clinic, I’m going to start revisions. I don’t know what steps I’m going to use for this yet. I have some articles to read through with tips on how to revise, so hopefully I’ll have a plan by the time I get there.

Those are my writing goals right now. I am reminding myself that I don’t need more. This is enough. This will move me forward, and that’s what I’m aiming for. So this is where I start.

NaNo 1st

nanobanner

I’m starting a new habit. I’m going to post writing goals on the first of each month.  November’s are kind of easy.

November Goals

  • Win NaNoWriMo
  • Keep up with Habitica NaNo challenge tasks
  • Do crit group feedback and meeting

The hardest part will be the Habitica tasks. Two of them are daily tasks–meet the day’s word goal and update on the NaNo site. I don’t usually write every day, but I really want to win the challenge, so I’m going to do it.  But it’s going to be a little bit odd for me.  It *will* be nice to not need to do any marathon catch-up days.

Now, off I go to get those words started!