I've been searching for a way to increase focus and productivity over the last few years. I've tried making daily, weekly, and even monthly goals, but I get overwhelmed that way. I tried making yearly goals, but I forget about them.
Then last week I discovered a YouTube channel run by another writer, Jenna Moreci. She posts writing advice and other writing related videos filled with relatable truth and humor. If you're interested in writing and don't faint at the least amount of course language, you should go check her out.
Anyway, she posts quarterly goal review videos where she sees how well she met her quarterly goals and sets new ones. This sounded like a great idea, so I'm trying it out to see if it can help me stay more on top of things with my writing and running Contented Comfort.
Ms. Moreci comes up with many more goals than she can realistically reach and strives to complete at least half of them. With my personality, this would be a recipe for chronic depression and self-loathing on an epic scale. So I'm going to set goals that will push me but are realistically achievable within three months, and if I can complete at least 3/4 of them, I'll be happy.
Goal #1: Complete the Icarus rough draft.
Ideally, I'd have the book finished as was my original goal as of this time last year. However, with everything that's gone on and how far behind I am with it, finishing the rough draft and maybe starting on edits is the best I can realistically hope to do. I probably could have something published by the end of June, but chances are it'd be pretty bad. I'd rather have nothing available than put out a mess, so I'm shooting for a late 2016 release at the earliest. Sorry folks.
Goal #2: Lose an inch around my waist and strengthen my abdominals.
I'm overweight. I know this. I'm working to correct it. However for several reasons I'm sure no one wants to hear, it's a major uphill battle for me. It's going to take years. I know this, and I've made peace with it.
I'm focusing on inches for a couple of reasons. First, size has always been a better measure for me than weight. The number on the scale will swing back and forth in a day, but size doesn't. Second, I've ripped the exact same set of abdominal muscles three times since 2012. Not only does this mean my abdomen "pouches" out more than it would if I hadn't injured the muscles, but it has had a serious impact on my overall health. Rehabilitating and strengthening my core would be a game changer for my life and is therefore at the top of my priority list for health.
Goal #3: Design and manufacture the 2016 line.
This one's a give me, but I'm adding it just to keep it top of mind. It's become a tradition to debut the new fragrances each year at Con Kasterborous, and it's at the end of June again this year. Easy peasy.
Goal #4: Finish building and plant the garden.
This is something the family and I were already planning to do, but we have a way of forgetting things. So it's now a goal.
Goal #5: Research audio alternatives.
I've been looking into ways to create audio versions of Right of Succession, Daydreams and Myth, and future books. As part of this I recorded, edited, and uploaded an audio version of "Don't Go Near the Well" on Thursday. It was something of an experiment and practice all rolled into one.
I may begin posting audio versions of each week's Flash Fiction Friday stories over on my YouTube channel. I'm not entirely sure yet.
In any case, I need to do more research into different audiobook publication services, distribution, and guidelines. I also need to look into different avenues for recording and editing audio editions.
Goal #6: Book two shows for later in the year.
You might notice my event calendar is a bit empty. This is partly due to several of the shows I've worked before not being open for applications for their 2016 events yet. It's partly due to not finding and applying to new shows fast enough.
I'm in the process of trying to expand our reach to new shows outside of the Huntsville metro area. Staying close to home is easy. It's low risk because you don't have to worry about too much travel or lodging expenses or inventory melting in the summer heat if you take too long at a rest stop along the way. But you can only grow so much only working conventions and expos within a thirty mile radius of your home town.
Goal #7: Write two book reviews.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a book I've had on my shelf for several years. It was written by L R Barrett-Durham, an author who lives somewhat nearby and whom I've met at numerous conventions in the area. Looking at the book collecting dust on my bookshelf, I asked myself, "Why haven't you read it yet?"
The answer? I'd been doggedly going through a years old to-read list and reviewing books that'd been out for a decade or more.
Thinking it rather stupid to place old series and classics I was having to force myself to finish with alarming regularity over the work of authors I actually know, I decided to rearrange my priorities. It's rather hypocritical to fret over a dearth of reviews while simultaneously avoiding reading, let alone reviewing, newer works in actual need of reviews.
So I'm about a week into reading the first book of her Trust series, which translates to maybe a quarter of the way through the book. When I finish, I will write a review and post it here as well as on YouTube and Goodreads.
It's probably going to take a while though, which is why my goal is to finish two reviews by the end of June. I'm dyslexic. I'm a slow reader, and I'm a slow writer. See goal one.
Goal #8: Finish two blankets.
This one probably sounds like nothing or just flat out weird, but there's a reason behind it. I've been crocheting since late 2010, and I started a tradition of making "baby" blankets for my nieces, nephew, and baby cousins not long after. Being a mama myself, I know just how fast babies grow, and given the longevity of crochet blankets, I have a habit of making big baby blankets. I'm talking ones big enough to still be used as lap blankets as an adult.
Here are a couple I've done as examples. You can tell the relative size by how much room they take up on our couch.
Each crocheter works at a different pace, so I'll just tell you, I'm on the slow side because of arthritis and time constraints. The simple, huge granny rectangle blanket there on the left took four months or so only because I was allowed to work on it while "babysitting" phones at my last on-site job. Good thing because I did at least two or three hours each day outside of baseball and football seasons or billing day. I would have gone bonkers otherwise. The Wonder Woman blanket took a year and a half because tapestry work is hard!
The blanket I'm working on now, I've been working on for about two years. I thought it would be simpler and faster to make it with granny squares sewn together instead of tapestry work. I didn't realize when I started that the pattern I picked would require 575 squares sewn into twenty-three rows.
Only six more rows to go, two rounds around the entirety of the blanket, and then I can start the second one.
So there are my goals for the second quarter of 2016. I'll come back the first week in July and tell you how I did.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
70566 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Trilogy Book 2
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4