We all know I’m obsessed with football – Steelers football in particular, but I also just love watching the game.
So when our first Life List Club Milestone Party rolled around and I sat down to plan my post celebrating my efforts so far, I decided I’d make it a football game. At this moment, I’m the coach, celebrating what my team has done in the first quarter and noting what to do even better in the second.
The Life List Club is about supporting each other and holding ourselves accountable as we work towards our goals. What I’ve learned from the experience so far is that although writing is a solitary venture, I DO need other writers and readers in my life to stick with it. The shared frustrations and moments of excitement are what keeps us all creating and turning the pages.
The support I’ve found goes well behind the Life Listers. Those who visit this blog are a major factor in keeping me going. Many of you are on your own journeys towards goals, writing-related or otherwise. I want to thank you for that support.
For this first Milestone Party, we’re all offering prizes to a subscriber who comments on our Sept 23rd milestone post. Here at Hawleyville, I’ll be giving one commenter the following package:
– Your choice: an excerpt from my novel-in-progress (The Man-Whore Chronicles) OR a copy of my as-yet-unpublished short story, “Elevated.”
– An opportunity to share your own goals and your thoughts on achieving them here at Hawleyville. I’ll conduct an interview with the winner to be published here. Of course, the post will be tailored towards your goals and what you’d like to share with the community, and we’ll be sure to have fun along the way. This part of the giveaway is all about “sharing the love” and helping each other on our journies. So if the winner would like, in addition to the interview I’ll also post a piece of your creative writing here (flash fiction or a short story/essay of up to 2,000 words (no minimum word count), or a 2,000 excerpt of a longer WIP), or invite you to do a guest post on the topic of your choosing here at Hawleyville.
To win, all you have to do is:
– subscribe or be an existing subscriber
– leave a comment on this post
The winner will be selected from a random drawing and will be announced in the afternoon on Monday, September 26th.
Now – on to the replay of the first quarter!
- Time for a Replay!
My Life List July 2011-July 2012
1. Complete the first draft of “The Man-Whore Chronicles.”
So far, this has been a slow and steady drive. I’m a little over 20,000 words in, and what I have gives me that “score!” feeling.
However, I also feel like I’m running a little too much time off the clock. I want to pick up the pace a bit. I’m not overly concerned, because I know that some of the things that diverted my attention (Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee coming through and dumping all sorts of messes that needed attention, the fall semester starting at work and seriously increasing the hours in my workday) are temporary things.
But still, time to pick up a little speed, or the homestretch come next summer will be like being down by just a few points in the fourth quarter and going for it in the end zone on 4th down.
2. Complete at least 5 more as-yet unformed short stories.
This drive is a bit more impressive. I have completed one short story called “Peanut Butter and Jelly” that I’m pretty happy with – it is another attempt at the spooky/weird genre that I tend to struggle with a bit more than the funny or real-life realms. I submitted it to Efiction Magazine’s author’s workshop group and got feedback that was both strikingly positive (which is very validating coming from a group of honest and talented writers) and also offered up some very useful suggestions for improvements.
In addition, I have another short in the early stages.
I am considering revising this goal slightly – not to lessen the overall scope of writing I expect from myself, but to include non-fiction esssays in the five completed works. I’ve had the urge to go there again lately, and I want to allow flexibility in what I write as long as I’m moving towards my goals.
3. Send out at least 2 unplaced pieces per month for publication. Never have a finished but unpublished piece sitting idle. Each story must be out there seeking a home, unless it is in some state of re-working because of a lesson learned in my efforts to be published.
Ok. Confession time. For this one, the quarterback got sacked and the ball got intercepted. I’m struggling to find time for the “administrative” aspect of my craft with all that is going on. That’s no excuse, though. Time to get back on that horse.
I do feel like I need to go back to training camp on this one, though. I may revise the goal to 1 piece per month, recognizing that at this stage the most important thing for me is to WRITE regularly.
4. Continue blogging at least 3 times per week. Shoot for 4-5.
Touch-down AND a two point conversion! I’ll let the archives speak for themselves on this one. Where part of my weekly count is a Life List Guest Post, I’ve still completed one myself that appears on a fellow Life Lister’s blog.
5. Read at least one novel and several short stories per month.
A field goal. I completed the Song of Ice and Fire series, reading the last two books since I began Life Listing. But these are looooong books. I also read Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart.” Now that I’m out of the Game of Thrones for a while, I can get back on the short story reads. I have 2 volumes of eFiction and a One Buck Horror in my Kindle queue waiting to be read.
6. Go to the gym and exercise (30 minutes cardio and 20-30 weight training) at least 4 times per week.
Kickoff run to the end zone and SCORE! Not only have I stuck to the goal, but I’m seeing the results. Clothes that were tight are feeling and looking better, and it is actually time to go shopping to pick up a few smaller fall items. I can also feel the difference in my reactions to stressful situations – I’m calmer and it is much harder to push my buttons than it was when I wasn’t exercising.
7. Learn to take an entire day on the weekends and let it be for nothing more than fun, family, and friendship. Be okay with saying “I didn’t write a thing today” if what I did instead was make memories with those I love.
This is a play under review. Sometimes I have, sometimes I haven’t. I’ve had to make up for lost time on the other goals due to unforeseen circumstances, though.
8. Continue to do my “day job” well, without letting it consume so many waking hours that my other priorities slip. My longer-term goal may be not to have to have a full-time job, but as long as I do I want to do it well without letting it chew me up and spit me out.
I’ll call this one a defensive stop, with me being the defense. I’ve met this goal, and to me that feels more like blocking the other team from scoring than actually going on the offense myself. The offense is where I move forward with MY dreams. The defense is where I do the things I HAVE to do to let those dreams come out ahead.
Not letting my job put more points on the board by stressing me into writer’s block like it used to is a VERY important part of my overall game, though.
9. Add more non-writing creative play to my life by getting back out there with my camera more. At least once a month, take pictures of something new and different.
Another interception, but without a sack. I haven’t gotten totally knocked on my butt with this one, but I need to do a lot more of it. The good news is that fall is here, and that’s when I tend to pick up the camera and head out to connect with nature.
10. Travel somewhere I’ve never been. It doesn’t have to be far, but it does have to be new.
Not yet, but there’s plenty of time. This one is a new tactic in the playbook that is still being developed.
Overall, I consider my progress towards my July 2011-July 2012 life list goals to be a success. At the end of 1st quarter, I’m ahead. But only by a field goal, and the other team is in a position to score.
That’s okay, though. I’m proud of having not put myself in the position of having to be the “comeback kid” for the remainder of the game. In the coming week, I’m going to review the playbook and make a few adjustments. The goal for second quarter is to get some more points on the board.
As NFL football fans know, there’s more than one game being played on a Sunday afternoon. My fellow Life Listers are also on the field, facing their own opponents and putting their own points on the board. Below are links to the other Life Listers. They’re all also updating on their progress today, complete with their own prize giveaways for subscribers. Stop by and get to know them. Subscribe and leave a comment to be entered in their giveaway drawings as well!
My Fellow Life Listers
Each of The Life List Club writers has a gift for one or more subscribers/commenters on today’s post. Here are some hints, but please check individual writers’ blogs for their details on how many winners will be chosen and when their contest ends.
David Walker – David will be giving a copy of a short story, Bubba’s First Cruise, to a commenter and a guest post swap to a subscriber.
Diana Ligaya a copy of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces
-an in-depth critique for fiction up to 15,000 words.
Emily Moir – Emily will be giving away a 5 piece photo series (4X6) by Kate Moir
Jennie Bennett – Jennie will be giving away 2 prizes. The first is 3 books – Oliver Twist, Secret Garden and A Little Princess. The second in a 10-page in depth critique.
Jenny Hansen – Jenny is offering a guest post from her for the winner’s blog OR an interview of the winner to 1 subscriber and 1 commentor.
Jess Witkins – Jess is giving away a signed copy of Shifting by Bethany Wiggins.
Marcia Richards – Marcia will be giving away a copy of her flash fiction story, “Night Moves.” She’ll also host a guest post, interview or personal story for the winner, and name a character in her trilogy (The Dance and The Dancer) after you!
Sonia Medeiros – Sonia’s giveaway is Larry Brooks’ ebook, Story Engineering .
Violeta Nedkova – Violeta is awarding an in-depth critique of two of your work-in-progress chapters.
We’re all in this game together. Sometimes we’re on the field, and sometimes we’re cheering each other from the sidelines. Let us know in the comments how you’re doing in YOUR goals, so that we can be fans in the stands during your game!