Tag Archives: Goals

Goals, Actions, and Plans….Oh my!

So the New Year is 10 days old and I’m already hearing people have broken their NY resolutions. I’ve even seen it with my own eyes at the gym. Last week I had to wait for a few machines because all those people who vowed to lose weight and get in shape for 2018 were all gung-ho about hitting the gym every day and sweating the fat off. Fast forward to week 2 and most of those people are back to sleeping in and saying, “I’ll exercise later/tomorrow/never again.”

This is the reason I don’t make resolutions. It’s too easy to break ignore them.

Instead, as I’ve said before, I make a list of goals every year that I want to accomplish during that year and then make an action plan for those goals. Just saying, “I’m gonna hit the gym more this year,” doesn’t put any action behind the process. How often? When? What body areas are you going to center on? Those questions need to be asked and answered with a PLAN.

Remember the A-Team  (the television show, not the horrible and lousy movie remake) and the line George Peppard always said when they finished a case? “I love when a plan comes together.”

Yeah. And, duh! What’s the significant word in that line? PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN.

In order to have an effective plan, you need to define the actions to bring that plan to fruition. Once you do, you’ve formed your GOAL.

Seems common-sense-y, doesn’t it?

So, one of my goals this year was to get my life more organized. You might think since I have the luxury of being a full-time writer that there wouldn’t necessarily be a need to get organized. I mean, don’t I just write every day?

Yeah, but….

This year I wanted to set a goal for the number of books I’m going to write and for the number of blogs I want to do each week, so I bought a planner with one section devoted to PROJECTS. Here’s how my process goes:

  • 5 days a week write a minimum of 2500 words daily in your current WIP. No less.
  • On Sundays, writer your 2-3 blog posts for the week.
  • Schedule your Social Media posts days ahead of time using Hootsuite. Book those posts on Sundays.
  • Shut off the phone alerts and all SM alerts while performing #1

Now, if I write 2500 words minimum 5 days per week I’ll have 12,500 words written a week. My books usually range 75000-90000 words, and using this formula I can write a book in 7.2 weeks ( 90,000 words) That’s less than 2 months!!! Yowza. And I’m a good record keeper. This is the daily word count for a Christmas book I just sent to my editor for review:

REGINA daily word count

November 27, 2017                           0                      1064                           1064

November 28, 2017                         1064               1379                           2443

November 29, 2017                         2443               441                           2884

December 4, 2017                            2884               2517                           5401

December 5, 2017                            5401               1622                           7023

December 6, 2017                            7023               2468                           9491

December 7, 2017                            9491               2174                         11665

December 10, 2017                         11665              4307                          15972

December 11, 2017                         15972                2876                          18848

December 12, 2017                         18848                  597                          19445

December 13, 2017                         19445                 2301                          21746

December 14, 2017                         21746                 1438                          23184

December 18, 2017                         23184                  2448                          25632

December 19, 2017                         25632                   2000                          27632

December 20, 2017                         27632                   3138                          30770

December 21, 2017                         30770                    1961                          32731

January 1, 2018                               32731                        5482                          38213

January 2, 2018                               38213                        2578                          40791

January 3, 2018                               40791                        1275                          42066

January 4, 2018                               42066                        3222                          45288

January 5, 2018                               45288                        3812                          49100

January 6, 2018                               49100                        3106                          52206

January 7, 2018                               52206                        696                           52890

Finished!    1.7.18             23 days and a total of 52,890 words.   For me, this isn’t bad!

So, plan+action=goal.

Easy peasy.

When I’m not putting action behind my plans you can find me here, but only after I’ve written my daily 2500 word minimum!

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

 

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#2018 word of the year….

In 2016, my word for the year was YES. Instead of the usual knee-jerk NO I gave to everything, I decided to say yes to everything. It was a good year. In 2017 my word was COMPROMISE. Since I have a my way or the highway personality, I thought this word and the thought behind it would help me in my interpersonal relationships. And it did. Big time.

For 2018 I needed a word that would propel me into writing more and, thereby, produce more so I could get published more. Since I’m the type of person who gets easily distracted – the main reason I don’t listen to music when I write – I needed something that would help me remember to stay the course and not let little things pull me away from writing. Little things like the desire to watch The View, or read a book, or watch a Housewives episode.

That word is FOCUS.

My steps toward being more focused on my writing aren’t many, and that’s a good thing because there are less to remember and get frustrated by.

  1. Utilize a Daily Planner.   You would think because I am such a plotter for my writing I would already do this. You would be wrong. This year I purchased a three-ring binder that holds 3 separate notebooks. One is my TO DO list for each day. One is MY FITNESS list so I remember to track what I eat, drink, and to remind myself to exercise. The third is a PROJECT MANAGER that lists all the works in progress I’ve got going on and their end dates, and ideas for new books.
  2. Set break time. If you work at a job in an office, or a school, or anywhere, you have built-in breaktimes. I’ve never done that. I simply sit at my laptop and write until I get bored ( or distracted) and then do things that waste time.
  3. Turning the alarms on my cell phone off.   Every time my phone dings with a new email or Fb post or Twitter notification, I stop what I’m doing and grab my phone. This pulls me out of creativity mode and at this stage in my life it’s wicked hard to get those lost writing thoughts back! Alarms are shut off whenever I’m writing now.
  4. Clean up the workspace and keep it tidy. Another no-brainer, but I have a tendency to not put things back where they belong in my office, so my desk is littered with reference books, sticky notes, pens and loads of other accouterment that can be very distracting. Keeping my desk tidy is a good way to avoid having my eyes drift to all the mess and then get distracted with putting it all away. 

So, four little steps that I think ( Hope. WISH!!) will help me be more productive in 2018.

While I’m focusing on what I need to do, you can be distracted by finding me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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My biggest Accomplishment

Wow. It’s hard to believe that an entire year of blogging is almost complete! This is week 50. Just 2 more to go.

Now, since this is a writing blog for romance writers ( mainly) you might think that my biggest accomplishment is something…literary. Maybe it’s the fact that I got a publishing contract for my first book at the age of 55. Or that I’ve won several awards for my books. It might even be that I’ve been lucky enough to get 10 books published in 3 years – and none of them were indie/self pubbed. While all those accomplishments were ones I’ve, well, accomplished, none of them are what I consider my biggest and best accomplishment to date.

The answer may surprise you, but my biggest accomplishment is my marriage and the fact that it has survived 30 years.

I’ve written extensively about how I was raised in a contentious, divorced family. Both parents remarried, but they continued to be bitter about the other and take it out on me – whether intentionally or not — until I reached maturity and cut off contact with them. My mother’s second marriage was no better than her first, the only difference was I was older and a witness to the emotional abuse it wrought. With this as my example, I truly felt marriage was the worst thing in the world and I was never going to do it.

Then I met my man.

He was raised in  the diametrically opposite family life that I was. Two parents, a shared religion and commitment to one another and their children, financially stable, and educated to my 4 parents, sporadic religious practice, labile commitment and a working class poverty. The phrase one paycheck away from financial ruin was the theme of my childhood.

I didn’t believe in marriage because I’d been shown how horrible it was. My man believed in it because he’d been shown how wonderful it was. Once I met his parents, I had to agree. My previous thoughts that all marriages are horrible flew right out the window.

Now, I’m not an easy person to live with at times, and can be moody, isolationalist, and cutting if provoked. I knew living with me would be no picnic. But we endured. Somehow, by the grace of God, we endured. And I truly learned what it meant to love someone else so much that you’d do anything for them to make them happy.

I think some people regard the word commitment conditionally. They will commit and pledge to another, but the first time adversity or hardship comes through the door, that commitment gets broken. In our house, commitment is the end all be all. It’s for life. Whether we sink or swim, are successful or not, we made a vow to one another to see it through. Marriage vows are written for a reason. That phrase in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, through good times and bad MEANS something. I tend to think many people these days don’t get that.

Anyway, December 26th I will be married 30 years, Here’s looking forward to the next 30!

Drop by some of these other authors to see what their biggest accomplishments are!

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2027…

Because I have a scientific background, I’m a planner. That’s why I classify myself as a plotter for writing. But I digress….

I plan. For everything, Disasters, worst case scenarios, major illnesses, disease, pestilence, and plague. I have enough non-perishable food to last through the next zombie apocalypse, and if we get hit with a nucelar warhead, we’ll have clean water to drink..and douse ourselves in (!) So it’s no secret I’ve got a plan for the next ten years of my career.

Originally, when I started writing full time in 2015, I had a 5 year plan. I exceeded all the goals on that plan by 2017, so I broadened and increased it to 10 more years at the beginning of 2017.

Here are a few things on that new career plan:

Get an agent

Have at least 1 NYTimes and USA Bestseller, if not more.

Have a movie made out of one of my books – a good movie, at that, None of this wrecking the story by putting it on film crap!

Have at least 2 books per year, if not 3, published every year

Make enough money to hire a personal assistant who will do all my web media. ( since you all know how much I hatehatehate self marketing!)

Win a RITA ( or 2)

There are more things, but I didn’t feel I needed to share everything.

So…check back in 2027. Until then, I’ll be working on my plan.

Check out the other authors in this blog challenge and see where they see themselves in 10 years. This should be fun!’


12.

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#Dreaming Big; #MFRWauthors #Blogchallenge

 

OMG! I could so totally take pages and pages and reams of paper to write this one!!! After debating with myself for the entire week about my choices, I narrowed it down to the following:

  1. Meet Matthew MacFadyen ( don’t laugh! Lovelovelove him!!!)
  2. Be a size 4 for the rest of my life no matter what I eat. ( Okay, you can laugh at this one because I don’t have the body frame to be a size 4!!)
  3. Star in a Broadway play ( again, laughter is okay because this is a PIPE dream!!! I can’t act, sing, or emote!)
  4. Make the NYT bestseller list, or the USA Bestseller list, or ANY FRIGGIN’ BOOK LIST!!!!
  5. Get a publishing contract for MMP and/or Hardcover.

After numerous hours of time wasting – er, I mean, debate (!) with myself, I figure 1-3 ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime. 4 is a slim-to-none possibility, especially since the NYTimes has recently changed and only lists HARDBACK books in their list, no more mass market one. ( DOPES! The NYT, that is)

So, number 5 is the winner-winner-chicken dinner!

I can actually SEE myself someday ( hopefully before I die!) getting a mass market paperback book deal, or even a hardcover deal. And I always think that if you can actually SEE your goal in your mind, give it weight, and do something about it, the dream will come true. In fact, because I give such weight to physical things, I actually make book boxes for my book giveaways. Here’s the latest one for Cooking With Kandy:

 

As you can see, it’s Hardback sized, has my picture on the back “cover” and it looks like a book!

There’s an old saying that “seeing is believing.” I’d rather say, “Seeing it makes it happen.”

So that’s my biggest dream!!!

And because this is a blog hop, here are some other authors who are dreaming big. Stop by their blogs today and find out all about they’re big dreams.

 

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#2017…one month in

goals2

Goals are wonderful things. They give you intention, allow you to focus on an outcome, prepare you for the future. Goal setting is something, I feel, most people do between 12/31 and 1/1.  I know I do, and most of the people surrounding me do, as well.

Which brings me to my goals for 2017. We are only one month into the year but I’ve already had to shift and re-evaluate some of those goals. And again, I don’t think I’m the only one.

So, my goals were split into two categories: profession and personal.

goals

We’ll evaluate the professional ones first because there hasn’t been too much deviation there. Yet. For 2017 I set out to: write 3 books, post to my blog 3-4 times per week – every week – and increase my social media presence with new formats. Since no one can write 3 full-length ( greater than 75000 words) books in 31 days ( go ahead, I double dog dare you to!) I have to evaluate the other two. In the month of January, I posted 24 new blog pieces. That’s an average of 4-5 postings every week. Woot! More than I planned for, so YAY me so far. Second. Social Media. I joined TRIBERR and not only devised my own TRIBE, Strong Women. Loving Men, but followed several others, all linked to my Twitter account. I started January with 1,1oo followers ( I don’t even know 1100 people personally!) and by January 31 I had 1,347 followers. Yowza. Goal 2 already skyrocketing! On the professional side, I’m moving along at break-neck speed.

Okay, so now the personal. And I will tell you right away, break-neck speed does not describe how this is moving.

I always want/need/dream to lose weight. This year, I added going to the gym 5-6 times per week in order to help with that desire. Days January 1- 26, I went to the gym 19 times, which for me is monumental! Day 27 I pulled my back out and day 28 I got the flu. So. I didn’t exactly finish the month on an up-sweep. I did manage to go 19 of 31 times, so even though that’s not the 5-6 times per week ( which would have ended the month between 25 and 29 times) I didn’t do too too too terribly. But I also didn’t lose any weight, so yeah. There’s that.

goals3

So this puts us to February’s goals. The professional ones continue on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The personal ones have gotten a little kick, though, because I just found out I will be dancing in the Keene Dancing With The Stars fundraiser again this year and I’m doing a wicked fast and lively dance.

dwtsWeight loss is almost guaranteed ( yippie) but I also have to be in shape to manage not to have a heart attack while I’m hot footing it. So that means even if I’m tired, sick, infirm, or aching, I go to the gym 6 times per week. Bar none. No excuses. None. Niente.

I’ll check in at the end of the month and let you know if I’m alive…I mean…how I’m doing.

When I’m not setting/achieving/failing goals, you can usually find me here :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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My #ChristmasList…

christamslist4

If you were thinking I was posting about gifts I want for this holiday season, sorry. My list isn’t filled with ideas for unnecessary jewelry or tropical vacations or home improvements, although that last one should never be a gift, but a necessity!

christmaslist

No, my Christmas list is full of all the goals and others things I need to finish by December 31st of this year. Let me, ‘splain.

In January of every New Year, I sit down at my laptop and think of all the things I want to do/start/finish for that year. For example, in January 2015, my list included( but wasn’t limited to): lose the 40 pounds I’ve gained during menopause, finish book 4 of the MacQuire Women series, look for a new publisher. ByDecemberr 31 of 2015, of those 3  things, I had accomplished 2. I’m still working on the 40 pounds.

I’m still working on the 40 pounds. I needed to write that again so I don’t forget about it and start eating like a house on fire because, hey! it’s Christmas.

chsitamslist3

Before December 31st arrives this year, I still need to do the following:

  • finish the 1st draft of book #3 in the Will Cook For Love Series
  • work on my Baby Boomers powerpoint presentation for NHRWA and NECRWA
  • Write 6 book proposals ( 2 for Will cook for love, books 4 and 5; and 4 for my new small town series)
  • blog 3-4 times per week.

Okay, so the first 3 items are still in motion. Since I’ve been faithfully blogging 3-4 times per week, I can check that one off.

Now, add to it shopping for real presents for people, baking, attending parties, and doing all the regular life stuff like laundry, house cleaning, et al,  and I have to admit I’ve been neglecting my list just a little.

christamslist2

Okay, A LOT.

But….

I’ve got a week until Christmas and my shopping is pretty much done. My house is spitspot ( thanks, Mary Poppins for use of that word), and the laundry is getting done, so I can devote time, effort, blood sweat and very real tears to getting these  3 items complete.

Now I just have to write the list for 2017……

When I’m not obsessing about lists you can find me here Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

And there’s still time for you to get a very special gift for the Woman or Women ( not judging!!) in your life. My newest book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is out and available in e-copy or print form. Here are the links:

amazon // wild rose press // barnes and noble

akissucl_850-1

 

 

 

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Commitment

The definition of commitment is:

  • the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.: the company’s commitment to quality.
  • a pledge or undertaking: I cannot make such a commitment at the moment.

It is, in my opinion, a loaded word because you can attach so much to it and extract so much from its meaning.

NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is the practical exemplification of the word commitment. In order to adequately perform the challenge, you must commit to writing every single day inorder to fulfill the 50,000 word goal at the end of the month. To break it down numerically, you need to have a minimum of 1,667 words written every day for 30 days to hit those 50,000 words . Or by the page, you must have written almost 7 pages per day of 250 words per page.

That’s commitment.

Most of the writers I know are far succeeding that minimum every day, myself included. Well, most days, anyway! Life does intervene.

So, as we move towards the end of the second week of NaNoWriMo, let’s keep committed to the goals of:

  1. writing daily
  2. writing a minimum of 1667 words
  3. writing 6-7 pages minimum of approx. 250 words each
  4. staying focused

And because I am such an avid fan of commitment, here’s a little motivation for you to be so, as well…

nano21

When I’m not committed to NaNoWriMo, you can find me committed here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

and I’ve also put together a Pinterest motivation/commitment board as well if you need more inspiration ( and by inspiration I mean looking at some pictures of hot guys telling you to write!)

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Goal vs. Dream

womensweekendad2016-copy

So…I’m giving this motivational speech next month at a woman’s weekend retreat and I’ve starting putting my thoughts together on what I want to say, the points I want to highlight, and the ideas I want to leave the women with.  And by starting to put together I really mean I’m starting to panic about what to say!! I’m going to use this blog piece as a way of organizing my thoughts, so please bear with me!

I’ve always asserted that there is a distinct difference between having a dream for yourself and having a goal. To prove I’m educated in the difference between the two, here are the definitions:

A goal is: an aim or desired result

goals

A dream is: a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal

dreams

Now, just looking at the two you might think they really are the same thing. But I don’t think they are and here’s why.

I always had a little dream to write romantic fiction and have it published. My dream was to be able to support myself as a writer and have the people who read my stuff like it, be loyal, and want more of it.  That was it. Just a dream. A little fantasy that played out in my mind time after time. I’d  imagine myself going to book signings and have the waiting line for my table be out the door and around the block! I’d make every bestseller list out there, and talk shows would be clamoring to schedule me whenever I had a new book released. Amazon would list me as a preferred author and my Goodreads page would be off the chart with followers.

Okay, so it was a BIG dream and not really a little one.

What turned my dream into a reality was when I set a goal for myself centering on that dream to write and publish. I put an action plan behind my fantasy. I set a time frame for what I wanted to happen, the means to make sure it did, and took steps to promote and push it along to fruition.

See the difference? My dream was ephemeral, just a thought, an idea, a wish. My goal put action behind the fantasy to make it come true. To break it down even further ( for you literary and English majors!)  my dream was a noun and my goal was the verb.

Make sense?

Now, of course,  I’m going to expound on that a lot more when I give my talk. I do have to fill an entire hour and not just a three minute ready-to-read-piece like this one! But I think my idea is solid. How I got to live out my fantasy, my dream, how I made it happen, will comprise the majority of the speech. But for now, I have a starting point, so thank’s for listening and ANY WORDS OF WISDOM would not only be appreciated, they would be cherished…so feel free.

Here’s the info, btw, if you want to attend the women’s weekend retreat and see me make a fool of myse–, er…hear me speak: Camp Takodah

and…if you can’t make it to the retreat, here’s where you can find me:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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End of the year wrap-up and a look ahead to 2016

At the beginning of every year I write out a bunch of goals I want to accomplish during the year. The perpetual ones are lose 50 pounds ( or at least 5!), re-read all my favorite books, exercise 5 times per week, drink more water, drink less soda.

weightloss3

Usually, I get 2-3 going good for a few months and then fall by the wayside.

loseweight

2015 had a different set of goals. I knew I was retiring, so goal number 1 was to write every day. I fulfilled that goal. Number 2 was to get a novel published by a traditional publisher. That goal got met in spades: I had 3 books go live in 2015. Yippie for me. Number 3 was to write at least twice a week on this blog. Again, met in spades since I average 3-4 times per week for the year. Yippie, squared!

 

Looking ahead to 2016 I have some new goals to go along with the old standards. Here’s my list:

  1. Lose 50 pounds (I’d be happy with 10)
  2. Drink more water, less soda
  3. exercise 6 days per week
  4. Have 3-4 books published traditionally
  5. get an agent ( this one should be number 1 but I really need to lose weight!)
  6. say “yes” more than “no”, no matter what is being asked of me ( this will be a toughy, but I plan on doing it!)
  7. find new authors to read and promote them through social media
  8. meditate ( you do not know how badly I need to do this one.weightloss4

We’ll see how well I do!

weightloss2

 

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