goals for the week of 1/26

First off…

arianna bday

Today is my dear cousin’s “sweet sixteen” birthday and we are all getting together as a family tonight to celebrate. Last night I got to help chaperone/drive a bunch of her friends as part of her birthday party. It was a blast and I felt happy to be a part of it!

This weekend has been filled with lots of great friends & family time and lots of time spent outdoors taking advantage of the gorgeous sunny weather we’re being blessed with {even though we are all praying for rain … California needs rain very badly!} Yesterday I went hiking and out to lunch with new friends Emy & Sam, and today I checked out a food truck fair with some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Have any of you been to a food truck gathering before? It was my first time, and I was impressed by the variety and quality of the offerings! I had gourmet spaghetti & meatballs and a decadent s’mores cupcake. Then stopped by Trader Joe’s on my way home to pick up some nom noms for the week … and now here we are, Sunday afternoon already!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
write 10 pages
go to two yoga classes {I made it to three!}
complete two chapters of copyediting project
– finish reading all of the old Narrative Stories of the Week in my email inbox {I underestimated how many stories I had in my inbox! Got through quite a few, but still have more to go! These are some great reads.}
connect with two friends {It was a terrific week for feeling connected with friends, by phone and in person! I’m always happier when I make this a priority in my life.}

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 10 pages
– finish new short story I’m working on
– go to two yoga classes
– complete two chapters of copyediting project
– finish reading all of the old Narrative Stories of the Week in my email inbox
– connect with three friends

Questions of the morning:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What have been your highlights of this weekend?

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

goals & meal-plan for the week of 2/24

How is it the end of February already?? Gah, this month always flies by SO fast … you’d think I’d be prepared for it by now! Alas, I am not. Every year, I pretty much stand on the sidelines and watch February race by while I call feebly after it, “Hey, wait for me!”

Anyone else feel the same way?

Here’s how I did on my goals this past week:

  • revise up to page 90 of my thesis novel {not quite to page 90 but am feeling really happy about the new pages I wrote this week!}
  • blog about Week 7 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • publish blog post about 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess {read my review here!}
  • finish grading papers for both classes
  • take old financial/health documents to the bank to be shredded
  • knit 25 rows of the scarf I’m working on
  • prepare for my presentation at The Louisville Conference on Saturday

I realized that last week I forgot to show you pictures of my newly purged and organized file box, cleaned out of all the old bank statements/health invoices/other expired documents which have now been shredded at the bank! WOO! Here is a belated picture, for no other reason than I was proud of myself for crossing this task off my list and wanted to share with you:

files collage

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:

  • revise up to page 100 of my thesis novel
  • blog about Week 8 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • finish reading Blackberry Winter for the PBF February Book Club
  • finish grading papers for both classes {yes, this is almost always one of my weekly goals because the papers just.keep.coming!} 🙂
  • go through & purge/organize giant box of office supplies in our closet
  • knit 25 rows of the baby blanket I’m working on

And here are a few recipes I am excited to try out:
crock-pot lentil sweet-potato soup
coconut-crusted chicken
asian peanut veggie dip
baked mango with brown sugar & cinnamon
whole wheat pumpkin scones with vanilla bean glaze

What are some of your goals and menu plans for the week?

goals for 2013

Happy New Year! Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2013 already. I vividly remember driving around town with my parents and brother on New Year’s Eve 1999, when it seemed like all the radio stations were constantly playing Prince’s “I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999” and everyone was worried about Y2K… Crazy that was 13 years ago!!

Before I get into my goals for the year, here’s how I did on my goals for the week:

  • revise and update calendar and syllabus for the upcoming semester
  • read & respond to all the workshop stories for the Key West conference {almost done with this!}
  • finish getting email inbox and computer desktop cleaned out and organized
  • write goals for the upcoming year
  • work on short play to submit to festival
  • finish reading The Zero by Jess Walter
  • prepare for my new “Act of Kindness” blog initiative for the upcoming year!

Pretty good way to end the year and gear up for the new year!

Here are my goals for 2013. I organize them into multiple subtopics because it helps me feel like I have more of a handle on the different facets of my life.

Writing Goals
1. Write! 400 words. Every day. No excuses.
2. Revise thesis manuscript and send to agent.
3. Complete YA manuscript.
4. Resubmit story collection to prizes & small presses.
5. Write a new one-act play.
6. Write a full-length play.
7. Finish Verna novella & put out as an ebook.
8. Write three blog posts a week.
9. Read three short stories a week.
10. Read 40 books by end of year.

Write On! For Literacy Goals
1. Send out a newsletter every other month.
2. Teach a summer writing camp.
3. Teach a winter writing camp.
4. Teach a college essay writing camp.
5. Speak to 10 classes/orgs/radio shows.
6. Make Pimple an ebook.
7. Hold a Holiday Book Drive.
8. Compile writing camp ebook/online program.

Professional Goals
1. Apply to fellowships & Ph.D. programs.
2. Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
3. Submit a query for a freelance article every month.
4. Apply to at least 3 conferences/workshops.
5. Submit to Literary Awards.
6. Update & expand teaching website.
7. Put 10% of every paycheck into savings.
8. Put $1,000 into Roth IRA at end of year.

Healthy Life Goals
1. Exercise at least 3 days a week.
2. Do core work 6 days a week.
3. Stretch every day.
4. Continue with meal planning & healthy cooking schedule.
5. Clean apartment every weekend.
6. Chronicle weekly acts of kindness on blog.
7. Send a card/letter to Gramps every other week.
8. Call Grandma & Grandpap every other weekend.
9. Count my blessings every night.

What are your goals for 2013?

goals for the week of 12/9

Looking back over my goals from the past week, I am filled with gratitude! I got my thesis manuscript submitted to my advisor, which is a big project I have been working on all semester. It was such a proud moment for me to click that SEND button and shoot it off to him. Hooray!

I also am feeling really happy with my Christmas progress. My goal was to buy and wrap all presents early so I can really enjoy the season with my family and loved ones instead of being stressed out trying to get everything done at the last minute. This week I finished up pretty much all of my Christmas wrapping! I still have a couple little gifts to buy, but for the most part, I’m all done. And it feels good!

Here’s how I did this week:

  • complete rough draft of thesis manuscript and submit to my advisor (!! this is a big one!!)
  • finish reading This is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks
  • wrap & mail Christmas presents
  • use Groupons for Nature’s Pharm & Re-Usables {decided to wait for the groceries until we’re back in Indiana!}
  • return items to Amazon
  • take donation box to Goodwill
  • get new windshield wipers installed on car
  • wash kitchen & bathroom floors
  • use or freeze all perishable food items before Mike & I leave for California on Saturday

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:

  • send out newsletter about book drive and writing camp
  • finish & send the remaining post-grad applications
  • read The Zero by Jess Walter
  • watch Christmas movies with Gramps
  • address and mail Christmas cards
  • get email inbox and computer desktop cleaned out and organized

What are your goals for the week? Feel free to share in the comments below!

marvelous monday: making time for what you love

Happy Monday, everyone! Welcome to all the new followers/subscribers!

When I was thinking about what to write for today, I must admit I was feeling a little down about the weekend being over. It was one of those weekends that really flew by. I mentally scrolled back through the days, wondering where the time had gone. What had I done with my days off? {Not that I don’t love teaching, but still — it’s always nice to get a little break!}

Do you ever have days or weekends like that? Where it feels like a giant Hoover vacuum has invaded your life and sucked up all your time and productivity?

Not that this weekend wasn’t “productive” — I graded student papers; read a book for a lit class I’m taking; sent out a newsletter for my Write On! organization {you can subscribe here if you’re interested — it’s free and comes out every other month or so}; cleaned the bathroom and wiped down the fridge; made cilantro-honey salmon and red velvet cupcakes {recipes coming soon!} … and spent some quality movie-and-cuddle time with my sweetie.

But I still didn’t FEEL productive. Or, maybe I should say, I didn’t feel productive in a way that is hugely important to me: my writing.

When I first entered graduate school, I imagined having an infinite amount of time to write. I mean, that’s what I’m here to do — I’m getting my Master’s degree in fiction writing. You’d think all my time would be dedicated to writing fiction! And it’s true that I am extremely fortunate. I don’t have to worry about holding down a full-time job while squeezing in writing on the side. My position in the program came with a teaching position, a job I love that complements my own writing very well. Most of my homework assignments are things I would want to be doing anyway: reading books, writing stories. My biggest obligation this third-and-final year of the program is to write my Master’s thesis, in my case a novel. I have no excuse not to give writing the shining spotlight of my daily time and focus.

And yet … something I’ve learned is that no matter how much time you have to do what you really love, there are always things that will swoop in and take that time away if you let them. On the one hand, I should have no excuse not to write for hours upon hours every day; on the other hand, real life easily intrudes upon my to-do list: papers to grade, papers to write, books to review, slush-pile submissions to read for the literary magazine, emails to reply to, phone calls to return, errands to run.

It gradually dawned on me that if I don’t make writing a priority now, while my largest obligation is to get my thesis done by getting words on the page, how can I expect to make time to write after my program is over?

Simply put: how do you make time for what you love? If not now, when?

One of the greatest decisions I made for my writing life, and for my own happiness and sense of fulfillment, was when I made a promise to myself to write at least 400 words every single day, no excuses. Doesn’t matter how tired or uninspired I feel. Even if I am sick with the stomach flu I can manage to scrawl out 400 words over the course of a day and meet my commitment. I track my progress on this great, free motivational website Joe’s Goals, which may seem simple but has helped me enormously.

And you know what? Writing really has become a habit. My self-expectations have increased, so now I think of 400 words as the bare minimum. I want to write more than that each day, especially during these gloriously long summer days we’re blessed with right now. Which brings me to this weekend: yes, I wrote 400 words each day, but I still didn’t feel productive the way I hope to. I want to write more. I want to give even more time to doing what I love.

I think balance is the key, and also realizing that you’re probably never going to feel like you have enough time. There’s always going to be more that you want to do. But that’s a good thing, right? That’s part of why you love doing what you love doing so much. “Boredom” is a foreign concept when you feel full of ideas and inspiration, always wanting more time!

I have a sticky-note hanging above my desk, where I see it every day. It says “1/24.” It’s a reminder for myself that I get 24 hours every day; I owe it to myself to use at least 1 of those hours doing what I really love. For me, that means writing.

Can you carve out an hour out of your daily 24 to do what you love?

Have a marvelous week!

All best wishes,