New Year 2024

Photo by Scottsdale Mint on Unsplash

Happy leap year – 2024.

Twenty-three was better to me than the two previous years and I hope the climb continues.

My various jobs and the writing, especially during NaNoWriMo 2023, have been the best I have had in years. Even editing worked out.

There is still plenty of room for improvement. So much room.

I would like to reestablish and keep the 500 words per day goal, as well as maintaining this blog up-to-date since I used NaNoWriMo 2023 to catch up on it. I plan on continuing the TikTok and also read #24for24 like I did #23for23 – reading 24 BIPoC books for 2024.

The big thing is leveraging my ability to FINALLY write longer works into actual publishable materials this year.

With the year of the Dragon just around the corner (February 10th), this is the year for beginnings and prosperity.

Goal Review

Time to review how the water bunny goals of 2023 went. I know most people are concentrating on creating their 2024 resolutions, but setting goals works better for me as tax season nears an end – especially in 2024. I’ll tell you why in a moment. But first the review of goals.

The mission statement remains in place.

Mission Statement: Create entertaining and marketable stories which show healthy relationship choices, present educational items, and challenge people to do better.

The goals for 2023 were:

  1. Increase sellable words volume. (Work on writing long-form.)
    2. Maintain the blog going forward.
    3. Produce novels regularly, setting up a successful production line by December 2023.
    4. Stay healthy

WHAT HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED

1. Increase sellable word volume.

RESULTS – MEH. I got some sellable words, but I haven’t crafted them into something that could be sold yet. I didn’t write daily as I should; the hourglass flip didn’t work BUT I have found something that seems to be working now, an app that gamifies writing in a way that works for me. I only discovered it at the end of November, so I haven’t fully integrated it into my life yet. Most of the new-habits for writing I have tried are successful about a month or two; if it lasts until March, things will be going well.

2. Maintain the blog going forward.

RESULTS – I DID IT!!! This post completes the 2023 blogs. In addition, I have totally caught up for 2021 and I can see the goalpost for 2022. 2024 is in a great place. I knocked myself out in November for NaNoWritMo for the blog and the results show. I still have a few things to do, and maintenance is always a constant, but I got this. I started the year 165 behind and then added the 157 posts needed for 2023. I end the year at 16 needed with only 50 more to go for 2024.

Mixed in with the blog is the long-form skills continue to grow. Many of the flashes are multi-episode. I am VERY happy about this!

3. Produce novels regularly.

RESULTS – Complete nope.

4. Stay Healthy

RESULTS – Meh. Weight went up, but I did get a couple of the needed doctors appointments done. I’m now on heart meds (standard beta blockers) and my heart has stopped skipping beats multiple times an hour. Down side, they sap energy and I am still getting used the energy loss. By nine at night, I’m useless at the keyboard.

GOING FORWARD INTO 2024

I don’t know exactly what will happen.

As those who follow me know, I am a big proponent of women being active in politics. Well, in November the local newspaper printed “10 people filed to run for office” – small print … all men. Not a single woman.

I couldn’t let that stand, so I am running for office. The primaries in NC are in March, so I will know how my summer will shape up at that point. If I win, I will be knocking on doors every day; if I lose, I will be knocking on the keyboard. To run for office, I had to give up the Post Office job; regulations required it. Income will be tight either way.

After March 5th, decisions and plans can be made, but until then, the only concentrations are 1. taxes (day job); 2. writing/editing (night job); 3. running for office.

Happy new year. I’ll let you know the 2024 plans after the wood dragon chases off the water rabbit.

Goals for 2023 – the Water Bunny!

Original Photo 137492761 © Sven Hansche | Dreamstime.com

Words added by Erin Penn

Tax season is winding up for the last whirlwind, and then back to (only) the post office, editing, and reviewing taking big chunks of time away from the writing. They also give me focus to keep writing, and the physical labor to keep me healthy.

The 2022 Strategy Plan ended up with better results than I have had in the past, so I’m going to try them again. No change to the mission statement.

Mission Statement:
Create entertaining and marketable stories which show healthy relationship choices, present educational items, and challenge people to do better.

And I think the Goals are still good. Though I need to update the blog one since I am nearly caught up! (happy dance) The big thing is writing sellable material, which means getting better at writing long-form. But the task to develop the long-form writing skill is an action, not a goal. I need the skill for the goal of sellable word volume.

Setting Goals:
1. Increase sellable words volume. (Work on writing long-form.)
2. Maintain the blog going forward.
3. Produce novels regularly, setting up a successful production line by December 2023.
4. Stay healthy

Now onward to implementation:

Specifying Actions:
1. Increase sellable word volume

  • Write daily through one flip of the hourglass.
  • Caveats – missing one day a week is allowed.
  • Evaluation – Record word volume in calendar. Total the data monthly.
  1. Maintain the blog going forward.
  • During Blog Season (December (package season) – March (tax season)) – Write at least two blogs a day until all non-fiction possible is prepped for 2024 and have all fiction postings up-to-date.
  • During Novel Season (see below) – Maintain fictional postings and fill in any non-fictional holes.
  • Evaluation – Make sure blog posts drop on schedule.
  1. Produce novels regularly – Create two genre novels a year while working for post office and doing taxes. Bonus would be writing a Vella.
  • “Novel Writing Season” – From April 1 to July 30 (novel 1); From August 1 to Nov 30 (novel 2) – four months each.
  • Novel Focus Day – One day a week, focus on the novel and only the novel. Flip the hourglass at least three times. (Morning, afternoon, evening)
  • Word goal per week for novel – 5,000 words for the first three months (65,000), fourth month is editing and cleanup. Aim on novel writing day is half the volume (2,500) and five other days of (500) each.
  • Evaluation – Daily counts, but more importantly weekly evaluation on Saturday. (Week counts will be from Sunday to Saturday).
  1. Stay Healthy
  • Doctor appointments – Make and keep the four recommended doctor appointments: Eye Glasses; Dentist; General Doctor; Woman Doctor. Evaluation: Make one a quarter. Are they complete at the end of the year?
  • Daily exercise – On days not working for the post office, do yardwork or collect litter in the neighborhood.
    • Caveat forgive during tax season.
    • Evaluation: Reassess monthly and see if need to be redirected.
  • Healthy food – Plan weekly meals on Monday.
  • Overall Evaluation: Keep weight below 200. Happy goal would be 185 by the end of 2023.

My Strategy Plan for 2022 – a review

Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

Time for the last post of the 2022, and it’s the perfect time to do a review of the strategic plan I started back in March and see what tweaks are needed for 2023.

First off, success, though not a great success. I got a lot more done this year than the previous two years of the pandemic. And I’ve done some maneuvering in my day-job life this past month that I hope will drive me to do even better next year. Small steps in this marathon.

Goals were:

  1. Increase sellable words volume. — Did not happen, but I think it will happen in 2023
  2. Get blog up-to-date by December 2022 (adjusted to a more reasonable production of update complete by March 31, 2023). — Went from 257 blogs behind to only 72. Note that for 2023, another 157 blogs will be needed (72 + 157 = 229 … still ahead of where I started!)
  3. Produce novels regularly, setting up a production line by December 2022. — Did not happen, but I think it will happen by December 2023.
  4. Stay healthy. — No new injuries! Doc wants me to get on a better diet, so more work is needed.

Ditto the goals for next year. And release the Water Rabbits!

Magical Words: Realistic Expectations


3208252 © Mihapix | Dreamstime.com

One of my sisters told me a story from the time she ran marathons. She had slowed to a walk and a few of the runners in her pack urged her to pick up the pace again, supporting her.  She waved them on, letting them know she had had surgery the month before. All of them were like “good for you” and kept running. Because in marathons, trying matters as much as finishing. Personal goals are personal, and the community supports them.

Go further than the last run, shave off time. Whatever your goal is. That day my sister’s goal was to participate.

December has started, and this year’s writing marathon is coming to an end and I need to think about my next marathon. October’s tax training marathon is done. Ongoing is the postal package marathon for November and December. Tax season will be ramping up in January.

Did I met my writing marathon goal? I got further than I have in the previous two, so YAY! Did I finish everything, no. Not even close. I’m not good at setting realistic expectations. My body keeps on needing more downtime than I expect. My vision of early twenties doesn’t gel with the years I’ve spent spinning on this planet.

What I need to do is set writing up as my habit, and I did that better this year than recent history. I hope to keep it up next year.

Rereading “Quick-Tip Tuesday: Realistic Expectations (and a Little Math” by David B Coe (Magical Words 3/22/2016) should help reset for the next marathon: