January 2018 Goals

My writing and personal goals for the month of January!
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It’s been a while since I sat down to set formal goals for the month. I used to be really diligent about it. For the past year or so, I’ve had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish, but didn’t keep track. I’ve decided to come back to that practice, starting now.

Writing down my goals keeps me focused. It also keeps me from piling too much on my plate, because I can look at what I’m currently working on and ask myself if I really have the room for it. I’ve gotten really good at saying no, but I’d like to keep that momentum going.

Considering my goals for 2018, this month I’d like to…

  • Buy an insurance plan. It looks like I’m going to be able to afford my university’s student plan, which covers me through August. I have angels in heaven and here on Earth, because originally this was going to be a long shot. Once I’m enrolled, I can see my rheumatologist about adjusting my treatment plan, I can have urology tests to see if I have interstitial cystitis, and I can finish my dental crown. Oh, and I can also afford my medication. One step at a time, though.
  • Publish A Disturbing Prospect. I’m not gonna lie—I’m nervous about this release. Every launch gets me anxiously excited, but A Disturbing Prospect is a lot darker than my previous books. I mean, it has a freakin’ trigger warning list. I wrote this book for revenge, though, for the real-life Lucys who never received justice. Also, I have a much lighter book releasing soon, probably in the spring, so that should balance things out.
  • Start writing something new. I can’t decide whether I want to re-write the sequel to A Disturbing Prospect, or write my second chances f/f book shop romance (which has a title but I’m not telling yet). I think I’ll decide by outlining both. I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas and used it to buy Romancing the Beat, which should help with that.
  • Survive Mod 3. The new semester starts January 8th. Because I’m in an accelerated online program, semesters are broken into two eight-week modules. This mod, I’m taking accounting and macroeconomics. Then I’m diving into business law and—dun dun DUN—algebra. Scary shit. So my goal is to not drop out this semester. 😂 You might think I’m kidding, but all four of these classes intimidate me (though I’m excited about business law). I’m also a perfectionist who doesn’t want to do anything unless I’m really good at it. I am a complicated creature.

That should do it.

What are your goals for January? Let me know in the comments!

My Goals for 2018

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I’ve been in a fog lately.

There it is. I’m admitting it.

Honestly, from the second I found out Mike and I are losing our health insurance, I’ve been upside down. Even though we’ve mostly got it figured out now, I still can’t right myself. Between the flare I’m in, stress, and self-doubt, I’m having a hard time caring about setting goals for the new year.

Which is precisely why I need to get my ass into gear and get something down on paper, so if nothing else, I’m still moving forward.

The best thing about goals is things change; nothing is ever set in stone, whether life happens or you simply change your mind. I need to remember that, rather than getting caught up in the mindset that I have to stick to my goals or die. Now, don’t get me wrong. You want to set goals and try to stick to them. But it’s not the end of the world if things don’t work out. I’m breathing proof of that. Pretty much nothing goes my way, yet I’m still living my lifetime goal: be an author.

Setting goals is more like drawing a map for yourself. You’re going to get where you need to be, but you need some kind of route to follow. If you happen to make pit stops or find shortcuts, it’s okay to change your plans.

In 2018, I want to…

Write four novels. I have a loose idea of what I’m writing. I’d like to write at least two more books starring Cliff and Olivia, depending on how A Disturbing Prospect sells. Most of my beta readers loved it and are begging me for more, so I think it’ll do well in the market.

I also have an idea percolating for another f/f romance. I don’t know whether it’s a standalone or maybe a series of novellas, but these characters have been bugging me for a year now. I also sort of mentioned them in the second chance divorce romance I’m almost done writing, so I think it has to happen.

Novellas would work really well for me, considering I’m in school full-time. We’ll see; first I want to finish up my WIP and release A Disturbing Prospect.

Finish my first year of my Bachelor’s degree. My first semester went really well, but I’m nervous for the spring semester. I’m taking more intimidating courses (including algebra, send help). I need to remember the big picture: I’m getting a marketing degree so that I can better write and sell my books, not so that I can get straight “A”s and sit on the Dean’s List every semester. I’m a perfectionist but need to remember that progress is what’s most important here. As a friend reminds me when I start to obsess, “C”s get degrees!

More than likely, I’ll pass that algebra class with a C, haha.

Find a better treatment plan for my UCTD. I’ve been on Plaquenil for over a year now and, though it’s been a game changer, it’s not a magic bullet. My rheumatologist wants to try some other medications; I can’t start until I have permanent insurance, though, because they require lots of lab tests and monitoring that would otherwise be expensive. Right now I’m back on Prednisone (which makes me hungry and packs on the pounds), brand-name Plaquenil twice a day (the generic was giving me diarrhea and heartburn like whoa), Advil liquid gels, and Tramadol (which makes me constipated). My pain level has been at a seven or eight; today it’s at a tolerable five, six.

My goal for 2017 was to get down to a four, and I did for a little while. A lot of people with UCTD/Lupus say that Plaquenil can stop working after a while or isn’t totally effective. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back to that four. At that level, I can function. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to fight that level of pain, so I have battery life for other things: writing, family, etc.

Now that I’ve seen what it’s like to live with less pain—now that I know I can have my life back—I want it more than anything else. Before, it was just a dream.

In previous years, I’ve set all kinds of goals, but I think these three are just what I need right now.

What are your goals for 2018? Tell me in the comments, and have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!

One Semester Down…

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I just finished my first semester of my Bachelor’s degree in marketing. It’s the first step in a long journey, but it’s progress. Looking at my (unofficial) transcript evaluation, I have quite a ways to go before I hold that piece of paper in my hands. I’m still proud of myself for taking this step, though. I know more about marketing than I knew 16 weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure I made the Dean’s List.

I’m also really glad I have the next three weeks off before jumping into the next semester. My brain is happy for the break.

I plan on using this time to finish my WIP (second chance divorce romance), complete final edits for A Disturbing Prospect, enjoy the holidays with my family, and in general just rest. It’s been a rough 16 weeks full of the typical stress of college, plus some health issues and financial struggles.

I’m a tired girl.

Back to School

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I love the newness of this time of year. Maybe it’s because it’s almost my birthday, marking the beginning of another year of life. Or maybe it’s because, all throughout childhood, this is always the time I’d be getting ready to start a new year of school. Whatever it is, the end of summer and early fall—this in between time—have always brimmed with possibility.

This is usually when my writing is most productive. Last year around this time, I wrote a 60K-word novel in two weeks. This year, I’ll be doing something a bit different.

I’m going back to school.

Throughout the past six years, I’ve learned a lot about publishing. I’ve released 11 novels (plus some now out of print short stories and novellas). I’m damn proud of all I’ve accomplished—especially recently making the bestseller list in three Amazon categories—and I’m looking forward to a lifelong career.

I’ve also long felt like I’ve been missing some valuable piece, though.

Whether I’ve been with a publisher or independent, I’ve been responsible for the majority of my marketing. While I can do things like write a marketing plan and create an email sequence, there’s a lot more I need to learn.

So I’ve decided to go back to school.

Right now.

I thought about it all summer, and then two weeks ago I applied to a program before I could change my mind. I start my B.S. in marketing on Monday.

I’m hoping that it won’t affect my production schedule too much, but since it’s an accelerated program, I know I’m going to have to make some sacrifices. I can’t do it all.

  • For the next eight weeks, I won’t be blogging much.
  • Aside from scheduled Facebook posts, I likely won’t be on social media often, either. I’ll do my best to reply to comments, but please know that studying will have taken over my life.
  • I will continue monthly email newsletters. You can expect them on Friday, September 8th and Friday, October 6th. (If you’re not already on my email list, sign up here.)
  • I’ve started working on a new novel. It’s a standalone second chance romance. I don’t have a release date for it yet, and likely won’t for a while. I do hope to continue publishing regularly, though.

What can I say? I like living on the edge.