January 2018 Goals

My writing and personal goals for the month of January!
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

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!

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.

20-Something Questions: Chasing Love or Climbing Ladders

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

Welcome to the third installment of 20-Something Questions, a weekly feature where NA authors writing all genres answer one real-life New Adult question.

This week was kind of a bust, unfortunately. I think I forgot to send out the email, and with the holiday weekend I was away from my office and totally missed the deadline myself. C’est la vie, right? It feels kind of awkward to answer all by my lonesome, but I love this feature and don’t want to lose momentum.

What was your real life New Adult love life like? Did you chase The One or were you laser focused on a career or hobby?

Elizabeth BaroneI was single for the first time in years when I graduated high school. I’d just walked away from two back-to-back toxic relationships, and was so not interested in dating. My plan was to enjoy the summer and get ready for college. Then this sexy, tall man with the most intense blue eyes I’d even seen walked into my life. I tried to resist him but he drove me crazy in the best possible way. For months, my best friend was on the edge of her seat, not knowing whether we would end up together. It was straight out of a NA romance novel.

Meanwhile, I was determined to build my career as a web designer. Balancing work, school, clients, and romance was not easy, but seven years later, I walked down the aisle and straight into his arms. My career plans changed abruptly when we were still dating, but through it all he’s always cheered me on and understood that my work is my passion. Who knew I could have the best of both worlds?

Elizabeth Barone

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Next Week’s Question

Deadline: Sunday, June 5th at 9pm EST

What was the first thing to make you officially feel like an adult?

Submit your:

  • 1-3 paragraph answer
  • author name
  • website
  • Facebook URL
  • Twitter @
  • head shot

to elizabethbaronebooks@gmail.com.

Unfortunately I can’t add responses received after the deadline, but feel free to comment on posts if you miss a week. I do these weekly so there’s always next time.

20-Something Questions: After High School

Welcome to the second installment of 20-Something Questions, a new feature here on The Crazy Chronicles where I ask New Adult authors questions about their adventures in their twenties! If you have a suggestion for a future topic, leave a comment and let me know. If you’re a New Adult author writing in any genre and would like to participate in a future installment, click here to join us.

This week’s topic:

After High School

Did you go away to college after high school? What did you major in? If you chose a different path, what did you do?

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

Elizabeth BaroneDuring my senior year, I was in a bit of a panic because I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. I’d gone to a technical high school and, after four years in culinary, I learned that I love cooking but don’t like the industry much. I did, however, really like making websites. All throughout high school, I spent my free time writing stories and building websites for them. So I enrolled in a community college in my city and got my A.S. in Digital Arts: Multimedia/Web Authoring.

I worked my way through college by starting my own web design business, EKB Designs, and building websites for various small business and non-profits in my city. It was fun and I made decent money, but it was also exhausting. At one point I had three part-time jobs and my freelance work, all on top of my full-time courses. I often worked sixteen-hour days and longed for time to write stories instead of code.

Still, it was a lot of fun. For my final project during my last semester of college, I built a website for my pen pal support group, Letters of Love. By that time, I’d mastered HTML and CSS, and was teaching myself PHP. Oddly enough, I don’t remember much of it anymore!

Elizabeth Barone

Going away to university was my first time living away from home and it was a great decision. I’m one of the few people in the world who didn’t mind high school (elementary school, now that was a horrorshow), mainly because I had a small group of friends who were the proud weirdos of our school. Still I was in a small town and it felt very confining. Going away was very much about discovering a new world, one where people were passionate about movies, books and music—and willing to stand up for their opinions and debate them passionately for hours in the hallways of the residence. In high school it had almost been a competition to see who could care the least, because that was cooler. The new friendships I made away at school were intense, exciting, and overwhelming. If I could go back and take a different path, it wouldn’t be very different, but I would advise younger me to not get so caught up in the drama of all these new relationships, and pay a bit more attention to school. Though I am still friends with many of the people I met in my first year, and I don’t think I’ve used Intro to Astronomy very much in my life since.

Hanna Dare

Raquel LyonAs I’m English, I’ll presume that by “college” you mean university. I didn’t go there—never had any inclination to—much to my mother’s disappointment. The thought of moving to a new place where I didn’t know anyone freaked me out.

After leaving high school at sixteen, I did go to a British college where I studied hairdressing and beauty. I knew after the first year that it wasn’t for me. I hated the shallow bitchiness of the industry, and was the worst person ever at making small talk with the clients, but I stuck it out and qualified. At eighteen, I went to work in a small bookshop—a really quiet one. I spent most of my days reading, choosing who I spent my time with without them talking back. It was heaven. I’ve moved on to a bigger, busier bookshop now, but yeah, books were, are, and probably always will be, my life. Boring, huh?

Raquel Lyon

Join us next Monday for a brand new installment of 20-Something Questions!

Want to share your college experience? Leave a comment below!