At the Door of December

It’s that time of year again…already. I’ve no idea where 2017 went, but it’s interesting to look back for a second and contemplate.

Last year this time I hoped to self publish one of the adventures in 2017. It was my next big project. I hoped you could, “hold a hard copy of an adventure and explore all the different endings at your leisure.” I’m a bit surprised and pleased to be able to say this goal was accomplished. In fact, you can explore three of the adventure stories at your leisure! (Check out The Adventure on Amazon.)

Now it’s time to breath for a bit. Every December I step back from writing to focus on family and friends, to breath and relax.

This time also allows my brain to ruminate on what, exactly, the next year’s goals should be. Nothing will be decided until January, but this is the time to start those fires burning in my brain.

In other words, I won’t be posting again until January. If you’ve read this far into this post, thanks. =) With everything that demands your attention, I appreciate your support of this blog and my writing.

I promise to return in January with two things.

  • One, some goals for 2018 and
  • Two, a whole new adventure story to explore. It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a new adventure for the blog. It’s about time to get back to it.

What did you achieve this year? What will next year hold for you?

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. If you’re wondering about the Kickstarter rewards, I’ll be posting updates about those on my Facebook page. Be assured, I’m still working on the Hardcover. It’ll be ready soon. =)

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Defining Success

Sleep

Writing Sidekick sleeping…he’ll sleep anywhere.

My husband and I have this routine we follow almost every night before we drift into dream land. No planning went into this routine, no preconceived notion forms how it’s followed but over the years it’s developed into a habit.

As we lay there about to drift off, we let everything from the day come spilling out in conversation. Logic would say dinner would be a better time for this and my sleep habit would agree, but reality doesn’t usually agree with logic.

So the other night, my husband and I were discussing the deep matters of the world, workout schedules, work grievances, body aches and pains, you know, the really pressing stuff, when we stumbled onto the topic of success.

I’m a worrier. As you can imagine, my worry level is up to the red when it comes to The Adventure, which launches on Amazon the end of this month. As we discussed this, Nate commented, “Define what success is for you. People will tell you all sorts of things but if you know what you want, then you know if you’ve accomplished what you desired no matter what others say.”

This stuck in my brain like a fly in honey. It wriggled around until it became fully immersed in my thoughts.

Regular, traditional publishing says you have to sell thousands of copies before a book is a success. Some say you have to make a living off of your writing and then you’re a success. Others gauge it on whether or not they’re familiar with your name, or if they’ve heard of your book before. Some point to Amazon reviews and press releases, interviews and book signings.

By many of these, I’ve a long way to go before I’ve achieved success and if I let these things define what I’m striving for, I may never reach the point where I’m satisfied with my accomplishments. Ouch.

But Success, as according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as:
  • A: degree or measure of succeeding
  • B: favorable or desired outcome; also :the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
  • C: one that succeeds

Interesting…only one part of the definition deals with ‘wealth, favor, or eminence,’ and even those have varying degrees. A and C both rely heavily on what success is defined as in the first place. So really, the ‘favorable or desired outcome’ is where we each need to focus.

What, to each one of us, is the favorable or desired outcome that defines success?

The Adventure Kickstarter ImageFor The Adventure, I think achieving my goal for the year, as I outlined in my last post, The Trap in Dreaming, defines success.

That goal, specifically stated, was: Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Thanks to the amazing backers of The Adventure Kickstarter, that goal will be accomplished November 30th. Thus, this year has been a success. Period. Dot. Done. =)

What to you is success in your own life? Don’t let others define it for you.

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

 

The Trap in Dreaming

Achieving dreams, pursuing dreams, realizing dreams.

These sound so much nicer than achieving goals, pursuing goals, realizing goals.

The former sound beautiful, exciting and empowering. The latter sound like we’re sitting in a business meeting, working.

When I post about The Adventure, it usually involves something about my ‘life dream coming true,’ and I use this vocabulary for the very connotations I just referred to.

There’s a trap in these words, however, if we’re not careful. This trap is akin to watching a magic show and believing we can Magic Sparkperform magic simply because we’ve seen it done on a stage.

Dreams, by nature, produce an end product image like the magic on the stage, beautiful and exciting. This image is necessary or we wouldn’t know what we’re striving for. But to focus solely on that end product image leaves us with just that, an unrealized image.

To achieve the actual magic show, we have to step back and accept that there are nuts and bolts behind it. These nuts and bolts are structured by goals.

This sounds very pedantic, and it is, for a reason. Dreams are images, hopes, heart concepts. Goals give us a way to achieve them.

A true goal offers something for us to grasp in order to make dreams happen.

Here’s the structure I’ve found for an achievable goal (Thanks to Michael Hyatt for most of this):

  1. Write your goal
  2. Be specific
  3. Make it measurable
  4. Make it timely
  5. Make it scary
  6. Figure out the next step

Let me explain just a bit. There’s something about seeing the dream image in words on a page. This isn’t just me. Research shows we’re 40 some-odd-percent more likely to achieve something when we write it down.

So for step 1: (Write Goal) Publish a book.The Adventure Book

Good, it’s written. But it’s incredibly broad and raises more questions than answers. What book? When? How long will it be? This scatters my brain instead of focusing it. Here’s where #2 comes into play.

Step 2: (Be Specific) Publish three of the adventure stories in book format. We’ll call it The Adventure. Even more specific, The Adventure will consist of Moonrise Mountain, Temple of Night and Wind and The Tournament.

The more specific you can be, the better.

This still doesn’t give me a gauge to work with on my progress. I could stare at that specific goal for the next 10 years and still feel like I’ve got a good goal…yet make no forward motion on it. To be able to see progress, we need to have something to measure it against.

Step 3: (Measurable) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost.

This is like saying I’m going to lose 10 pounds instead of simply saying I’m going to lose weight. I know how much. Measurable tends to be a number.

However, if I just have a number, I could work on that number as well for the next ten years. The longer something drags on, the more it becomes drudgery instead of accomplishment.

Step 4: (Timely) Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Timely gives a deadline. It tells how much has to happen, how fast, and whether it’s too much or too little. If I just say I’ll break even on the cost of The Adventure, I could be striving for that for years without making much progress.

Step 5: (Scary) This is important because of how we human beans react to things. If you aim too low, there’s nothing to excite you about it. For some reason, we crave challenge and challenge tends to be scary, but there’s a balance here. You don’t want to go so far as to make your goal impossible but you definitely don’t want to aim so low that there’s no effort involved. Make the goal an elephant, not a spider you can squish or a T-Rex that will eat you before you’ve even started.

With all that put together, all I have to do is figure out the next step, as I discussed in Eating an Elephant last week. I figure out the next step and only the next step. Once that’s done and it’s accomplished, I figure out the step after that.

According to Michael Hyatt, you shouldn’t have too many of these goals at a time or they become overwhelming. 5-10 a year is more than enough. I’ve found, for myself, 1-2 large goals per year is plenty for my brain.

So what dream do you have? What goal do you need to articulate on paper to make it happen? If you’re feeling bold, write it out below.

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

On the Doorstep of December

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Typically today would mark the start of a new adventure. We’d be wandering into the woods or ascending a marble staircase of an abandoned house or climbing a tree in search of a wise owl to ask for advise. Sorry to disappoint, but we’ve reached that time of year again.

All the leaves are moldering on the ground and the air outside’s crisp and filled with woodsmoke. By the end of the week it’ll be December. As always, I’ve no idea where the year went.

At the start of this year I had high ambitions (always do) and some of them were fulfilled. My latest novel length story, Dryad, has been edited and I’m now in the process of submitting it to agents. It’s an amazing feeling to reach that point and I’m trying to view the rejections so far as a badge of success because I can’t receive rejections if I’m not submitting. So there’s that. =)

I did not get to self publishing any of the adventures. So that is the next big project on my list. After looking over them all, I was astounded to find I’ve written over 40. It’s definitely time to see what can be done with them. (Perhaps by this time next year you’ll be able to hold a hard copy of an adventure and explore all the different endings at your leisure.)

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Although I do enjoy a good whiskey =)

But before I dig into that project, it’s time to enjoy this season. For me, December has become the time to step back and focus on family and friends, to breath and figure out what, exactly, the next year’s goals are going to be. What those goals will look like and what is required to reach them. I get so focused on just doing, that by this time of year I need to pause and reevaluate.

If you’ve read this far into this post, thanks. =) With everything that demands your attention, I appreciate your support of this blog and my writing.

If you’re in the USA, I hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful time. May your December be amazing as well. I promise the Adventure will return to brighten your days in January.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Time and 2016

Wow time moves fast anymore! Makes me think, when I’m gray in the hair, that I’ll blink and decades will pass.

Awe well, such is life, right? =)

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be intentional with right now. In fact, it just reinforces for me the need to be intentional and not let

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the things we want to accomplish slip away because time falls through the hourglass.

Looking back on 2015, I accomplished only a few of the things I wanted, particularly in writing. So to start off 2016, I’m going to take January to finish one of my 2015 goals.

That would be finishing the last edit on Dryad and getting it ready to submit. This has been my writing baby for quite some time now and it’s time to get it done!

What that means for the blog? Sadly, that means a short break. But I’ll be back in February with a bit of a surprise. Promise =)

Till then, Happy New Year! And good luck with your own goals =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Reeling In A Goal

I’m not a fisherman but I’ve been reading the Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan, so I couldn’t help myself with the title=)

Anyway, speaking of goals…

I’ve wanted to finish writing my next book for awhile. As with most goals without deadlines, it’s been more of a dream than a goal. It’s got that stupid “someday” fixed to it.

My frustration spilled over until my husband noticed. Perhaps it was the full pot of coffee and the shaking hands or maybe it was the obsessive cleaning that clued him in. I don’t know. Whatever it was, he sat me down and we set a goal with a date: End of October. I’m about 50K words into Dryad (that’s the working title) and the end of October should be doable.

Now for the second part of my frustration. I am finding my leaky sieve of a brain struggles to hold all the details from a novel length story while I’m working on other writing. So until the end of October, I’m taking a short break from writing adventures. However, I love the blogging sphere and don’t want to lose touch with everyone so my other goal is to put on a imaginary blogging backpack (it’s green and purple just in case you were wondering) and head out to find more awesomeness in the blogging world.

I’ll be sure to share the treasures I find. Watch out blogosphere, here I come=)

Blessings,

Jennifer