Tag Archives: resolutions

HAPPY BOO JEER!

Wait…

*drinks coffee*

Happy New Year!

No, I wasn’t out partying last night. I spent a quiet night in with my parents (who are visiting), my husband and my kids. Also assorted cats and dogs, and friends via Facebook.

And that’s my kind of party, really. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to start a new year off with a hangover*. Also, crowds make me uncomfortable, so parties aren’t really my thing.

No, I spent the first part of my evening making grand and impossible plans in my new desk calendar, only somewhat disappointed that I can’t use all of my new highlighters until I have a better idea of when things are going to happen.

Still, pencilling things in was GREAT fun.

It’s time for a few more plans. Not writing and publishing plans. We’ve covered those already. I’m talking about other things.

Things like:

 

Reading

These plans never work out as I want them to, but it’s worth a shot. My goal for this year is one novel and one non-fiction book a month. Not much for some, but I don’t get as much reading time as I’d like. And within that goal, I’m setting another. I want to read more books about people who aren’t like me. More people from other cultures. More people of different genders, sexual orientations, and experiences. More memoirs and autobiographies from people who have experienced things I never will. More from genres I’m less familiar with, even if I have to approach them like a kid coming at a plate of broccoli, nose pinched shut and eyes closed.

We only get to live one life, but through reading we can experience more of the world, gain empathy for those with different experiences, and hopefully learn to love other people more fully.

Also, I just think it will be more interesting this way.

 

Blogging

I’m going to get back to WIPpet Wednesdays as soon as I can, and continue to avoid spoilers as much as possible. It might not be every week, especially through January and February, as getting Torn edited and out in March is the top priority.

I’m going to get to every post on those weeks I participate and read, like, and possibly comment. If I don’t have time to read, I don’t have time to participate.

I’m going to spend more time reading blogs, both those I learn from and those of people who comment here. You’re all important to me, and I feel like I’ve been so busy this year that I’ve done a bad job of visiting. I’ll be better about that.

I’m also going to start re-blogging some of my older posts that as still amusing, relevant, or worth reading. I now have several years’ worth of posts, and I don’t expect anyone to go back and find the good ones.

Should be fun. We might do that on Mondays.

 

Productivity

This is kind of work-related, but sort of not. My big goal in this area is to learn to focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. If I’m working, I want to be immersed in that, not jumping back and forth between that, Facebook, Twitter, doing the dishes, checking e-mail, etc. When I’m with my family, I’m going to try to focus on them, not on my phone.

I want to be present in what I’m doing.

Some of you know how hard this is for me. My brain seems to be wired to crave distraction. I can’t just be where I am. I have to be planning something for work, or imagining another time and place, or working through a plot issue, or considering the pros and cons of a book promotion. I can barely focus on a real-life conversation because I itch to grab my phone and check social media, even though I know there’s nothing there that can’t wait.

I would rather scroll through Facebook posts I have no interest in than do something productive. I feel anxious if I’m cut off from any of my distractions.

It’s not a fun way to live. It is an addiction, and I’m having a hard time breaking it. I’d go cold-turkey off of social media, but my job doesn’t currently allow for that.

So I guess I fight it. I put the phone away when I’m at home, and hope my husband isn’t trying to text me when I can’t hear it. I turn the internet connection off when I’m working, even though I find word sprints with friends motivating. I’ll set timers for tasks, and try to focus.

Maybe I blog less, because that’s the work I’m able to do when the kids are home.

I will *gulp* try to focus on playing with the kids.

I’m not a bad mom, but I really hate playing trucks. :/

 

Health

Yeah. Okay. I did better in 2014 than in 2013 or any year before that. Even in the winter, I got the dog out for regular walks when I was able. My bad back (and newly developed hip pain–yes, I am eighty years old, thanks for asking) made that impossible for weeks on end, but I always got back to it.

I can do better. This year I’m going to start waking up earlier to do yoga or pilates in the morning (the only things I can think of that don’t get me all sweaty. I hate sweating). I wake early anyway and generally spend 30 minutes in bed before I get up. That’s another bad habit I need to break.

Also… Ugh, I hate to think about it, but I’m going to go to the doctor. It’s been *mumble mumble* years since I saw anyone about my headaches. Back then, there wasn’t much they could do for me. My brain scan showed nothing (ba-dump-PSSSHT!), and migraine medications knock me out far more than is acceptable for someone who’s responsible for small children.

So it’s Advil, tea, naps, and not much fun.

But maybe there’s something they can do now. New drugs, or better yet, some suggestion on things in my life I can change as a preventive measure.

As long as it’s not cutting out caffeine, we’re cool. I’m scared that someone will suggest cutting something else out of my diet, but I’ll try almost anything.

I should also ask about why it frequently feels like there’s ground-up glass in my right hip, because that’s an almost-literal pain in the ass.

 

Moving

Yeah, I have to put this one in this year. My husband has a good job, but it does mean we have to move every 3-5 years. This spring will mark three years here, and it’s half-past time to scoot. We’re still waiting to hear where they’re sending us (NOT a fun wait), but it’s going to happen.

When the time comes, I’m going to be more organized about packing. I’m not going to freak out if we have to buy our first house**. Above all… I’m going to try to make friends.

After almost three years here, I have two local friends (for reasons not worth going into here). In our next community I’m going to reach out more to neighbours, get involved at the school… anything else will depend on where we are, but I’m going to make an effort.

It’s a start.

 

So tell me: What are your grand plans for this year? Any suggestions on learning to focus (without drugs that inhibit creativity, please!)? What’s on your reading list for the year?

 

 

 

*But hey, whatever floats your boat. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, have fun with that!

**Yes, I am. I totally am. Hold me.

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…And Now For The Fun Bits

Not those fun bits. Get your mind out of the gutter.

No, this is the annual post where I make big, ridiculous plans and you can all laugh at me next December. Hooray! We’ll make it a huge event: The Chastisement of the Over-Ambitious and Obviously Deluded Author.

Tickets available now. Get ’em while they’re hot!

Let’s make it good.

*drumroll*

There’s a short story coming as soon as e-book distribution thingies are back from the holiday break. That is, if anyone’s interested in something set almost 20 years before Bound… nothing important happened back then, right? Nah.

We’re going to have a novel that one or two of you have been waiting for. Some kind of a sequel… thing. Torn something something? Yeah, that one.

That’s going to be coming in March. My priority is always going to be quality over speed, but I feel like we can at least have the e-book out by then. I’ll keep you posted.

I will be a giant ball of nerves and stress. You might not see much of me through February.

Then there will be a cover reveal, a first chapter reveal, pre-orders, a launch party on Facebook, giveaways, guest posts, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff.*

So that’ll take us through March.

After Torn is out, it’s back to work for me. Book 3 is drafted, but I’ve just had a bunch of ideas on how to improve it, and this means minor-to-major rewrites. And then there’s everything else that comes after that: beta readers, revisions, editing, etc.

But I’m going to go out on another limb here and say that it’s going to be out before the end of 2015. November. Early. Possibly sooner, but October seems like a terrible month to release a book. We’ll see how it goes.

Does that seem like a long way off to you? Trust me, it doesn’t from where I’m standing. It seems like a huge, crazy goal that’s going to require me to somehow break my distraction addiction.

And in the times when that one is resting or with readers or in editing, I’ll be working on a completely different project. I want four novellas starring a certain vampire that you’ve met before ready to go (or at least ready for editing) by the end of the year. I’m planning a big release of the whole shebang in 2016. But more on that later next year.

I’d tell you what I’ll be working on while those are being published, but it’s too nebulous, too uncertain, and quite frankly too exciting to share right now.

This post is, after all, about 2015.

So, to recap:

  • short story
  • publish Torn
  • party party party party
  • publish ______ (almost said it!)
  • party party party party
  • write a handful of novellas in another genre
  • more partying and/or anxiety

And of course we’ll continue to have fun here. There’s a 95% chance I’ll be moving in the spring, and even if it’s hell for me, I’ll share whatever adventures we encounter along the way in the most amusing way possible. In the summer we’ll take some more trips (Fogo Island was fun, right? Guys?), and along the way we’ll have more promotions and cover reveals for Authors Who Are Not Me.

And the mini aquarium! So fun.

And the mini aquarium! Remember? So fun.

On a serious note… I can’t even begin to tell you guys how thankful I am to have had you all in my life this past year. Those of you who have been around for a while gave me the encouragement and kind words I needed to actually push my little project out the door. Some of you went ahead of me and weren’t afraid to talk about your writing and publishing journeys, and I thank you for that. Those of you who have come more recently are the readers I’m doing this for, and your messages, comments, and enthusiasm mean everything to me.

I’m going to stop before I get sniffly. Somebody must be cutting onions over here.

So there we go. Maybe my goals don’t sound like a lot. Maybe they sound insane. But this is what they are.

There are other things in the works… top secret things. But we’ll discuss those another time.

*evil laugh*

*more evil laugh*

*coughing fit*

 

—-

*If you have a blog and would like to help host the cover reveal, release news, an interview, or just about anything else that relates to the book and does not involve embarrassing photos or videos of me**, please let me know! kate.sparkes (at) live (dot) ca

**We can totally post them of you, though.


Big Plans, Big Plans…

someecards.com - It may be the antidepressants talking, but I'm feeling somewhat optimistic about 2014.

WARNING: I am writing this on New Year’s Eve, while on drugs. Pain pills and muscle relaxants for my back, to be precise. This is not a problem for most people. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m viewing the world through a fluffy tunnel made of pink cotton batting. It’s happy in here, but somewhat confusing.

Also, I have a hot water bottle shoved in my pants that’s giving me a lovely Quasimodo look, and I’m shuffling around like my great-grandmother did when she was nearing 100. THIS IS SO HOT.

Still, I said I was going to do a New Year’s goal setting post, so here we go. If it doesn’t all make sense, well, there’s always tomorrow to revise.

Professional Goals

My word of the year for 2014 is going to be… (drumroll please): Decisiveness.

Is that a word? That looks wrong.

Decisive. Hmm. Spell-check is cool with it. Maybe we should go with “commitment?”

In the past (like, right now), I’ve been afraid to commit to anything serious. I don’t like taking risks. I like to know I can back out of things without too much fuss or embarrassment if I change my mind. Really, it’s a wonder I ever got married. If I take on a challenge or a big project, I do so fairly quietly. I try to keep my investment in most things to a minimum, and downplay their importance so as to avoid the pain of losing when I give up or fail.

I like to have an easy out, is what I’m saying.

This is going to be the year I get over that. I’m going to dive into the deep end. In March (and I have reasons for this timing), I will have reached the point of no return. I will change my Facebook profile name to match my professional name. If people ask why, I’ll tell them. And I’ll add a job to my profile there, and set up an author page (much good it’ll do me; Facebook seems to be making things difficult for pages, and I hope most people will add me as a friend as well as following that).

I will announce a book release date.

I will work my ass off and get a book out.

And another one.

Two books in 2014 is the goal. For some people, that’s nothing. Some people can release six or 12 novels in a year. I can’t, for various reasons. But two, both of which I’m already working on, seems reasonable.

I will manage my time, set deadlines, and get this done. I know what I want, and for once in my life I’m going to take some risks to get it.

(It’s kind of crazy how things change. Last night I was reading a journal entry from a year ago, when I was stressing about writing a perfect query letter and hoping to get an agent. Now my goals have completely changed, and I’ve decided that path’s not for me. Never would have called that. I guess in light of that, my other word for the year should be flexibility. It’s worked well so far, and in the changing and increasingly challenging landscape of independent/author publishing, it’s absolutely necessary.)

Personal Goals

I think my big personal goal will be to get organized. I probably said that last year, too. But I feel like maybe, if I can focus on work during half-days when the kids are both at school, I should be able to keep household stuff under control. My work time used to be whenever I could grab it, which meant I was always scattered, and always thinking I should be doing something else. Now there might be a chance of focusing, if I can break the habit of checking e-mail and Twitter, etc. every ten minutes.

Okay, every four minutes. Jeez, you guys see right through me, don’t you?

I’ll have three hours a day to myself when kindergarten is in morning sessions (January, March, May), one and a half hours when they’re on afternoons. It will take some planning and a lot of co-operation from the kids, but I should be able to get 8-10 work hours in per week, and then do groceries, exercise, meal planning, and house cleaning during the other daytime hours, leaving evenings to relax and do some research and reading of blogs and books. Work time will be writing, formatting, and other book-ish stuff, plus whatever promotional…

Ugh, I’m screwed, right?

Well, I wasn’t planning on making it big on my first book, anyway. In September both kids will be in school all day (but home for lunch), so I’ll be able to do more promotional stuff when the second book comes out. The writing part is more important.

Wait, this section was personal goals, wasn’t it? *scoops brain off of floor, puts back in head*

Read a novel a week, plus a business/craft book every two weeks. Plan all suppers, grocery shop once a week. Make time to help with the kids’ homework every day, and read them a story before bed. Learn to be more patient, somehow. Get into a routine. Keep the house clean. If I can’t get over my telephone-related anxiety, at least enlist help from AJ and get those calls made somehow. Get a chiropractor. Floss teeth every day. Spend less time on things that aren’t important.

Good enough?

My head is spinning. I’m not sure if that’s the drugs or the future. I’m guessing the drugs. I’m not drinking, but I may spend New Year’s Eve passed out on the floor after all. WOOHOO, PARTY!


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