I set a task for myself this week, which was to create a list of goals for 2018. It was to be a short list, in order of priority, that would give focus to my time and energy going forward.
Given my penchant to fritter away the time, I thought this would be an important and useful exercise.
There is nothing better than a crisp to-do list to motivate my writing. The key is for the words "spend time writing" to appear nowhere on the list. This cannot be overstated. If the word "write" is on the list, I will not lay down a single word.
Circling back...I set myself the task of writing a list this week, and so far, I haven't got a thing. I draw a complete blank.
What are my goals? My priorities? What do I want to do with my life? My time?
HOW AND WHY CAN I NOT ANSWER THESE SIMPLE QUESTIONS?
Okay, don't panic. Let's just brainstorm, and list every single stupid idea that comes to mind:
1. Revise my manuscript over and over again, all year long.
2. Write a young adult novel based on my manuscript. Revise, write, repeat.
3. Self-publish and promote my manuscript as is, without assurances of any kind.
4. Put the manuscript aside, and find as much freelance work as possible. Make money!
5. Read 10 great novels and then revise manuscript for the rest of the year.
6. Read 10 great young-adult novels, and then write a young adult novel.
7. Ride horses in all weather, like a rancher in Montana.
8. Learn how to paint trees and birds; develop a portfolio of Wisconsin-inspired Chinoiserie; take pictures of a wall that I paint over and over; develop a website; market myself as a Chinoiserie free-hand wall artist.
9. Immerse myself in politics. Figure out who's who at the state and local level, and how I might support the effort without texting, phoning, emailing, or knocking on doors. Maybe I could help research, write or edit speeches. Maybe I could collect signatures or bake cookies....
10. Is it too late to go to law school?
11. Is it too late to go to circus camp?
12. Is it too late to learn how to sew and draw and design clothes that I'll never have occasion to wear?
13. Write and revise short stories. Submit them to publications for rejection.
14. Write and revise a screenplay. Submit to agencies for rejection.
15. Write romance novels. (No, don't.)
16. Keep a clean house.
17. Focus on diet and yoga.
18. Go blonde. Dare myself to dress in fashion, no matter how awful I look in high-waisted skinny pants, or how painful the shoes.
19. Find my inner something. Peace, maybe, or some countervailing need that requires therapy. Make it a year of self-discovery. (No, don't.)
20. Make money with photography. Get a real camera. Figure out how it works. Take the Annie Leibowitz Master Class. Network like crazy. See where that leads and take pictures of it.
21. Be the best darn wife and mother I can be! Make wonderful meals, volunteer for everything, cut out coupons, decorate seasonally.
22. Learn how to groom the poodle and trim the horses' feet. Keep the dogs' claws neatly clipped. Brush my pets' teeth daily (5 cats, 3 dogs, 2-and-a-half horses. That will occupy my time!)
23. Read all my email and maintain no more than 50 messages in my in-box at one time. (I currently have 2,908.)
24. Socialize more! Do lunch! Have coffee! Meet other mothers! Have people over for dinner two or three nights a week!
25. Become a Packers fan. Figure out March Madness and fantasy football. Go, Badgers!
26. Audition for a part with the Straw Hat Players (local drama troupe). Enroll in improv, flamenco, and belly-dancing classes. See where that leads and take pictures of it. (No, don't.)
27. Have a Groupon year! Go to wine tastings, brewery tours, spas, tanning salons, ballroom dancing, zip-lines, water parks, Olive Garden, dinner shows...!
28. Research my ancestry, submit cheek scrapings, learn how to draw a family tree for posterity--with added birds, for Chinoiserie.
29. Attempt to renew relationships with old friends over the phone. Face-time them. Better yet, show up at the house unannounced! ( :
30. Plan an exotic trip, how to pay for it, and what to do with three geriatric dogs. Add up all the points and miles on my credit cards and see how far that gets me!
31. Develop a profitable pyramid scheme!
32. Turn over a leaf of some kind.
This has been helpful. Thank you. I've come up with a lot of ideas! Now, I just need to refine my priorities and whittle this list down to two or three main goals for 2018.
If you have better ideas, please write them under "Comments." I'm open to suggestions until midnight tonight, when the list MUST be finalized so that everything can snap neatly into place for 2018! (Yay!)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! No pressure at all!