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“Advent” project – help needed

So a few years ago I read something somewhere online about a cute thing for your kids – you get 24 children’s books and wrap them up and then each day of advent your kid picks a book to open and read. They could be books from your shelves, new books, all Christmas themed, whatever. Just 24 books, wrapped, and the kid picks.

And let me tell you, I loved that idea. I loved that idea so much, that I thought to myself, “Self, you need to write yourself a collection of books that you could sell as a package, except maybe they’re for adults, and maybe they come pre-wrapped, but they’re definitely 24 separate books.”

And that general idea has been swimming around in my head for several years. Sometimes I forget about it for a while. Usually I remember sometime between late October and early December when it’s too late.

This year, I’ve remembered in February.

So I’m starting to brainstorm this idea. Will it be novel-length, 30,000-80,000 word pieces? The answer to that is oh so very probably not. I’ve been stuck lately. Badly stuck. When I have managed to write, I haven’t been finishing. It sucks, and I hate it. So it will likely be short stories – 3,000-10,000 word things. Possible to write in the time available while A) pushing my current habits to grow into new ones, and B) keeping my sanity.

They will all need to fit the general theme of “advent“, since I’d like to market them as a lead-up to Christmas gift. They’ll need to be long enough – somehow – to merit publishing each one as an individual paperback, because even though I don’t think many people will want to buy 24-27 paperbacks for a Christmas gift. They’ll absolutely be available as a collection, too – paperback and ebook.

So here’s where I’d like some input.

I have a page full of words I associate with Christmas, Advent, and the holidays – probably 50 or so. Most are positive, some are just objects, and some are negative.

I would love it if you could help me add to my list.

I only have my experiences to draw on, and they are fairly average. I know not everyone has picture perfect holiday experiences and associations, and not everyone has the Christian background with the December holidays that I do. If you’re able and willing to drop a list of a few words in the comments (or more than a few words, to be honest), I’d appreciate it. The inspiration would be greatly appreciated.

I hope to start writing my stories soon – maybe not this week, but soon – and I hope to be done by July or August. Don’t be afraid to share words that are negative, and don’t feel like you need to explain anything to me.

Thank you! <3

January status

January didn’t go well.

I mean, it kind of did. I wrote a very short piece of fiction and posted it on the blog. I had a birthday and lived through it. My two kids are awesome and my family is as healthy as usual, and I got to spend some time with friends.

But I failed both with moving 20 minutes a day and writing 30 minutes a day every day of January. I hit maybe five days total. Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds like every single story I’ve heard from disenchanted New Year’s Resolution-setters, and it is not unfamiliar to me, either.

Here’s the thing, though. I failed, but I also succeeded. I went for several really great walks which felt amazing, and I haven’t done that in a really long time. I didn’t do it every day, but I did it a few times, and it was good. I wrote a bit more on a story I had thought would be done by Christmas, and those are words that my undiagnosed, depression-prone head wouldn’t have otherwise cared about getting done.

So a fail, but a win.

I’m going to not think about February tomorrow until February hits tomorrow, because today was enough.

What I will say is this: write more and move more are still good goals.

<3

2019 Wishlist

The first couple weeks of January have gone by, and we are officially past the halfway point.

Woo!

I’ve been thinking about the two goals I set for January, but am having a hard time keeping up with them. Nothing particular is getting in my way except myself and my own lack of willpower. I’m currently listening to The Power Of Habit and I’m learning some interesting things that might help me get back on track.

Enough about what’s not working, and get to the point, Nicki.

Okay!

I was watching to one of the many YouTube creators I’m subscribed to, and one person had a massive list of goals for last year, and I really enjoyed listening to her list the goals and add a Swedish-accented, “Check!” after each one. And really, I do have more than just two huge goals I want to accomplish. Maybe they won’t all happen this year, but also maybe if I don’t verbalize them, they’ll never happen.

And maybe I’m just generally full of crap. But I’m still going to share the list I made – here we go!

Random List of Things I’d Like to Do Someday so Why Not Now?

  • Start a YouTube channel
  • Read a book every week
  • Take a day off every month just for myself
  • Create a daily visual art habit
  • Do/Start a 365 Challenge
  • Finish my portion of the Jackman T book
  • Create a coloring book
  • Write 20 books in a year
  • Quit my day job
  • Get G’pa’s rose tattoed somewhere
  • Build a cat-proof Christmas tree
  • “KonMari” my things
  • Learn enough Yoga so I can practice in my living room
  • Do the A-Z Challenge in April
  • Publish my 2019 A-Z Challenge in May
  • Replace the living room sofa with a comfortable futon
  • Create a daily meditation habit
  • Go to one party at Sunshine’s house
  • Go to Diva’s summer party

I could go into detail on these, but maybe I’ll do that once I accomplish them. And they might not all happen this year, but what if they did? That would be pretty damn amazing.

I think I need to spend some time with this list. Do you have any suggestions for what I should add to it?

Thank you! <3

Goal 01R:2019 – Write More Words

Oh, hello there! I’m so glad you came back to read more – or that you found my blog and decided to start here!

It’s officially 2019! And with a bit of hemming and hawing; researching and borrowing of ideas; thought and letting the wine think for me; I have decided on how to make progress with my Write More Words goal for the year.

In the process of deciding what my goal should be now, I also came up with some ideas for future goals, such as daily word count goals, writing X novels in X days, and writing X short stories in X days.

But since my 2018 was fairly wordless, I am going to start simply in 2019 to get myself back on track. So for the first 31 days of 2019, my goal is to:

write for 30 minutes each day and end up with one publishable piece of any length.

January 1-31, 2019

Which I think is 1) very reasonable, 2) pushing myself to develop a daily habit, and 3) provides ample space to expand and do more.

Staying Accountable

To stay accountable, I will be posting on Twitter once I get my 30 minutes accomplished, maybe with an actual time written and a word count for the session. Cheers would be lovely, as well as check-ins to see how I’m doing, if you’re feeling so inclined.

Falling Off Track

So what happens if I fail and miss a day of writing, or don’t make time for the full 30 minutes?

I try again the next day.

I think about why I didn’t get 30 minutes of time – was I “just not into it”? Poor time management? Not waking early enough? And once I can pin down what happened, I work to eliminate that as an excuse the next day.

I don’t scratch the entire goal as a failure. I don’t beat myself up. I don’t delete the blog and go into hiding. (I’ve done these things, and they don’t help anything.)

So that is the plan! Help keep me on track, if you’d like, on my twitter – @nivixious. I’ll probably end up making a progress post or two here, as I really, really like blogging. Oh! And 30 minutes of blogging is not going to cut it, by the way. I’ve tracked my blog and fiction words in the past, and it felt like blogging “counted”. But since part of the goal is to end up with a publishable piece, nope. No blogging toward the goal.

I’m going to follow up on my Move More goal in a separate post, maybe tomorrow, so feel free to check in for that!

Thank you! <3

Goal 01F:2019 – Move More

I just finished my first goal for Write More Words post, and decided it was a good time to dive into the same post for Move More.

Hi! Welcome!

So exercise is something I have done successfully in the past. I’ve been able to lose some weight by following Body for Life and Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds, I’ve kept regular trips to the gym in my schedule, and I’ve gone for morning walks.

But…okay, so maybe “successfully” is an overstatement. And “regular” would be for a couple months, and then not.

So I have exercised in the past, is what I’m getting at.

But since I really want to move more, I need an actual “regular” habit, and since I have very little habit going right now in movement, for this first goal I’m starting there.

Move for 20 minutes each day

January 1-31, 2019

I had on there “and end up with a daily habit”, but there’s really not any bonus content here. I just really want to move for 20 minutes. And I’m not going to limit myself to a particular exercise, since I really just need to start moving. Most likely my exercise will be walking, but it could also include yoga. I’m not shucking out any money for this right now, so I will not be renewing any gym memberships or buying new anything. I’ll be doing everything in the jeans and yoga pants and hole-riddled sneakers that I already own.

So if you read my Write More Words goal post for January, then you’ve seen the ways in which I’ll keep myself accountable already, and please forgive me for repeating them.

Staying Accountable

Again, Twitter – @nivixious. Also, since I love taking photos, I’ll try to get a good photo to post there from my walk or whatever way I decide to move. Maybe a YouTube link if that’s what ends up happening.

Falling Off Track

And again, there’s no beating myself up if I miss a day, especially since I know that if I miss an outside walk, or if it’s cold, I can do it inside in front of my TV while watching a video. But even if that doesn’t happen, I just pick up and start again the next day. I may not even keep track of my failures in terms of “I missed X days this month” because focusing on the negative is a really great way to get me to give up on things. (I am a bit of a perfectionist. You may not have known that.)

It’s a pretty simple plan because I want it to be so easy that there’s no way I can avoid doing it.

An interesting side note

I was talking about this goal with my kids before I went out to actually accomplish my goal for the day. I was saying how I’d done the Walk Away the Pounds program, and I still had the book. I actually pulled the book off the shelves, and then was bummed that the DVD wasn’t inside. (For some reason I expected the book to be in a paper envelope stuck to the back cover.) I thought about trying to order another copy of the DVD, but then went for my walk and forgot about that urge (thankfully).

And then I got back from my walk (which was chilly and my ears got cold, but it was otherwise nice), and I went back to YouTube (because I’m on a kick lately to consume as much creator content as possible for some reason) to finish the video I’d started about a woman who’d lost a bunch of weight, and then I started looking for other things to watch, and do you know what I found?

Leslie Sansone of Walk Away the Pounds has a YouTube channel.

What you focus on expands.

Ninja Selling

Thank you! <3

Things I Want

I wrote down on a piece of paper (that I cannot find) my two overriding goals that will govern my 2019. I hesitate to call them goals specifically for 2019 because these goals go farther than that. “They” – and by that I mean the people who encourage abundance mindsets whose messages I tend to resonate with – say you can have whatever you want, and you shouldn’t limit yourself to what you think you can have.

However, I find it useful to have a bit more realistic expectations, so my goals are lifetime goals.

Be Rich, and Be Fit

Money might not buy happiness, but it pays the bills. And when bills are causing most of my stress, money sure as fuck seems like happiness. I would like to be the kind of rich that has a year’s worth of expenses in a saving’s account. I would like to be the kind of rich that has enough money to not need to worry about retirement. I would like to be the kind of rich that can donate to causes that make people in my financial position right now fall off the rails and lose everything because yes – choosing between health insurance and food and rent is real and can ruin your life.

I used to want to be skinny. I wanted to be thigh-gap model skinny, flat stomach at all times skinny, popular girl skinny. It’s not that my goals have changed, exactly, but I’m 40, and turning 41 in a few days. I might yet get to be all of those things, but today I want to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. I want to walk 10,000 steps per day. I want to enjoy 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity. (I want people at the office to stop asking me if I’m all right because my face is beet red and I’m sweating after helping to set up an event. Yes, I’m fine – right now, I’m just fat.)

So – how am I going to accomplish these two goals? I’m so glad you asked.

To become Rich, I need to bring more money into our household. There are a couple ways that can be done – sell stuff (goods or services), or win the lottery. Since I don’t play the lottery, that second method isn’t valid. But I can sell goods and services.

I’ve worked for a transcription company in the past year, and that’s an option, but what I’d rather do is sell stories. To sell stories, I need to write stories. I need to stop worrying about whether what I’m writing is meeting the rules I have in my head that other people want to read or with think is worthy, and start writing things I like to write. I really believe that there is an audience for whatever I enjoy writing – there are simply too many readers in the world to have me be the only person who enjoys reading about sentient cats.

So the first task on my list for 2019 is: write more words.

Then offer the words for sale. And then hope people buy them. But basically, write the words.

To become Fit, I have several options which include moving more, eating less, making better food and beverage choices, and restricting calories. Of all of these options, I think moving more is my best bet, although portion control and better choices will have to play a part eventually.

This makes the second task on my list for 2019: move more.

“Write more words” and “move more” = goals/resolutions for next year!

Now that I’ve set them, I have to nail down exactly how to accomplish them.

Thank you! <3

Goal-ing

I really wanted to have a well-written, researched, and sound post about my 2019 goals. It turns out, however, that I blog like I write fiction – from the seat of my pants. Everything else ends up feeling forced and fake. So, having done quite a bit of prep for this, I’m going to keep what stuck in my brain, and the rest…

Oops.

So this is about setting my 2019 goals. There are plenty of blog posts by others on how to do it, there are workbooks walking you through what you should pay attention to, and so on and so forth. I’ve been saturated with information for several weeks now, and I’ve made some progress on my own.

Knowing where I stand has been pretty important for me. If I want to improve things, I ought to know where the starting line is. I’ve collected some of that information in workbooks, notebooks, and my brain, but since I want visitors to the blog to hold me accountable, I’ll be laying it out here in just a moment.

Knowing where I want to go is also kind of critical. Clearly the definition of a goal is to have a finish line, but it has to be more than “lose weight”, “write more”, and “parent better”. Measurable goals are critical for success – that’s something everyone is saying. And I’m totally guilty of setting New Year’s Resolutions that don’t do that, so I’m going to fix that.

Knowing how to get it done, or creating a plan, will help me succeed. I’m trying to remind myself that it doesn’t need to be so strict that missing a day or approaching something from a different angle shouldn’t completely derail me. That’s a bad habit of mine, too. I need to allow for mistakes, slow starts, and also for over-achievement moments.

Most importantly, knowing why I want to achieve my goals is going to help keep me on track. Goals are super easy to set. “I’m going to go to the gym every day this year” is not only a goal I’ve made (more than once), but also one I’ve failed every single time. There was never a Why glaring at me when I hit snooze on the alarm that was persuasive enough to get me out of bed anyway.

So that’s the plan. Figure out where I stand currently, set measurable goals, create a plan to accomplish the goals, and making sure there’s a “why am I doing this” for each one that’s meaningful and personal to me to keep me motivated.

Technically, setting goals for 2019 is in itself a goal. Let’s just buzz through the process quickly, eh?

Where do I stand?

I have no current goals, so I guess this is kind of a null entry. I have those vague things in my head – I need to write more, I need to move more, I need to make more money – but no real action items to get them accomplished aside from “Make better plans for 2019.” Which I’m working on right now, actually!

Where do I want to go?

I want to have a list of measureable goals with due dates and processes to get them each accomplished. I want to include goals for my health and for my business. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with goals that I think I should set but don’t actually feel like I need. There will be no guilting myself into doing something because I “should”. And I want to have a plan that feels acceptable set up by the first weekend in January.

How am I going to get it done?

I’m going to post the plans here on my blog. I am going to take a bit of time every day to make progress. I’m not going to beat myself up if there’s not time to work on it when I ought to be doing something else (family or work obligations), which means I need to make time for it in the mornings (like now!) when I have some time to myself.

Why?

Because I like the idea of having goals to govern my decisions and choices. Because I like to start a new year with new plans. Because I want to set a good example for my kids. Because I want to live the next four years with purpose and increased income.

So that’s it, I think! I’ll come back with more details soon.

Thank you! <3