Drop-kick me, Odin, through the goal posts of life*

Cat with a manual typewriter.When I set my goals for the year, I said I’d do regular check-ins. And for the first ten months I did. I wound up not posting an update on my goals in the first week of November because during November I was working on NaNoWriMo, determined to get 50,000 words into the next novel in that month. Since last year I had posted two or three updates on my NaNoWriMo progress during the month, I figured I would do the same this year, and maybe sneak in a little bit about the over all goals.

But I only did two updates about my NaNoWriMo progress, and neither of them talked about the rest of the goals.

I tried to set very concrete steps for achieving my goals. Inspired by a friend’s suggestion, I tried to identify a better habit to replace each bad habit. So, here’s the check-in for both October and Novemeber:

Goal: Reduce the outrage.

Step: Listen to the Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me podcast once a week, limit the amount of time I read news during work breaks. I added a step of listening the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcasts (aka the H.P. Podcraft) whenever I felt I was spending too much time obsessing over events in the news. And there have been a lot of those.

Progress: In October I listened to all of the Wait, Wait… episodes, but a let a couple of them queue up at least once, so that I didn’t listen each week. I listened to a bunch of the H.P. Podcraft episodes. I also listened to music a lot.

November was weird in many ways. Between the weird gout issues, trying to put all of my spare time into NaNoWriMo, and some unexpected changes at work, things were just odd. I didn’t listen to Wait, Wait… hardly at all, instead I found myself downloading a lot of episodes of the Savage Lovecast, which isn’t necessarily a way to avoid outrage, because if there is any big LGBT-related news going on, Dan Savage (sex advice columnist and gay rights activist) winds up venting a bit about it before he gets into answering people’s questions about sex, relationships, et cetera.

I feel as if I am spending less time being outraged at crazy things in the news, though since I will surely always be a news junkie, I’ll never get that down to zero.

Goal: Write more regularly.

Step: Spend the reclaimed break time writing. Find other ways to motivate myself to write rather than twiddle the keys.

Progress: In my end-of-September progress report, I set some very concrete writing tasks. Here’s the list, with the results:

  • Wrap up edits on a story to post on my writing site and post it. I did not quite finish that before getting sucked into NaNoWriMo.
  • Complete story to submit to the REDACTED. Although I really would have liked to get something published in a new place, the topic restrictions on this particular solicitation were just a little too specific for what I wanted to write, just now. But I did write something else that I now need to start shopping around.
  • Complete submission for NAF. Done!
  • Complete outlines and other preliminary work for this year’s NaNoWriMo project. Done! Done! Done!
  • Complete the loose ends on the two novels in edit so I can completely ignore them for a month without worrying. I got the things that were nagging at me most to a state where I wouldn’t be distracted wanting to fix a few more things during November.

So, not bad.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.18.21 PMNovember the goal was to write at least 50,000 words of the third novel in the series. I did that, and went a little bit past it, hitting 52,548 words by the end of November. Not quite as awesome as last year’s 58,000+, but still, I exceeded the goal! And at the moment, I’m pretty happy with where the story is, even though I’m only about halfway through the book, and there are a few entire scenes I think I will be cutting.

Goal: See friends for fun more, as opposed to all of my social interactions being driven by various projects.

Step: I tried to just plan a few things.

Progress: I don’t feel like this went well, at all. Because of illness (or pseudo-illness, when one isn’t sure one is sick, but doesn’t want to expose friends to the possible bug) I cancelled a gaming session, skipped a party, and backed out of one other event. We did manage to have the first get-together of the second gaming group, and I think everyone else had as much fun as I did, so that was good. Bonus that the group consists mostly of some friends I don’t see as regularly as I’d like.

On the other hand, I got to spend a lot of time on Thanksgiving with Mom. More time just talking, less time dealing with everyone’s stuff.

Goal: Paint, draw, and make music.

Step: Go to the Drink ‘n’ Draw gathers. Set aside some time to sketch each week.

Progress: The Drink ‘n’ Draws have faded away, alas. Except given how the rest of my schedule went, I don’t think it would matter.

I did a teensy bit of sketching in October. I tried to finish a song I started writing months ago, but it’s not quite done, yet.

Sum-up: It was a mixed bag. On the writing front I has some big wins, and I’m not wasting as much time and energy ranting about horrible things in the world that I can’t do much about. My other goals have continued to be fulfilled in only a spotty way, at best. But, I got a lot of writing done.

December Tasks:Listing my specific tasks seemed to work well for October. So, here they are for December:

  • Post that story on my writing site.
  • Finish decorating the house.
  • Complete a Christmas Ghost Story before the Holiday Party.
  • Host the Holiday Party.
  • Write up the promised feedback to Mom on her NaNoWriMo project.
  • Prioritize and finish the edits on Book 1.
  • Get some revision done on Book 2.
  • Write at least a couple scenes for Book 3.

* If you don’t recognize the allusion, you’re probably a lucky person who didn’t grow up in a sub-culture where Bobby Bare, Sr.’s 1976 song, “Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life” was considered a minor hit. If you’ve never heard the song, you absolutely should not click the link, it will scar you. You have been warned.

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