The start of a new year is like a blank slate, and we don’t know what will be written upon it. Even if we don’t hold that winning lottery ticket, there are loads of things we can engrave on it. My writerly pals and I are sharing our hopes – on the writing road and in our family life – for 2019 in our #Gr8Blog hop: “What I Want to Accomplish in 2019 Even if I Don’t Win the Lottery.” Please have a read, and then visit the other #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of this post for more smiles and inspiration.
When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, my parents always held a big New Year’s Eve party at our house each year. They’d invite over lots of other family friends with kids our ages, and we’d play games all evening–ice breakers, silly competitions, team games. We’d eat traditional foods that were said to bring good luck and harmony for the coming year–a giant, homemade pretzel bread my mom would bake, pork sausages, black-eyed peas and the like. And then we’d go outside and bang on pots and pans, maybe throw a little confetti, when the clock finally struck “midnight”.
See, my mother always made sure we first celebrated with a 9 o’clock “midnight” so the little ones weren’t left out. And while the adults stayed up partying on through the real midnight, we kids didn’t mind dozing off on the couch by 10pm because we’d already had our fun.
Another tradition my family always had around this time was going through the calendar to look at the year in review. My mom would, quite literally, pull the calendar off the wall and start going through it, month by month as we all gathered around the table, chatting. It would always be well-marked with birthdays, trips, special events, school plays, holidays, parties, sports games, and all other activities in which my sisters and I and our parents partook, all of them scribbled in on the square boxes. We’d talk about our favorite and most memorable moments throughout the year. It was a great way to look back and appreciate what we’d done, how far we’d come.
Then the discussion would always move on to our New Year’s resolutions. Mine often involved trying out daring new things like a particular vegetable, or remembering to make my bed every day. Earth-shattering, right? But even though I was only taking things step by step, as I grew up, I kept trying out new things, creating beneficial habits, and stepping a little further outside of my comfort zone, until eventually, I realized that setting a series of smaller, very achievable, goals actually caused me to set larger and larger goals. I went on to achieve the larger ones because, well, I had found the confidence of achieving plenty of smaller ones, so the bigger ones didn’t seem so big.
Add to this that I’ve become a list-maker over the course of my life. I thrive on lists—can’t function without them. Crossing off the things I finish feels like a reward to me. And I’d never keep track of everything if it weren’t written (or typed) down. Sometimes I even write something on my list that I’d been trying to get to right before I get to it—just so I can cross it off!
Some would call me very organized, and I am at some things. But take a look in my kitchen junk drawer and you might think otherwise. Still, I’ve found that making lists helps me to stay focused.
What does that have to do with New Year’s resolutions? Well, I organize my New Year’s resolutions not in terms of things I want to change about myself or my life, but in terms of what I would like to accomplish each year, even if I don’t win the lottery. And I do this with lists.
It could be that my mother, having started us out with a small dose of New Year’s Eve at a young age—the 9 o’clock “midnight”, when she knew that was all we could handle at the time—instilled in me just the right amount of confidence to eventually move on to bigger and better things. I didn’t need to try and stay up until the real midnight, which I probably never would have anyway at eight years old, because I had already celebrated in a big way at 9 o’clock.
And I woke up the next day thinking how happy I was that I’d been up for “midnight” on New Year’s Eve, that I hadn’t missed it, and that I wasn’t even tired! In a weird way, that, right there, showed me how thinking small helps a person to think big.
Today, I still set a long list of smaller, very achievable goals, but I add to it a short list of much bigger goals that I keep in the back of my mind. It is these two things meshing together that motivate me to succeed. And it is these two lists—in this case all related to my writing career–that I’d like to share with you today.
Trust me, you don’t want to see the personal goals–we’d be
here all day. I’m still trying not to hate eggplant. 😉
1. Write and publish the 6th book in my Rosco the Rascal series. This time Rosco will be heading to the Wild West for a hoof-raising adventure. I’ve got a rough outline but that’s it. Time to get to work.
2. Option my screenplay. ROSCO AND THE HAUNTED CORN MAZE is ready. The screenplay is finished, and it’s fabulous. (I didn’t write it, but I helped. More on that later. And by the way, I realize I’ve been very tight-lipped about it while it’s in progress because, well, it’s not just me working on this! I’ve got to keep quiet until I’m allowed to discuss it in detail.) The marketing materials are done. The next step will be to put it in front of interested producers and other family film industry people and I’ve got meetings set and lots of help on this so I see good things for 2019 in terms of the screenplay.
(For those that aren’t familiar with the jargon: optioning a screenplay basically means ‘leasing it out’ to an interested party, who holds the rights over it for a set period of time, in which he or she decides whether or not to buy it. Optioning rights generally last from one to two years.)
3. Put my 5th and newest book into hardcover. Rosco the Rascal and the Holiday Lights is perfect for a library’s Christmas books collection and I hope to sell it to lots of libraries this year.
4. Continue marketing my series to libraries. I had a lot of success getting my series (in hardcover) into libraries last year and I intend to continue reaching out to more libraries with them this year. There are over 8k libraries in the USA. I’ve only talked to about one hundred of them. So I’ve got my work cut out for me.
5. Continue to feature new authors and books on my blog. In case you’ve noticed, I don’t often talk about my own work here on my blog, but I do frequently showcase the work of others. I do this for a lot of reasons: because I believe in the power of karma, and what I do is generally good karma, because it saves me time when others write about themselves since writing blog posts can take a lot of work; because it’s free marketing for me when those featured authors share my work with their followers; and of course because I feel that I, and you, readers, can learn a lot from the work of others, either as fellow writers or as readers looking for books that suit your children.
6. Publish a new short story on Wattpad. I’ve got a nice following on Wattpad and have found a lot of new readers there who go on to purchase my series after reading the short stories. I haven’t published a new short story in a few years. Gotta keep the hungry readers happy.
7. Sell lots and lots of books! What author doesn’t want to do that? My sales have increased year over year, steadily, so I intend to keep marketing them and hope to see the long term trend continue upward.
LARGER GOALS—always in the back of my mind
1. Publish the 7th book in my series. Two books in one year? Yes, I can do that if time allows! It’s just a matter of prioritizing it. We shall see…
2. Sell my screenplay. That’s right – I’m thinking VERY big here in the back of my mind! Let’s see if we can option AND sell this thing, all in one year! Realistically, though, if I’ve been told anything about the film industry during this whole process, it’s that getting a movie made, even TRYING to get a movie made, takes A VERY LONG TIME. Sigh. Sometimes scripts can sit around for five years on someone’s desk, with everything in place except the full financing. So I’m prepared to wait. But I can still think positively, right?
What are your plans for 2019, even if you don’t win the lottery? Do you set small goals or does it work better for you to think only in terms of big hitters?
Want to read more #gr8blogs on this Blog Hop? Check out these posts:
Thanks for stopping by! What do you want to tick off your bucket list this year? Please share in the comment section.For more inspiration, visit my #Gr8blogs pals below. (Ooooo, and we’ll let you know if you if one of us actually wins the lottery – <laughing here!>) If you blog and want to join us on this hop, just add the family-friendly link to your blog post in the comment section. We’ll visit and give you some blog love-:D