Time Management, Uncategorized, Writing Goals

The Do What You Can Challenge

It’s January 2018. Nearly one month down and eleven more to go. So far, I’ve accomplished nothing. Instead of finishing the projects I started in 2017, I’ve taken on new projects. Because that’s so smart…

I’m not worried about any of it. I’m not wise enough to be worried. I’ve created a weird distance from my projects. So much so, that while I am sporadically hit with spurts of anxiety, they don’t last long enough for me to actually do anything about them. I only get anxious long enough to whine.

But I’m going to take charge! What I have to do during this season is lower the bar. I’m changing my definition of success. I’m going to work with the real me. And the real me doesn’t have enough discipline to finish a novel draft this month. However, I can write every day. I may not be able to read 100 books this year, but I can read two or three a month. I can do what I can.

For the rest of 2018, I am going to challenge myself to do what I can. I’m going to call it the “Do What You Can” Challenge and I challenge everyone to participate. Do what you can do. Actually get up and do it.

This month, starting February 1st, the shortest month of the year, I am going to write every day. I am going to sit down for at least twenty minutes and write. It can be a blog post or a journal entry, but I’m hoping to work on my novel. I’ll check in with myself to see if it works, to see if I commit.

I hope everyone has realistic goals for themselves this year and I hope everyone is showing themselves grace if they aren’t so easily met. Either way, let’s try, and if we fail it’s OK. Failing is OK.

Check-in, MFA, Uncategorized

January Check-In: Failing at Staying Energized

It’s only January 11th. Eleven days since 2018 started and I’m already out of energy. Seriously. I’m completely tapped out and I haven’t yet done anything.

My excuses are somewhat comforting: I live in the Midwest and for anyone who hasn’t heard, it’s been cold. Really cold. Below zero cold. Curl-up-in-bed-with-a-book-as-soon-as-you-get-home-from-work cold. Nevermind-that-you’re-a-student-and-you-have-writing-to-do cold. Nevermind-your-dreams, just-don’t-freeze cold.

Plus, it gets dark early and it’s hard for me to function without the ever necessary Vitamin D… *insert side-eye here*

What I don’t understand is why no one else seems to need the comfort of a well-crafted excuse? Why isn’t anyone else hiding under a blanket and enjoying the spoils of laziness? Is it that they don’t know how to make excuses or are they too busy producing content to take the time to come up with any? (I may not be great at commitment, but I excel at coming up with reasons to remain stagnant. I could help them out. It could be my first writing job!)


While I work hard not to covet, several of my Facebook friends finished manuscripts at the end of 2017. They’ve gotten published in lit mags. They started successful blogs. They’re actually working on 2018 goals while I eat cookies in my bathrobe. It seems that everyone is beating me in the race towards success because they won’t stop moving.

I know what I need to do. I’ve always known. I need to overcome myself. I need to get up and get writing. I need to move. Only, it’s hard and I’m tired. Plus it’s cold, and I mean really really cold… change-into-sweatpants-and-watch-Netflix-for-twelve-hours cold.

MFA, Uncategorized, Writing Goals

Failing to Fail in 2018

2017 is over. It’s the past now so there’s no need to go over it again. There’s no need to rehash how I gave up on blogging as soon as school began. We can forget that I started a new manuscript without finishing the one I was working on. Bringing up that I didn’t make any attempts to submit work would be silly. It’s too late to worry about it.

What does matter is that we can start again. This year we can choose to do the work we pushed aside last year. We can search for better ways to get it done if we have to. We can allow for false starts and backtracking as long as we keep going.

My goal for this year is to write seven hundred and fifty words a day. I’m currently using my free trial membership with 750words.com, a website that tracks whether or not its members are keeping their writing commitment.

Another goal I have is to submit to online journals. I’m going to call it Submission Sunday. At least one Sunday a month I’m either going to send my work out or to research outlets where I can. The way I see it, twelve attempts to submit will be better than the zero I’m used to.

Finally, this is the year I finish my master’s degree and I want it to count. So in 2018, I am going to take advantage of every mentor and every assignment given to me. I won’t procrastinate.

While we can’t predict what happens this year, we can receive the joy that comes from hard work and consistency. We can find the joy in doing what we love for the sake of the process. Isn’t that what it’s all for anyway? Isn’t that why we write?