Get ready, ’cause here we go!

Welcome to 2017! Take a deep breath, let it out, and sweep the last clinging stabby shouty bits of last year on out the door. With it, send off all the rage, the despair, the frustration, and the bitterness that the year inspired: keeping those emotions around will only hurt yourself, and why start the new year by letting the old one still tarnish your life?

Now, with this brand new year before you, a full glorious twelve months and four seasons yet to be fulfilled, what goals do you have? What plans do you have to get there? What milestones along the way?

Remember the difference between dreams and goals: a goal is something that can be measured, achieved, and is in your power to accomplish. “I want to lose weight” is a common dream. “I want to lose 20 pounds by LibertyCon” is a goal, because it has a specific amount and a deadline (and a corset).

Similarly, “I want to write and publish three books this year” is a goal; “I want to sell 40,000 copies this year” is a dream. One depends on you doing the work; the other one depends on other people deciding to buy your work. (Unless you have 40,000 minions you can command to buy your books. Even then, there’s always that one minion who didn’t get the message.)

On habits: Habits take about two weeks of steady, constant doing to form. So if you want to start a new habit, set a note in two weeks to check how you’re doing. (Yes, I do have a note to check how often I’ve been doing my exercises, and what is getting in the way / how I’m going to modify that to work better, every two weeks.)

Speaking of things getting in the way: there’s no better way to discover the difference between what you thought was your routine and what is actually your routine. Roll with it, and change to fit. Even I have discovered that I can’t do weightlifting in the mornings until I’ve let the older cat in and out of the garage, and thrown the spring for the kitten (he plays fetch). Otherwise, I have seven pounds of cranky saying “Yo! Thumb-monkey! Operate the door!” and ten pounds of energetic kitten bounding between my feet and all over the room, pink spring stuck out of his mouth, as he tries to flag me down to throw it.

So what plans, goals, and dreams have you mapped out for this glorious new year?


  1. I’m treating January as a NaNo month, where I’m not allowed to do anything I’m supposed to do until I’ve done an hour of work on the WIP. Then I can do legal work, move laundry, walk the dogs, check email, put up a blog post. I have a nice, long deadline on the legal work, so with three hours allotted to fiction and three to the space law project, every day, I plan to have drafts of both by the end of January.
    My other goal fiction-wise is to get out a completed draft of another novel that needs heavy additions, and wrap it up. This is my roundabout way of saying I want to publish two books this year; but I’ve said that before and only got one out. Now that I’ve left the old day job, I should be able to do it, but we’ll see.

    1. Awesome! I know if I get on the computer and try to start creative work, I can do it – but if I start checking the news, I won’t get to it for hours. So here’s to fiction first thing in the morning!

    2. I need an alarm program for my computer, because I have small kids and lose track of what I should be doing in the first hour of “get kids ready and to school and oh, maybe I should have breakfast myself.”

      All it would need to do is put up a note at, say, 9AM, that says “What are you supposed to be doing?” And then I could call the tree service, or schedule the maintenance, or actually work on something creative. Of course, there are still toddler interruptions to account for, but that’s built in whether I’m doing something productive or not.

      1. Thunderbird with the Lightning Calendar plug-in should do what you’re after; it allows you to set up reminders in advance of the appointment time too.

  2. 1.Not succumb to the January-February slump. Which, since I’ve started having story scenes appearing in my mind at awkward moments, is probably not going to be hard.
    2. Lost another 5 pounds, see what I think, and then go for 5 more. That puts me back where I was in 2008.

    1. Congrats on losing 5 pounds! I’m still working on the “improve strength until I can use the 5-pound weights for all my PT exercises” part, before concentrating on “lose 20 pounds / fit that corset” goal. (If I’m really lucky, the two’ll coincide.)

      Story scenes at awkward moments – like the middle of choir rehearsal? I’m personally trying to get 500 words per day of something, anything written. Unlike all y’all real published authors with your books up for sale, I have a long way to go on anything other than blurbs.

      1. Like, when I’m fighting through the socio-anthropological theories of culture formation in the Eneolithic/early Bronze Age Altai Basin. I’ve been away from academese for so long I need 100% of brain to parse what the paper is saying, and instead I hear characters arguing over leaving the village and what the gods will do if they are abandoned.

      2. Weight loss should always be a secondary consideration in health goals, not in the least because muscle weighs more than fat. If you can get to the point where you can lift the weights you want to lift, or walk the distance you want to walk, or even just stop certain recurring muscle strains, you’re doing well.

        1. Believe it or not, weight loss for me isn’t a health goal, it’s a beauty goal, right up there with “find a new flattering hairstyle, and grow my hair to fit” and “find the perfect corset for Libertycon.”

          My health goals revolve around faithfully following my physical therapist’s “you are released to do home exercises” list of ways to whimper, and longingly dream of the day that I’ve moved from one color to another on the tiny candy-coloured weight set that starts at less than most canned goods. I’m motivated not by vanity, but by sincere desire to avoid more excruciating pain. Sadly, graduating from the candy-colors to real dumbells would only add a few pounds of muscle, and the side effect for calorie burning and weight loss / generally in shape is negligible… *sigh*

          Be kind to your shoulders! You’ll miss them when they’re gone!

  3. Dreams?
    That I can complete all the tasks involved with my parents’ leaving their home with minimal complications and heartbreak.

    Lose ten pounds, measured as the yoyoing five pound range is ten pounds below what it is now.
    Publish seven titles this year.
    Kickstart writing original stories, at least two first drafts.

    1. Seven? Spiffy! Peter’s only got 4 planned (and a short story he wrote last year, for Mad Mike’s Freehold anthology, but that’s on a trad pub timeline so I’m not sure it counts.)

  4. Yo! Thumb-monkey! Operate the door!”

    The only reason my furballs tolerate me living in their house is that I operate the can opener (cat cannot live on kibble alone). Anything else, including tending litterboxes, is below their notice.

    1. The kitten has not yet connected the sound of the can opener with the appearance of the water from tuna fish cans. If he’s awake, though, he takes the cue from the older cat racing like lightning across the house to the kitchen.

      Someday, the lightbulb will turn on. And from then on, there will be no peace.

  5. Shooting for 4-5 new book releases this year. Last year I barely managed three. I’m also going to try out Kindle Scout for my next series, just to test the waters. And I’d like to write books in at least two genres (2016 was all mil-sf all the time).
    Those goals are all doable, provided I can get out of my own way, especially since writing is now my only job.

  6. First book in Steph’s new series is up on Amazon for release as e-book on Jan 10 and paper on the 24th. We put up a teaser to it on ATH last Thursday and have an excerpt in the chute for this next Thursday.
    Book two is mostly written, and books three and four are done. At least done as far as complete copy edited manuscripts go. Still need formatting for print and e-book, covers, and all the other ancillary stuff.
    Our goal is to place one per quarter in 2017. If there is enough interest she has notes for four more in 2018.
    A secondary goal is to learn the mechanics of putting up an audio version of her books. Seems to be a relatively untapped additional revenue stream. She has the voice to do her own readings, so if we can make it work it just might make the difference in overall earnings.
    Lacking sufficient interest Steph finds herself a day job and I go back to being a surly curmudgeon retired fart.

  7. The body keeps falling apart, so the ability to keep my promises to myself is a little tarnished, but now that the last chick has left the next (over the past month, but ending yesterday), I sat down and computed how many scenes I need to finish a week (2) if I am to achieve my goal of finishing NETHERWORLD by a certain deadline.

    I don’t expect to make it.

    But I’m certainly going to try!

    Finishing is not in my control; putting in the time is. As is having had some major revelations about how to use my time better when resistance is strong (hint: figure out why – have strategies already once I do that).

    Self-management is my hardest task. It is something I’ve always struggled with, made much more difficult by illness.

    I’ve found, over the past couple of years, that having an online community keeps me centered – but I have to watch the quantity.

    Good luck with your plans – and post about them every so often, especially if you need support.

  8. Goals: Polish and publish the first 3 Ariana books in 3 months. Finish The Gods’ Appeal and publish it. Write the fourth Ariana and the first full length Evie novel.
    Do 1 set of crunches and push-ups every day and get into that habit, then up to 3 sets a day by end of year, and hit elliptical 3 times a week.

    Dreams: make it big as an author, as in, make enough every month to comfortably increase my student loan payments to where they’d be paid in 10 years.

  9. I’ve got some reflections on the past year and possible goals for the new one over at my own blog. After the financial reverses of the past year, I’d really like a year with a lot fewer of them, but that’s not entirely under my control. As our vehicles get older, they’re going to have more things need repair or replacement. And with the t-shirt market becoming increasingly saturated at so many cons, getting our income back up is going to mean figuring out something that people will buy that everyone else isn’t selling.

    With the writing, I really need to figure out how to balance it with the other stuff in my life, and avoid losing lots of time to distractions and that sense of hurry-up-and-wait that leaves me feeling there’s no use starting because it won’t be that long before I have to stop.

    And right now I need to finish this up and get to work on getting the other two computers back into something resembling working order. Because as long as they’re lingering there on the docket, it’s really hard to move forward.

  10. Goals: Certain specific house-related tasks which have been overly delayed. Making bread at least once every two weeks with the new stand mixer (however often we run out of bread is the dream.)

    Dreams: Get the backyard in shape. Kind of hard to make a goal since I am the sole gardener as well as the childcare person.

  11. In the last six months I’ve been able to drop something like 4 inches off my waistline, when I anticipated only 2-3. Gonna try for another 4, and see if I can manage a size 38 belt by LibertyCon.

    (Fortunately, at the end of 2015 Dad lost a fair bit of weight, so he’s got some hand-me-downs in the 36-40 range that have already been offered, once I get there. Free clothes!)

    1. I hope that this waist loss is coming with a concurrent increase in energy and ability to do things. I think people find it easier to stick to a health program if it has obvious benefits.

  12. I may well lose the weight as part of the current program but, most likely, will not be at any conventions.

    I’ve let my sleeping get screwed up again, and need to fix it.

  13. I suspect that intentionally reducing my tonnage by 20 or even 50 pounds would be certainly good, but that a corset would still be a Bad Idea in my case. Considering the weight, the objective is to resume low-carbing and at least try fasting.

    The dream is to finally make it to Goldport, CO. }:o)

  14. Goals for this year:
    1) Finish Sons of Duty, and Daughter of Truth and the relevant world bible.
    2) Look at all other Nano-draft level novels and re-consider my nominal finish-order.

    Hybrid goal/Dream: Figure out a revision strategy or strategies that works for me that I don’t keep getting bogged down during. What do I actually have to have to get things out the door and what do I just think I do?

    Not necessarily this year but get to a sustainable publishing pace and start releasing when I have a backlog of about 2 years worth of releases at 3 releases a year.

    Dream: Make a living as a writer.

  15. Goals:
    1) Finish my 12 week exercise program that I started 15 months ago and do it again in something more closely approximating the expected duration.
    2) Finish the family cookbook (bonus: It’s going to be my CreateSpace test).
    3) Write moar! Nano was a miserable failure, but for me November is a terrible month for that sort of thing.
    4) Two house projects that didn’t get done last year – one spring/one fall.

    Dreams: Finish WIP and have someone not related to me buy it.

  16. I took three years off writing fiction to pursue what turned out to be a jinxed computer book project, followed by a move to a different state. This’ll slow ya down, trust me. However, I have 3,600 words down on a new (short) novel, which I hope to finish by May or so. Then there’s my first Libertycon, followed in short order by a total solar eclipse expedition to the butt end of Nebraska. (Note to Nebraskans: Nebraska has a better butt end than any other state I’ve visited, so stop bristling.)

    Along the way, my goal is to turn 65 while I’m still breathing.

    In summary: Read stuff. Write stuff. Build stuff. See stuff. Enjoy the company of my wife and my friends, especially all the new friends who came to me courtesy the Sad Puppies a couple of years ago. Life
    has been unsettled for a couple of years. 2016 was a corker, even though I didn’t die. Looking forward to 2017.

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