2022 Midyear Check-in

It’s July first, so it must be time to check in with our goals for 2022 and see how we’re doing.

My goal progress has been a mixed bag so far. Some goals have been slam dunks. Some are lagging. And some got dropped altogether.

Let’s see where we are, and check-in with our progress together.

Step one- How it started

What were your goals at the start of the year? I had nine specific goals. 

Read the entire bible

Read 42 books

Take 24 Masterclasses

Build our emergency fund

Plan a covid safe vacation

Get the husband’s health on track

Join SFWA

Attend a con

Make progress on my novels

I want you to write your goals down just like I did, without any judgment about how far you’ve gotten, or not gotten. Any progress is fine. No progress is also fine. 

We all tend to apply magical thinking in January, don’t we? We think this is going to be the year we do all the things. Nothing’s going to stand in our way in January. We’re going to be our very best selves every single day, and so is everyone else.

And in July, that same magic feels like it’s working against us. We tend to forget the two weeks we were sick, the unexpected expense, and the emergency that we had to deal with.

Life is just never going to go to plan. Sometimes we can compensate. Sometimes we can’t. 

Step two- How it’s going

Now is the time to look at where we are with each of our goals. If we reached a goal, or are on track, that’s freaking awesome! If we’re not, now is the time to consider why we’re not. 

Do we need to work on time management?

Do we need to focus on better habits with our spending?

Or is this just a goal that no longer applies to us?

Some of my goals, like taking 24 masterclasses, are going away. Masterclass is expensive, and going to Nebula con was more important. 

Some of my goals needed a new tactic. Reading the bible every day just was not happening. Until I found a bible in a year podcast. Now, I can listen to the daily readings while I’m cleaning the kitchen. Win/win! 

So, at this stage, you want to take these steps.

1. Decide if any of your goals are no longer a priority to you. Drop those right off your list. 

2. Take anything off your list that you’ve accomplished. Yay, you! 

Here’s what I had left after that. 

-Read the entire bible (Currently eleven days into the bible in a year podcast I found)

-Read 42 books (21 down, 21 to go)

-Get the husband’s health on track (this is a work in progress) 

-Join SFWA (Still a work in progress)

-Make progress on my novels (Got one book out, making progress for some exciting content for you guys in 2023!)

Step three- Where’s it going from here. 

Finally, it’s time to make some realistic goals for the second half of 2022. Make sure you’re considering things like holidays. I don’t know about you, but my second half of the year is always less productive than the first.

Another thing I like to do is add some not vital projects to my list. They’re not my top priorities, but they’re on the list of things it would be awesome to finish before the end of the year. 

Right now, my list looks like this.

Join SFWA

Get a literary agent

Make progress on the bible in a year podcast.

Finish 42 books 

Study tarot cards, one card each week

Achieve Camp Nano goal

Study cartomancy

Celebrate each holiday and sabbat to its fullest

Create a go-bag in case of emergencies

Build my fuck off fund

Achieve Nanowrimo goal

Finish the scripts for the second draft of AA. 

Redo my laundry room

Redo my holiday supply closet

This list has three things on it. Goals that I plan to make progress on but may not finish. Goals that are super important to me that I will finish before the end of the year. And finally, projects that enrich my life and will make me happy to complete.

And please, if you take nothing else from this post, take this away.

Your goals should be there to make you happy. 

All of my goals are designed to make me happy. All of your goals should be designed to make you happy. 

I hope your midyear check-in goes well, everyone. We’ve got six more months to go in 2022. Let’s see what we can accomplish together. 

Paper Beats World is a labor of love. If you want to support this blog, you can do so on Ko-fi.

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My 2022 goals and how I made them

We’ve reached another year, so it’s time to start making some goals. As you know, I don’t do resolutions. I think they’re unhealthy and unrealistic. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the new year as an opportunity to make some goals. 

Goals are important for everyone, either big or small. And if you’ll recall, in August I committed myself to make better art. This made choosing my word of the year easy.

My word for 2022 is care. 

I want to care more for myself. I want to care more for my husband and my family of fur babies. I want to care more about my art. I want to care more about my fellow man. 

Step one of goal-making is to choose your word of the year.

Choosing a word of the year helps to guide everything else. That’s what the word care is doing for me. If I’m to care more about things, I have to lower the things on my plate. We just cannot commit ourselves to everything. I kept this strongly in mind as I made my goals. When I make too many goals, I become too frantic to get anything done. Or, I get things done but not done as well as they could be.

 So step two of goal making is to be realistic about what you can do, not idealistic.

Next, I make a huge list of all the things I’d like to do. That list is stupidly long and unrealistic. But that’s okay, I’m just brainstorming.

After that, I separate my goals into personal, family, and professional. I tell myself I can only have three goals for each of those categories, nine goals total. This means I’ve got to decide what I care about most. What matters most. After a lot of crossing out, considering, and soul searching, here are my goals for 2022.

Personal

Read the entire Bible.

Reach my Goodreads goal of 42 books.

Take 24 Masterclasses. 

Family

Build our emergency fund. 

Plan a Covid safe vacation.

Get the darling husband’s health back on track

Professional 

Join SFWA.

Make plans to attend a writing con.

Make progress on the two novels I’m working on. 

Now, I have a bunch of other projects I’m going to be working on this year. I want to get out new seasons of Off The Bone and AA. I want to start two brand new podcasts. I want to practice mindful eating, join a proper coven, and about a thousand other things. 

But so long as I get those top nine goals accomplished, this year has been a total win. Everything else is just icing. Though I will say, I love icing. 

So what are your goals for 2022? Let us know in the comments so we can cheer each other on. 

Paper Beats World is a labor of love for me. If you find value in the work I do, please consider supporting the site on Ko-fi. 

Have I really been doing this for six years?

Today’s image is from Tuku.

Yes, yes I have. For six years now, I’ve been showing up here at least once a week to share posts with you. Some have been popular, some haven’t. Some have been good, some haven’t. Some I look back on with pride. Some I’d prefer not to look back on at all. 

It’s been a ride, and I’m popping some champaign today. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.

It’s been six years of learning. I started this blog before I started my first book. I didn’t know anything about writing a blog. I just sort of started. I had crappy graphics, typos. I wrote about things no one cared about. Honestly, I just had no idea what I was doing.

It’s astounding to see how far this little blog has come. Especially in a time when a lot of people are shutting their blogs down. I am still amazed anytime someone subscribes or likes one of my posts. That never gets old. 

I’m also really glad I started this blog way back in 2014. The world is a little crazy right now, you might have noticed. I’m beyond thankful to have a place to speak up about the state of the world. I hope I’m bringing you information you can use, along with a little bit of hope and maybe a laugh. We could all use a laugh right now. 

Paper Beats World is going to keep right on changing, getting better hopefully. I’m not going anywhere and I hope you’re not either. But I’d love to know if you have any suggestions. Is there something you’d like to see more or less of? Do you have any questions about writing or a book you’d like me to review? Please let me know in the comments.

Thank you again for six years of writing joy. As always, you keep me accountable. 

Stay tuned. 

I’m going for a MilwordY

Today’s image is from StockSnap

I love a good challenge. Especially if it’s an incentive to fix a problem I’ve been having. Well, a few problems.

So I’m going to go for it. I’m going to do a Milwordy. 

You can be forgiven for not knowing what that is, as I didn’t know less than a week ago. It’s pretty simple.

Write one million words in a year. 

That sounded easy until I broke it down and realized that was over 3,000 words a day, assuming I took occasional days off.

Okay, now it sounds a little insane, right? But I think I can do it. The rules, when you look at them, are generous. Here they are.

All writing counts

This isn’t all going to be publishable content. I hope this will be more books, short stories, blog posts, poems and other fun content that I love sharing with you. But it will also be journaling, brainstorming, stupid things I jot down because they’re in my head. Writing about that weird dream I had about being locked in a bathroom. Angry letters I write to politicians. Any time I put words on the page, it counts.

Edited words count too

I don’t mean like a quick grammar check. I mean like when I’m writing the third draft of a novel and I’m going through every single damned word with a red pen. Those edited pages count. 

So, why am I doing this? Because I’m feeling like I’m not doing enough writing. I know, that sounds crazy. But I’m not writing beyond my novels. And I want to be writing more little things. I’ve never understood why authors don’t write more little pieces. Micro-fiction and haikus. To me, it’s like being a painter who never doodles in the margins of a workbook.

I also want to journal more. I want to write about what I’m seeing in the world right now, process it on the page. Because damn, a lot is going on right now. I’ve found myself wondering if this sort of writing is a waste of time because no one but me sees this.

I swear, I can hear Natalie Goldberg yelling at me right now. Since she’s not here to say it, let me say it for her. 

Freewriting in your notebook is probably the most important writing you ever do! 

I know, I know. But this is the part where my artist brain and business brain duke it out. My artist side knows that practice is essential. That getting my feelings out on the page is good for my mental health. That I should be writing in my journal every single damned day for myriad reasons that I don’t need to list because I and every other writer has listed already.

The business side says, “What’s the point if it’s not making you money or getting you exposure?” 

I can’t just ignore that voice. I’ve learned it’s best to work with my darker instincts, not against them. Give them what they want but in a healthy way. And that voice likes numbers. It likes to see numbers going up. So if an hour of writing haikus in my notebook can be seen as increasing my word count for the day, then I’m all in.

What I love about this goal is that it’s not on top of what I’m already doing. I’m not writing a novel, blog posts and podcast scripts, then writing a million words on top of that. That would be stupid to the highest degree. What this is, is me stretching. Writing more than I usually do. Writing more consistently. Reaching for a goal. A big, fat, scary goal.

Being my impetuous self, I did start right smack dab in the middle of August. I didn’t wait for the first of September. I didn’t wait for the new year. What’s the new year mean? Every day is a new day. I can set a new goal any day I want. Dream a new dream at any time. Who says I can’t?

I’m sure I’ll be giving you regular updates. And next year I’m sure I’ll do at least one big long post about how my year trying to reach a Milwordy went. My deadline, far away in 2021 is August 14th. Let’s see if I can write a million words in a year. What do you think?

My to-do list is a privilege

Today’s awesome cover art comes from Karolina Grabowska on Pixabay

I was complaining recently that while everyone else is learning how to make sourdough and making funny videos pretending to be a horse with their partner, I’m working and creating overtime. 

I’m pretty sure some people are working in the service industry right now freaking hate me. Let’s be real, guys. The people working at grocery stores and fast food places did not sign up to risk their lives. And that is exactly what they’re being asked to do right now. They are not getting paid enough, they’re not being protected. And we need to do something about that as a society.

One thing I’ve been trying to do is stop bitching about my life. I have a job I’m not in danger of losing. I have a home that I’m safe in. I have my darling husband with me. And my pets. Let’s be real, my pets are my life. 

But it’s also freaking hard, you guys! If I may take a moment to be completely self-indulgent, I am not okay right now. I am so heartbroken for the people who are unfairly being asked to risk their lives. I am heartbroken for the people sick and their families. I am heartbroken for the doctors and nurses working to save all of us without the proper PPE. I am furious at all of the people in charge who should have done something about this, should be doing something about this, and they just aren’t.

I’m struggling with all these dark emotions, struggling with my anxiety and depression, struggling to find new routines in this new world. Struggling to find ways to help people. 

My to-do list doesn’t go away just because I’m in a mental downward spiral. It just becomes a weight around my neck. It’s too easy under normal circumstances to feel angry and resentful about my daily tasks. So right now it’s even worse. It’s really easy to just close my bullet journal and watch The Orville. Telling myself that I need to get things done doesn’t help. Reminding myself what will happen if I give up doesn’t help. It just makes me sink farther into that dark little depression hole.

I needed a change in how I was looking at the situation. And I realized something, muttering over all the things on my list that I had to do.

Then I realized that everything on my list, every single thing, is a privilege.

Let me break this down. Without going into a ton of detail, on any given day I have tasks in 

My day job obligations.

My professional writing.

My creative writing.

Caring for my family and pets.

Caring for my home. 

I’m willing to bet that your list looks a good bit like mine. And it can be a lot if we chose to see these things as obligations forced on us. So let’s flip the script on these together. 

My job.

I’m working from home. And yes, it’s hard sometimes. I’m working extra hours. I’m working around caring for my family. It sucks.

But I’m getting a paycheck still. There are way too many people who aren’t. I don’t have to risk my life to do it like I would have in any job before this one. I used to work at a temp place where we were sent to sort garbage, you guys. Literal garbage. There are people still working there right now. My prayers are with them every single day.

My job is a privilege. 

My professional writing

I was blessed to get a steady writing job in December. It doesn’t pay a lot, but I’m pretty excited about it anyway. I’ve also been trying to get my freelance writing going, so I’ve been writing pitches and submitting work. 

I am so privileged to have this in my life. Working a side hustle is hard, but it’s working toward a lifetime goal. 

My creative writing

I know this is sort of dumb to even add to the list. I mean, writing is creative, right?

Sure, of course. But any writer will tell you that publishing books have a ton of to-dos that are not so fun.

It’s still a privilege! I’m publishing a freaking book! That’s something most people don’t get to do. Yes, there’s a lot of work, but every bit of it is something I would have died to do not so long ago.

Caring for my family and pets. 

Now we’re getting into the things that are a little harder to see as anything but an obligation. I have a mother in law who is ill and needs care. I have a husband with health issues. I have pets that require more care than I think they should.

I am so privileged to have my family safe here with me. I’m thankful that they are both safe and well. I’m thankful that my mother in law isn’t in an assisted living home. I’m thankful that I’m not separated from my partner like so many people are now. 

Hell, I’m thankful for my pets! I lived in an apartment where I wasn’t allowed to have pets. I missed having little furry companions every single day. Now, I’m going to complain that I have to call the vet to get a refill of Oliver’s heartworm meds?

Caring for those I love is a privilege. May I never forget that, 

 Caring for my home

Finally, there’s every day picking up and scrubbing off that every house needs. Dishes, laundry, tidying. It never freaking ends! Not to mention my least favorite, cleaning up the bathroom. Because of my family’s health issues, most of the home care lands right on my shoulders.

Uuuuuuuugh!

Okay, got that out of the way. 

I am so thankful that there’s food in my house. I’m thankful I have a warm and comfortable home that protects me and my loved ones. I wake up every day safe. There is enough room for all of us. 

This home is a privilege. 

Now, please understand that I don’t say any of this to shame any of you! This whole situation right now sucks, for varying degrees for everyone. If you can’t see your to-do list as a privilege, that’s fine. Please don’t let this be another burden, we all have too many already. 

But if shifting this viewpoint can help you count your blessings while you’re counting the things you have to do today, then do that. The best thing I can do for you right now is to help make your day lighter.

That is another privilege.

Oh, and I also made a sourdough starter.

The Writing Life, June 30. Letting some things go

Eight Days Until The Big Announcement!

If you’re a long time reader of Paper Beats World, or if you’ve at least been reading since April, you know that I swear off all contests and anthology submissions while I’m working on a rough draft of a novel.  My theory is that I only ever want one rough draft at at time.  Rough drafts are tiring, creative wise for me.  They’re also time consuming.  When I’m working on a rough draft, I want that to be all that I’m working on, except for my weekly blog posts.

That’s fine and dandy when my rough draft takes six weeks to two months.  When it takes me six damn months to finish a rough draft, like the last one did, that grinds on me.  I find so many cool contests, and come up with so many awesome ideas for the site.  So the whole time I was rough drafting, I kept a list of project ideas.  And I kept my eyes open for contests with long off due dates.

When I finally finished my rough draft, I kind of exploded.  I found so many cool contests that I wanted to enter, and I had three pages in my bullet journal full of ideas for special PBW events.  I always think I’m a machine, so I was sure I could do all of the things that I wanted to do.

Then I got promoted in the day job.  Then reality happened, and I realized that there was no way, no way at all, that I can do all of the things that I want to.

That’s a hard thing to realize.  When I want to do a lot, and I just can’t find the time, I do three things; lie to myself, make up crazy schedules in my planners, and guilt myself when I can’t do it all.

Thankfully, though, I managed to stop this downward spiral before it got really started.  Here’s how.

  • I started by figuring out exactly how long I thought each of my projects would take.  Then, I doubled the time.  I took out my planner, and looked at each and every due date for my contests.  Then I blocked out time to write my stories.  This give me a realistic impression of where I am, and what I can do.  This also means that if I find a new super neat contest, I know if it’s doable or not.  If I want to pick up a new contest. then I might have to drop something else.
  • I dropped two of my contests because I liked others better.  I’d rather write three great short pieces than six decent ones.
  • I looked through short pieces that I’d written but hadn’t managed to place to see of any of them fit the contest qualifications.

Most importantly though, was this.  I’d been working on a short piece for about a week.  The story was solid, and the contest good.  But the draft was snagged.  I realized that it needed a complete overhaul, and I just didn’t have the time.

So I put it aside.  Crossed that contest off my list, and moved on to the next one.  Because there’s always a next one, that’s the beauty of this field.  The internet is full of contests.  I’ve found at least two companies that exist to do nothing more than publish anthologies, and I wasn’t looking that hard.

It is so easy to think that every opportunity could be ‘the one.’  That’s a lie.  There is no ‘the one.’  Once you get a published credit, then you need another, and another.  One sale isn’t an assurance of a second.  So if I’ve got to put one opportunity aside, then that’s okay.  There’s always a next one.

This week, I want to challenge you.  Take a look at your to do list, and cross one thing off of it.  I don’t know all of you as well as I’d like, but I’m willing to bet that if you fine tooth comb your list, you will fine at least one task that doesn’t need done.  At least, not this week.

Always remember, if we try to do too much, you will do nothing well.

What Rocked This Week-

  • I found out that one of my short stories, called Sticky Fingers, is going to be in an anthology called How to Trick The Devil!  I can’t wait to see the anthology put together.  They’re still looking for submissions, if you’re interested.
  • I sent out a piece to the Imaginate contest I told you about a few weeks ago.  It’s always a rush to send something new out.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Week-

  • First off, fourth of July.  I love that holiday.  Blow things up, eat greasy food, and drink some cold ones.  That’s my kind of holiday.
  • Today is the end of the quarter, and I’m doing my big, ‘what have I done in the last three months,’ review.  Remember, being a freelance writer is being a small business owner.  Got to check in, look into where I’m spending my time well and where I’m wasting it.
  • As you might have guessed, I’ve got a really exciting announcement.  It’s something I’ve been working on for months, and I am jumping out of my skin wanting to tell you all!

Have you signed up for our newsletter yet?  I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s all about walking the path to full time writers together.  Click right here to sign up.

I’m looking forward to a great week.  I hope you are too.

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