Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Eleven for '11: The January Check-In

This year I decided to stick to the beaten path and create a set of resolutions for myself. Needing a clever way to decide just how many resolutions to make, I opted to go with 11 resolutions for the year 2011. Yes, what can I say, I'm just that clever.

The resolutions are
  1. Write or edit creative works for at least one hour five days a week.
  2. Get a story published.
  3. Submit chapter book to agent/publisher.
  4. Get two new freelance clients.
  5. Reenvision, relaunch, and maintain blog.
  6. Ride a century.
  7. Cook one new thing each week.
  8. Sew at least one piece of clothing well enough that I actually wear it.
  9. Take a class to learn something new.
  10. Read a minimum of 25 books (plus all issues of the New Yorker). 
  11. Have an adventure every month.
The problem with resolutions is that they can be damn hard to stick to, especially when no one is holding you accountable but yourself. That's why I just posted all 11 of my resolutions here for the whole world to see. I want to be held accountable. Which is also why at the end of every month, I'm going to post an update on what I did in regards to each resolution that month. Whether or not anyone else ever reads this, I think just having the monthly accounting written down will help me see where I am succeeding and where I am falling short and will thus help me do better with each new month. Hopefully.

Anyhow, here's how things played out on the resolution front for January.

1. I fell short on writing/editing for one hour/5 days a week. In total, I may have worked for that many hours, but I wasn't consistent, which is what I'm striving for. I have been playing around with time of day and environment to discover how I work best, but I haven't found the magic combination yet. Must work harder on this.

2. I did not get a story published this month nor did I even submit one. I did, however, do some research on literary magazines in the hopes of finding the perfect home for one of my stories. This month, I plan to continue researching and actually submit something.

3. I did not submit my chapter book to anyone. I have completed the entire draft of the story, but I think it needs a lot of work. I will continue to edit and polish in the hopes of submitting before the end of the year.

4. Unfortunately, I did not land any new freelance clients this month, though it wasn't for lack of trying. I've sent letters of introduction to travel publishing companies in the hopes of getting freelance copy editing work. I have also sent out emails to all acquaintances in the NC area in hopes of making some connections. None of this has translated into any work yet, though one company was interested but needed me to be in NYC. Boo.

5. Much of my energy in January has been spent on reenvisioning and relaunching Lives of Wander. I've got it pretty close to where I want it to be, though a few tweaks remain. I am back in the blogging spirit and expect to be able to maintain posts 3x/week. My goal now is to increase readership.

6. I've got a sample training program for a century taped to my wall, and I tried to do week one, but honestly, it was too damn cold. I really don't like riding my bike when it's below freezing. So I'm putting off the training until the weather improves a bit. I also need to pick a century event to ride in. So far, the ones I've been interested in have not been on dates that work well for me. I need a commitment and a deadline however.

7. I've been on a roll with cooking new foods, exceeding my goal of one new item a week. New recipes that were a hit this month include chicken cacciatorre, sweet potato and black bean burritos, and sweet potato ravioli. The ravioli was the hands-down winner. I'll post the recipe later this week.

8. I haven't yet sewed anything on the new machine I got for Christmas. I'd like to make a skirt or dress before my upcoming Hawaii trip, but that might be ambitious. Goal number one is to get the front room arranged in a way that I can leave my machine set up.

9. I have not taken nor signed up for any classes this month, though I have been checking out the options. I think I might like to take a pottery class that begins in late spring.

10. The reading goal is going to be the one I accomplish most easily. I probably should have set the bar higher, but it's kind of nice to have one goal I feel like I'm rocking. I read five books this month: Take Me Home by Brian Leung, Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Tinkers by Paul Harding, and The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard. I would recommend all of them. I also read all January issues of The New Yorker.

11. This month's adventure was a trip to Colorado, where we visited friends in Denver and Grand Junction and skied at Copper Mountain, Powderhorn, and Loveland. It was a great long weekend and set the tone for fun adventures for the rest of the year.

And there you have it. The successes and not-yet-successes for January 2011. What about you? Any resolutions for 2011?