I set myself some New Year’s goals. Hey, I know. Plenty of people do. And I read an article that said most people don’t stick to their New Year’s goals. Way to go on motivational techniques there!
But forget what everyone says.
It’s not too late to set your own New Year’s goals. You don’t even have to call them New Year’s goals. Call them any type of goals you’d like to. Call them year-long goals, monthly goals, weekly goals. Break them down into small bites so you can manage and achieve them.
Whatever helps you follow your success path.
Every day is a new day that provides a new way to start fresh.
My favourite all-time motivational quote is:
If you have made mistakes …. there is always another chance for you … you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
Mary Pickford (1893 – 1979), American actress
That quote is pinned up near my desk. Has been for years. And I truly believe in it.
We all have a new chance every day of our lives.
So, what were my New Year’s goals?
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I wanted to quit alcohol, quit sugar and start moving more.
I spend a lot of time at my desk. Hours and hours each day when I’m not on author tour. Sitting at my desk writing and creating is the thing I love doing most in the world.
But it’s not great for my health.
You’ve heard it before, I’m sure, that sitting is the new smoking.
Combine all day sitting with a penchant for a glass of wine and some Lindt chocolate at night … and, well, I wasn’t doing myself any favours.
I’m not one to talk about personal, private goal setting much. I don’t like telling people that I’m on a diet to lose weight or on a mission to get fit.
Who wants to know that stuff?
And what if I fail?
Agh! The dreaded ‘fail’ word.
But, I want to be honest with you and hopefully it will help motivate you to achieve a special goal of your own.
It’s now been twenty-nine days and I’m still working hard to reset patterns of behaviour in terms of diet and exercise. I still want to take the easy way out and not get up at the crack of dawn to go for a walk or a swim or that difficult yoga class that makes every muscle ache.
With a mummy-obsessed three-year-old who won’t let me out of his sight during his waking hours (and three other bigger kids to run around after) the early mornings suit my family. That's simply the only time I can do this 'moving' that I need to do. If I haven’t pulled an all-nighter writing at my desk, that is...
Anyhoo! I am determined and I will commit to this new way of eating and exercising for the next year and beyond. I want to be a new me!
I’m already feeling better about myself. I’m also feeling stronger. And I’m looking better. I’ll keep checking in and letting you know how I’m going throughout the year. I’m in this for the long haul and I’m loving it!
Aside from the personal goals, I do have plenty of writing/career goals too and I’m working hard on those, with a focus on novel writing.
I have a middle grade manuscript with an agent who is currently trying to secure a publisher for it.
I’ve submitted a Series Proposal and the first instalment in that series to a publisher.
I’m editing a middle grade historical fiction novel with the intention of completing it ready for submission by June.
I’ve been asked to write the fourth book in my Little Witch Series by the publisher, Big Sky. Exciting – now back to the planning board!
And I’ve started planning a new YA novel, with ideas that are slowly crystalizing in my head and on paper.
So, there, I said it. I wrote it. There’s no running away from it now. Those are my big writing and personal plans for the year.
Let’s hope I make it!
And if you’d like to follow my lead and set some personal and career goals for yourself, go ahead. Write them down. Plan your week/month/year to work out how you’re going to achieve them, then go for it.
I’m a chronic insomniac. I have a problem that seems to have no solution.
My youngest, a three-year-old, has co-slept with my husband and me for many years now. Three in the bed isn’t always conducive to a great night’s rest. Top that off with hot, humid Queensland nights, an inbuilt mechanism for light sleeping and a brain that clicks ON (BING!) at the slightest awakening and can’t seem to switch off for hours afterwards … and you have a recipe for disaster for when it comes to getting a sound sleep.
It seems to be my curse!
Luckily, I’m able to use my insomnia and the burning of that good old midnight oil to excellent use.
Writing while the house is quiet and dark is a favourite and regular past time of mine.
Many of my stories and books have been planned and written in the wee small hours. In a quiet house and without interruption, it’s easy to let those creatives juices flow.
Ash Rover: Keeper of the Phoenix, one of my favourite novels that I’ve written came to me in the middle of the night in a hotel room in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney.
I was spending a long weekend there with my husband and my first two children (Blake and Riley) when they were very young, about 3 years old and 18 months old respectively. We were all sleeping in the same room and I woke about 12am with an idea for a new story running through my mind. The idea wouldn’t leave me alone, so I went to the ensuite bathroom, taking my A4 notebook with me.
For the next four hours, I sat, wrapped in a blanket, in that stark, tiled bathroom scrawling down the plan to that story. Characters, their names, the setting, the plot, the villains – everything – every little chapter detail came to me. All I could do was try to keep writing as fast as I could to get it all down before it was lost in the ether.
I ended up with pages and pages of material and the story itself, including action scenes and dialogue, even started forming. As soon as I got home from that mini holiday, I began typing up the notes and getting the bones of the story down. It took several months to write, edit and polish the story, but because I’d planned it so thoroughly, the book seemed to flow out of me.
To this day, I don’t know where it all came from, except that it was a product of my imagination. Maybe instead of dreaming the story up in my sleep, I’d been having a wakeful dream to create it.
The book (and main character) wasn’t originally called Ash Rover, by the way. My hero was Squiggly Greenmeadow. The image of him popped into my head as a boy with curly blond hair, hence the ‘Squiggly’ name (curly hair = squiggly to my mind). The publisher suggested I change that part of the story, but everything else held.
My young readers have always loved that book and I still receive lots of fan mail about it.
I guess sometimes it’s good to be an insomniac. When my three-year-old or my worries keep me up at night, I try to distract my mind from its incessant ticking by thinking about my next book. Sometimes I’ll plan it out in my head, writing the lines to a chapter over and over, perfecting and polishing them until they flow beautifully. Sometimes, I plot the key points in a new book I’m working on. Sometimes I scrawl notes in the semi-darkness on a notebook by my bed. And other times, I just have to jump up, go to my office and start typing on my computer until the early hours of the morning.
Right now, it’s 2:18am and yes, I can’t sleep so I’m sitting here writing. Sharing. Good thing for it, too, because a few moments ago I received an email from a US agent who I’d queried, asking me to send them the first ten pages of a new MG fantasy novel I’ve written.
Most likely it won’t lead to anything, or maybe it’s a sign. I don’t know yet. We’ll see. At the very least it means I can reply to the agent while they’re still at their desk too.
Wherever my insomnia and my waking dreams take me, I go.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.