“Wait a minute!” said one of my trusty friends on Facebook when I mentioned that I was working on a bucket list. “I thought a bucket list was for what you want to do before you die.”
No, that’s not what this is. What it is, actually, is a giant theft from author Mia Marlowe.
See, Mia developed a 9-month bucket list counting down to her new release from Kensington (TOUCH OF A THIEF–a wonderful, spicy, witty historical romance that came out at the end of April). And since writing down goals, and telling others about them, seems to be very motivating, I thought I’d try the same.
In this sense, a Bucket List is about preparing for transition. In about four months, my first historical romance, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, will be published. After that happens, my life might be a little different. Or not. I’m not really sure. I’ve never had this happen before.
Since I’m not keen on uncertainty, and I AM keen on list-making, I’ve come up with my own Bucket List–with thanks, and apologies, to Mia.
My list is pretty short: four months, eight items. It was more difficult than I expected to come up with goals completely within my control. I mean, I would love to hit a bestseller list, but I don’t have 30,000 moms who will promise to run out and buy my book as soon as it’s released. So, that’s not on the list, because I can’t control it. (I can, however, continue to want it. A rabbit can dream.)
The list that I wound up with is a combination of personal and professional goals. Viz:
1. Stop biting my fingernails.
I’ve done this all my life. It’s time to stop. The key to my success will probably be obsessive nail polishing for the amount of time it takes to break a habit. Three weeks, right? Isn’t that what it takes? I can do that.
2. Go on a date with my DH every month.
Sounds ridiculously easy? It’s not. We both work, and we have a little kid. Going on a date takes a lot of planning, and we only go to the necessary effort about twice a year. But now it’s in writing! Once a month! Awww. This one’ll be fun.
3. Get all my photos into albums and my digital photos backed up onto DVD.
I’m guessing there are a few of you out there who understand how Mount Photo can quickly get out of control, especially when there’s a Little Miss R in the house who keeps doing photo-worthy things like putting all her clothes on backwards.
4. Keep our plants alive.
We live in an area where the summer temperatures range from “baking” to “surface of the sun,” often well into September. And we don’t have a sprinkler system. Yet Mr. R and I optimistically planted azaleas, crepe myrtle, and a few daisies last week. My continuing mission: to boldly go outside with a watering can and keep those cuties hydrated. Five times a day, if that’s what it takes. (Though I really hope that’s not what it takes.)
1. Plan a blog tour.
This is a biggie. Blog tours are the main publicity method for most authors these days. I already have a few dates lined up, but I have to figure out a) how many stops I can/should make, b) where I should try to make arrangements to post, and c) what brilliant things I can say at each stop.
2. Read a history or research book every month.
This should be pretty fun. I love history (after all, I voluntarily got a degree in it). And reading nonfiction is a great way to discover weird little tidbits of information that could help form a character, scene, or even a whole novel’s plot.
3. Set a sustainable page/word count goal and meet it every week.
I’ve been struggling with this one ever since I started writing regularly–because there’s often nothing regular about fitting writing time into life. Family illness, job demands, and sudden travel can all trash a writing schedule. During my last WIP, I held the lofty goal of 10,000 words per week, and I often met it, but I didn’t do much else besides write. That wasn’t sustainable for me. For my current project, I haven’t even come close to that word count–and once a word count goal gets tossed out the window, it’s gone. I need a target that’s a small stretch–maybe 7,000 words a week, or a certain number of pages a day. Hmm. This one’s as much of a work in progress as my latest story.
4. Get my TBR pile from three towers down to one.
A TBR is inevitable: writers all love to read. I will also stick my head out and say that writers HAVE to read–not only to keep up with the market, but to keep up their own joy in good storytelling. I love this. But…I’ve been a book hoarder, and I’m reaching the point where I have so many unread books that it’s no longer an embarrassment of riches; it’s just an embarrassment. I could read a book a day and not be done for months. What’s the solution here? I’m not sure. I might read a book a day for months (and stop sleeping?). But there will always be those must-have keeper authors whose books I’ll run out and buy as soon as they hit stores.
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What goals are you working towards? Does it help you to write a goal down? We’ll see if it helps me…I’ll do a brutally honest inventory of my progress every month. Wish me luck!