Wednesday, January 20, 2021

SMART Goals for Writing, School, & Health

 Okay, I figured I'd hit some goals for the year. However, I'm just setting them for the next six months, and they'll be a mix of school, writing/publication, and health.

Since I'm elbow deep in business school stuff, why not use something I've had to deal with time and again in my classes, so far? SMART goals.

SMART stands for:






So instead of saying, for example, I want to write three short stories, I'm going to dive a little deeper to align my goals with SMART goals.


I started out with the school accepting 39 credits from my Associate's (in Psychology, which is why more didn't transfer). That left me 84 credits to get my Bachelor's. Since starting October 1, I've completed 20 credits, leaving me 64 to graduate. 

SMART goal: I will complete 28 more credits, for a total of 48, by the end of this term March 31.

My stretch goal on this one would be to complete all remaining 64 by the end of the term, but the whole "achievable" category makes it a stretch, rather than the actual goal.


Short Story SMART goal: Write 2 short stories of at least 3000 words each by June 1.

Stretch goal: 4 short stories of at least 3000 words by June 1.

Novel SMART goal: Get current WIP to 50,000 words by June 1.

Submissions SMART goal: Submit/resubmit 10 stories by June 1.

Stretch goal: Submit/resubmit 20 stories by June 1.

Nonfiction SMART goal: Complete outline of NF WIP


I don't think I've gone into it on here, but I am slow tapering off a medication I was put on for fibromyalgia that, unfortunately, caused significant debilitating side effects, including massive dips into a deep depression, increased physical pain (primarily spine and knees), hypertension, irregular heartbeat, and severe brain fog. As a result of the myriad of side effects (far more than I've mentioned), I've gone backwards in terms of health, including my weight increasing by a couple pounds. The medication can cause severe, prolonged withdrawal, which is why I'm having to do a slow taper that will take close to a year (I started it about two months ago).

With that in mind, I make the following SMART goals:

Exercise SMART goal: Complete at least 10 minutes of physical exercise each day for the next month (ending March 1), with a focus on Tai Chi, yoga, and walking.

Weight SMART goal: Lose 2 pounds from current weight (not posting it, haha) by April 1.

Diet SMART goal: Get back on a keto diet by March 1, in the first step of going on the anti-inflammatory diet to see if it helps with fibromyalgia and medication-caused pain.

Mental Wellness SMART goal: Meditate using apps for at least 5 minutes per day (in addition to any yoga meditation done for workout) until June 1.

Stretch Goal: Go on one hike in my usual location on the short loop by May 1.

Those seem reasonable.

The thing about goals is that you can't just pick them and leave them be, expecting them to magically happen. I've got my overall goals, so now I need to break them up and figure out how to reach them, including putting measures in place to track my progress. 

Okay, so it's more complicated than that, technically, but it would be a lot of blah, blah, blah. I want to approach my goals differently this year. Usually, I post what I'd like to complete for the next year, then I don't look at it until the end of the year. This time I intend to print them up and put them somewhere I'll see them every day. I've also set some with a closer end date, and none of them are for the year right now, because things change too rapidly currently for that to be reasonable. I will have my measures in a spreadsheet (which I will put together after I complete my current school project), so I can physically track them.

If I need to, I will adjust them. The medication side effects and withdrawal symptoms have made things harder than they need to be, and if I don't improve as quickly as I hope, I need to remain open to modifying the goals. The nature of the side effects makes them impactful as uncontrollable circumstances across all the categories. But I'm optimistic that I'll see increasing improvement in the next couple months.

I'm feeling pretty good about those goals! Did you set yourself goals this year? Do you usually break them down into more doable segments and track them or is it free-for-all where you check in at the end of the year? Maybe something in between? 

May you find your Muse.

*School (Country) - OCAL -

*Laptop - OCAL -

*Woman Practicing Yoga - OCAL -

*Swoosh - Blue - MD - OCAL -

*Checklist Panda - OCAL -

*Happy Panda - OCAL -

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

IWSG - New Year, Same Me!

 It's time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting of 2021!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists to provide and receive support. Anyone can join, just click HERE to sign up. We post the first Wednesday of each month. Be sure to jump around and visit other participants, as well as stopping by to say hi to this month's co-hosts: 

Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

Normally, I would have looked back at the post I did last year to see what my goals were, go over what I did and did not achieve, and set this year's goals. But I need more time to ruminate on those, so I may do a goals post next week. As far as last year's goals, I think this is one year that skipping a peep at those is better off forgotten. 

It wasn't a good writing year for me. It wasn't a good much of anything year except that I managed to put out two solo collections of horror short stories and start a podcast with my friend and co-host. Plus, I've finished several college classes since I enrolled October 1. That having been a mid-year switcheroo, priorities had to change out of necessity.

I haven't had this few acceptances from markets since I first started getting published, though a chunk of them were personal rejections, probably more than in the past, which is progress in its own right. 

Still, it's tough to look back on the last year. The last two, really, since things were significantly worse in 2019. I can trace where a lot of my issues stemmed from, so there are legitimate reasons, which really doesn't make it feel much better. I don't want to have just overcome difficulties, I want to have thrived.

The first half of this year is going to continue being about college classes, and then I'll address deeper writing goals when that's finished.

However, I did want to sum up my submission stats for the year. Blergh.

In 2020, these were the stats for my short story submissions:

56 submissions

39 rejections

2 acceptances

6 stories pulled from markets or markets that went under

1 acceptance is still pending release

3 publications came out:

For novels, I queried 3 markets, got asked for a full by 2 of those, received a lovely rejection from 1 of them, with the other still pending.

I put out 2 solo collections: Bruised Souls & Other Torments and Happy Ghoulidays:

And here are my podcast stats:

It could certainly be worse, so I'm looking ahead to a better year where I can end it feeling I did the best I could do. Here's to change, to progress, and maybe, hopefully, to being a bit kinder to myself.

I hope this year bring you only good things. Onward and upward!

What were your submissions stats this year? What goals and achievements did you track? Did you set goals for this year? What are your insecurities?

May you find your Muse.

P.S. I'm planning on studying and taking a final tonight, so visits might be delayed for a day.