Monthly Check-in

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Well, I was not looking forward to this post. I was coming at it, thinking, Well shit, I didn't really accomplish anything at all this month. Another cruddy month in a line of them. That train of thought didn't change when I looked back at my goals for the month:

  • All August blog posts—This is one I can say I absolutely did. So that’s good.
  • Write daily—Not so much. I wrote but not daily.
  • Kick word count ass the week I'm at Bron's house—Ha! Did not kick word count ass at Bron’s. Not at all.
  • Keep up on house and self-care stuff—Did okay here. Not 100% and not where I want to be, but doing okay.

So definitely wasn't doing so well this month, that was for sure. Yeah, I was in full pity-party mode. 

But when I said as much, via text, to the Bron, she wouldn't let that stand - because she is an awesome friend who doesn't put up with my whiney, down-on-myself ass. This is the response I got:

Not true. You had a vacation, went to a con, did panels, had fun, stayed at my house and didn't buy washi, wrote some, went to the evil dentist twice and fucking survived!

You edited.

You survived dealing with another fucking international trip, sending your kid off to college...no, two trips...

HEY

YOU RERELEASED THOSE BOOKS, BITCH

And she's right. Just because I didn't absolutely hit those four things from last month's list doesn't mean I didn't accomplish anything.

I did have a great vaca and vist to Bron's. The con we went to was amazing, and I did panels, even though public speaking makes me want to vom, and think I did pretty all right on them. I didn't spend copious amounts on washi or other bujo/planner accessories that I don't need (but are oh so pretty and I wants them).

The evil dentist...I did survive those traumatic experiences (and to be fair, my dentist is a lovely woman who has, for some reason, chosen this career path...but I have issues with dentists in general and isn't something I'm getting over any time soon, apparently).

I edited over 200K this month (a couple times over as most of those manscripts I did two rounds on).

I survived the 17 year old traveling internationally without me for most of the month (she is home now and had a wonderful time! Such an awesome experience for her!). Am still surviving...dare I say succeeding day to day...while the hubby is on another international trip for work.

And I did send my oldest off to college. It's not his first year, but he lived at home while attending community college the last couple years. Now, he is at a larger university and has moved out. *deep breath* I wasn't prepared for this, even though I knew it was coming. But he is settling in and doing great so that is excellent.

And yeah! I released my Seeking Shelter series! I did that!

You can check the blurbs for these books out here.

So, that as my August. Looking forward, here are my goals for the month of September:

  • All September blog posts
  • Write daily - making it a priority, doing it first thing in the morning before I move on to other tasks. This seems to be the strategy that works best for me, so I need to actually do it.
  • Release Safeword Protected (will be announcing the specific release date very soon! Beyond excited about this. It's like...Finally, Jarman, FINALLY! It's a loooooooong time coming with this book.)
  • Come up with a plan/schedule for other re-releases...and start implementing said plan.
  • Keep up on house and self-care stuff.

Bronwyn Green | Torrance Sené

 

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I didn't make all my goals for the month. I don't even have to look at them to know that. So, I'm just gonna check in and talk about what I did accomplish this month.

I wnt camping twice with the family. The prep sucks, and there were some not great moments...but that doesn't matter. I had some absolutely wonderful time with my husband, my kids...even my daughter's boyfriend came along and it was pretty nice to get to know him better and see how he fit in with the whole fam...and he really really did. 🙂

I have my house back in some kind of order. It's certainly not perfect, and it's not where I want it to be, but it's closer. And after all of the hbby's traveling, being sick while he was overseas for a month and just trying to get through each day, I was floudering and the house more than suffered because of it. And I have a very difficult time working - particularly writing - when everything is a mess around me. It's like: surrounded by chaos=chaotic mind. But I have gotten things back on track, and I've been much more productive as a result. So yay!

I've written. Not every day as I want to, but more than I did last month or the month before. I'm making progress and that's what matters - and I repeat that to myself on the regular.

I've successfully gotten things ready and packed for my family reunion this weekend, my time at Bron's next week, and the overseas trip my daughter is taking for several weeks. Granted, the daughter is amazingly organized and did most of the prep herself, but there were still many things I (and/or hubby) had to do as well. Those are all done, and everyone is set. So that is a win, in my book.

So while I didn't hit everything I wanted to this month, I managed to do a lot and to do more than i've been doing, which is a huge mental and emotional boost for me.

So, looking forward to August, my goals are

  • All August blog posts.
  • Write daily.
  • Kick word count ass the week I'm at Bron's house.
  • Keep up on house and self-care stuff.

Bronwyn Green

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How on earth is it halfway through 2017??

I don't even know how to start this post. I guess the best way is to just be honest about it, eh? This year hasn't been a great one as far as writing goes. Finding the balance still continues to be a challenge for me. To the point that I was seriously considering just quitting. Not writing anymore.  I wasn't in a good place. All I saw were all the obstacles to writing, and I wasn't seeing a way around them at all. All I could think of were the books and projects I'd promised and hadn't delivered on... Felt a bit hopeless, to be honest, and thought it'd just be better to stop trying and failing.

But I'm pretty damned lucky with the people I have in my life. Besides having a great husband who let me vent and cry when frustrated and sad and overwhelmed, I have an amazing group of friends. I just got back from an annual writing retreat with four of those awesome friends. While I didn't break any records on words writing while there, it was exactly what I needed.

I had distance from everything that was pulling at me and making it hard to think straight. I was with other writers who face just as many, if not more, challenges as I do making writing fit in their lives. I had time to relax and just be. And I had the opportunity to be a writer. To remind myself that this is who I am. And to remember that I'm allowed to put writing first. I'm allowed to say no to other things. I'm allowed to do something for me.

So that's it, really. I'm not going to focus on words/pages/scenes written the past six months (or not written). I'm looking forward...with the knowledge that I'm going to be a writer again. I get to take the next six months of the year making writing my priority again.

With that in mind, I've set some goals for myself for the next half of 2017. No looking back, just looking ahead.

  • Write daily. And make it first! I will work on my writing first thing after I wake, before I jump into all the other stuff. I'm not focusing on the numbers here. Just writing daily - building that habit again.
  • Get back to the self-care routine I had. Yeah, that's another thing that went by the wayside when things got nuts. Probably not a coincidence things just kept getting worse when I really wasn't taking care of myself at all. Time to get back on that.
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts.
  • Reach out when things do get overwhelming. Shouldering it myself and isolating myself sure as hell doesn't help. Need to do things differently.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin |Torrance Sené

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It's already the last Friday of May...not sure how that happened.

I'm not even going to bother putting up my goals for the month. Because damn. It's been a hellish month for many reasons.

Since it doesn't work that way, I'm just going to move forward. So, here are my goals for June:

  • Write. Just write. Not going to put a specific number of words or pages or even project here. My goal is to get back to writing. Putting it back on the priority list as things get back to normal.
  • Get back on track with house and self-care stuff.
  • All scheduled June blog posts.

And that's it. I have other things I want to do, but right now, I'm so...so out of the norm that I think focusing on these three things is enough. They'll help re-lay the foundation and I'll be able to do more moving forward.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin

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Happy last Friday of April! I'm currently sitting in the Orlando airport - heading back home after a short getaway with the hubby. A much needed one. We don't often get to take time away together. So when he had a conference in Orlando and asked if I wanted to tag alone, I said yes before he was even done asking. Especially as he'll be traveling for work most of the next month and I won't be seeing him *sad panda*

It's been a lovely little vaca, and as I said, much, MUCH needed, but I'm ready to get back home and get back to work.

So...time to check in. Here were my goals for April (I'm actually a bit afraid to look at this as it's been a weird month and I feel as though I've accomplished nothing.)

  • Publish Safeword ProtectedGoing to be cutting it way close on this one. It *may* end up being the first week of May. Not happy about that. Kinda pissed at myself, to be perfectly honest. 

  • Complete Into the DeepYeah, we're not even going to talk about this one.  No "kinda" about it...pissed at myself.

  • Self-care and house stuff - This, I've actually kept up on. 

  • Complete all scheduled April blog posts - Including this post...DONE.
  • Complete May newsletter short - Still a work in progress. But will be done soon, in time for our May newsletter. 
  • Keep Writing & Publishing and Marketing bujos updated - Done

  • Come up with a reasonable writing schedule for the next couple months (Keyword: REASONABLE, Jarman!) - I'm still working on this. Mostly because my life schedule (or all the schedules that impact my life - hubby's work/travel, kids' school schedules...) will be drastically changing in the next couple weeks with hubby's travel and the  kids finishing up school, etc.) But I'm making progress. 

 

Overall, I'm not super happy with April.

But not going to dwell. Going to move forward. So, goals for May... I'm going super duper simple this month.

  • Write daily - doesn't matter if it's only a paragraph. Heck a sentence. But writing DAILY.
  • Keep up on self-care and house stuff
  • All scheduled May blog posts
  • Complete short for May newsletter.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Torrance Sené

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Okay, let's see how I did with the goals I set for March...

    • Keep on keeping on with the self-care and house stuff - I have been rocking this. So yay!
    • Publish Safeword Protected -  Sigh. Didn't get it published. Nearly finished with getting it ready to go and very close to be ready to do this. Really unhappy about not accomplishing this. 
    • Complete Into the Deep - This did not happen. Definitely another case of setting unrealistic goals for myself. They seem realistic when I make them, but again, I don't take into account the non-writing stuff. Or I guess I don't accuratetly estimate how much time the non-writing stuff with take. This is something I'm working on...like hardcore working on it. 
    • Complete March Newsletter short - Done.
    • Complete all scheduled March blog posts - DONE! Super happy with myself on this one!
    • Update Writing Bujo - Have been keeping this updated. 🙂
    • Put together Publishing and Marketing Bujo - This is a work in progress - and will be because that's the nature of it LOL -  but it has been put together and I'm very happy with it. I think this is going to be an amazing tool. 
    • Fix mss. templates - Done.

Now, for April goals:

  • Publish Safeword
  • Complete Into the Deep (much more doable this month as Safeword will be off my plate and not as much non-writing stuff pulling at me.)
  • Self-care and house stuff - keep up with this. Makes my mind clearer and I'm able to focus more.
  • Complete all scheduled April blog posts
  • Complete May newsletter short
  • Keep Writing & Publishing and Marketing bujos updated
  • Come up with a reasonable writing schedule for the next couple months (Keyword: REASONABLE, Jarman!)

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin 

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OMG, how February almost gone already?

Okay, checkin' in... First, I'm away from home right now. I'm visiting Bronwyn, and I get to see a bunch of my people this weekend as we do a mini-retreat. So super stoked about that.

Now, looking at the goals I set for February in my last check-in post *covers face and peeks through fingers*

  • Continue with the self care and house stuff - definitely makes a happier, calmer me. 🙂 This, I rocked. I have stayed on track with this really well, and that makes me incredibly happy.
  • Complete Safeword Protected (Bound series) and Into the Deep (Albion's Circle series) - so close on both of these, and since they have been on my plate, so to speak, for so long, getting these completely done and released will be a huge, huge thing for me. Um...okay, this may have been a slightly unrealistic goal for me. I don't think I took into account the other non-writing stuff that would take up my time. BUT, I have made writing progress, making time nearly every day to write, and I'm still on track to complete Safeword Protected by the end of the month. So, I'm going to say "Good job, Jarman. Not perfect, but not bad." 
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts for the month. OMG, so freaking close on this one. I missed one post - because of craziness with the day job and having 2 day job projects that needed to be finished ASAP, so taking time away to do the blog post didn't happen. But I did almost all of them, AND I did all the flash fiction ones. So I'm calling is good...

So, February - not perfect, but I did accomplish a lot, so I'm pleased with that. Going to focus on the positive.

Onward to March goals:

  • Keep on keeping on with the self-care and house stuff
  • Publish Safeword Protected
  • Complete Into the Deep
  • Complete March Newsletter short.
  • Complete all scheduled March blog posts.
  • Update Writing Bujo
  • Put together Publishing and Marketing Bujo
  • Fix mss. templates

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Torrance Sené

 

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So, we decided when we were setting up the blog schedule this year that we'd do monthly check-ins. We have no hard-set rules for these posts - they can be whatever we want them to be.

For me, I'm looking at this as an opportunity to keep myself accountable, to look at how I'm progressing toward the goals I set for myself, and to really look at what is working (and keep doing it!) and what isn't (and stop and come up with something new!).

That's all well and good, yeah? Problem is, I didn't really set concrete goals for myself for 2017 like I'd done for previous years.  When the year started, I was overwhelmed - for myriad reasons I won't get into in this post - and while I needed something to focus on and strive for, setting up specific goals (# of words written a week and that type of thing) was just too much for me at that time. So, for January, I decided I would look at areas of my life I wanted to do better in. I chose to focus on and establish routines with self-care and keeping my house in order (which, really, is kinda self-care because if there is chaos around me, my mind is chaos).

I used my bullet journal to help me out here. On each day, in addition to appointments, family obligations, and day job stuff, I had the same two checklists - one for self-care and one for the house stuff. It seems overly simple, I know, but sometimes in the midst of 4 kids' school and work schedules, a husband who was traveling overseas for work, work from the day job... Well, some days, it was a struggle to be able to fill in those little boxes. But I did it. And I figured out what worked for me...how and where to fit those things that were important to me, my health, and my sanity.

And another moment of harsh honesty--there were some days in there that those 2 little lists were the only thing I accomplished that day. And doing them, filling in those boxes, sticking to it would make a really shitty day marginally better.

So, what now? I'm going to keep with those checklists, because the importance of self-care and being at peace with my surroundings hasn't gone away. But now, I'm going to focus on getting back to what I love. Back to writing. And I feel ready to do that.

It has taken me quite a while to set aside the guilt I've been feeling for not finishing books that were meant to be finished this last year. A lot of stuff happened, and I wasn't in a place where I could do it. Taking care of myself - physically, mentally, emotionally - had to take priority. Writing, as well as many other things, had to take a backseat while I figured out how to do that. But, now that I have, writing gets to be on the top of the list again, and I'm super happy and excited about that.

From now on, in these monthly check-ins, I'm going to look back at the previous month and how I've been doing, and I'm also going to write down some goals for the following month. So, here we go for February...

  • Continue with the self care and house stuff - definitely makes a happier, calmer me. 🙂
  • Complete Safeword Protected (Bound series) and Into the Deep (Albion's Circle series) - so close on both of these, and since they have been on my plate, so to speak, for so long, getting these completely done and released will be a huge, huge thing for me.
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts for the month.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Paige Prince