Monday, December 30, 2013

2013's goals (mostly) achieved and 2014's UBERLIST!

After at least three (probably five if I'm honest) really hard years, I was determined that 2013 would be different. I mean, 13 is my lucky number, so it needed to be my year, right? And overall, I think it was. No, scratch that, it definitely was because it was the year I reclaimed my ability to be happy, forced myself to stop obsessing over what I couldn't control and totally made me miserable (ie. publishing and my writing career) and take ownership over what I could control (ie. where I live and what I do for a living.) 2013, as I said on my YA Outside the Lines blog post a couple of week ago, was the year I celebrated change and true happiness. I honestly can't break it down better than I did there, so if you haven't read that post, go ahead, I'll wait.

Moving here 

Seattle, AKA Heaven
was the best decision I've made in my entire life, aside from marrying my husband. It was a fantasy for so long until this time last year I decided to make it an actual goal. It was terrifying. It felt like there were so many ways I could fail, but I didn't and that changed me in so many ways. For the better. I feel a thousand times healthier than I did a year ago and a million times better than I did at the end of 2010 and 2011.

The second part of my "move to Seattle" goal was "find a way to support myself that is rewarding (ie. NOT the service industry) and gives me time to enjoy life, time with Scott, relax and write." I managed to pull that off, too. I have a better idea of what I want to do as a career now (besides writing, I've reconciled that I can't earn a living/center my life on that) and I do have time to relax and enjoy the life my husband and I are building for ourselves. I'm still figuring out how to balance writing with that. I have a plan and hopefully I'll be able to motivate to see it through. But my number one goal for this year was "Remember that enjoying the day to day moments with family and friends are more important than anything else. Enjoy the small things and worry less about $, job, etc." Zeroing in on that was just as essential as moving in making me a happier person. It will continue to be my main focus for 2014.

The other two goals I listed in my journal last year were to multitask less, which is something I'm continually working on (and the reason I blog a lot less because I've stopped trying to do ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME) and recommit to my health, which I definitely did because this is the year I officially became a runner. I run at least 5K every Saturday morning and I fucking love it (and still think I'm crazy for loving it).

I also had 7 writing related goals (plus an "overall goal"), too. I sealed them in envelopes (an idea I stole from Nova Ren Suma last year!) and opened them this weekend. There were two things that I didn't work on at all and have been moved to my 2014 list. There were also two goals (along with that overall goal) that I consider to be ongoing, but I did pretty well at. One is "allow yourself to set big goals, but don't beat yourself up if you don't meet them. Instead be grateful for what you achieved, reassess and set new goals." The other is "write as often as possible. Fit it in around your routine which is ever changing. But don't beat yourself up when it's not possible. Instead give yourself space to daydream and remember that recharging periods are part of the process." I kind of feel like the second half of 2013 was all recharging and I'm not sure if I'm okay with that, but it's a work-in-progress, much like my overall goal which is "Be Happy. Be happy with how you write, what you write, and where you are headed. Find something at the end of each writing session to be grateful about. Continue to rebuild our faith in yourself and your love of writing. Know that your routine and career is different from everyone else's and embrace that. Figure out what you love and keep doing it. Walk away from what is making you miserable--not challenges, misery. You know the difference. Trust yourself and live each day with gratitude." I definitely did my best with that and will carry it over as my mantra/overall goal for next year.In fact. I think it needs to be out of the envelope and tacked up on my bulletin board in all of it's Hello Kitty stationary glory.

Yes, I did write all of my writing goals on this stationary.

Then there were the three goals I either fully or mostly achieved. One was to try something new, even if it was just a chapter of a book. I listed a few things I thought I could try and I've only tried one of them, but it is the project that's first on my list for next year. I also did try a new story idea that maybe I'll mess with in the future. I consider trying new things to be an ongoing goal too.

Another mostly achieved goal was to read more. I wanted to read 2 or preferably 4 books a month. It may not sound like a huge goal--grad school Stephanie who definitely read at least a book a week would certainly scoff at it, but post-grad school Stephanie, bartender Stephanie who worked at night during her best reading time had been lucky if she read one book every month--one book every two months was probably what actually happened. This year I read 33--and might make it 34 depending on how I do with the book I'm currently reading. I probably could have done better if I hadn't been to exhausted with the moving to read for about a month. Regardless, I consider that a success, though my goal to read more nonfiction and craft books was a total fail. That's on the list for next year and I really am hoping to read 50 books all together.

My most concrete goal was this: "Finish [redacted, real title of The Grief Book]. Preferably finish a first draft by March 1. Definitely have it submission ready by summer. Write this book how it needs to be written. Don't compare it to past efforts. Just write." I finished my first draft on April 11th and it was on submission by the end of May. I think it's the best book I've written. It was definitely the fastest book I've ever written, started in August of last year, so completed, including a revision for my agent, in under ten months. (Though I did write the first thirty or forty pages in 2011 when I was cheating on my manuscript, so maybe tack a couple extra weeks on that. Oh but I also didn't work on it for the entire month of December, so yeah, I'm sticking with under ten months.) And now it's been on submission for half a year. This is distressing. This is what is making it hard for me to motivate myself to fit writing back into my life. But this part is also out of my control (unless I choose to self publish, which I don't want to do with this book. Other projects, maybe). I can't let this detract from what I actually achieved, which is the part that I could control. I kicked ass at that.

This year I'm doing something different in terms of goals thanks to Danielle Henderson, one of my fabulous fellow Rookie staffers (and now IRL friend because she moved to Seattle this year too!!!) She told us how she creates an uberlist for each year with 100 things plus the number of the year, so this year for her 114 things. I decided to do 100 plus the age I'll be turning, so I have a list of 135 things. Before you think I'm going to kill myself with an attempt to overachieve know that while I have things like:

Writing: Finish the proposal for the zine-style essay memoir book
Writing: Decide if I’m rewriting [redacted, real name of the bartender book]
Writing: Decide if I’m self-pubbing [redacted, real name of the bartender book]
Writing: Do whatever I’ve decided to do about [redacted, initials of the real name of the bartender book], that puppy needs to be out in the world.

I also have things like:

Reading: Read the damn magazines on the coffee table or let them GO.
Mental Health: Note at least one small thing you are grateful for in the 5-year journal every night.
Body: Build up to running 5 miles on Saturdays
Body: Try to get down to at least an 11:30 min/mile
Body/Fun: Learn to bellydance
Body/Fun/Explore: Go canoeing again at least once, try a new spot.
Family: Play with the cats every day
Crafty Stuff: Get back in action on the t-shirt project. You moved an entire plastic bin of too-big t-shirts across the country to make into fitted shirts or skirts or dresses or whatever so do it because otherwise they have to go to Goodwill and you will cry.
Crafty Stuff: Try new crafty DIYS, start with the ones that intrigued you on Rookie.
Crafty Stuff:Make a zine again for the first time since 1998. Even if it is just for you.
Food:Try baking again even though you think you hate it.
Travel: Go to Vancouver
Travel:Go to Mount Rainier and maybe camp but only if Scott understands that camping to me means in a cabin not in a tent bc otherwise ew
Travel:Go to the WA coast
Travel/Money/Love: Go to Hawaii if we can afford it and if not start planning/budgeting so we can soon.
Explore/Grow Yr Mind:Go to those Seward Park nature walks and learn about birds and bats!
Explore/Body:Keep finding more cool places for Sunday hikes.
Fun: Get another tattoo. At least one, preferably three. (0/1-3) And start one of the big pieces you keep talking about. (0/1) 
Fun:Finish rewatching Twin Peaks
Fun:Finish rewatching The X-Files
Fun:Rewatch Buffy
Fun:Watch Doctor Who
Fun: Go to at least one concert at mural
Fun: Go to at least one movie in the park
Fun: Go to at least one festival
Fun: Start [Redacted because it's a thing that makes me a bad role model... but you can probably guess from the context ;)] again because it’s legal here and I like it so why the fuck not

        Will I do all 135 things? Probably not. But I've got a support group of Rookie staffers who are 2014 uberlisters and I'm going to have a blast trying to do as much as possible, while at the same time keeping my eye on what is truly important to me like this stuff:

        Mental Health: As much as you love lists and plans, don’t get too obsessed and beat yourself up for not doing all the things at the exact times you thought you would.
        Personal Challenge/Mental Health: In other words, continue working on being laid back.
        Personal Challenge/Mental Health: Work on being patient
        Personal Challenge/Mental Health: Continue to work on being assertive
        Personal Challenge/Mental Health: Continue to appreciate your happiness
        Personal Challenge/Mental Health: Continue to work on living in the moment/everything Liz taught you.

        Just making the the uberlist was inspiring and helped me focus on what matters most, so I highly encourage it.

        What are your goals big and small?

        4 comments:

        Kristi said...

        Those are great goals. And inspirational.
        Being on sub is a bitch. The only thing that keeps me sane is having a new book project I'm writing to keep my mind off being on sub.
        My first YA is going on sub this month and I am gearing up for the agony by starting a new YA. I can't help but be really excited about the one going on sub, though. I listed your books as comp works!

        Stephanie Kuehnert said...

        Thanks, Kristi! And good luck with being on sub. It is so hard. I'm glad you are super excited about your book though and fingers crossed it gets snatched right up!

        Heather Ezell said...

        So needed this, Stephanie. Thanks for the inspiration, the always appreciated motivation. Discovering, personally, that the key is to be gentle with myself.

        2013 brought back regular writing time, as well as rediscovering the simple joy of the craft. It offered agent interest that I'm most thankful for because of how her intrigue was so motivating--the catalyst for my most writing heavy summer yet. 2013 also was the year I said fuck it to being a grade perfectionist and recognizing that any letter, be it a C or an A, doesn't come close to reflecting my growth and education.

        Hoping 2014 is my year for my own happy move, or at least the beginning steps toward the move. :)

        Always rooting for you! Need to get my hands on The Grief Book and The Bartender Book, beautifully bound and all.

        Stephanie Kuehnert said...

        Thanks, Heather, I'm glad to help motivate, and I agree, the big key for me is being gentle with myself. I'm glad your 2013 brought wonderful things and how your 2014 brings a happy move as well!