It hit me as we toasted with pink bubbly and shared the highlight reel of 2017 around my friend's dining room table--this is the year my debut novel comes out. WHAT. For all of 2017's faults--and I don't mean to downplay them, especially for anyone who really struggled this year--it brought a lot of very positive change for me and my family. An interstate move brought my husband a job he can excel at and took us closer to family and my "ancestral homestead" where we plan to build a house. We had a baby, and we're all smitten with our second daughter.
And I sold my debut novel (plus two sequels).
This is all good stuff--really good stuff!--but as I told a friend at the end of summer, my life felt a little bit like the new car I was driving (yeah, had to buy a new vehicle, too--the newness of 2017 just didn't let up). It was nice, it was better, even, that what I'd had before, and I liked it a lot, but it didn't really feel like mine. 2017 was a laying groundwork year--it's the foundation to 2018 and beyond for me.
So when I think about goals and moving forward, I'm very aware of the foundational nature of what I'm doing now, especially in terms of writing. I started thinking about goals for 2018. And then I thought I should maybe write them down to hold myself accountable or laugh at them later.
1) Write Book Two of Unraveled Kingdom! Obviously. This is my joy project right now, to be honest--it feels less like a stodgy "resolution" kind of goal and more like a "I GET TO DO THIS" goal. But I know there will be rough spots and, in either case, it has to happen. And in that vein...
2) Figure out how to balance life and writing and deadlines and ASK FOR HELP. This is hard for me. I don't like asking for help, but I need to face the reality that nobody can do this whole life thing alone, especially when they're writing books and raising a family at the same time. This may mean working out dedicated time with my family, or hiring someone to help. And yeah, being honest about paying someone money to do childcare things instead of pretending I can Do It All. No one can do it all--ditch that crap. Also, young babies are a moving target--the routine and rhythm you find one month...week...day that works disappears the next. So this should be a "figure out...and then recalibrate fifteen times" goal.
3) Start the back-to-work outside the home process. I miss working, especially teaching. A lot. I wish I could be one of those parents who loves being home with tiny humans...but I'm really not. Time to start laying the groundwork for going back. It might not happen this year, but I need to brush up my resume and cover letter and portfolio and be ready when opportunity comes.
4) Drink more water. I go through phases of being a very hydrated (and happier, less headachey) person and then forgetting how to pour a glass of water. Two small steps: I'm starting every day with a glass of water BEFORE coffee (gasp) and following a friend's advice to always drink a glass of water before a glass of anything boozy (aka my evening glass of red wine). Now for the rest of the day.
5) Identifying, valuing, and advocating for what I need to be happy and healthy. This one is hard to articulate because many of my small goals are like scattershot for next year--get back in shape post-baby (and get back into running), make time for date nights with my neglected husband, read more, keep the clutter in my house at a minimum--but they all come back to identifying what I need to be a well-adjusted human person and then valuing them enough to advocate for them. Realizations at thirty-odd years old: No one will do this for you. Even the most wonderful spouse can't give you what you need if you don't ask. Even the best family can't give you what you don't allow yourself to carve out space for. Sometimes all our goals need is our own buy-in, but sometimes we need an assist from others to make the time, the space, room in the budget, whatever. And this loops right back into goals 1 and 2, because I need writing, regularly, in my world not just because I have a book to produce but because I need to write in order to be happy and satisfied in my life.
If anyone has any tips on any of these...um, hit me up.
Here's to 2018!