New Years Resolutions

I am terrible at goals.  I make such lofty promises to myself and then I fail, making me more miserable. However without any goals at all, I don’t accomplish anything. So the obvious solution is to make realistic goals. That’s my new years resolution this year as well, to make realistic goals.

It’s hard for me to make a goal that lasts all year but I’ve tried for this year to have a single goal of having one novel finished by the end of the year. And by finished I mean either queried out or self-published, depending on the route I choose for that book. I haven’t even decided what book that is going to  be but that’s another blog post.

My stretch goal or as you could call it my impossible goal, is to write 500,000 new words this year. This can include fiction drafts both novels and shorter pieces, blog posts, critiques, etc. Whatever I feel like counting as new words. I don’t know how many words I’ve written in 2013. I completed a novella that was 35,000 words and a short story that topped out at 20,000 words. However I’ve written more than that this year, other short stories that were never finished, partial revisions and a full revision on that 20K short story, bringing it down to 6k right now.

Speaking of Hindsight, it is currently with readers in the critters program that I am a part of. I’ve already gotten 3 critiques and the story was posted on Wednesday so that’s exciting. The critiques are very useful for things that are not clear to the reader but also very kind and include praises for what they liked. I’m trying to focus on the correction pieces though. I had put up the first scene at Absolute Write and got mauled. I’ve since rewritten the scene (the rewritten scene is the draft that the critters got) but it’s still far from perfect. I haven’t got the guts to repost it to absolute write yet and I’m not sure I will. Not because of fear (though I am afraid) but because I’m not sure where I’m going with that story. I don’t know how much I’m going to fix it. I know I should. I should just get over my hesitation, revise again based on feedback and send that sucker out. It’s going to get rejected but hey. That’s the writer’s life.

So now that I’ve talked myself into it, my new added goal for 2014 is to submit Hindsight to multiple short story markets to get a sea of rejections. Who knows. Maybe someone will love it.

Now not all my goals have to be writing based. I have some ideas on what I want to focus on this year in regards to my health, both mental and physical. It’s just hard to quantify.

What are your thoughts on new years resolutions? Are you like me, making them every year just to see them fail? Do you find resolutions foolish? What resolutions do you have this year?

Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors

A good article on what we should be thinking about before we self-publish by social media maven Kristen Lamb.

When I began writing I was SO SURE agents would be fighting over my manuscript. Yeah. But after almost thirteen years in the industry, a lot of bloody noses, and even more lessons in humility, I hope that these tips will help you. Self-publishing is AWESOME, and it’s a better fit for certain personalities and even content (um, social media?), but we must be educated before we publish.

Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready

Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors.

Being the Change to See the Change

I have problems with my anger. I frustrate easily and with two young children, I get frustrated often. I’m probably not alone that there are times that the anger wins and I yell or throw a tantrum right alongside them. But it isn’t healthy and I don’t want to raise my voice or lose my temper. It’s something I am actively working on with my therapist and in DBT (a type of skills training/group therapy). In DBT I’m learning skills to combat angry outbursts.

The first step of course is realizing I’m angry before I yell or say something hurtful. For me, this is difficult since I go from normal to furious seemingly in an instant. But it’s not really an instant, there are signs. There are also triggers, Evelyn screaming, Nate being defiant, Jacques being short fused as well. Recognizing when I’m starting to get agitated is the first step. There are also times, especially during hypo-mania symptoms where I’m just more irritable. Calming myself before it becomes too much to handle is key.

I have a few different skills to use now that I lacked before. The first is simply taking a time out. To be honest this is the least helpful. Taking a break is important but at the same time the things that usually gets my anger up are when the kids are being disobedient or mean to each other and I can’t just leave the situation every time. I need to be able to discipline but I can’t do that if I’m angry. Walking away for a few moments may help me, but it won’t stop the behavior. It’s a last resort for me right now.

I’ve found more success with a few other skills. Just being mindful of my anger has a way of making it easier to manage. The other is acting opposite to how I want to act in anger. This means instead of yelling, I start hugging or tickling. Tickling usually dissipates both my anger and whatever frustration that is causing an outburst in my children. Double duty.

Deep breathing also helps. Not only in the moment, but anytime I’m starting to feel agitated, I take a few controlled breaths (in for 4, hold for 4, out for 8) making sure to count and focus. This also helps with my anxiety.

I’m still new at using these skills to help control myself when I feel like I’m losing control but I’ve already seen the fruits of change. While there are still the same amount of outbursts from the kids, the length of each has decreased rapidly because of my reactions being different. Power struggles still remain, but if I’m not losing my temper, I can control the situation rather than let the situation control me. I’ve seen a change in how my children react to me when I stay calm. I take any outbursts not as personal but rather as a cry for attention. Instead of giving them negative attention for their behavior, I’m working on correcting it and then giving them the loving positive attention they crave after their consequence (which is usually a short time out in their room to calm down themselves.)

I’m hoping that modeling how I deal with myself when I’m angry will rub off on the kids. Nate’s own anger seems to be more easily dissipated when mommy is calm herself rather than angry in response. It’s remarkable to see changes in them after only a week or two of trying to change myself.

All the rest I can do is pray for strength and keep implementing the skills I’m learning. My ultimate goal is to be able to discipline and act calm around my children no matter how the circumstances are making me feel. The next step for me is dealing with the guilt I feel for taking this long to get a handle on it. It’s hard to teach them how not to act when angry when Jacques and I have been such a bad example. I’m hoping that change, real change on my part will work a change in the hearts of my children. I’m not expecting them to become perfect angels who never misbehave or get angry themselves but rather to give them the example of how to handle explosive emotions before they explode.

Baby Knitters

So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to teach myself how to knit. I bought a beginner’s knitting book, some yarn and a knitting needle. At first, I was terrible. I could not do anything. The book was confusing, my yarn was tangled and the needles pricked. However with the help of a couple of other books and youtube (love youtube now)

Now a couple of weeks later, I’ve knitted my first scarf:

2013-12-01 15.56.28

The point of all this is that even when something is hard, harder than you think you can accomplish, success is still possible. You just have to be willing to put in the work.

I’ve knitted every day since that first day. Eventually I could cast on and knit my first stitch. Now I can purl as well and I’m starting to learn the other stitches.  I don’t spend a lot of time on it, but a few rows here and there add up and I am getting better.

Beware I might post about my knitting here and there, just to warn you!

How I learned to knit with Stitch and Bitch

Another good resource for knitting

Does anyone else have knitting resources they want to share?