Today, I’m combining Monday Inspirations with my inaugural post for Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge “that knows you have a life.”
First up is a summary of my goals for this round, which runs from January 2nd – March 22nd, with a bit of inspiration in the form of the magnificent Neil Gaiman at the end.
This is my third round of ROW80, and I’m so excited to get started. I’ve been missing all my wonderful ROW-ers (you guys rock so hard), and I’m also delighted to welcome a couple of great writers into the fold: Sony and Willowfaerie. They were two of my first writing friends when I got started last year, and Willowfaerie in particular has been instrumental in helping me to pull PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE together. Swing by and show them both a little love!
I’ve got a total of 5 goals in place for this round, a few of which look pretty similar to previous ones:
Writing: I’ve got two unfinished WIPs taking up space in my head, and countless ideas for shorter projects whirling around. I want to continue writing, editing, and polishing up PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE and TELL ME NO LIES, though at the moment I don’t have a concrete battleplan in place. My goal is to spend an average of one hour each day on writing-related tasks, including (1) a complete outline for PPT, (2) an overhauled outline for TMNL, and (3) world-building for both projects.
Day Job: I have a lot to accomplish in the remainder of the school year, chiefly defending my MA thesis and steaming forward on plans for the dissertation. I will need to spend two hours each day on research-related tasks, including reading and note-taking. I’ve found that I have gotten abominably lax at writing on a regular basis, so I am going to try to write 2-3 research memos each week, that way I can keep track of how my ideas are developing. If I’ve learned anything with ROW80, it’s that forcing myself to write something on a regular basis is better than waiting ages for inspiration to strike.
Social Time: I wasn’t going to add this in as an official goal until last week, when I was visiting with my best friend and her aunt looked at me and said, “You are too much alone.” I started to protest… and then I realized that she was right. I’ve been trying to go out every so often, but I haven’t really been making much of an effort to invite other people out. With that in mind, I am aiming for one social event each week. It can be as simple as grabbing tea with a friend, or hitting up the happy hour circuit on Friday nights, but I have to do something so I’m not wallowing away in solitude.
Social Media: I’m going to aim for four blog posts each week, along with 1 hour each day of author platform/blog-hopping fun.
Exercise: I integrated an exercise component into last round’s goals with mixed results. Over the holidays, I’ve come to some important conclusions: it’s imperative that I adopt better practices with both exercise and eating habits.
It’s not just about wanting to fit into my favorite pair of jeans, although that’s definitely an incentive. Over 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), an endocrinological disorder that affects somewhere between 15% and 20% of women. Its root cause is insulin resistance, which results in all sorts of yucky effects like infertility and excess weight, but studies have shown that the effects can be reversed by regular exercise and a healthy diet.
I’ll be writing more about my experiences living with PCOS over the next few months, but my goals for the moment are the same as last round: exercise 4-5 days each week. The addendum to that, of course, has to do with diet: I need to ease off the salts and sugars, and aim for lots more fruits and veggies. Training myself out of bad habits is going to be difficult, but it has to be done.
As always, I expect that my goals may fluctuate over the next 80 days, but I think these general benchmarks will be handy to help me move forward and make 2012 a wonderful year for success in all levels of my life.
And now, your weekly dose of inspiration…
Neil Gaiman’s “New Year’s Benediction” is from 2010, but his words continue to be powerful. I’ve reproduced the text below, for anyone who has problems with the embedded video.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously.
I hope you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked and you will have people to love and to like in return. And most importantly, because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now – I hope that you will, when you need to be, be wise and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.
– Neil Gaiman
Don’t forget to wave hello to the participants who have signed on for Round 1!