Friday, January 16, 2015

Defining Priorities to Accomplish Goals

I've always had a lot of goals. And while I've accomplished many of them, I'm sad to say that my most important goal has gone unfinished. This goal has been in progress for TWELVE YEARS!

Prioritizing my goals has been difficult for me. Mostly because, as a creative person, once I focus on one idea, other quickly follow. Soon my list of creative 'to-do' becomes overwhelmingly long. Instead of focusing on only one thing, I usually decide to do them all at once. And I've never had such an overflow of creativity than I have in the past year. 

I'm certainly not complaining! I'm so grateful and blessed for such exciting ideas that I've embarked upon! And while it's fun to work on all of them at once, I'm starting to realize that method might not be the best for my lifestyle.

I love writing a blog, and I have so much fun writing new recipes, taking photos, keeping up with our homeschooling projects, art projects and musings on daily life.

I love having an Etsy store, working on new paintings and prints and improving my photoshop skills. 

I love music, playing ukulele and guitar, singing, writing new songs, uploading them to soundcloud.

But did you know that I have one other talent/hobby that I enjoy more than anything else? I love writing fiction. It's the one talent that is the hardest to share publicly, especially if I want to retain my rights to publish my work.

Over the past year I've written two short stories that I'm very proud of and would love to turn into full-length novels. I have an idea for a series of kids' books as well as a wellspring of other creative writing ideas.

But, first, let's back up 12 years ago. I wrote a fantasy novel we'll just call 'Lela' here. Yes, as a 19 year old non-college educated high-school graduate I wrote an entire novel and thought I could get it published and be famous. I sent it to one publisher, got rejected (of course) and got really disappointed. Then I got my butt back in gear and decided to edit it. After a year or two of editing, my story was much better. I decided to edit again, and realized it could really use an entire re-write. 

Fast forward to now, and I'm still working on that re-write. It's going really well, but very slowly. I got caught in a bit of writer's block for a good two years, but with my re-growing creativity, I've been ready to get back into the process.

Over the past couple months I've been trying my best to keep up with all of my projects; the blog, the Etsy store, playing ukulele, photoshop, brainstorming development ideas for my short stories AND being a working single mom. Exhausting, right? 

Everything was going great, but I realized I wasn't giving any attention to the one goal that is most important to me. If I could only accomplish one thing in my entire life, I would choose my novel. I am determined to finish and publish it, even if only independently. 

So that's where I've been. I'm working hard on my novel and it's going great. I decided to edit the content I've rewritten so far to see if I could conquer my writer's block in the process, and I think that was the best decision I could have made. I've found some parts that really needed further reworking, and those little tweaks have opened up channels of creativity to the parts I was stuck on!

You'll see on the photo above that I've listed 'archery lessons' as one of my goals. Yes, I'm serious. I want to take archery lessons as research for my book! Archery is the weapon of choice for my main character in the novel I'm working on as well as the novel I'm planning on starting after the Lela series. Plus it would just be so fun!

I'll still blog and add to Etsy when the inspiration arises but Lela is going to be my focus (outside of work and spending quality time with November. She is SO into imaginative play lately! LOTS of tea parties!)

Wish me luck, and I hope I can soon share Lela with you as a finished (and published!) novel!

What steps do you take to accomplish your goals?