Where Is My Sword?

Do you or don’t you? Set goals, that is. Oh, by the way, Happy New Year to all. Hope you’ve recovered from last night.

I also hope you have many wonderful, joyous, surprises throughout 2013. Melting moments…yes, that’s what they should be called. Weren’t they a candy? Maybe I’m making that up. Anyway, talk to me. Tell me about your goals, resolutions, plans, because I need help and I am not above pilfering.

Every year, during the season, my critique partner and I set our next year writing goals. And to keep us honest, Gina and I share those goals. Every five years, I also do a five year goal plan. That one I keep private. It often has outlandish goals and things that would make me blush if ever disclosed. The next five year plan is due now, but instead of blushing I’m squirming. 

For the past five years there was an avid pursuit of publication, stalking of agents, and always an entry into the RWA Golden Heart contest. Most of the updates were responses to submissions, or contests. In the early years my comments were polite. Then, as the years passed, I’d comment usually in all caps, or yellow, or red. I can sense my mood from the exclamations, the size of the font, the caps, or the lack of caps. There might be: Submitted XXXX to editor XXXX on XXXX date, then six months later…STILL HAVE NOT HEARD BACK!! Then two months later…STILL NOTHING!!!! Or, WTF!!! A few months later there’d be a modest entry like: a nice rejection. Those lower case words exemplified my sadness. I’d never write anything like “Those rat bastards they rejected me again,” because that would be bad karma. I might think it, but no, I’d never put those feelings into words. : )

I remained positive, like a warrior brandishing my sword and slugging away at a five-year war. I knew my enemy and had learned battle skills. Even if I wasn’t certain that I was winning I couldn’t give up, and while there may have been an occasional delusion of grandeur, a heroic slashing of a dragon or two, for the most part I stayed the course. From 2007 through 2012 I’d become comfortable in my knowledge of the romance writer’s world. I knew a lot of writers, knew my way around RWA National conference, how to pitch to an agent or editor, and my writing craft showed signs of improvement. Then the war ended.

Now I’ve started a new phase. I stare at the empty page with only the heading: Five Year Goal Plan. I start to laugh uncontrollably. I feel like a rookie. In 2013 I’ll have three books published. Where do I go from here? I’m having enough difficulty setting goals for this year. What will I hope to achieve by 2018? How will I measure my success, or lack of success? I haven’t got a clue.

I’ve entered a new five-year war, and barely able to lift my sword. A dragon breathes fire down my neck. I think his name is fear. I don’t look back, but I check those earlier goals. The laughter ceases. I turn and stare the dragon down and whisper, “Baby steps.” He shuffles away. I’ll start out slow, just like I did five years before, and five years before that. I’ll observe my peers, and learn from the masters. My goals will be modest. I’ll gain confidence, and soon I’ll be writing the most outlandish goals. I’m almost blushing at some of my thoughts, yet I’m also excited. But that’s what it’s all about, right? We have to continue to plan our course of action, move forward, and always, always, slash at the dragons, or at least call them out on their intimidation tactics.

Now, where is my sword?

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16 Responses to Where Is My Sword?

  1. Dee J. says:

    You are a stronger woman than I! I almost never make resolutions because I don’t want to depress myself when I don’t do them. (ie: working out, eating better, working out… you get my drift.) I do occasionally set goals for myself, but rarely at the New Year. Too much pressure to fail. I hate that. I have other things putting pressure on me so I don’t need to add ME to the list. Haha. I just try to work hard and hope my efforts pay off. As much as I might have a goal and/or make a resolution, a lot of that stuff is simply out of my control. I can only work hard, do as much as I can and hope my goals come to fruition. (Sound chickensh*t? LOL.)

  2. robena grant says:

    No, I think you are probably wise. I do make my goals (writing goals) attainable but requiring dedication as in keeping the butt in the chair. I note which contests I’ll enter and why. I plan on conferences, weekly goal setting with my CP, that sort of thing. But this year it’s harder to envision. Like I said on Jenny Crusie’s blog, I might have to make this one my “Gap” year for goals and just observe. : )

  3. Sam Beck says:

    Instead of boring myself with the same old, “lose 10 pounds,” “eat better,” and, the most doomed resolution of all, “drink less,” this year I’m keeping it simple and attainable. I’m hoping to get the car washed sometime between now and next New Year’s Day.

    But you should aim higher. Personally, I think your resolution should be “Win the RITA!”

  4. robena grant says:

    Ah ha ha ha ha hah! Win the RITA! You are too funny.
    But hey, I’m with you on the car wash thing.

  5. You’re so damn organized! Hell in 2018 I just hope to be standing up straight and not drooling. 🙂

    I have a goal of writing five books in the next year and a half. It is actually more than a goal – it is a must as I’ve signed contracts for those books.

    Wish me luck!

    • robena grant says:

      Oh man, I do wish you luck in writing those five books. But i know you can do it. You’ve got a good track record. : )

      Not drooling….hmmm. That’s a good goal. Hadn’t thought of that one and I’m a whole year older than you. ; )

  6. Congrats on your successes this past year, Roben and I’m so thrilled for your book releases this year! And damn, but you are organized. I don’t usually make resolutions, although I did this year. All doable ones. Ones that did not include I don’t get to eat cupcakes. 🙂

  7. Nancy says:

    I know and can relate to the feeling of “there is really, really good stuff in my near future, do I dare to ask for more good stuff or is that greedy?”
    I say go for a walk by yourself in nature and let the dreams for your future find you and write ’em all down. Dragons be dammed!
    I think the next 5 years will surprise you and be better than you could ever plan.

  8. robena grant says:

    Hi, Nancy. So glad to see you blogging again. I always adore your photographs and that was a nice walk we took in the countryside. ; ) Yes. Walking is a must and I didn’t do enough of it last year because my dear Nikki had passed in 2011. Back then there was a mandatory walk twice a day. Not quite ready for another pooch, but walking…must do that because it was always my thinking time.

  9. Gina Bono says:

    Roben, I couldn’t be happier about your 3 books coming out this year. I am so proud and thrilled for you! BTW, if you did show me your 5 year plan I’d be cheering you on all the way 😉

    I enjoy setting goals every year for stuff I really WANT to do, and not just stuff I SHOULD do, so it’s fun. My goals always seem to change over the year, though, because I always start off with some serious delusions of grandeur, and I need to be brought back to earth. LOL!

    Thanks for this inspiring post 🙂

    • robena grant says:

      Ha ha. No, Gina! You’d be rolling on the floor and holding your abdomen because you’d be laughing so hard.

      I like that goal of yours. Write down the stuff you WANT to do and not the stuff you think you HAVE to do. I just got back from a long walk around the lake, and a doggy fix. : ) Now I’ll write my goals and send them off to you this afternoon.

  10. I have to laugh at you because your accomplishments helped me set one of my goals.
    I am going to pursue publishing once I get one of my books where I want it to be – this year. That is because you said in a comment on London Mabel’s blog that you would have 3 books published this year at 65. If you can do it at 65, it isn’t too late for me to start working towards it at 55.
    I wrote out writing goals for the first time in several years. I even put them up as a blogpost.

  11. Julie says:

    I love this imagery! (But then, you knew I would.)

    A five year goal plan? Yikes, I have to write out my WEEK and that’s challenging.

    What I really like though, especially here in your comments, is how we all head in to the New Year in our own way and at our own pace. Very inspiring!

    No worries for you and your sword, you’ve got a mighty sharp one, with gorgeous embellishments up and down. Magickal and yet so elegant, just like you.

  12. robena grant says:

    Awww, Julie. You say the sweetest darn things.
    I also love my readers. Love the diversity of my readership. The comments always make me think, and inspire me to do better.