Saturday, January 12, 2008

My resolutions

Unlike Kara, I made resolutions this year. I admit, normally I don't because I fail miserably within the first week, so I usually boycot them. However, this year, I made set some goals and decided to really stick with them. I started before Christmas the following:

#1. Sell 5 books this year, bringing my total to 25. This is one I do have control over, sort of. I've got 3 of the synops needed done, and as to the 4th, I'm struggling a bit. My editor and Kathleen have already seen my Harlequin American ideas and like them, so now I just have to nail everything down and get the 3 chapters I need to write done (so they can say yes!!!). As for book 5, I have until December to figure that one out.

#2. Lose 10-20 pounds. Yeah, this one's always on the list, but this year I'm serious. For the first time in years I've changed my diet and now find myself eating less and more healthy, while still enjoying foods I love. I'm working out weekly with a trainer and getting myself on the treadmill in between sessions. I'm doing yoga/pilates poses while watching TV. I also can't wait until spring, when I can get my bike out. Unlike those diehards, I don't do cold. Thus, I came off the holidays without gaining any weight and actually losing inches.

#3 Spend more time with my family. This is always a priority, and this time I'd like to see my daughters and I doing more things together aside from riding around in the car. I'm seeing if we can go on vacation over spring break. Somewhere warm sounds great. I'm skipping RWA (I have to teach that week anyway) and using the $$ for a family trip.

#4 Eliminate the negativity that often surrounds me. This one's the hardest of them all. I've discovered that the further I get in my writing career, the more insecure at times I feel. I mean, how do you keep being fresh and interesting to your readers? How do you get new readers? The above proposal was eye opening because, as I plotted, I was like, "I've already done that, so I need something else." This year I've discovered that the writing world is becoming very similar to the high school students I teach-- it's containing too much drama and being a little too illogical. So I'm stepping back from chapter listserves and relying more on my friends-for-life who could care less what I do or how many books I've written. I've found I'm a lot more productive that way. I need to stop comparing myself to others, the biggest flaw I think I have. I mean, I can easily get sucked into "my nose is too big, I'm too fat, I'm getting older, and I'm not making the progress I want compared to Writer X who seems on fire." So I'm stepping off that negative spiral and unsubscribing from the lists, especially since I'm not one who can usually keep my mouth shut.

5. Pay down debt. Ah, another goodie. I need to be a little more choosy, but I've already decided to keep the old junk heap that has 93,000 miles on it rather than buy new. I need to prioritize better. I also need to say no to my kids when they want something they really don't need. That's the tough one.

6. Sleep more. That one's obvious.

All six things above are designed to bring about one thing: a relief from the constant stress that was 2006 and 2007. I'll keep you posted as to how I'm doing.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Say No to Resolutions

By now, lots of you out there have already given up your New Year's Resolutions. Admit it! You swore you'd cut back on soft drinks, and you did ... for a couple of days. You were going to work out three times a week ... stop eating Cheetos cold turkey ... be nice to your mother-in-law if it killed you. And where did all those good intentions get you? Disappointed in yourself, probably.

Yeah, I've been that route. But this year, I haven't reneged on a single resolution! Eleven days and I'm exactly on track. No, I don't have extraordinary will power or a personal coach to keep me on the straight-and-narrow. My secret? I didn't make resolutions this year. My apathy was in keeping with my entire boycott of the holidays, and it's the best decision I ever made. This was the most relaxed, stress-free December of my life, and January is shaping up to be much the same. (At least I didn't start it with five extra pounds, which is how my New Year usually begins.).

I only have one goal for this month, and that is to finish my latest Harlequin American. It's the second in a trilogy (SECOND SONS ) that starts in June with RELUCTANT PARTNERS. This one doesn't have a title yet, but my hero is, well, a nerd! I'm having a great time with it. It's scheduled for December 2008.

Now, if anyone has any ideas for how I can give up Cheetos, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The power of January

I'm still wincing over Linda's poor broken toe. Ouch! A little thing like that can really bring us low. I spent Christmas and New Year's fighting the flu. I'm still a little congested, but I feel soooo much better than I did. Just in time for a new year.

January here in the Colorado mountains means c...c...cold temps and lots and lots of snow. (Which you can see my dog, Katie, loves.) I know people who would gladly spend the whole month huddled under a quilt, like daffodils waiting for spring, but I find the weather invigorating. I love bundling up and taking the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood, or hitting the ski slopes. The whole world looks white and clean under its blanket of snow -- white like a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen.

Perhaps I'm feeling this way because I started a new book this week -- another Crested Butte-set American. This weekend I'm headed there to ski and do 'research.' Starting a new book is both exciting and intimidating. I'm getting to know new characters and I'm looking forward to telling their story. But I always wonder if I'll do them justice. Will I be able to pull off writing a whole book again?

January is a time when we begin again, and I find such power and comfort in that. No matter how badly we screwed up last year, this year can be different. Of course, realistically we start over every day. But the beginning of the year seems a particularly auspicious time to begin anew. The days are gradually growing longer, and no matter how cold it is outside now, we know warmer days will arrive eventually.

Are any of you excited about a fresh start, new projects or new goals for the year? I hope 2008 brings you many wonderful adventures and blessings.

Cindi Myers
The Right Mr. Wrong, Harlequin American, Feb. 2008 RT Top Pick!
A Soldier Comes Home
, Harlequin Super Romance, June 200

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Better late than never...

Better late than never…

That’s true, isn’t it? Today is my day to post and I’m just now thinking about it. Sorry. But I have a good excuse, besides senility. I broke my blasted toe. And I really didn’t want to start 2008 this way. It’s better today not so purple and swollen. I’m still trying to get a shoe on without making faces.

That’s what I get for trying to take the ham out of the freezer to thaw for New Year’s Day. I should have waited for my husband, but oh no, I had to do it just then. It wasn’t on the top shelf, but the next, and as soon as I tried to lift it out, it came sliding out of there like a greased pig and land on my foot. I saw stars and said a few words I’d only heard other people say.

The thing thawed on the utility room floor until my husband got home. And, yes, we had the blasted ham for New Year’s Day dinner. Somehow I didn’t enjoy it as much as in other years.

My slogan for this year is to watch out for those flying hams!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!
Is everyone enjoying the new year?

Linda Warren
TEXAS BLUFF—Feb Super Romance
ALWAYS A MOTHER—June Super Romance

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year's Goals


Ann commented Saturday on a big issue for most women, and certainly for me: Time management. What to do, when, and how to do it all?

I'm preoccupied with goals and goal setting right now, as I'm due to give a mini-talk on that subject at my RWA chapter meeting later this month. I'm not great at it--I admit it. I'm a deadline person (as in, I don't do anything before I have to). LOL

But I'm also a list-maker, which is a way of goal setting. Last week, I had line edits due, I had to get a picture (yikes) and bio in to eHarlequin and to a website I just joined as an author, and I needed to get info to my web person for my newsletter to be properly set up (oops-missed that one). Reminders had to go out to the goal group I moderate (which is why I was asked to do the mini-talk) and to the critique group I moderate. As you'll notice, there's nothing personal on this list, such as laundry, cooking dinner, running errands for my mom, seeing a movie with my kids (a real priority--we saw I Am Legend), taking down the tree, etc. So I put the essentials on my list, with due dates or goal dates if no one else cares when they get done.

And I didn't do too badly. Of course, the edits had top priority and got completed (3 a.m. counts, right?) and I got the pic and bio in on time to eHarlequin. I saw the movie and ordered pizza, which is sort of like making dinner. The tree came down and my mom's errands got run. Sure, I have a few leftover items for this week, and more will be added, like plotting the next book, but I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Do you set goals? Are you good at it? Maybe you have a tip or two I can use in my talk. I'd love to hear them.

Till next time,
Megan Kelly