January Goals

To get a start on my resolutions, I set some goals for this month. When I set goals I try not to set too many. Usually I aim for four, but will occasionally go as high as five. I also try and by very specific about what I am trying to achieve. This month my goals are:

  1. Quilt the Jungle Path Quilt
  2. Finish the Holiday Train Stitch
  3. Submit something to Critique Group
  4. Cardio eight times
  5. Weights six times

I’m already making great progress on number two, and I’ve thought about what I want to submit for number three (MG sci fi chapter 2). The hardest one to complete will be number one. I need to stay focused and work hard.

Do you have anything you want to accomplish this month?

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2018 Resolutions/Goals

More important, to me, than the resolutions, is the process of figuring out what I want to focus on for the year. I weed out the things I don’t care about and figure out the things that matter to me.

When I started thinking about my priorities for this year, I found myself drawn to the same things: Crafting, writing, organizing, and fitness. It’s nice that my focus is staying the same. I like that my priorities are shifting in the same range rather than changing wildly. This year I also want to focus a bit more on family and friends. I need to work a little harder at maintaining my relationships.

Crafting
I didn’t get as much quilting done as I wanted last year. This year I am going to try being much more specific in what I want to achieve.

  1. Quilt and bind my son’s bed quilt and my lap quilt
  2. Finish the quilt top for a family friend and for my Mom
  3. Finish at least three cross stitches (holiday DONE! and two family portraits)
  4. Bonus – Two more family cross stitches

Writing
Another area where I didn’t do as much as I wanted.

  1. Finish the rough draft of my MG SciFi
  2. Do basic edits to get a first draft of my MG SciFi
  3. Submit to Critique Group at least six times
  4. Finish a second draft that is ready for a final polish – MG SciFi

Organizing
I think part of why this goal is so hard is because I can’t figure out specifics. I’m going to try though.

  1. Continue to put as much out of the house as we bring in
  2. Sell or donate all unused items in the basement storage room
  3. Move out of season or out of size clothes to basement storage
  4. Deal with paper in the study
  5. Set up my desk in the study

Fitness
I’m still doing gymnastics, but I think the biggest things holding me back are my lack of strength and flexibility. Along with cardio I want to focus on those.

  1. Weight train twice a week
  2. Cardio twice a week
  3. Flexibility two to three times a week

Family

  1. Eat dinner as a family at least twice a week (working up to four times a week)
  2. Facetime with SIL’s family once a month
  3. Boardgames with S and C at least 10 times

That is a lot of goals! I’m feeling worn out just writing them all down. Many are very small though and won’t take much time. I need to remember to plan out what I want to accomplish each month to get things done over the next year.

What are you hoping to accomplish this year? Do you set resolutions?

Round Up of my 2017 Resolutions

I like making resolutions each year. I don’t always accomplish them, but I enjoy the process. Thinking it through helps me mark the priorities in my life. Even in years when I do not achieve my goals, I find that I have spent more energy and time on the things that matter to me. I will post my resolutions for 2018 tomorrow. Today I’m doing a quick review on my goals from last year.

Organizing the house
This was a big fail. The craft space isn’t set up, and in general the house doesn’t look much different than this time last year. I did manage not to gain any new stuff though. We sent as much stuff out as we brought in. I think I actually sent out more than I brought in, but not enough to make me feel accomplished.

Quilting
The goal was to piece three quilts and finish three quilts. I pieced two and finished one. I helped my friend Cate piece the Grace in Our Stars Quilt and I finished the Jungle Path Quilt top. I quilted and gifted the Mystery Quilt.

Writing
The goal was to write 10k a month. I made this two months I think … I’m back into writing now though so hopefully I will make good progress this year.

Exercise
The goal was to exercise twice per week. I did fairly well at this. I struggled in December, but I was sick and my schedule was off. Going to call this one a win.

How did you do on your 2017 resolutions? Did you achieve all you set out to achieve last year?

2017 in Review

Top five posts by views:
  1. NaNoWriMo – How many Words per Day? (2016 post)
  2. is a tie between NaNoWriMo – How to catch up if you’re behind (2015 post) and
  3. Finished Quilt – The Grace in our Stars
  4. Spring is Here (finally)
  5. Fauxdori – Bullet Journal Update

The top two posts weren’t posted this year. Both are about NaNoWriMo, and I can often tell how far through NaNo we are by which one is getting more views.

A Countdown of my Five Favourite Posts:

5.) My First Handbound Journal – I went to a local library program and learned how to make a journal.

4.) Raising a Reader – Why I think we should talk about making our kids “lovers of books and stories” instead.

3.) Handstands scare me, but I keep doing them – A lot of things scare me, among them are handstands.

2.) The Plot and the Rough Draft – I’ve been working on my MG Sci Fi and really enjoying the process.

1.) NaNo Daily Challenge – I set myself a daily challenge during NaNo, and I learned a lot. I plan to do something similar with many of my writing days this year.

Number of blog posts: 46

Visitors from around the world. I had visitors from 37 countries last year. The top five were: United States, Canada (my home country, so not a big surprise), the United Kingdom, India, and Australia.

Highest Activity Month
For the first time, November was the most active month on my blog, but that is probably because I posted almost daily updates during NaNo until I had finished. It had almost double the views of any other month.

What was your favourite post this year, on your own blog or someone else’s blog? Do you track the views on your blog?

Fauxdori and Bullet Journal Update

It’s been about six months since I posted an update on my bullet journal. I’ve made a few changes, but they’re all small. I love that I’ve hit the point with my bullet journal that I’m only making small tweaks as needed.

My Fauxdori
These days I carry three notebooks in my fauxdori. First is my current story notebook, next my bullet journal, and finally a scrap notebook. I’ve switch my bullet journal to be on the second elastic with the scrap notebook. I don’t care about being neat in the scrap notebook, so I never remove it to write in it. I pull out my story notebook frequently to keep it legible. Giving the story notebook its own elastic was a very small change, but  seems to have made a big difference in my willingness to pull it out as needed.

The rest of my fauxdori is the same, I have my picture insert around my BuJo and my plastic pocket around my scrap notebook.

My Bullet Journal
I’ve just switched to a large squared moleskine cahier. I’ve wanted one for a few months, but I had to wait to be ready for a new BuJo. I started a new one December 1st, and I LOVE the squared format. The lines are a bit smaller, so I have almost ten extra lines on each page. This is great for my monthly layout where I couldn’t fit on two pages. Now I can easily fit on two pages. One side for my days of the month and goals, the other for my fitness tracker and legend. The squares also make it easy to switch a page to be landscape instead of portrait. Love it!

BuJo Monthly fitness tracker page

Speaking of the fitness track, that was one big change I made a few months ago. I now have a monthly fitness tracker. I’ve kept it very simple. This month I’ve included each day of the month on the left, a column for the types of exercise I normally do, and a column for notes. Hopefully having all days of the month will allow me to track times when I stop working out. Last month I did very well until the end of the month when I took an unplanned week off. In my previous BuJo I didn’t have room to track each day. I could only include days I’d done something. (loving those extra ten lines).

Future log with calendar in bullet journal

The last change I made was to my future log. In my newest BuJo I’ve include a mini calendar next to each month. Sometimes when I’m trying to schedule something in an upcoming month, I run into trouble because I have no idea what days are weekends etc. This should help when my critique group needs to set the next meeting or when my Mom wants to know what day we should book a family dinner.

Everything else is pretty much the same. Daily logging, but I only migrate when I move to a new page instead of every day. I keep my collections few and far between. I index each month from the first to last page used for the month so I don’t have weird number sets because of collections. Instead of 1-2, 4-6, 8, 11-12, I just have 1-12.

Do you use a Bullet Journal? What little changes have you made that made a big difference?

 

The Winning Update – Day 17 & 18

This year is our third annual NaNoWriMo writing retreat. I wrote about our first retreat in 2015. Our location changed this year, and I’ll write more about it later, but all of my words on the 17th and 18th were written at the retreat.

Day 17:
I’d planned to write 2,500 as usual on Friday leading up the retreat. Of course I always forget how much time it takes to pack for a weekend away. It seems like it should take much less time than say packing for a week, but in my experience it takes almost as long. Longer in this case since I also had to worry about food. Plus I really wanted to get a workout in before we left. By the time I was ready to go, I hadn’t written a word. I didn’t start writing until 9p. I figured, “Ok, I’ll just aim for 1,667 or 2,000. I can catch up Saturday easily.” Well I hit 2,000 and then zoomed on to 2,500. Retreat day one was a win.

Day 18:
My goal, since we booked the retreat was to win NaNo while at the retreat. I thought I would win on the Sunday. If I wrote 2,500 words each day leading up, and each day at the retreat that is when I would win. Well Friday night I revised that goal, I wanted to win on Saturday. On the main retreat day a 5,000 word day isn’t outrageous.

I did it! I won in the afternoon. So yesterday evening I wrote another 2,000 words for a total of over 7,000. Yesterday is now my wordiest recorded day on NaNo. (I think I’ve had wordier NaNo days, but they were before records were kept).

NaNo Daily Challenge Update:
On Friday night I started writing so late, I didn’t really pay attention to my challenge. I wish I had, it was use more than sight for description, but honestly I just needed to get my words in. Yesterday was “Yes, but” and “No, and” again, and I did try and focus on it. I like how it helps propel the story forward, and sometimes it even helps me know where to go next. Definitely something I will be using even once I’m done NaNoWriMo this year.

Are you ahead or behind for NaNo? Have you ever been on a writers retreat?

NaNoWriMo Updates – Day 14, 15 & 16

The last three days have been a bit of slump compared to most of the month. It wasn’t even that I had trouble with the writing, I just had trouble finding the time to write. This isn’t a big surprise. There are ALWAYS days in November when finding the time to write is hard. Where the only way to get your words is to stay up late, or try and write when you would usually spend some time with your family. I like that NaNo helps me make writing a daily part of my life, but it can be hard because the goal is so high.

Day 14:
Wasn’t too busy. Writing was a bit slow, but I made my goal of 2,500 words without too much trouble. I wasn’t up really late, just a little late. I wasn’t thinking of quitting before hitting my word count. I got it done.

My NaNo Daily Challenge was to let my character make mistakes. I appreciated the reminder, but it was a difficult day to fit it in. It is something I’ll keep in mind as I write though.

Day 15:
Wednesdays are hard this year. I have gymnastics from 8:30-9:30 and I struggle to find writing time before I go. I think I got maybe 500 words before I headed out. I didn’t make my 2,500 goal (I hit 2,200). I really debated just stopping at 1,667 (a normal NaNo day), but I have worked hard to be able to finish on the 19th while at the writing retreat. I’m not ready to give up on that goal yet. I thought I would be able to make up the extra words on the 16th. The 2,200 words did let me hit my goal of 40k on the 15th.

My NaNo Daily Challenge was to focus on voice. This was a repeat from earlier in the month. I felt the same way as the first time. I like the reminder that I need to work on this, but I’m still unsure how to get the improvement I’m looking for. Something to think about after NaNo is over.

Day 16:
I didn’t write the extra words I was looking for. I did make my 2,500 words though. At 1,000 words I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. I wanted to stop writing and go to bed. This happens around this time every year. It is part of what makes NaNoWriMo a challenge. I pushed through and by the time I hit 1,600 I was moving much more quickly. The story had a place to go again, and I was sailing along. If it wasn’t so late when I hit the 2.5k mark, I would have kept going for those extra words I missed on the 15th. But it was late and I need sleep more than extra words.

My NaNo Daily Challenge was that someone was supposed to betray my main character. She has already had one character betray her, and I’m laying the ground work for a second, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The Next Week:
The good news is that I’m at the point I’d hoped to be going into my writers retreat this weekend. I’m not sure I’ll get my word count today, but I should be able to make up for it tomorrow. If I work hard I should hit the 50,000 word mark before we leave the cottage Sunday.

How is your NaNo going? Are you making the progress you’d hoped?

Gymnastics and Flexibility Update

I haven’t updated about my adult gymnastics class in a while, so I thought I would take the time today. These posts are mostly just for me. I like to look back and see my progress.

Flexibility:
In addition to doing gymnastics once a week, I’ve been working on my flexibility at home. When I was a teen I was able to do the splits. This time when I started splits practice, I was so high up I needed support to even get into a split position. Left (my dominant side) has been coming along well. Because of a pulled muscle right has been slow, but I’m making progress again.straddle stretch on a yoga matMy big break through this week was to get my straddle to the point where both feet and my butt are on the yoga mat. Also, can I just say how hard that picture was to take. The iPad only has a timer of 10sec and getting a good angle was tough! Need to set a new goal for straddle/middles.

Gymnastics:
I’m still enjoying my adult gymnastics class, and I’ll be signing up for a second session. I was feeling a bit lost for a week or so, but I’ve got a few new goals to work toward. Hard to feel like you are making progress, when you aren’t sure what progress you want to be making.

On bars I am working on my pullover. Last week I wasn’t having any luck. It felt like I was banging on a wall. I would try over and over, but whatever was wrong I couldn’t seem to fix it. I didn’t make any progress at all. I did get some advice from one coach, but I couldn’t seem to put it into practice. Then this week I tried what she had suggested and it clicked. I guess my brain needed a week to process the idea. Still a long way to go, but I got the pull over from two boxes. Next week I hope to get it from one.

On floor I am still working on my handstands. I found the balance point yesterday and held one for 2-3 seconds! It was amazing. I’m also working on my cartwheel with a goal of moving up to a round-off.

What are some of your hobbies that people might find strange? Do you have any sports you love as an adult that you never tried as a kid?

Behind in my NaNo Updates – Day 11, 12 & 13

This NaNoWriMo has been different then most. It has been very consistent. I’m not really having good days and bad days, just days. I struggle to get to about 2,000 words each day, then I hit my stride and zoom through the last of my words for the day. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is pretty boring to read about. The 11 and 12th were both more of the same. On the 11th I had to make up some words I missed on the 10th to give me a 5k total for those two days. The 12th was just like any other day.

On the 13th I decided it was a great day to try and get some extra words. I have a writing retreat coming this weekend, and I would love to hit 50k by the end of the weekend. That means one day early at my daily 2.5k pace. Not a big deal as even when I go over my word count one day I still aim for 2.5k the next. Those extra words start to add up. They weren’t adding up to a full extra day though.

I was off work the 13th, and for higher word count days I like to break my writing into two or even three sessions. So on the 13th I set a goal of writing 1,000 words in the morning. That wasn’t too hard. My son and husband went out to run an errand and I wrote while they were gone. In the afternoon I found time to write about 1,000 words while my son watched a bit of TV. Then I sat down to write in the evening as usual.

My goal by the end of the 13th was to be at 35,000. That would mean that if I got my 2,500 words each day I’d finish on the last day of the retreat. When I hit 35,000 words I realized I was only about 100 words away from having a 4,000 word day. I figured why not! and wrote an extra 150 or so words. That gave me over 4,000 words on the 13th and put me a little over my goal of 35,000 by the end of day 13th. Now to keep the lead I’ve given myself until the end of the weekend when I can finish with friends at the writing retreat.

How is your novel going this year? Have you had any surprises?

NaNo Daily Challenge – 15th-21st

As promised here are the next seven things I’m going to be focusing on for my NaNo Daily Challenge. I am going to repeat a few I really enjoyed earlier in the month. Also I’m struggling to ‘break’ my character, so a bit of a focus on that this week.

  1. focus on voice
  2. Someone betrays your main character
  3. Use more than sight to describe things (touch, sound, taste, and smell)
  4. Use “yes, but” or “no, and” to solve problems
  5. Show the characters have affect on the story
  6. Let the worse case scenario happen
  7. Find ways to increase the tension

Time to get writing.