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?


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.

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

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

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

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


  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.

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.

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.

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?

The Plot and the Rough Draft

I’ve had most of a rough draft of the MG Sci-Fi finished for a while. My big goal right now is to move from almost complete rough draft, to a complete first draft. As posted before my plan to get to a first draft is:

  1. Work out the seven point plot for this novel.
  2. Write up a detailed plot.
  3. Move the scenes I have to fit the final detailed plot.
  4. Finish writing the rough draft.
  5. Read through and edit to get a complete first draft.

Step 1 – Seven Point Plot
Once I figured out the starting state, the seven point plot came together quickly. I spent almost as much time watching videos and researching the seven point plot as I did figuring out the seven points for this novel.

Step 2 – Make a detailed plot
Writing up the detailed plot took longer than I expected, but I’m glad I took my time. To get this step done, I first broke up all the ‘chapters’ in my scrivener file into scenes. Then I lumped the scenes into folders for each stage of the adventure. This step took some time, but was a big help when it came to doing step 3, so no regrets.

Once I had the scenes broken out, I reread the novel. This didn’t take long, as it is only 30k at the moment. With a much fresher view of the story I made up the detailed plot. I took my time, and was able to move and imagine how to rework scenes to get a much better plot than I have right now. I think I only tossed three scenes into the garbage, although several more will need a complete rewrite.

Step 3 – Set up my Scrivener file
Because of the prep work I did in step 2, this step was fast and easy.  I finished moving my file in a single night. At the same time I also copied my final plot into my story notebook. I know the plot will still shift a bit during edits, but I feel much better having a solid place to start.

Step 4 – Write a rough draft of the missing scenes
This is where I am right now. I’ve taken this week off of writing, so next week when I dive back in, I hope to make good progress. I have four scenes left to write to have a finished rough draft.

What are you working on right now? Do you make a plan when writing a novel, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Moving on from NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is over, and it was a success. I enjoyed the novel I was working on, but in December I’m going back to my MG Sci Fi project. I want to use this project as a learning experience for a deep, full, edit. I’ve finished many manuscripts (~8). But I’ve never managed to completely edit a piece to my satisfaction. Getting something polished is definitely the next challenge I need to face as a writer.

Hence my new writing goal of ‘Finishing a Novel’. Not just a finished draft, but an edited polished novel. I’m excited and nervous, the usual emotions I feel when starting a new writing challenge. I’ve laid out the steps to get a complete first draft. I’m looking for something a little cleaner than a rough draft (I write fast, so I write what I call a rough draft *ahem* sometimes very rough). If my novel were a house, I’m looking for a house with good bones, not the renovated house of my dreams. Once the first draft is done I’ll move onto deeper edits to get to a second draft, then hopefully get a final draft after a good polish.

My plan to get to a first draft:

  1. Work out the seven point plot for this novel. This concept was pointed out to me by my friend @catereads. It’s a great way to get a plot outline.
  2. Write up a final detailed plot.
  3. Move the scenes I have to fit the final detailed plot.
  4. Finish writing the rough draft.
  5. Do one read through, and edit to the point where it makes sense (and I’m not missing any scenes). Considering how many scenes I know I’m moving, this might take a while.

So far I’ve finished number one, and I’m working my way through number two. I’m feeling excited about the task though.

What are you working on these days? How many finished, but unedited, manuscripts do you have?

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?

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.