Ahh, shameless plugging of my blogs . . . now that's something I should have put on my list of New Year's resolutions. Good thing it comes naturally.
Since our Coffee Chats have been well-received, S.K. Anthony and I are going to continue them in 2014, either until we run out of coffee (not likely) or until people tell us to shut up (extremely likely but not apt to be heeded). Appropriately, this first Coffee Chat of January 2014 is about resolutions and goal-setting. We'll even try to make it relevant to writing and publishing so there's an actual reason for it to be here on this blog.
SKA: Let's pretend I didn't already wish you this and make it public so I can look good: Happy New Year, Lynda! May it bring you lots of business from me, which hopefully will mean I'm writing a lot in 2014. Nothing selfish here, just wishing you the best.
ER: So let's hear it. I know, because I stalk your blog and because I'm your editor, that you accomplished at least one of your goals in 2013 by becoming a published author. How long have you had that goal, and what made you decide 2013 was The Year? Was it my brain waves and their irresistible influence?
SKA: It was most definitely your brain waves and influence. That, and just something I wanted to do for many, many years but was too scared to take the leap. I've loved books from when I was very young, thanks to my mother's influence—I mean, yours—and always thought it was amazing to create new worlds to escape to. I was just never sure if I could pull it off myself. I had the privilege of being able to stay home with the kids and decided that if I was ever going to try and follow my dreams, it had to be this year. I had to set up my blog and get out there in various social medias so I could hold myself accountable publicly; once I did that, there was no going back. I like to keep my word.
ER: I'm a word-keeper myself. In fact, I have a vivid recollection of saying, "I said I'd get it done for you and I'll get it done for you; don't worry, two days is plenty of time!" to a certain author . . . and here we are, a mere four months later, looking with excitement toward our next adventures, together and separately.
SKA: You did get it done within two days! And here we are . . . invincible because it's January and we can tackle it all! We think . . . Whatever, it's the spirit and intention that counts.
ER: Let's talk about goals and resolutions for a moment. What is it about January that makes us think we're invincible? I mean, really, let's think about this: you and I live in an area of the country that is known for some pretty heavy snowfall and dismal "nice" days in the winter. Are we really so delusional to be hopeful for good things?
SKA: The fact that we see the sun shining and we do have heat in our homes, and layers of clothing, and coats is what allows us to be hopeful, even in our neck of the woods. It's also a time where everyone is in a positive mood and the good vibes are all around us; why not try to catch all that positivity and hope for the best? Besides, a fresh start always seems needed at the end of a long year.
ER: Fresh start. That reminds me of Raymond Esposito's New Year's blog post about using the word "intentions" rather than "resolutions" because it's a much more positive, workable word. Do you have any particular intentions for 2014? Other than writing as much as possible, of course. Is there a specific goal of number of words, number of books, amount of time per day? Do you find that your personal and professional goals tend to stay separate, or are they forced to intertwine? Do you think these are too many questions all at once?
SKA: I liked that post; "intentions" is a fantastic word to use. After December—where I intended to go out with a bang and eat whatever I wanted, and then did—I hope to be slightly healthier with my choices and to work out more often. I know everyone has this one, but together we can conquer all, no? Also, as much as I'm there for my family, I can always do better, I think.
In regards to books, I would love to publish three more in 2014, but knowing me it will probably be two. Number of words? About 500k, because I'll delete half of that and be left with 2.75 books.
My personal and professional goals? Since I have three-year-old twins with lots of demands, they are definitely forced to intertwine. I'm on their schedule and everything writing-related is at the mercy of those two little people.
Do I think these are too many questions at once? You lost me at "intentions" . . .
Oh, I almost forgot: one of the "me's," Mildred Loudermilk, intends to start band rehearsals. So be prepared.
ER: Oooh, The Loudermilks! I guess I should start my own training regimen. I'd hate to not be able to keep up with the onstage antics. I don't kick like I used to, you know.
I also have some goals for healthier eating and getting back to a more active life. I seem to be able to concentrate on only one thing at a time. For example, I did well at becoming more active until I started editing, and then activity went by the wayside in favor of getting the work done in a timely manner. I think I'm finally to the point now where I can do both. Time management is a huge thing for me—either I'm wonderful at it or I suck. There is no in-between. I'm guessing that will be another one of my own intentions for the new year.
Professionally, I intend to grow my editing business. I plan to take in as much knowledge as possible to become better at what I do, because ultimately, it will enable the authors I work with—ahem . . . with whom I work—to publish a better product.
SKA: Good plans you have there! In twelve months we'll be giving the Rockettes a run for their money with our amazing high Loudermilk kicks. (Hey, we might as well dream big.)
ER: How do you meet your writing goals? Do you save the writing time for when you're guaranteed the alone time, or do you sneak in a sentence here and a paragraph there between your Queen of the Household duties?
SKA: Time management? What is that? I go with time allotment, which is why I wait until I'm guaranteed time alone. Once in a blue moon I will sneak in a line or paragraph while I'm mopping floors or jumping around with the kids, but it's to make sure I don't forget whatever genius I think hit me.
ER: It's me. I try not to hit too hard during daytime hours.
SKA: More often than not, I go back and don't understand what I've scribbled, but that's a whole different issue. I'm an insomniac, luckily, so I get to write through the nights while drinking wine to disable my inner critic, or Red Bull if I'm on the third night of a writing streak. Either way, revisions are always fun to say the least, deciphering my own thoughts and surprising myself with my own boldness. Fried brains make me feel empowered. What can I say?
ER: I don't know if I have enough grey cells left to risk them on Red Bull, but if it would help me get my house clean, I might look into it. Oh yeah . . . that's another one of my New Year's Intentions: my house needs a serious decluttering. I think I'm going to start my decluttering with the category of Hobbies I Never Make Time to Enjoy Anymore and see where it leads.
So I have to ask: if you're an insomniac and you end up writing much of the night, and you have three-year-old twins, and a hubby to spend time with in the evenings, when, precisely, do you sleep?
S.K.? S.K.? Hellooooooo . . . Anyone?
Well, this is awkward.
Dearest readers, maybe you can fill in the rest . . . tell us about your New Year's intentions. Only the good ones, though; the less we know about your bad intentions, the less we have to lie to the police if they show up. Ignorance is bliss.
Come back and catch up with us next week when we discuss our social media habits.
You can find S.K. Anthony in a number of places. She's on Twitter @SKathAnthony, her website is www.skanthony.com, her Facebook page is S Katherine Anthony, and on occasional occasions, she'll be right here with me, drinking coffee and laughing it up over our latest plans and schemes. And possibly even talking about books and writing.
You can find me here. I'm always here.