Oof, life has been a bit of a whirlwind, of late. March was one of my busiest months of the year and it shows, I think, with how slow I’ve been taking things in April (or trying to, at least). I won’t lie: the start of 2021 has made me feel a lot like Bilbo during the Third Age.
So, I do recognize that I need to do a little bit better job at some self care and rededicating myself to routines so I don’t feel so stretched thin. Acknowledging that, I wanted to do a check in and look at the intentions I originally had for this year and how I’m doing with those so far, now that we’re (already? only?) in the fourth month of the year.
This post isn’t meant to be a shaming thing for the things I haven’t gotten done or even a celebration post of what I’ve accomplished. Instead, it’s just a check-in, to help remind myself of what I want to accomplish this year, see if there is anything I want to add or anything I need to tweak.
So, let’s get to it!
- Develop a writing routine
- Edit and query BLOOD PRICE
- Write first draft of UNTITLED adult fantasy romance
- Schedule time to write 5x times a week
- Find buddies to check-in with
- Write out monthly goals in my Novels and Narration posts to help guide myself more
Check-In: At this point in the year, my main goal was to have finished another draft of BLOOD PRICE to submit to my editor and I have done that!! 🎉 I haven’t gotten to the 5x a week writing yet or found a really good rhythm or routine. Part of that is because I’m involved in so much and some of it fluctuates that I’m struggling to create a really solid routine to follow. Another part is my day job has been kicking my ass since March 2020. Then another is that my mental health has been all over the place; another being too involved in social media when I could be using that time to do other things. There’s a lot of reasons why the things I want to be priority, well…haven’t. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to explore a bit more and see if I can still change that.
So, for the next three months, I want to really focus on making writing a priority, to the best of my ability, while balancing everything else. I have a fantasy romance I want to write and inklings of some sort of sci-fi adventure starting to come to the surface. I want to “finalize” BLOOD PRICE and query it. Considering I’ve also been feeling a lot of imposter syndrome lately and just dealing with a lot of life stuff, I think I also need to recenter and just focusing on writing for me; focusing on enjoying what I am creating and telling stories, letting it be my escape from the real world, for a little while.
- Develop a reading routine
- Read one-two books a week
- Delete social media off my phone (and lessen social media intake in general)
- Protect my lunch break and actually go to bed with enough time to read
- Make monthly goal TBRs to get me excited
Check-In: Though I have read 14 books (!!) so far this year, I’m still not exactly where I want to be with reading. I have gotten better about reading during my lunch break, but haven’t created a good bedtime routine that I think I need, honestly. And while I had deleted Twitter off my phone, I was just logging onto a browser to check it, so I ended up redownloading it, since that wasn’t working. So, I need to figure out a way to balance it better. Because right now, I spend way too much time on it and it’s not great for my mental health. I have enjoyed making monthly TBR posts, though, surprisingly. I find myself looking forward to picking books I’m in the mood to read at the start of each month and having a narrower list to choose from after I finish a book.
For the next three months, I’d like to focus on reading more and doing social media less.
- Reach 1,000 followers (started at 878, currently at 888)
- Update all older posts with new feature images
- Continue to post regularly and form real connections
- Promote my posts more on social media
- Take time to update my entire site for cohesion
Check-In: Blogging has honestly been one of my most consistent things and I am really happy about that. I am still absolutely in love with this new self-hosted site and everything I’m able to do with it and how it looks. I have noticed that my follower count has stopped growing pretty considerably like it did last year, which is a bit confusing (but, I’m also wondering how many previous new followers were bots). So, while I think it’d still be amazing to reach 1,000 followers, that’s not my focus. I really like the routine I have going and I want to do a better job of promoting my work. I also haven’t gone back and made feature images yet. Or learned SEO. Oof.
So, for the next three months, I’d like to try and update perhaps at least one section of my website (perhaps book reviews?) with feature image posts and explore a little bit more of SEO stuff and see if that’s something that makes sense, while still posting regularly and hopefully blog hopping a little more regularly! I also really want to make sure all of my book reviews are cross-posted with Goodreads, StoryGraph and Amazon by the end of the year. 🤞
- Work with at least one client each month
- Continue to self study and level up my editing skills
- Get better at marketing these services
- Work with a romance client!?
- Learn more marketing tools
- Continue to support and get involved in the writing community
- Connect with more freelance editors
Check-In: This is a tricky one. By this point, my goal is to have worked with three authors, which I have!! But, I’ve been doing some more shorter work, like query letters and short stories, and not working too much on longer projects and manuscripts. With that in mind, I think I’ll obviously continue to promote with the hopes of working with more authors, but I think I’ll also explore creating new packages and offerings for shorter works! I’m also trying not to panic that I…don’t really have too much lined up, right now, for the rest of the year, aside from one (perhaps two) projects.
Next three months: create new packages, get better at self promotion and magically find time to do some more training to keep my skills sharp?
- Find movement I enjoy and make a routine
- Read and learn about body positivity
- Continue therapy for body dysmorphia
- Read at least one non-fiction book a quarter on body positivity and body acceptance
- Lessen social media time to stop the comparison game
- Force myself to do things my brain tells me I can’t “until I lose weight”
Check-In: This has been…hard. I might write about this a bit more later this month, but I have struggled with this a lot and I think this has impacted some of these other goals, as my depression has ramped up thanks to dealing with this. I haven’t read a non-fiction book for the first quarter like I wanted to, so hopefully I’ll do that soon! And I did get the haircut I’ve always wanted (but always told myself I wasn’t skinny enough to pull off) and I’m still going to therapy, which helps!! But, this is something I’m going to be working on for a while, I think.
Activism and Allyship
- Learn more about the systemic racism in America
- Learn how to better have difficult conversations to help combat systemic racism, racial injustice and fight for LGBTQIA+ rights
- Continue to move away from performative to actual allyship
- Continue supporting and participating in Anti-Racism Daily
- Read one non-fiction book by an anti-racist scholar a month
- Diversify my regular reading to normally include BIPOC and queer writers
- Diversify my shopping places to support more local and BIPOC communities
Check-In: I have definitely done a good job of keeping this a priority, even if that looks like doing work that I planned one day a different day or catching up on readings and looking at resources over the weekend. While I’ve only read two non-fiction books so far, I have bought my next read and was gifted some reads, too, so I am definitely prepared to keep doing this work. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my ingrained and unconscious white bias and how I benefit from white supremacy, and recognize this will be a lifelong journey to continue to combat what I’ve internalized.
For the next three months, I want to read three more non-fiction books, learn how to better involve those I care about and how these discussions about race and combating white supremacy and I’d like to save up and donate to an organization or BIPOC creator!
I had also made a list of smaller intentions that I hoped to focus on, as you can see below:
- Work on home projects
- Take better care of my hair and learn new ways to style it
- Lessen my social media intake
- Stay connected to friends better
- Write more letters and have penpals again!
- Adopt a more sustainable lifestyle
- Survive another year of grad school
- Pay off some debt?
- Explore our local nature spot more
- Visit friends in America (pandemic pending)
- New tattoo(s)?
- Get more nerdy clothes
- Cook more new recipes
- Manage my finances better
Complete some day job work projects for my students
- Learn how to be a wonderful auntie to my new niece
So far, I’ve only really completed one with my day job, but I like looking through this list again so I can remind myself of some of these goals! Home projects are kinda put on holdish while we figure out our living and job situation (though I did do some decorations with my office at home that I really love), but I’d really like to focus on writing more letters, exploring more local nature spots with my job and I really need to lessen my social media intake.
For the next three months, I think I want to focus on staying in touch with friends better, through phone calls, letter writing and (hopefully!) safe vaccinated get togethers; exploring outdoor adventures and managing my finances better so I can take care of that debt that’s hanging over me like a suffocating cloud.
And that’s the check-in! While I’m not doing everything that I want to be doing and still have plenty of strides I want to hit, it was also nice to take a moment and reflect on what my original goals were for this year and see that I’m still hoping to complete them. Life continues to throw punches and I’m surviving as best I can, and honestly, sometimes, that’s enough.
I hope that you’re taking care of yourself, friends!! Thanks for supporting me on my journey. It means the world. 🖤