Hello Lovelies, welcome back to the blog.
Can we talk about me CRUSHING IT this quarter with goals? I accomplished an incredible 131/187 tasks this quarter, in other words, 70% completion on my crazy/ambitious Quarter 2 goals.
But first, the proof. Check this out in Trello.
So… yeah. 2020 started out very lazily for me. It quickly turned chaotic and even stressful in light of COVID-19 putting my state on lockdown, but my job and countless of other friends and family members being considered ‘essential’ and allowed to stay open.
I’ll be honest. I was feeling pretty crappy about it, as I’m guessing most people were.
I didn’t think my job was that essential, didn’t believe we were staying open. That I was risking my life and the life of people I cared about for such a not-essential industry was not fun. Being told that my company was open for business and that my options were that I had to quarantine at home with no pay, catch the potentially deadly virus, or just tough it out at work was a really hard pill to swallow.
I wasn’t allowed to stay home and spend the time writing like I was dying to. While people around me joked about coming out of COVID-19 Quarantine with 10 new hobbies, I had to work my ass off all day and then come home exhausted and still work on my goals anyway.
My resilience and tenacity paid off in a big way this quarter. Something in me saw me failing at the end of the quarter to do anything useful or meaningful, and everything inside of me pushed back on that reality… hard.
Writing (40/47 tasks completed)
I knew I had a slow start to the year, mainly because last year I pushed (too) hard and burned myself (quite unhealthily) out in getting two drafts rewritten, with a full critique and edit in-between. The thing had to be completely overhauled after the 3rd Draft, and while I finished the 4th Draft of #ODUM early in 2020, it is far from ‘completed’ with scenes that needed entire rewrites.
I got about half of the scenes that I intended to rewritten. I realized early in the quarter that if I wanted to query this year, I probably only needed the first 10 scenes polished to do so, and that I could work on the rest of it in-between queries. That’s been working out pretty well, and I’ve been able to pace myself with better workload management.
Editing (39/72 tasks completed)
After finishing the draft, many scenes which were pulled directly from a previous version needed to be rewritten to fit the current version. The entire thing needed at least a partial critique, as well as a scene-by-scene edit, mainly made necessary by the fact that I haven’t actually done a complete read-through on this thing since it was in its 2nd Draft.
It still hasn’t happened. I still don’t have this draft read all the way through so the edits for the entire book only occurred in part. Again, only needing the first 10 or so chapters to be polished, I really only sent about 15 scenes to be critiqued and later edited. Whereas in the 3rd Draft I had a lot of negative feedback about character arcs and pacing, most of that has been fixed in the 4th Draft and I’m getting much more positive feedback about it.
Marketing (29/32 tasks completed)
Another big thing on the list was to make a blog post weekly. I have told myself every year since I started this blog in 2017 that I wanted to be steadily posting, and, thus far, I haven’t really accomplished that. My posting schedule has been spotty at best. In 2020 I wanted to change that, but by the end of the 1st Quarter of 2020 my motivation for keeping up a blog post every week flagged. I was mad at myself for letting it slip (yet again) into the background of my life.
This quarter, I decided to make it a priority. I wanted to prove to myself that a once a week post was not too much to accomplish and that I would be able to come up with topics for posts every week. as of this post, I can say that I smashed the heck out of that goal, surprising even myself.
I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much here because it’s not that big of an accomplishment, but I queried a single literary agent this quarter. I was upset one day with my regular job, and I just hit send on a query to get the fear before the start of something new right out of the way. And before you ask, no; No one is banging on my door to have a copy of my manuscript, and I haven’t heard back and may never hear from the agency if the answer turns out to be no.
Mental Health (13/13 tasks completed)
I had a revelation about mental health this year that made me want to experiment with thinking of and doing mental health differently. I reevaluated so many things that people to consider to be mental health that simply don’t apply to me. For instance: taking a long bath. I get anxious not doing anything and would much rather be washing the dishes to alleviate the messy home or write the blog article that is the source of my stress than force myself to sit there and do nothing.
I do, however, love, completely and without any qualifications, to binge read a book, be out in nature for 30 minutes or more, visit with family or friends, take a long car ride. I made it a point to do one of these things, at least once a week, the whole quarter. The result of which is, I did, should probably be doing it at least twice per week (your mileage may vary), and I definitely felt less stressed despite the COVID-19, and more mentally stable the whole quarter.
What I’m saying is, mental health is important, and I am not qualified in any way to give you any kind of advice, but for me, finding ways to do more of what brings me actual joy as opposed to trying to manufacture external joy was key.
Household (15/17 tasks completed)
I’ve been “building a fence” by hand in my backyard for what seems like all the years I’ve owned my home. We were relatively close to finishing the project, and most of the hard work of sinking poles had been completed at the tail end of the nice weather last year. The big goal for the household was to get the fence finished this year.
We still need a gate at the very back, but the fence part is, for all intents and purposes, actually finished. This is huge because we previously had an open backyard which we basically shared with a neighbor. Now we have our own yard space, and it is so nice to go out there and not be weird and have to make conversation with neighbors that are also out enjoying their backyards.
Personal (0/6 tasks completed)
In other news, I’ve been the worst Keto dieter ever. I started Keto in October of 2019, and without doing all the things that make Keto an atrocious diet–counting macros, getting in enough fats, frequent weighs, ketosis checking–I still managed to lose 20 pounds. Going into the 2nd Quarter, I wanted to see if I could lose a few more, since I’d like to have lost about 45 lbs before I reintroduce extra carbs back into my life.
Keep in mind, I’m the worst Keto dieter ever. I’ve already said this, right? I take a “cheat” day when my husband and I go out for a weekly date because Keto is the worst, strictest diet I’ve come across, and if I don’t have a cheesecake once in a while, why am I even alive? I don’t exercise. I don’t even make 7000 steps a day, so the recommended 10000 steps has not been happening. I only know I (generally) keep under 25 carbs a day, but further than that I’m way too lazy to track.
No, I did not lose any more weight this quarter which I admit is a failure of the goal. What I did do this quarter is drop in size. While my weight loss of 20 lbs maintained steady, I dropped from a size 16 in October into size 8 jeans this quarter. I haven’t been a size 8 since High School.
Still, I don’t feel like I failed the underlying spirit of this goal. I feel better about my weight than I have in probably 15 years, and my body is changing in ways that I can now physically see.
Will I put weight loss back on my goals list for 3rd Quarter? You bet. But will I be totally disappointed if all I end up accomplishing is maintaining? Nah.
2020 Quarter 2 (136/187 tasks completed)
You guys. You GUYS. This is crazy. I completed 72% of the tasks I set out to accomplish this quarter. This is roughly 45 items checked off my list per month.
These were all very small, actionable tasks. All tasks which I could complete in small amounts of time, and to which there was a clear pass/fail. In other words, they were Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Here are some examples of tasks that were on my list this quarter:
- Plot one scene.
- Edit one scene.
- Rewrite one scene.
- Write one blog post.
- Create one freebie.
- Gain three credits on Critique Circle.
- Upload five images for social media.
You see, when you break a task down into the smallest parts, and just work on those tasks, you don’t have to look at an entire novel rewrite or 50 blog posts or that 100 pounds you need to lose. You just have to take the next tiny step.
Write one scene. Not even a whole chapter. Just that one tiny scene. In time, those tiny scenes eventually make up that entire novel you are trying to write. They create compound interest and grow and grow until you’ve got the whole project completed. Checking off the small tasks gains you huge momentum, because then you can see the real progress you’re making every day toward your bigger goals.
Remember, I was totally burnt out after 2019 came to an end, and did next to nothing in Quarter 1 of 2020. I hope this inspires you. I hope this encourages you. Don’t wait for next year, next quarter, next month. At any time Lovelies, you can absolutely start again.
What are your goals for Quarter 3 of 2020? Share them in the comments below!