Posts Tagged ‘goals’

(personal) Tea, and the quitting of soda

tea

I love tea. It’s no secret that I love tea, and that I am a wee bit of a tea snob (yes, Molly totally gets it from me, except that I can’t afford to buy my personal blends all the time, so I do occasionally buy tea from the grocery store. But even then, it’s still the speciality teas. I just don’t like plain black tea anymore.) – but I used to have another habit as well. I used to live on soda.

 

It started in college, when I was on my own (yay!) and could make my own decisions about what to put in my body. It turns out I was woefully unprepared for such authority, which led to me living on caffeine, sugar, and about 4 hours of sleep a night. It was not a pretty sight.

 

In December this past year, I decided I was quitting soda again. Cold turkey. I’ve tried and failed to do this before – I’ve always cheated and then given up because “well, I’m just addicted and that’s it.” But this time, for whatever reason, it stuck.

 

I haven’t had a soda (barring mixed drinks) since December 3, really. I do not count ginger ale as soda, because I only drink it when I’m really not feeling well. But for those who used to know how to find me by following the trail of Pepsi cans, this is a huge thing. I’ve replaced the soda with iced tea and hot tea, and even occasionally with water. I still like bubbles, but I can get those with seltzer.

 

It hasn’t been easy. I still crave them, but I remind myself that tea is better (I drink mine unsweetened, so the savings in calories alone has been huge), and that soda bothers my stomach. That soda has a ton of processed garbage in it. That I have better things to drink.

 

That said, you will pry my rum and Coke with lime out of my cold, dead fingers. So if you see me with a soda, rest assured, there’s probably booze in it.

(personal/writing/advent) New Year brings new opportunities

Happy-new-Year-cool-Clipart-pictures-free-Download2

 

It’s the beginning of a new year, and one I’m hoping is better than last year. No, one I will MAKE better than next year.

 

I’m recommitting to several things – my goal to get healthy; my writing; and myself. Yes, I’m going to be enforcing my time to get better. I can’t take care of others at the expense of myself. I need to remember that.

 

Work is going to be VERY busy in the next month – my day job is in the financial sector, and it’s the tax season. Which means I need to be healthy, so I can work the hours I need to. In addition, I’m getting ready to publish Winter Secrets, which means I’ll be writing a lot, because well, I need to finish the rewrite by January 31. I’m also going to be doing at least weekly updates here (more if I can, but I’m only committing to weekly) so that I can keep all you lovely folks in the loop!

 

I’m not doing resolutions this year, but I have made out my business plan for the year, and I have three books to write:

  • The rewrite of Winter Secrets, which will be published in May
  • The first draft of Deep Waters, the first Pendragon novel
  • The first draft of Resonant Frequencies

I’ll have more on that later. I’m also going to be at ConCarolinas and Balticon in the early summer, and some others maybe later in the year.

(personal/goals) The Pursuit of Knowledge

knowledge meme

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about knowledge lately, in the aftermath of the attacks in Kenya, Paris, Lebanon, and Mali, among others. I’ve been listening to all the calls for war, for peace, for understanding, for hatred, and I’ve been trying to sort out what I know and what I don’t.

 

I know that not all people are terrorists, no matter their religion. I know most people of the world decry these actions, and want to see peace in their lifetime. But I don’t KNOW about the religions/philosophies they follow. Not as much as I want to.

 

So I’ve set a goal for myself for the next 13 months. I’m going to read all the religious/philosophical books I can get my hands on. I’m going to educate myself. And I’ll probably be commenting on the blog here as I do. I’m still trying to decide what to start with – it will either be the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah (as I’ve got copies of them all on my Kindle). This is the rest of my list so far:

– The Books of Mormon

– The Havamal

– The White Goddess

– Arcadia

– The Bhagavita Gita

– The Art of Peace

– The Tao te Ching

– The IChing

– The Tipitaka

– A Course of Miracles

– Dhammapada

 

Anything else I should read? Any suggestions? Want to join me?

(writing/personal) Nano on the horizon!

Maple leaves in Autumn.

I can’t believe it’s nearly November. This year has flown by. You know what else I can’t believe?

I’m going to try and write two novels in November. Yes, I’m probably insane. But, well, what are goals for if not to inspire us, right?

I’ve started going to the studio first thing in the morning (6:30 am is an EVIL, EVIL time) and writing before work. I have a blessed studio mate who makes sure I’m fed and not bumping into walls, and so far, it seems to be working. I’ve got the first outline for Nano done (the Advent story, which is going to be awesome, you guys), and this week, I’m working on the second one (for Resonant Frequencies). I’ve got the edits back for Winter’s Secrets as well, and although I won’t make a December 1 deadline for getting that published, I do promise you it will be coming. I just want it to be perfect, and it’s not yet.

I’m hoping this helps combat some of the SAD that I know is coming. As the days get shorter, and the air gets crisp and cold, I can feel it creeping in at the edges of my mind, sinking icy fingers into my heart and turning everything pale and cold. I don’t like feeling that way, and in the past, writing has helped me stave it off. I’m hoping to repeat that success. Wish me luck.

(weekly update) It’s Sunday again – a day of rest, right? No.

Well, in a way it is. I’m in my favorite sweat pants and my DKP teeshirt, and I have no intention of changing. I’m going to move at a pace that still gets things done, but doesn’t wear me out. I’m getting my next Remicade treatment on Wednesday, and I’m still nurturing a cold (which needs to get the fuck out, because they won’t give me my meds if I have a cold), so it’s going to be a slow, steady mosey all day. And I can do a lot of it sitting down.

 

In writing news, I have the edits back from the lovely Sue Baiman for Winter’s Secret, so I can get working on those this week. Yay, this book is getting closer to being real! I also need to get cracking on the last of my beta read for Ripley Patton and get those back to her (omg, you guys, this book is SOOOOO good and she is amazing and you should go buy Ghost Hand now so you can start catching up). And of course, NaNoWriMo is coming, and I need to get moving on the outline for Advent #5.

 

In non-writing news, I’m holding on to an 18-lb weight loss in two months, and looking forward to doing more. I’ve gotten rid of my YMCA membership and started a membership at my work’s gym. No excuses! Also, Herbalife is awesome.

 

Well, the laundry isn’t going to fold itself, sadly. Time to get moving!

Ramblings

This might not be of interest to most people, as I’m using it as kind of a catchall of what’s in my head right now. My brain is responding well to 250 words a day (about to hit Day 4 in a few, and I even managed 250 last night on the tablet, because I didn’t have the energy to make it in to the studio), and that has had one very common side effect – it wants to write ALL THE WORDS, ON EVERYTHING. Which is not conducive to finishing anything. And if I don’t finish things, you guys don’t get to see it. And to be perfectly honest (and probably crass), if you guys don’t get to see it, I don’t get to sell it and make money.

 

So, brain, you and I have to have a rather firm talk. I totally want to write all the things too, but we need a schedule, and we need to follow it.  You game? Good.

 

Here are the projects we’ve talked about that need to be written:

-Summer Advent. This is non-negotiable, as we have already promised the fans this as of July 20th. So this is the first priority. And yes, this means we get to subject poor Robert and Lee to Christmas carols in June while we write it.

-Advent 2015. We need to start the outline for this, so we can write it BEFORE December. Because wouldn’t it be nice to have it all ready to go? Of course it would. And we have to do some research on this anyways, because for the first time, it’s NOT going to be in Carter’s Cove. (Yes, it will still be Molly, Drew and Schrodinger. Don’t worry. And Pavel. LOTS of Pavel.)

-Deep Waters. I need to get the next Sapph novel done, and I think the title still works. Because between Patrick, Mac and her own stubbornness, Sapph is totally in deep water. And I think the idea of what is haunting the town is perfect. If I can pull it off.

-Portrait of Abby. I really like this one, and we’ve got the first 3 chapters done. This is non-negotiable as well. It’s a nice palate cleanser from Sapph.

-Treaty of Betrayal. This one is all plotted! Now I just have to write it. Hmm, maybe this one should be pitched too.

-Faery-Tale Princess. Again, I need to write it. It’s going to be fun. Mundane executive, thrust into a fantasy kingdom to save them all. Somehow. With magic she doesn’t believe in.

 

Stuff to be polished and edited:

-Winter’s Secret goes to the editor in August. I’m very excited about this! Goal is publication in December, for Christmas.

 

Stuff that is still in the idea/outline phase, to be slated in later:

-Elen. This is an intriguing idea, but I don’t know quite what the story is yet. I have the world, but it has flaws, and I’m not sure who the antagonist is. This needs to marinate (this is the world amnesia story).

-Phases of the Moon. I need to come up with a pitch packet for this one, so I can see if anyone’s interested in it.  Also, a pitch packet will force me to write out the outline and the story idea. This one involves the Goddess of the Moon split into four different souls, and Sun Spiders. Very cool imagery.

-The Heart of the Universe. Another pitch idea. Space opera, involving space galleons (think SpellJammer), intergalactic civil war, and pirates, all looking for the Heart of the Universe. Because whoever gets it, rules everything. Except I think there’s more going on, and I have to figure out what.

-Raindrops. This is a one-shot (really!) but I feel like I need to write it. Twin sisters, one a mage, the other a diplomat, and they’re on the run, trying to figure out how to kill the evil usurper and free the rightful king from the dungeon. High fantasy.

-Plague Mirrors. This is a dystopia that I kind of want to noodle with some more. What if it wasn’t man who killed man – but Plague herself? And how would you defeat her, if she could travel through mirrors to find you? What kills Plague? This is a fantasy dystopia idea, but I need to flesh it out (no pun intended).

-Rose. I might combine this one with Plague Mirrors, or not. I love the idea of True Souls, and I need to figure out how to incorporate them.

-Midsummerland. I have it mostly plotted, but it’s not working, so I need to figure out why. This is the fae/human book, with all sorts of weirdness.

 

This post might get added to, as I think of things. Good thing I have a lot of ideas. I’d hate to run out.

 

Trials and Tribulations, or why can’t Val update a blog on a regular basis?

Of course, this could be titled “Why can’t Val do anything on a regular basis?” I seem to have issues with regularity, and I wonder why.

 

It could be that somewhere in my dim, distant past, something linked “a regular routine” with “boring” and I HATE boring with a fiery passion. And yes, I know that routine doesn’t have to be boring. I just don’t seem to be able to stick with it.

 

However, I am not a quitter, and so I’m trying again. With some differences, of course – if it hasn’t worked before, why would I try the same thing? Also, see boring, above. This time, I’m leaving my laptop at the studio, forcing myself to go in. And I’ll be doing my blog updates at the same time as my writing – they may not be long, but dammit, I’m going to update! Starting today.

 

I’m on the tail-end of pneumonia (yeah, in the summer. I’m talented, what can I say?), and I’m coming off a low that is partly sickness, partly sadness, and partly frustration. My new goal is 250 words a day. I’m on the Magic Spreadsheet again, and I’ve got a couple of projects that I’m working on. I have an editor for Winter’s Secrets, and one of the projects in the queue is the wedding of the summer – Molly and Drew are getting married on July 25, and they hope you’ll be there for it! There’s a 6-day Summer Advent story that will be going on, and there will be at least one prize (come on, you want one of their wedding favors, don’t you?), so keep a look out for that!

 

Okay, I’ve got a lot to do today, so off to the word mines!

Back from Balticon – the pollen-filled update.

Waterfall.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

This is where I wish I was.  Sadly, instead, the pollen is falling like snow outside.  I’m assuming that’s why I feel awful.  I really, really hope it isn’t con crud.  Really.

 

Balticon was amazing.  It was the first time I’d been a fan, rather than a guest, and because I wasn’t on panels, I had the time to hang out, talk to people, enjoy some other panels that I might not have gotten to, and just soak in the atmosphere.  And there was so much creativity in the atmosphere.

 

I love Balticon.  I love the fact that it’s four days long, and that it brings together so many people from all over.  Thank you, Paul, Nutty, Viv, Laura, Chooch, Tee, Pip, Scott, Dave, Sue, Dave, and so many more, for just being you.  For being so very amazing.  For being so creative.  For reminding me what a family I’ve found, and how lucky I am to be a part of it.

 

So now that I have recovered from working the day after we drove back (yeah, that wasn’t smart, Val, seriously), I am recommitting to writing.  Every day.  250 words is my minimum.  I will be heading to the studio to write after work.  I will be putting things out.  I will be sending Winter’s Secrets to my awesome editor Sue and I will be working on some novel pitches to send out.  This weekend reminded me that nothing is promised.  We don’t always get a tomorrow.  We don’t have all the time in the world.

 

It’s time to start writing.

(health/personal) First goal met!

goal crushed

 

 

On March 1, I said I wanted to lose 6 lbs by the end of the month.  In the first week, I went to my Remicade treatment, and the scale read 310 lbs.  So I needed 10 lbs to get under 300, which was my first weight loss goal of the season.

 

Today, I stepped on the scale and it said 298.8 lbs.  Goal achieved.

 

Now, time for the next goal.  I’ve decided that I’m doing 10 lbs at a time, and giving myself a month to do so.  So by April 30, 2015, I want to lose 10 more lbs, which would put me under 290 for the first time in a long time.

 

I can do it.  I WILL do it.

(personal/writing/depression) It’s been a long winter.

snowpocalypse.jpg

I know, it’s still a long way until spring, but seriously, I feel like I’m trapped in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones world.  Between the depression and the SAD and the god-awful snow (seriously, there’s been like 60 inches of snow in the past month!), I feel like I’m smothered in cotton.  So what have I done?

 

Retreated.

 

I have totally been sleeping when I haven’t been at work, and eating all the foods that aren’t good for me (darn it, gluten!  Why are you in all my comfort foods?) and not writing.  Well, not really writing.  I did get some words in February, but I didn’t finish Secrets, and I haven’t finished the first draft of Deep Waters, both of which I wanted to do.  I haven’t lost any weight.  I didn’t make it to the gym.

 

But that’s in the past.  And I can’t change the past.

 

What I can do is focus on the future.  The days are getting longer (finally), and spring is coming.  I now have trackers that work for my sneakers, and I have my FitBit, which lets me see how I’m doing.  I have a new desk at work, and dammit, I have a birthday coming up.  I don’t want to be unhealthy any more.

 

I know it’s hard.  I know I’ll backslide sometimes (movie theatre popcorn, you are my kryptonite!), but going forward, I’m going to keep myself accountable here on the blog, on Twitter (I’m @vg_ford there), and on Facebook.  I’ve got modest goals for March:

1. 250 words a day

Not just on the blog, but on actual stories.  I need to keep writing every day.

 

2. 8 hours of sleep

Seriously.  I’m sleeping more, so that on the weekends I don’t spend until noon in bed.  And I’m going to try and stick to my weekday sleep schedule on the weekends, so I don’t screw everything up.  End result: if you see me online after 11 pm and I’m not out somewhere, tell me to go to bed!

 

3. 6 lbs gone

That’s the physical goal.  6 lbs will bring me under 300 lbs, and that’s my first goal.  I can do this.  No more soda, no more gluten, no more crap.  It’s going to be interesting, as my gut is not happy with raw veggies and fruits right now, but I’m going to try some smoothies, and more steamed/cooked veggies.  And real food, not processed food.  And water.  And tea.  (Glorious tea)

 

So there’s that.  I’m off now, to get my 250 words (at least), and then over to Mom and Dad’s for a roast lamb dinner.  I’ll see you all tomorrow!