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Tag Archives: Goals

I’ve got a lot to look forward to this year.

I’m going to get caught up on Welcome to Night Vale. I’m only about a dozen episodes behind right now. That’s not too shabby for only having started listening to the show back in February. I’m also reading the novel, which I received for Christmas. It’s proving to be just as much fun as the show itself.

My high school class will be holding our ten year reunion this summer. Despite most of us still living within a few hours of our hometown, we haven’t spent a lot of time together since graduation. It’ll be good to see old friends again.

When you’re a part of it, Ren Faire is always just around the corner. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and to celebrate, we’ll be open for nine weekends instead of the usual eight.

I found an amazing book challenge via one of my facebook friends. Take a look. I’ll be working through this checklist as I work toward my goodreads goal of 100 books.

2016 Reading Challenge

I’m looking through potential titles to read for all of these, and I’m not going to allow a single title to fulfill multiple requirements, even though some certainly could.

I’m going to learn Numenera. I bought the boxed set last summer, and I’ve been wanting to really get into it. It seems like an absolutely incredible RPG, and I love learning new systems. I’m also hoping for some more stuff from Wizards for 5th Edition D&D.

And there’s my goals for this year.

I’m pretty damn excited for 2016. I look forward to having you along for the ride.

2015 has been an incredibly big year for me, but not so much on the writing front. It’s become painfully clear to me over the last few weeks that this needs to change. I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, though. Sure, they’re a good way to plan out some of the changes that you’d like to make over the coming year, but how many of them are abandoned? According to research, about 92%. So it’s not good enough to make this just a 2016 resolution. It’s got to be more than that. So, here we go.

1.) Write more. I know, this one’s fairly obvious. I didn’t get a whole lot written during the course of the past year, and I need to focus on that. I’ve neglected my blog, and therefore neglected you, dear readers. That’s not fair to any of us. If I’m going to be a writer, I have to write. “Art harder, motherfucker.” Part of this includes starting up a journal again. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I kept a regular journal, something that I used to work on every day. At the very least, it’s a way of ensuring that I write something (anything) more frequently. It’s all about developing a rhythm. Writing needs to be my strongest habit.

2.) Submit more work. I’m totally okay with getting rejection letters, but I have to, you know, actually send stuff in to publications in order to get said aforementioned rejection letters. And who knows. Maybe somebody will like what I send them (I’m open to recommendations, by the way).

3.) Draw more. It gets my creativity going, and I know that’s been a major issue as far as #1 has been concerned. I’ve been trying to get back into it, since I’ve always love to draw. I found my art supply tote from college, and so I’m going to be breaking out the charcoals again for the first time in a loooooong time. I also want to get back into pencil drawings (way less messy and so much easier to take on the go—and an example of some of my work from high school can be found here).

4.) Communicate more. I’ve been kind of in hermit mode for a lot of the past year. While I did see my family a lot (having two sisters get married in the same year will do that), I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of my friends as I would have liked, especially considering that some of them have moved closer. Some will also be moving away soon, and I want to see them before they go.

5.) Vote. What? It’ll be a presidential election year. If you’re eligible to vote in the US, get out and fucking do it. This applies every year, but since more focus is given to presidential elections, I’m making a special note of it. I’m not going to go into any sort of depth on my political viewpoints here. This isn’t the place for such things. Those of you who know me well should have a pretty good idea of who I’m rooting for anyway.

6.) Get full-time employment. You’d think that with almost five years at my current employer this one would be a gimme. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately, I’m getting a lot of substitute shifts. Substitute shifts are good, and definitely help to pay the bills. However, locking in full-time would give me a great deal of job security. Is it the ultimate solution to financial woes? No, but it’s better than hoping that another one of my co-workers gets sick or goes on vacation or has a baby or what have you.

7.) Read more. I’ve knocked out 187 books so far, according to Goodreads, and I’m pretty pleased. My goal for the year was fifty. And yes, many of them were graphic novels, but I still got through all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, along with several other longer novels. I’d still like to read more. I’d always like to read more. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that everything that I read is helping me provide better guidance to library patrons looking for their next book.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start to planning my year. Stick around, dear readers. There’ll be new stories coming your way soon.

And hey. Thanks.

December is halfway through, and it has brought with it the special sort of self-imposed hell that comes from working in retail during the holiday season. As such, my writing on here has dwindled to almost nothing but apologies for not having written more. I seem to get to write a lot of those. I don’t like it. Two posts a month is unacceptable.

Thank you, Lemongrab.

Thank you, Lemongrab.

I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year. It’s not that I didn’t care, because NaNo is another special sort of self-imposed hell, and I’m rather fond of those, or so it would seem. I’ve tried before (and managed upwards of 33,000 words out of the 50,000 goal), and I probably will again, but this was not the time.

A little over a year ago, I introduced a character named Kidd Raven in a short story. Originally designed for a pirate-themed D&D campaign, Kidd Raven quickly took hold in my head as one of the most complex characters I’d ever invented. Now the campaign has stalled a bit, with some of the players moving out of town (and others out of state), and it may be that it only ever continues via something along the lines of Storium. However, when you’ve got a good character, it’s really hard to let go. So, I’m going to be repurposing Kidd Raven, bringing the pirate’s swordsmanship and spellcraft into a non-Wizards of the Coast world. A few changes here and there, obviously, due to copyright issues and whatnot, and this could shape up to be a damn fun adventure. This is new story number one.

New story number two is one that I started on in September, when inspiration struck during Nan Desu Kan. It’s very difficult to come across an image like this and not be driven to write about it.

the-white-door

I mean, look at it. That’s gorgeous. Who’s the figure in the photo? Where does the door lead? That’s new story number two. I like where it’s going so far.

And of course, I plan to continue working on what I consider to be one of my most ambitious projects to date. This one’s a novella, at least in its planned form. I don’t want to say too much more about it right now, but it’s also been in the works for a while. It may or may not make its way here to the blog, whereas the other two stories are slated to appear here for your reading pleasure. In the meantime, I’m working on getting some more short pieces, poems, and reviews up here in the very near future. Thank you all for your continued readership.

It’s nearly the end of October, and as you may be aware, my favorite holiday is rapidly approaching. Hallowe’en is less than a week away, and I’ve been making some arrangements for upcoming events. Looking at the way things will be falling into place over the next month has left me no choice but to say this. I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo for the last two years. When I first started I was couchsurfing and working one job, nineteen hours a week. I had plenty of time to tackle the project, and I was giving Scrivener a go at the same time. It seemed perfect to me, and I managed to crank out over 30,000 words in the course of the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Then my car almost died on my way home for the holiday, and my ability to focus went out onto the highway along with all of my coolant.

Last year, I was back to two jobs (actually, the same two that I’m doing now… I feel somewhat accomplished for that in and of itself), and decided that I wanted to tackle a totally different genre for me second attempt. I changed my mind partway through, and told myself I was going to edit my NaNo project from the year before instead. I was still apartment hunting. I was convinced that NaNo would bring the structure that my life needed. It didn’t. I got essentially zero progress done on any fiction writing. I was disappointed, to say the least. So this year, I’m going on NaNo Hiatus.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be writing. It definitely doesn’t mean that. In fact, I’ll probably be writing more than usual. However, I’ve got multiple small projects that I’m going to be working on that are going to be taking priority over an attempt to cobble 1600+ words together each day. I have existing stories that need fleshed out. I need to place focus on them.

Damn straight, Jean-Luc.

My favorite part of this meme is the look on Jonathan Frakes’ face.

Not that facebook is the biggest distraction I have from writing, but you get the idea. Writing’s not the only thing I’ve got to focus on right now either. Whether I like it or not, I’ve still got two part-time jobs that keep me occupied. The bookstore job in particular is only going to get more intensive as the holiday season approaches. It’s the nature of retail, and as much as I dread the thought of another Christmas in that field, what I do is all about helping people find the right book.

So yeah, there’s the whole job thing kind of interfering with writing, but honestly, I’m not certain that NaNoWriMo is the right route for me to take through it, at least not right now. Maybe, if all goes well, I’ll have full-time employment by this time next year, and I’ll be able to drop all of my accumulated vacation days on November, and just take paid time off to write. That would be amazing.

Until then, I’m going to work on a couple of longer pieces that I plan to submit for publication, and whip together a few microfiction pieces for the various writing challenges that pop up throughout the month. To those of you who are tackling NaNoWriMo in a couple of days, I wish you the best of luck. It’s great for certain people at certain times in their lives, and can be spectacular simply to get the words out of your head. Those of you who won’t be doing NaNo are more than welcome to join me at the bar on Hallowe’en and toast to the crazy people who are hunkering down in the writing bunkers for the next thirty days. Cheers!

Okay. I know that it’s been a busy summer. There have been a lot of things that I’ve been meaning to get done that haven’t been happening, at least just yet. Reviews I’ve wanted to write, books I’ve wanted to read, etc. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin, and I’m starting to feel it. Still, if college taught me anything, it’s that I function very well when that last-minute-panic-feeling hits. I’ve decided that I need to do a bit of reorganizing in my life.

Right now, it’s just turned into August (Happy Birthday, Colorado!). That means that the Renaissance Festival is coming to an end, and my girlfriend will have a little bit of time for a social life before the school year starts up again (she wants to be a teacher, and I’m a little jealous of the fact that she will continue to have summer breaks for the rest of her career, not going to lie). I’m personally hoping she gets to write a little bit, but we’ve got a joint project coming up that’s going to take a lot of time. See, we’re both making our own costumes for our cosplays for NDK this year, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m pretty new to the sewing machine, and I’m very serious about making my costume myself, though I’m also very willing to accept any and all help. We have some absolutely amazing friends who are already doing more than they should to help with this. Now I’m not saying what the cosplay is, not just yet. I know many of my readers already know, but those of you who don’t get to be surprised. So, shhhh. It involves a haircut. That’s the only hint you get.

Cosplay stuff aside, I still have a lot of things to get done. There’s some job opportunities that I’m likely to be applying for, as having a single full-time job would be a lot easier to manage than the two part-time things I’m doing now. A set schedule would also allow me to better handle a daily writing schedule, particularly useful since November is coming. I’m still working on a purge of my book collection. I was able to unload some of my duplicate titles onto V, which was a great help to me. Now I just need one more bookshelf, and I might be able to have space for everything that’s in my apartment at the moment. Just one more. Then I can get more books, and the cycle can begin again. Book addiction, folks. It’s a serious issue.

Also up this week is the accomplishment of a life goal. Tomorrow night, I’ll be in Denver to see my all-time favorite band live for the first time. Rush is coming to town, and I am not about to miss it. I’m going to listen to Moving Pictures again this morning, and probably work my way through as much of the discography as I can before I fall asleep tonight. In the meantime, I’ve got to go to work. The patrons at the library need me.

Dear readers, a few days ago I let you know that there were going to be some big changes ahead. Well, that’s definitely true. I’ve gotten an apartment with a friend of mine, and so I’m going to be out in the real world again, though I’m definitely going through girlfriend withdrawals right now. It’s amazing how quickly you miss someone after spending so much time with them on a daily basis. I get to spend the weekend with her, since my birthday’s coming up, though.

Anyway, I plan to have more writing coming soon, and updates from the new apartment. Sometimes you just have to jump at an opportunity and see what follows. This is one of those times. It should result in a bit of a boost in productivity, so there will be laughing! And mirth! And also ass-grabbing!

In February of last year, I got the chance to spend a week aboard the USS John C. Stennis, and to my great joy I found the ship’s library in my wanderings of the corridors. This opened my eyes to the surprisingly high number of libraries that exist on ships around the world. Apparently even the Titanic had two different libraries on board. This has made me think about some of the opportunities that would be available to someone who has a Masters of Library Science degree. After all, cruise ships need librarians too… I could work on my tan AND help to educate the masses. There are similar libraries everywhere. This is twenty different kinds of motivating to continue my education. Travel the world without leaving your favorite books behind. Hell, even the Semester At Sea program has opportunities for librarians to serve on their ships.

The MLS degree is still far more relevant than a lot of people think. This article from the American Library Association discusses the outlook for the degree, in contrast to a Forbes article which listed it as one of the worst choices for grad school programs. It may not be the best job line from a purely financial perspective, but, like teaching, librarianship is something people do because they love to do it, not because they want to get rich.

I’m looking at my school options for an MLS degree. I’d like to go back to school this fall, and there are two different programs that I’m considering, both of which are 100% online. I know that it’s something that I’ve talked about for a while now, so it’s time for my words to become my actions. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself running one of those mobile libraries in the not-so-distant future.

Time to break out the ironing board, ladies and gents, it’s my second job interview in the course of a week.

Under normal circumstances, this would be my first of two days off, but instead, I’m going to be going to interview for a forty hour a week job, that holy grail that we’re taught as children that we must achieve in order to be a real adult. This is a big deal, not because it would give me that immense psychological validation and approval from my parents (though it would do both of those things, I suppose), but because it would be something more than the part-time jobs I’ve been working for the last couple of years.

Now I’m in the process of preparing for one of the biggest job interviews of my career to date, and I’ve been given some really good advice. It’s not always quite enough to “just be yourself” in a job interview, because you still have to be the person that the company wants to hire. You have to stand out, especially when you don’t know how many people have already been interviewed before you and how many more are to come. To help me out, my girlfriend‘s mother sent me a list of the fifteen toughest interview questions that I might encounter. I’ve run into a lot of these before, and it’s really great to see some advice on handling the situations where you’re forced to think of something to say in response to “What’s your biggest weakness?” Worst question ever, by the way, aside from “How are you doing today?” Where’s my article telling me how to handle small talk? Ugh.

Anyway, as my longer-term readers are aware, I’ve been job hunting for effectively the entire time that I’ve been keeping this blog. I started The Swords of the Ancients while I was recovering from my first holiday season in corporate retail. Since then, I’ve interviewed for a LOT of different jobs, as I am always looking to expand my horizons and gain new skills and knowledge. Life gets kind of boring if you’re not learning something new, after all. I’m pretty well set in my current job, having worked here for over a year now, but it’s still only part-time. No offense to anyone, but it’s damn hard to live on a single part-time job, no matter where you are. Never mind the fact that I get a little crazy if I have too much free time. It’s a tricky balancing act. Something full-time would help me by forcing me to greater utilization of my time, and make me focus more on my writing during said free time, because it would be more precioussss. Gollum, gollum!

Ayah. See? This is what happens. I mean, yes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but some work and too much play makes Philip go crazy. I need to go put on a nice shirt and tie and go pretend to be professional for an hour. Hopefully I’ll have good news soon.

It is a fool who does not set goals for himself. A greater fool still is he who fails to accomplish said goals.

This much being said, I’m setting some goals for myself. Some of these are short-term, others may take a little longer, but ideally, all will be met within the next year.

1.) Employment. Gainful employment. I love my part-time job at the library, but it’s only part-time. Granted, I have time for writing and whatnot, but that’s not really all that useful at the moment, when I’ve got student loans and whatnot to pay off. I’d like to secure a full time position somewhere, or at least a 2nd part-time job that will work around my library schedule. This is step one, because a great deal of my goals will be derived from income earned via said employment.

2.) Living arrangements. I want to be in my own place (or at least a shared place) before Thanksgiving. Seriously. Having a little bit of space to myself would be a great boon to my writing/editing plans. See step one. Work arrangements will probably precede housing, since I need to know where I’ll be working to know what I can afford each month, and have a good idea of what kind of commute I might be facing,  especially with winter approaching.

Ned Stark gets all scientific-like.

3.) Get a new computer. I love my Dell, but it’s over four years old, and is a pretty well-traveled laptop. It’s holding up remarkably well, but I’m afraid that it’s nearing the end of its functional lifespan. I’m planning (admittedly probably too far in advance) to replace it with a desktop/netbook pair. I want a custom-built desktop for all my gaming, music, videos, and whatnot. The netbook would be for portability. That way I could write on the go, and still have a couple of decent games with me as well. The price keeps dropping on the little guys, and for what I spent on my current laptop, I could get said desktop plus a netbook that would have all the memory and functionality of my current machine. Crazy how that goes. Again, though, see step one.

4.) Propose. She’s incredibly patient, that girl. The biggest boon of financial stability would be this. I could finally feel like I can ask her to marry me, and know that I can support us both.

5.) Get published. This one’s in the works. We’ll have to see what the editors at Strange Horizons think. Getting any industry notice is big. If they say no, I’ve got other options.

6.) Write a novel. This one is also in the works, thanks to the upcoming NaNoWriMo event. I’ve had the idea for the main plot and most of the characters in my head since January, and they’ve been sharing a lot about their lives with me. When November gets here, I’m going to do my level best to get them all out onto the page. Step five will have a great impact on this novel’s future.

7.) Get in shape. If I can schedule time for writing, I can schedule time to work out. It’s not that I need to lose weight (those of you who have met me in person can attest to this), but that I want to be in better condition. I’m not exactly the most athletic person in the world. I’d like to at least get to the point where I’m not so apprehensive about exercise. Stupid P.E. classes screwed with my self-esteem way too much.

8.) Take full blog control. Those of you who know wordpress know that I’m doing this strictly via the free version of things. I’d love to be able to have the income to toss toward the upgrade, and have my own domain. It’s not that much, I know, but all the same, it’s an extra expense that I can’t quite justify right now.

9.) See Rush in concert. Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? Still, who knows how much longer the guys will be touring? Right now, they’re at the absolute top of my to-see list, and I’m still kicking myself for missing a couple of opportunities recently.

10.) Travel. I’ve not done any real travelling since high school. I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before, whether it’s here in the U.S. or another country. I’ve still got 2 1/2 years before I have to renew my passport. It would be awesome to get a couple more stamps in it first. England is near the top of the list (thanks to English teachers and certain friends getting to go there). Germany is up there too, even though I’ve already been. I’ve got a lot of family there that I would like to see again. Then there’s the ever elusive Japan… I’ve already admitted that I’m an anime geek, haven’t I? Even if it’s just booking the trip, I’d like to get out of Colorado and go somewhere I’ve never been before.

Is ten enough? Too many? I dunno. I’ll figure it out, I guess.

Today’s been decently productive, writing-wise. I’m hammering out some of the big plot details of my upcoming book in the days before NaNoWriMo, and my characters are growing more vocal again. I’ve also found some really cool stuff. I’m sure you’re all aware of the Occupy movements that are going on around the country. In Boston, they’ve found a pretty awesome way to keep all of the Occupants informed and entertained. Behold, the tent library. This is quite possibly the coolest thing that’s ever happened at any protest, at least from a reader/writer perspective. If only all protests could be this well-served by the public. If only all protests actually made some semblance of sense. Well, we can dream, can’t we?