Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Making Goals a Priority by Alicia Dean

Rather than actual 'resolutions,' this year, I am attempting to not only set goals, but to actually figure out a way to reach them. This past Saturday was our OKRWA meeting, and each January, we write our goals and seal them in an envelope. (I joked that I was ready to set unattainable goals, but unfortunately, that's really not a joke. I usually set too many unrealistic goals :() Then, at our December Christmas party, we open them and see how many we reached. I failed miserably in reaching my 2015 goals. Although, to be fair, I did accomplish many things that were not on the list. Sometimes, my failure to reach my goals is due to becoming involved in too many other things that derail me from them.

This year, actually in the first quarter of the year, I need to write about half a dozen manuscripts (some, thank God, are novellas). Since I work full-time and edit for the Wild Rose Press and coordinate contests and, etc, etc, that might be a little tricky. There's also the social media thing and email thing and wasting time on the internet thing. Social media and promo are vital to an author's career, but I need to find some balance and set aside a certain block of time, no more than 30 minutes per day, to devote to marketing. I'm working on that.

Something else I am determined to do in order to reach my goals is to give myself more time in the mornings for writing. That means, I need to get out of bed two hours before I really have to. I am not all that self-disciplined, and I'm finding that a big challenging. I discovered a few nifty little alarms that might help in that area. One is a 'Wake Up' app. There are several like this, but with this particular app, you have to walk a certain number of steps to turn off the alarm. You can set it from 10 to 100. Once you've walked the steps, it's unlikely you'll go back to bed. One of the problems is, I need to make myself actually set the alarm the night before, and in order to do that, I need to go to bed a little earlier. Maybe I should start out in 30 minute increments each morning until I'm up to my two hours. Another alarm I am going to try is a clock I purchased where you can custom record an alarm. If I can figure out how to get it to work, I'm going to record a short pep talk to wake me. If that fails, I'm going to go full 'drill sergeant' and threaten and berate. :) (I was in the Army National Guard many, many moons ago, so I know how it's done).

So, do you have any clever tips or tricks to help reach your goals? If so, we'd love to hear about them.

And, speaking of goals, today happens to be release day for LIBERTY EMPOWERED, Book 3 in my Isle of Fangs series. It's a book I should have had written a year before I did, but it's one of those goals I couldn't quite meet.

Click HERE to be taken to Amazon Buy Page

She’s striving to embrace her nature…he’s fighting to restrain his.

Vampire hunter Liberty Van Helsing is responsible for protecting the humans living on Sang Croc, a tropical island in the French Polynesia. While striving to improve her recently acquired hunting skills, Liberty wrestles with her attraction to vampire, Eli Barkley, estranged son of Rupert, leader of the Evil Ones. 

Then the grandparents of a young girl—who Liberty has befriended—is snatched by the Evil Ones, and Rupert offers Liberty a deal: herself for the hostages. 

Rupert is certain his son will, in turn, voluntarily trade himself to save Liberty. Liberty has a better idea. Launch a rescue into Rupert's stronghold. But first she must tap into the elusive Van Helsing strength, and convince Eli he's not like his father... not anymore. 


 "Can I talk to you for a sec?" Eli's expression was calm, but beneath his words, Liberty sensed a hint of anger. Maybe more than a hint. She squeezed Hannah's hand. "I'll be right back."
Liberty followed Eli into the kitchen and leaned her butt against the counter. "Well?"
"I know what you're thinking, and you can get it out of your head right now."
"You don't know what I'm thinking."
"You want to go rescue her grandparents. But you can't do that."
Maybe he did know what she was thinking. "Why not?"
"Not only is the compound well-guarded and dangerous, some of the humans are there of their own free will."
"So you said, but her grandparents aren't there voluntarily. I can at least help them."
He threw his hands in the air and let them drop to his sides. "You have to listen to me. You can't rescue her family. You're a hunter, Liberty. Your job is to hunt on full moon nights, not charge off like Wonder Barbie. You are the last of the Van Helsing line. If anything happens to you, what do you think will happen to the people on this island? The Evil Ones will pillage and plunder to their hearts' content."
"Nothing will happen to me."
"I know. Because you're not going."
Liberty barked a laugh. "How do you think you can stop me?"
"You forget, I'm stronger than you. If I have to, I'll handcuff you to me."
She ran her hands through her hair and shook her head. "I need to get Hannah home. We'll talk about this later."
He grabbed her upper arms and captured her eyes with his silver gaze. "Don't do anything stupid. Don't do anything without talking to me."
Liberty twisted free and drew in a stuttered breath. "Fine."
"I said fine!" She stalked out of the kitchen. She couldn't make any promises. If she could help Hannah's grandparents, she would. Yes, it was risky, but what good was she as a hunter if she couldn't save people she cared about?


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

You're much more busier than I. Truthfully, I'd like to write without the deadlines, so I won't feel so stressed if either Calvin or I get sick. which owujld mean going Indie. Thanks for the share. Do you know I've never read a vampire story? Yes, I am a Vampire Virgin.

Jannine Gallant said...

Congrats on the release, and good luck with the new goals! I've simply gotten used to getting less sleep. 8 hours? Uh, I haven't done that in years. I shoot for 7 and survive on 6 most of the time. Less sleep means more writing time. It's a trade off! I do like the sound of that "steps" alarm. If you set it for a couple of thousand, you'll get up and get your exercising done, all in one fell swoop! Multitasking at its finest.

Margo Hoornstra said...

No clever tips or tricks from here, Alicia. I'm in much the same boat as you. One day at a time, as my husband always says. Hey, and I just realized I'm a Vampire Virgin too.

Alicia Dean said...

Vonnie, that's a very good point. Deadlines can be stressful. But, I produce better under deadline. I lack self-discipline (as I may have mentioned). Ha, a a Vampire Virgin...I like that. Everyone has to be some kind of virgin, right?

Haha, Jannine. You know, I think 100 is the max on my app, but I actually did think it would be a good way to make you get up and move every hour or so. :) Yes, I need to start getting less sleep. Nowhere else to steal time. Thanks for the congrats!

Yes, one day at a time. That's all we can do, right? I just need to have more productive 'days.' LOL. Two Vampire Virgins...what are the odds? You know, I swore I'd never write a vampire story unless I came up with something that inspired me and something I felt was a little unique. When the idea for vampires on a tropical island, and a Van Helsing (female) descendant, and going back to traditional vampire lore occurred to me, the series was born. :)

Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alicia, you have more irons in the fire than I do, so I'm not the one to give advice. Meditation? I'm energized by NOT having an alarm clock wake me get up...hate those buggers. California morning sun is the best waker-upper...when I lived in Seattle, the darkness made me want to stay in bed. I leave the plantation shutters open so the light prompts me to get up. Good luck with your goals in 2016!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I'm a sun in my room wake up person, too, like Rolynn. The only alarm I have now is my phone which goes off twice a day to tell me to get up and take a walk or exercise. Goals? Trying to set them but life does get in the way. Good luck, Alicia.

Leah St. James said...

You're very brave for recording your goals each year and then (publicly!) seeing how you did in December. Like you, between a full-time job, writing, editing, promo...(help meeeeeee!), I have too many threads (knives?) dangling over my head. In analyzing my work habits, I've discovered that I routinely put my writing last in the list of all my to-do's. I (subconsciously) have used writing as a treat, a reward when I've done all the other work. That needs to stop! So this year I started making to-do lists for the week. If I can check off one or two of my items a day, instead of aimlessly going from the top of my head, maybe I can better structure my time. Maybe. :-) Good luck to you!

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, Rolynn, I'm afraid if I didn't set an alarm, I'd sleep all day. Wish I could wake up just to sunshine, but actually, as early as I need to rise, the sun isn't up yet. I should try meditation. Thanks for the tip!

Smart idea, Brenda, to set your phone to remind you to exercise. Yes, life does get in the way, doesn't it?

Leah - Good plan. I hope you're able to find more time for writing. We need more stories from you! I always make to do lists but they always contain more tasks than there are hours in the day. :/ Like you, I put my writing last, but I have to amend that.

Thanks, ladies!

Diane Burton said...

I thought I responded yesterday. Sorry. I guess you need to do what works best, Alicia. I'd say easing into the getting up early thing--a half hour at at time. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish in 30 minutes.