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:~: Friday, June 02, 2006 :~:

Goals and Beginnings

I have a fresh notebook . . . the cover is a bright Carribean blue, the inside folders are bold cabana-style stripes in blue and yellow, and the college-ruled pages are enticingly blank.

Ah, the sweet freedom of summer . . . all packaged in a single-subject notebook.

Yes, I have weird summer rituals. First, I don't make New Year's resolutions. I make summer goals. I mark time by the school year, and although I still work on school stuff during the summer, those eight to ten weeks of free time belong to me.

In the hallways during post-planning, I run into other teachers and always hear the same question: "What are you doing this summer?"

My stock answer: "Being a mom."

That's always my top summer goal . . . spending time one on one with my Monsters, hopefully building memories for their futures.

I'd like to say I set tons of writerly goals, like my friend Carol, but I've learned the hard, painful, frustrating way that trying to pin down a daily page count or a daily word goal is a good way to set myself up for failure. So I won't even let myself say, "A page a day" or "1000 words a day."

I do, however, make general writer goals, as well as other life goals, so I have something to work toward during those ephemeral summer days. Here's what I need to accomplish before early August:

1) kick start by exercise program again (good for my health and also helps me brainstorm)
2) be a better CP -- become more involved, not make people wait for crits (I pretty much abandoned everyone during the last two-three weeks of school)
3) get my promotion plans for WMM underway
4) write a short online serial to be used as a promotional tool for #3
5) prewrite/outline a new novel (or rework and finish MOU). I have two new ideas I've been kicking around for several weeks now.
6) complete kitchen/living room renovations by the time school begins
7) outline 9th grade Lit/Comp and tweak my existing 10th/11th units (this is a must do, as is working out a mentoring plan for the new English teacher we hired today)
8) maintain the pool (yes, a small goal . . . but it's the bane of my existence if I slip up)

I have other writer things I wanted to put on that list . . . revising, polishing, numbers of queries, etc., but I know #7 is going to usurp much of my free time. That's okay, because it's an investment that will make my life at school run more smoothly in the fall . . . which should mean I have more time for writing then than I had last fall as we implemented the new state curriculum.

So there are my summer goals. Do you make summer goals? Or yearly ones? Do you have daily/weekly/montly writerly goals? Share them with us, along with any tips you have for turning those goals into reality.


Blogger Joan Swan said...

It's funny, my summer goals are opposite yours. As you love summer, I hate it--because the girls are home all the time and I get nothing...nothing...nothing done. I could make lists and goals until I turned purple, but it wouldn't do any good because my schedule revolves around them--keeping them busy so they don't fight, the taxi ritual to and from activities, setting up playdates, keeping them from fighting (excessively), getting them to clean up after themselves. It never ends. And of course this all occurs around work, too. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop for me.

In summer, I generally kick my expectations DOWN a notch and count the days until school starts again.

It's going to be a good summer, though. Instead of putting them in lots of expensive camps that I never got to go to as a kid and that they whine about attending, we're leasing a horse. All three of us can ride and we'll be spending quite a bit of time together at the barn with our new addition--Chablis, a white arabian.

So, I too am going to focus on some bonding time this summer with the kids and step down my writing goals.

One can only do so much.

9:07 PM  
Blogger MaryF said...

Linda, I was just thinking the same thing - usually I make summer goals, since I'm also a teacher, but this year I just hesitated. I put myself under so much pressure the rest of the year, I don't know if I want to add to it in the summer. So while I have goals in my head, I'm not writing them down.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Joan, I love the horse idea! I decided a while back that I wasn't going to go the camp route with the boys, quite simply because I'm jealous of the time I get to spend with them one on one. Even with my goals list, our days are pretty lazy -- sleep late, hang out and read or whatever in the mornings, swim after lunch, whatever again in the afternoons. I try to work in some summer activities like trips to the aquarium, going to the library, taking walks and picnics, but I feel like they get cheated of my time a lot during the school year, so I'm picky about spending this time with them during the summer.

Mary, I so get the pressure idea! I did that during the last school year, and ended up being unable to write anything. Relax, take it easy, see what comes . . . sounds like a good motto to me, too!

5:44 AM  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I work and the kids go to daycare so my summer goals aren't really that different from my rest of the year goals. But the expense of summer daycare really stresses me out, so my goal is to try not to get stressed =)

Otherwise my writing goals are pretty concrete...
I want to finish the first draft of this novella by June 15. I want to turn in the proposal for book two by June 15 and I want to turn in the tweaked book one by June 15.

I have a novella I'd like to edit and try to sell to an epub (otherwise I have NOTHING coming out this year) by July 1, but I just don't know if I'll have time. I'd Love Love Love to work up a proposal for an anthology with Raine by July 15 but I don't know if I'll have time or if it'll have to wait until August because I have one or two other proposals I'd like to get done.

I MUST start book two by August 1, assuming my ed accepts it.

9:59 AM  

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