Checking in...

Walk the unknown path and be prepared for where it will take you.

Walk the unknown path and be prepared for where it will take you.

Way back in January, I talked about setting goals. We are half way through the year and I'm wondering how everyone is going. I have to admit I'm behind with my program and I haven't kept up with my desire to blog every week. (I'm planning on changing this.)

I had hoped to have my second book to the publisher by end of March, but it only happened early this month. Since moving into our new home, I've had technological challenges, been in hospital, and generally had a life to live. I've decided not to fret about being behind though because being stressed doesn't achieve anything, in fact, I think it makes me less productive.

Despite this, my second novel is now with the publisher and my third novel is well under way and should be finished for pitching to the visiting editor at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August.

Sometimes I underestimate the time a project takes. It's common for me to believe I can achieve much more than I'd thought. I see days ahead of me with lots of hours available, but I forget about the thinking time, and the revision time, not to mention the creative time required to see a project through. Throughout these six months I found I became so absorbed in my work, I forgot about my weekly blog. However, after reviewing my goals and making a new plan, I hope to achieve that weekly blog.

So let me know how you're going on your journey to achieving your goals. What's holding you back: life or the big 'P' word, procrastination. See you soon!






2012 A Year of Achievement

Set goals...work toward them...achieve your dreams.

Set goals...work toward them...achieve your dreams.

I'm calling 2012 The Year of Achievement. I don't make New Year's resolutions, however, I do make goals for the year ahead. This year I want to encourage each of my readers to work toward your goals. So whether you're writing a book, learning to play a musical instrument, inventing a new product, starting a new business or stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new this year, I'm here to walk beside you on this Year of Achievement, Laura style.

At the same time, I'm expecting you to keep me accountable, too. I'm going to list my writing goals and I'd also like you to list your goals in the comments section below. Then every few months throughout the year I'll follow up to let you know my progress and to see how you're going, too.

Here are my main writing goals for this year:-

  • Re-write my second novel. Deadline - March 31.
  • Finish third novel - June 30
  • Write sequel to African Hearts. Deadline - December 31
  • Blog every week.

Sounds like I'm going to be really busy. I'm moving into my new home on January 30, so that means I will be really challenged for a few weeks while this happens. I'm careful not to use this as an excuse though. I hope I'll meet my goals and I hope you will, too.

So join me in posting your goals below and seeing how we can encourage each other on the journey. I look forward to hearing what your goals are. Good luck!!

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Have you ever had a dream you wanted to see fulfilled and thought, 'I wish I could do that, but it's just too big a project and I'm not sure if I've got what it takes'.

I've heard these or similar words so many times throughout my adult years that they got me asking myself why people think they can't achieve their dreams. If everyone thought that way we wouldn't have the wonderful inventions that help make our daily life easier.

The biggest reason most people have for not achieving their goals or dreams is because they can be frightened of failing, or worse still, succeeding. These are real fears and are at the extremes on the failing/succeeding scale, and they are ones that must be overcome if you're going to realise your dreams.

So how do we overcome these fears? The first question to ask yourself is how much do I want see this dream fulfilled? This seems like a simple question, but is it really? What's behind your thought process that you're wanting to achieve your goal? Am I doing it because I want fame? Is the goal going to change people's lives in some way? Or is it something I want to do to see if I've got what it takes to complete a big project? Am I doing it because I want more financial independence?

These are all legitimate questions, and each of them impact on how you approach the task of achieving the goal. You can work toward your goal but the journey to the ending is different in each scenario. Fame can be a wonderful thing if you seek attention, but what happens when you get bad attention, will the end be worth it and can you live with negative press? Changing people's lives is a noble thing to do and is a great legacy to leave behind for the next generation. There aren't too many negatives there. Working toward your goal to see if you've got what it takes is another good reason to be goal planning. In this scenario, it brings to mind my philosophy of life - nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you don't try, what hope is there of achieving.

When I wrote my first book all I saw was the end: 200 pages of text. Wow, how was I going to achieve that? If I was going to achieve the writing of the book, I told myself, to get writing and don't stop until I've reached the end. Okay, I started, and after a couple of hours of typing my story I'd thought I'd have several pages done. To my disappointment I'd only done a page and a half. My self-esteem was squashed and for several days I agonised of whether this writing caper was for me.

Many people go through this time of doubt. The project is so large they have no idea how long it's going to take and whether they have the time to do it. They become overwhelmed, but if you're meant to be working toward your goal the project will still be in your head nagging to be done and it won't go away.

If this is the case, you're meant to go ahead with your project, so be brave, step out and give it a go, but before you start think about your motivations for wanting to achieve the goal, because it's your motivation that will be a major part of whether you succeed or fail.

Until next time, think about your motivation and then we'll look at the best approach to take to achieve your goal. Leave me a comment to let me know your motivation or perhaps you need some help in clarifying what your motivation is.

Happy New Year

The first week of January is an exciting time for me as I reflect on the year that's closed and the one that's opening up before me. It's a time to think about whether I achieved my goals last year and why I may not have achieved them and what I want to achieve in the 360 plus days ahead.

2010 was a great year with my goals achieved, ie., African Hearts contracted, meeting many new friends, and my next book, Behind The Masks, working title, well on the way to completion. Also, surprisingly, one of my dreams was realised: we bought a caravan and we're now travelling around Australia; and my son became independent and moved in with friends. These last two were surprises, but nice surprises. Dan is managing very well, and so are Frank and I as we travel throughout Victoria.

My goals always include my writing goals and how I can improve my writing. This year, as I reflect on the mentorship I did last October, I want to continue to improve my plotting structure and my characters' motivations for acting as they do. By asking many more questions of my characters I believe I will get to know them at a deeper level in all facets of their lives. Questions like what makes them angry; who are the people who annoy them most and why; why do they like the particular genre of music they listen to; or read the books they read; and if they could have any occupation in the world what would it be; and many more questions to get to know them better. With getting to know the characters at a deep level makes them real three dimensional characters that my reader will be able to relate to and hopefully see them in the same way that I do.

Also on my list of goals for this year is encouraging others to reach their goals. During our travels around Australia I hope to come across others who have a passion they want to see fulfilled. Walking the journey with others in their chosen field to reach their goal is a passion of mine, although sometimes I can come across as a hard taskmaster. I have high standards for myself and I expect that high standard from others, too.

Sometimes we underestimate what it will take to achieve our goals, and it's so easy to become disheartened when the going gets tough. When the hill seems too steep, it's important to persevere no matter how slow the progress is. Believing what we are doing is the right thing for us is what will carry us through the dark moments as we strive for our goal. Everyone has these moments of doubt that sneak up on us when we least expect. We can be working well toward the goals when doubt hits us broadside leaving us disillusioned and wondering if we're meant to be going in that direction.

Hold fast when this happens! Don't be discouraged, and don't listen to negative comments that seem to come at you from all directions. For various reasons there are people in this world who may not want to see you succeed. Ignore those people. Instead, set you mind on the goal with greater determination than before, say no to distractions, and work until the goal is reached.

You are not alone in reaching for your dreams. Every person who wants to achieve faces highs and lows, it's how you deal with the highs and lows that helps you achieve your goals. During the next few months, I'll be blogging on how to overcome the patches of doubt that creep up when we least expect. Until then write to me and let me know when you're feeling lost on your journey to goaldom, and I hope I can encourage you to step out and continue to look forward.