The 5 Year Plan

I’m taking up a random topic today: The 5 Year Plan. Have you ever made one? I haven’t, which is odd because I’m very goal oriented. That said, I’m good at setting goals and making pretty lists and trackers—and then getting exactly nowhere.

I don’t intend to end up nowhere. I merely have a tendency to think that setting the goals and scratching them off the list when I get to them will somehow magically translate to progress. Well, more progress than it realistically does.

Back to the 5 Year Plan. I turned to Uncle Google because while I can extrapolate what a 5 Year Plan entails, I haven’t the foggiest idea how to put it all together. I ended up on Wiki How since the site provided the kind of detail I needed. I then moulded their 15 steps into phrasing and a format I prefer. I did all that on Friday, and my insane weekend has kept me from doing more than printing off my document.

Despite not moving forward with it yet, I want to share the parts that jumped out at me while I was throwing my document together:

  • The variety of goals,
  • The hierarchy of organizing your goals into most important to less important,
  • The step by step breakdown of goals so each part is attainable and leads somewhere,
  • The formatting freedom,
  • The flexibility.

I might be counting my eggs a little early but I am really excited to make my plan! I am hoping it will help me attain all of my writing goals that much quicker—because my current pace is a snails crawl. A better personal and professional situation would also be awesome attainments.

I’ll ask again: Have you ever created a 5 Year Plan? Did it work for you? Do you have any suggestions?

 

*Featured image sourced here.

Rereading, Or Coming Back at the Right Time

This past weekend, I attended the readercon When Words Collide. I know I’ve talked about it before, but just in case: it’s a writing conference that also caters to readers, hence the name. This year marked my fifth year of attendance–yes, I can’t believe I’ve been to that many.

Each year there are big name guests, just as there are at any kind of festival. This year, Guy Gavriel Kay was one of the guests of honour. I haven’t read a ton Kay’s work, but those which I have have left their mark on me as a reader and a writer. He always makes it onto my favourite writers lists.

Anyway, Saturday morning writer David B. Coe basically interviewed Kay for 50 minutes. Not only did I learn so much about applying other passions to one’s writing, but it was so much fun to sit and watch because Coe basically bounced in his chair the whole time. Yeah, he’s a huge fan of Kay.

There was too much to take away to discuss here–especially about an ancient Chinese dynasty. But Kay said one thing that truly resonated with me as a reader. I can’t recall it verbatim, so here is my translation:

There’s a reason I’m such a big believer in rereading. You can pick up a book and nothing about it will work for you. Then six months later you’ll pick it up and it’s one of the best stories you’ve ever read. Those six months change you into a different person. We’re so mutable as humans, and what we bring to a book, even one we’ve read before, is always changing.

Currently, I’m rereading Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series because the final book is coming out today and I can’t recall everything that has happened in finite detail. Plus, I hated the first book when I read it. Armstrong is one of my favourite authors and I have never disliked anything I’ve read by her. But her main character and I did not mesh, and my dislike of her coloured my reading of the first and, I’ll admit, second book.

Coming back to them now is amazing. I’m not in such an anxious place myself now so my personal life isn’t colouring the main character like it did the first time (also knowing how she grows as a character further into the series helps too). This allowed me to enjoy the story so much more. In addition, because I read the books as they come out each August, I didn’t realize the timeline is so short across the series arc. The second book has picked up a couple of weeks after the first one ended. And I’m seeing so many little things that meant nothing to me when I first read them that I know are foreshadowing parts in books further along. It’s awesome!

I’ll also add that this is not the first time I’ve come back to a book and it worked much better the second time around. I’ve done the same with Wuthering Heights, one of my favourite books of all time; Sex and War, an excellent study on the nature of sexual violence as a tool of war; The Hobbit; and The Scarlett Letter, which I basically didn’t comprehend the first time I read it at 13 years old.

I have always argued that people should reread books. I think you take away something new, or at least appreciate something new, every time you read them. Kay’s statement has only bolstered my argument: you get to learn something new about yourself each time too.

Part of me felt guilty starting Omens because I have so many unread books on my shelves. But I’m loving meeting everyone all over again. I made the right choice.

Are there any books you’ve reread that hit the mark the second time around?

Boredom is Contagious, and Malignant

I don’t know about you, but I am not a person who handles boredom well. It’s slow season at the day job, and I’m out of make-work projects because I’m too efficient. This means I’ve been doing a lot of standing around lately. A lot. And I’m starting to see the toll it’s taking on my ability to focus when I want to.

Having absolutely nothing to keep me busy makes my days drag, and I find that once I’m out the office door I can’t shake off the drudgery. My feet drag 24/7. What’s worse is that I can’t figure out what to do about it.

I have a to do list a mile long, books I want to read, shows I want to watch, other things I want to do–but I’m swamped in apathy and I can’t find my motivation. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the long days which have messed up my sleep. Maybe it’s my intense desire to find a new job. Maybe it’s my current feelings of aimlessness. Maybe it’s all of these combined and I just need to snap out of it.

Honestly, I wish typing that would cure me. Alas. I have a bit of time to myself at the start of August; it might be in my best interest to use those as vacation days from writing and to-dos so that I can truly recharge and refocus. My next school course starts at the end of this month, which is lousy timing, but I have no control over it.

When I’m done reading my current non-fiction book, I’m pulling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People off my shelf and making some deadlines.

What do you do to rediscover your motivation? Do you find you drag in the summer or are you too busy to notice?

Interesting Finds

Poof and June is gone! I can’t believe we’re actually in summer now. I don’t have as many links to share this month since I’m sure you want to get back to the great outdoors.

I strive to be as good a persona as this woman is. I like to think I’d chase after my 15 year old son into the desert to save him. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2017/04/05/peace-heroes-iraqs-fatima-al-bahadly/

This is a very interesting look at the interplay between gender and the environment. Eco feminists have been trying to make their voices heard for a reason. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/climate-change-feminist-issue-generational-too-celine-charveriat

This is a must read since we just learned here in Canada 1 in 2 Canadians will get cancer in their lifetime. The caregiver role is a complex one, and I don’t anyone has any right to judge someone who alters what that role means for them and their spouse. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2017/04/26/the-good-wife/

13 Reasons Why has really been talked out, I missed the mark on this. I don’t believe in shielding kids from difficult subject matter because we all learn eventually and books/shows like this provide an ideal opportunity. Plus, these kids show they’re not as dumb as adults think—they acknowledge the show has problems, but it got them talking amongst themselves. http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/05/teenagers-explain-what-adults-dont-get-about-13-reasons-why.html

I’m pretty sure you don’t have to disclose to a new employer what a previous one paid you…or didn’t pay you. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/federal-court-rules-that-employers-can-pay-a-woman-less-as-long-as-her-old-boss-did-too_us_5903435de4b0bb2d086d4481?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046&utm_content=buffer99296&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The Dog Days of Summer Have Arrived

According to the news broadcast I watch, or at least their weekend meteorologist, today (June 20) at 10:24 p.m. summer officially starts. Hello solstice!

As much as I love waking in sunlight and having light in the evening, I find these long days exhausting because they throw me right out of whack. I stay up too late because my system is not in let’s-get-ready-for-bed mode when I should get moving and then it’s awful trying to haul my sorry butt out of bed. The good weather also means more socializing because I can travel about without worrying that a flash blizzard will happen. Having a life further disrupts my routine.

There’s a reason the school systems give us the summer off.

Still, it’s not all bad. I love reading outside when it’s quiet enough, I enjoy grilling on the BBQ, and I’m a sucker for flowers and food in the garden. I also adore butterflies and bees. My spider friend is hanging outside my bedroom window again. There are lots of upsides, despite my laziness.

With the peak of daylight behind me, I’m hoping to get more things done. Early in the year I deliberated giving myself the warmer part of summer off to see if that would help long term, but that was before my quick decision to enroll in courses. Now I don’t think my stories can handle the time off. Either way, I really need to get in a productive frame of mind here.

I used to find the summer so inspiring. I need to get back into that head space and get some words on the page! I think I need a change of scenery and a long weekend. Canada Day is coming up and I’m hoping to catch up on some sleep. Perhaps I’ll use the time to find a new writing spot for the next couple of months.

What do you do to stay writing fit in the summer? Do you get more done or take a break and attack things in the fall?