A letter to myself about this year's goals
I made it! Last year was an insane year, but I made it through. While I was a bit sad that I didn't meet all of my goals for last year, it is totally understandable as to why. I already did the blog post on everything that happened last year and the breakdown of what goals were met and which were not, so I won't go through all of that again. Suffice it to say, something went wrong every month, up until December, but I still completed some of my goals. Considering some of those things that happened last year were major house repairs, I don't foresee having some of those problems again this year or any time in the next decade or so.
Moving on to the good news about last year, the goals that were met have set me up for some new goals for this year - most notably, self-publishing my novella Red Hoods: First Hunt. I also made wonderful progress on several projects during NaNo WriMo 2023, which helps me this year too. I'm very proud of how much I wrote and the projects I worked on.
Enough gushing about how I turned a very rotten year into a somewhat productive year. It's time to list of this year's goals.
1. I will finish and self-publish Red Hoods: Second Moon. That is the working title of my second book in my Red Hoods series. However, my goal to publish it this year will remain strong. The first book was released for preorder on October 1st, 2023. I have since found that Amazon sucks at completing preorders, so I may simply release the next book without offering a preorder. Because the first was so well-received, I plan to release three novellas in total and see if it merits more of my attention down the line. My ultimate goal is to release my second installment of Red Hoods by June 30th, 2024, thereby leaving me the rest of the year to work on other writing projects, of which I know there are many (too many). Based on how swimmingly publication of the first Red Hoods went, I have complete faith in myself that I can produce another awesome story before the end of June.
2. I will win NaNo WriMo 2024. I have tried and won for six years running. While I don't compete in NaNo WriMo in the traditional manner (write 1 book in a month), I always make progress on several books, and last year was no different. This year, I plan to repeat that success and every year thereafter until I simply cannot. Even during years when I thought I would not have the time or the energy to compete, I still came back and finished in the final hour. I hope to someday have enough NaNo WriMo winner shirts (plus a few Writing.com and 4theWords.com shirts) to make myself a quilt. I have to keep winning to earn those winner shirts, and this year will be no different.
3. I will finish transcribing the audio from my epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I've been working on this little by little for years, in the hopes of novelizing the story my friends and I created and loved. Copying the audio is time-consuming because some conversations between characters overlapped and battles take a long time to break down into words. I started this process a long time ago in 2019 and made a lot of progress when my job put me on overnights during the pandemic in 2020, but I never did finish. I think that, if all goes well with completing Red Hoods: Second Moon by the end of June, I have a really good chance of finishing transcribing it by the end of the year. Also, this lets me relive some of those wonderful memories with the characters we created and turn it into something we can keep and reread forever. Transcribing the audio is just one small piece of the process of self-publishing so that I can give my players each a copy, but it is one of many works in progress and sort of lives on the back burner. I dream of finishing it one day, but I know where it stands in the grand scheme of things.
1. I will play three video games to completion to receive the platinum trophy on each on the PlayStation Network. I love gaming and use it as a form of self-care. There truly is a game for every mood and desire, and now I have the premium membership, which gives me access to hundreds of games online. Three doesn't sound like a lot, but there are often challenges that take a lot of time or require multiple play-throughs of a game to complete. Remember Devil May Cry 5 and having to play through the whole game six times, and each play-through getting harder each time? I think three is a nice, round number of games to complete, considering game time takes a backseat to work, writing, socializing, and many other things. I have a lot of games I have started but not completed (much in the way I have started many writing projects but not completed them), so I think it would be good for me to finish a few and get them off of my "to be played" list.
2. I will pay off all of my credit cards. This is the year of frugality. My husband and I have discussed it. Aside from a few luxuries like my PlayStation membership and streaming services, we are going to keep our entertainment for this year quite cheap and focus on not eating out as much, both for health and to save money. Last year, I had to take out three new credit cards to cover the over $20k in house repairs and pretty much maxed them out immediately. That's on top of the cards we have had for years to help build credit and get some things we ordinarily could not afford in one payment. Much of those debts are from before I got my new job and started making enough money to keep us comfortable, but we still owe them. In preparing for a wonderful vacation trip in 2025 and trying to better our financial position, my husband and I are going to squeeze every dime out of every paycheck we can to pay off all of the credit cards, which total about $10k. It's going to suck, but it gives me even more incentive to write, play video games, and read all of these books in my "to be read" pile. Cheap entertainment at home is the name of the game this year.
3. I will read one book per month. I guess I mean to say "at least" one book per month. I have tons of books I own but haven't read, either because I have been rereading my favorites or because I have simply been accumulating without reading the ones I have. They all sound really awesome, and I totally have the time to read them. I just always seem to talk myself into doing something else. One book per month is only 12 books in a year, so I hope to read more than that, but I don't want to push too hard, considering my lofty writing goals and how slow I read. It will also help to keep me off of my phone and away from the negativity of social media. I don't spend much time on there anyway, but there are some really nasty - mostly political - people out there making a lot of discourse. I would rather have my face buried in an epic adventure than have anxiety about a bunch of bad news about which I can do absolutely nothing.
4. I will start a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I miss it so much. I loved being a dungeon master and miss the comradery and the fun of sitting around a table giggling for hours on end with my friends. I guess part of the success of this goal depends on if I can get them to keep coming over for it, but I'm hoping to start a campaign so enthralling that they cannot keep themselves away. That's why I'm novelizing the first one. We were all quite literally addicted to the game. I miss that. Addicted maybe isn't the right word because it wasn't bad for us, but we were all in it so deep that we talked about it all the time, made little figures of our characters, and even went on to use the characters in short stories and other games wherein they could recreate those characters to keep playing as them. Maybe addicted is the right word. In any case, I miss it, and I am hoping to bring us all back together with a new game and new characters that help us escape the troubles of real life.
I purposefully left off any goals related to losing weight or changing my body because I decided that I love my body. I am working on becoming healthier in many ways and have lost some weight recently, but I think that stressing out about how fast my body is changing or how hard I'm working on it has thwarted me in the past. I would rather just love my body and take care of it in the best ways I know how. Improved health will come with taking good care of myself. With some new habits and new recipes geared toward being delicious and nutritious, I am well on my way in that department.
And remember: I used the words "I will" because all of these goals are totally doable. There is nothing stopping me from completing them, except for me just not completing them. There will be good weeks and bad weeks, but as long as I make an effort to get back into it, there's plenty of time to get it all done. It's ok to take a couple of days to get my head back in the game. I can't get anything done if I can't take care of myself. I just need to remember not to sweat the small stuff, and the secret is 99% of the bull crap that happens and stresses me out is small stuff. As for the big stuff, there is often nothing I can do about it except to meditate and accept it. Stress is my enemy. Stop giving it power.
It's going to be a great year. Even without the luxury of having lots of spending money or a big vacation, it's going to be so good for me. Instead of running away from my life by vacationing, I'm going to participate in my life by finishing my goals and enjoying my hobbies. I have many more than those listed here, but not all hobbies have to be productive or have goals. Sometimes I just knit to knit with no project in mind, and I think that's ok. The point of the knitting was enjoyment. The same can be said for painting and many other things. If I can do this right and keep my spending to a minimum, I can set myself up to retire someday and be able to meet goals and enjoy my hobbies without having to worry as much about work when I'm older. That's a really big goal that I'm trying to meet, and this could be a big step in the right direction.
I say again, it's going to be a great year. I know I can meet all of my goals. I have it in me. I just need to take good enough care of myself to keep up my momentum. It's all going to come together.
I've got this!
Word count: 1983