Hopeful or hopeless: this week’s #ROW80 post

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.”~Buddha, Hindu leader

Where did I leave off with A Round of Words in 80 Days?

I totally lost sight of my goals and my plans. I can’t pinpoint where and when that happened–does it really matter?– but I’m having a hard time finding my way back.

My Happy Planner has turned into my dumping ground of hopeful To-Dos, which at least declutters the dozens of yellow sticky notes that had engulfed my workspace.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t promote my Father’s Day eBook earlier. I didn’t make a plan or write down any goals, so I had no direction.

A rash on my arm became infected, and both the daily doctor visits and the antibiotics threw my body into a state of wonkiness. Antibiotics are my antagonist.

BEA books and swag are unsorted. Blog posts remain in draft mode. It’s embarrassing. Life has unraveled, so it’s time to reign some of it back in.

Looking back to see what the heck I was working on, here are five goals in no particular order that show progress or promise.

1. Complete A to Z Challenge posts for 2015 and 2016.
2016: April ended, and I was still composing poetry. Alphabet haiku are harder than I expected. Some days it took me 40 minutes to complete one, and that includes looking up words on Scrabble-wordfinder-type websites. Just today, I finished the last one, so now I will format them through various phone apps to make them look visually appealing, which was the idea behind all this. I will publish these posts sporatically throughout the summer so that you, dear readers and followers, won’t be overwhelmed with post after post after post. Doing this also ensures that everything transfers to my new website.
2015: As for last year, I did not finish procrastinating Jayne and her Writerly Self. The drafts are there, but the motivation is not. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them, but that’s for another time.


I’m an overachiever!

2. Catch up and keep up with email.
My initial goal was 10-25 emails/day, leaning towards the upper range of that. Deleteing junk and spam emails doesn’t count. I decided to try visual motivation: I made hashmarks for every email that I read, replied to or deleted after review. It was soooooooo satisfying to see the checkmarks that I superceded my goal the first day and answered 30 emails. That visual is motivating, and I will continue doing this, but I may change the daily attack schedule.

3. Complete my Happy Planner blog/social media planner pages.
Scheduling my life keeps me on track, but making these sheets was a noble goal that turned out to be a procrastination tool. In frustration last week, I grabbed one pre-punched sheet of paper and drafted a sloppy schedule. It’s not pretty nor final, but the rough sketch was eye opening. Here is a plan that looks achievable and is flexible. One thing it forced me to do was post on my stagnant Facebook Author Page and that’s been a success. Since then, I received 3 more Page Likes and increased my reach/insight/whatever Facebook analytics calls it now. I feel professional. I also feel control over Facebook; it does not control me. I am not intimidated anymore because I’m using it on my schedule.

4. Update one thing on my blog each week.
I traveled first three weeks in May, two weekends in a row driving four hours from Detroit to Chicago. The issues uploading photos and videos to this site continued, making the perfect excu–I mean, reason–to fall behind in my blog posts and neglect my pages. I’m still having upload problems, but I can no longer let that stop me from blogging. Reflecting back to my goal of one item a week, I gave myself permission to update one page at a time, and it could be rough as long as it was coherent. My first update: the “About Me” page is the most important because it’s an overview of me and my site. If a visitor explores this site, that’s the page I expect they’d go, so that needs to be the cleanest.

It turns out that while editing About Me, much of the text there belongs on my new page, “Writing Adventures.” I cut-n-pasted that text and tucked it over there to work on. That’s the next page I’ll work on, followed by “My Books.” Looks like I have a goal in mind for ROW80, Round 3.

5. Promoting my books.
Speaking of books, the lack of promoting my Father’s Day book, Lessons from Dad: a Letter to You, has been disastrous. I’ve done nothing. A wasted opportunity. Eternally hopeful, I jumped on Fiverr to see what the site’s all about. It’s a place where creative folks post their services on whatever for $5 per gig. In about five minutes, I found a potential editor. His gig edits 5000 words. By cutting out my book’s preface and other text used only for publishing, I dropped word count down to 4956 words. What the heck? It can’t be any worse that what I did or didn’t do. I spend $5 on a Frappuccino, so what $5 for a 1-3 day turnaround for someone to review my grammar and punctuation.

In one day, he returned the edited text to me. There were punctuation corrections and not much else. Was he that sloppy or was I that good? For $5, he was responsive, professional, and I tweaked the text enough that I’m comfortable uploading this new version. I’m querying a cover designer now.

And off I go.

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