Captain’s Quarters: Writing Goals and Focuses for September

+J.M.J.+

Welcome to September, everyone! With the changing seasons come new goals and new focuses, as well as new devotions. This month is the month of Our Sorrowful Mother, where we remember all that the Blessed Virgin suffered in being the Mother of Our Lord. There are also the Ember Days this month (the 16th, 18th and 19th), which are set aside to pray for good and holy priests. And as for writing…well, I’m pretty hopeful for this month, as you’ll soon see.

Writing Goals for September

Writing Goals and Focuses-AlyCatAuthor1. Finish my WIP and begin edits. I have a shorter term goal of finishing Chapter 1 and submitting it to my coach for an editorial review this week, and then I only have a few thousand words before Act 1 is complete, thus completing my draft. And yes, I work backwards (a method I’ll discuss in a future blog post) —I draft Acts 2 and 3, and then I go back to the beginning and flesh that out. It’s just easier that way. This one is certainly doable in a month, and, I think, will be relatively easy, so long as I keep myself on track (which, as we all know, is more than half the battle).

2. Post to AlyCatAuthor ON SCHEDULE. This one is really ambitious, but I’ve done it for a week. As long as I can keep myself together (and quit procrastinating on the stuff I don’t want to do), I think it’s doable, but it’s not going to be easy.

3. Craft my first guest post. This is more of a fun goal. Again, doable, as long as I make sure to set aside time for it.

Writing Life Goals for September

calendar-563349_12801. Come up with a writing schedule. This one is going to be probably the most challenging goal on the list, though it’s sort of vital to the success of every other goal that I have. I have two weeks of vacation from my day job in the middle of this month for the purpose of seeing if my transcription business is enough to keep me afloat. That in itself will require a different schedule than the haphazard one I’m currently using.

The challenging part comes in when I consider that for the next two weeks, I’ll have pretty much the schedule (or lack thereof) that’s been working well for me. Then, for two weeks after that, I’ll have to create a schedule that fits my transcription work into my daily schedule in a much larger chunk than what I’m used to doing. Then I go back for at least another two weeks to the on-and-off schedule at my day job. This back-and-forth is going to be a challenge to work around, and this month may just require a more simplified “priority” schedule than anything else I may try to concoct. We’ll see how it goes.

2. Make a decision about my day job. This is naturally going to come later in the month after my vacation experiment, but it will be a huge decision, quite possibly the next step in my writing career. I’m taking things slow and praying to make the right decision. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sustain myself on my transcription business, and in so doing, cut my focuses down and keep myself in my home office more (commuting takes up more time than you think!).

Being able to work from home is also a general life goal for me, as I’ll be getting married soon. My overall dream is to be a writer and stay-at-home mom, and the transcription work will be, I hope, my means of helping contribute to the family pot, at least until I start making money from my writing career (if God is willing). That makes this decision a lot more important (and a lot more exciting!). I never thought I would even be able to consider this move at this point in my life, and for that I thank God.

5 Tools I’m Focusing on For September

Some of these things are more fun than functional, but either way, these are the things that are going to help me meet my goals (and perhaps celebrate their accomplishment!).

1.Using: My Petite Purple Coffee Cup (OXO Single Serve Liquiseal Travel Mug)

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Here she is, in all her violet glory, standing next to her best mate, the coffee maker. I’ve had this cup for maybe a month and have already gotten a great return on my investment. What makes this cup worth it for me is the fact that it’s perfectly sized for a 6-8 ounce portion, and it keeps it hot long enough for me to drink it. I’m caffeine sensitive; my morning brew of choice is half-caff, and I don’t drink it very fast, so while normal coffee mugs might be the right size, my coffee gets cold before I can drink it all (and I can’t STAND cold coffee. Blech.). This mug stands on my desk, is spill-proof for when I get grabby and need to reach something across the desk really quickly (and inevitably knock it over with my elbow), and is pleasant to drink out of and hold. It sometimes accompanies me to work as well.

 

2. Listening to: My WIP Playlist

bestofanunaalbumartI’ve long been a user of music as inspiration for my novels, and I usually have a song in mind for each of my characters once I’ve gotten to know them. My current WIP’s playlist includes a really weird mix of stuff ranging from Mumford and Sons’ “Wilder Mind” to Anuna’s “Invocation.” Most of it is really mellow with an Irish/Scottish traditional feel or a folksy feel to it (with some exceptions). But each song inspires me for a particular reason, and so into the playlist it goes. Other featured artists on the playlist include Keane, Enya, Coldplay, and Josh Groban.

 

3. Eating: Simply 7’s Creamy Dill Lentil Chips

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Weird mix, right? Well, it’s delicious. I’ve been wanting to try lentil chips for a while, as I’m trying to get more protein in my diet but needed something I could eat with sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, or just to snack on. I’ve always been a big fan of lentils, and as expected, I LOVE these chips. They’re made with simple ingredients and they’re super tasty and addicting. Needless to say, they’re not allowed to stay near my desk.

 

4. Reading: Butler’s Lives of the Saints

livesofthesaintscoverusableI have this in the Kindle version, and I try to read at least one entry per day. It’s divided by month and day, and usually lists several saints for each day, both well-known and obscure. This has been one of the most important spiritual books I’ve read since I’ve become Catholic—there’s something about the example of the Saints and reading their actual, historical lives that inspires me to live like them and imitate their virtues. They were real people, they made mistakes, and yet they allowed God’s grace to work in them and do great things. If it is possible for them, it is possible for me, and for all of us.

 

5. Learning: Crochet

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I’ve known the basic crochet stitches for a while, but I haven’t really made anything with them yet. This month I’m focusing on practicing those stitches and getting my work a little bit looser (I’m a really tight crocheter!) and more even, as well as counting my stitches and not losing or adding any (as you can tell from the picture, I need to work on that…). It’s a fun way to relax at the end of the day and be productive towards a skill I hope to learn for future use.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my goals and focuses, and I hope to hear from you in the comments below. Let’s share our goals, triumphs, and yes, even our failures as we grow together as writers.

Invitation from the Captain: What are your goals and focuses for September? Any book/music recommendations? Anything new that you’re learning? Please share in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

Captain's Quarters

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