Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wow, it is crazy how fast this year has flown by. I can't believe we're welcoming in 2011 in a matter of hours!

For me, New Year's Eve is always a time to reflect on the old year and prepare for the new one. I love this quote from Jim Rohn: "Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." That is so true, and great motivation when striving after your goals day by day.

Here are some of my highlights from 2010:
  • Thanks to the generous support of many people who cast their votes for Write On, I was named one of four national winners in the Glamour Magazine/Sally Hansen "Best of You" contest. The prize included a trip to NYC, a makeover and a photo shoot for the magazine! I felt like Cinderella at the ball. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you again for making it happen!
  • I took a cross-country road trip with my mom as part of my big move to Indiana to pursue my M.F.A. in Fiction at Purdue University. In addition to taking my own classes I also teach freshman composition and serve as Editorial Assistant of Sycamore Review. My first semester was a whirlwind of activity, and I feel I have already learned a great deal. Teaching was especially rewarding! I love my new life in Indiana, but it has also made me appreciate my California roots (and our glorious warm weather!) a lot more. 
  • I started my youth publishing company, Write On! Books: The first Write On! Books anthology, Dancing With The Pen, will be released in early 2011 and features stories, essays, and poetry by more than 60 young writers from all across the U.S. and even abroad. It has been such a pleasure to work with these talented, creative, insightful kids and teens, and I could not be more excited or proud of this book. 
  • My one-act play "The Stars in Illinois" was produced by Brand New Theater at the University of Southern California. 
  • My short story "DING!" was published on Bartleby-Snopes and subsequently nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Dzanc Books "Best of the Web" anthology.
  • More than two dozen of my stories and essays appeared in a variety of online and in-print publications, including two Chicken Soup for the Soul books. My short stories are archived here:
  • I organized and taught the third-annual Write On! Summer Writing Camp for young writers in Ventura, and had a blast as always. This year I also taught a series of creative writing workshops to senior citizens at Cypress Place Senior Living Center, which was wonderful. 
  • I was a featured guest speaker at the Ventura Book Festival, the Southern Expressions Writers Conference in Mississippi, the USC Associates 50th Anniversary Gala, and the American Association of University Women Spring Luncheon. I met so many fantastic people who became new friends. I was also a guest on a variety of radio shows and spoke to community organizations and schools.

Another thing to keep in mind when setting goals is to be cognizant of all areas of your life. As Coach Wooden said, "The two most important words in the English language are love and balance." With that in mind, I like to break up my goals into different sections. Here are some of my goals for 2011:

Writing Goals
  • Write every day.
  • Complete new novel manuscript.
  • Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
  • Write a three-act play.
  • Read at least half an hour every day.
  • Write a blog post twice a week.
Write On! Goals
  • Send out a newsletter every month.
  • Promote Dancing With The Pen.
  • Be a guest speaker at 8 schools/organizations.
  • Create a Write On! DVD. 
  • Start a Holiday Book Drive at Purdue.
Healthy Life Goals
  • Exercise three days a week. 
  • Learn to cook 10 new healthy recipes.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Do at least one act of kindness every day.
  • Study the Pyramid of Success and keep a journal of inspiring quotes.
  • Count my blessings every night.

Something I am trying for the first time this year is breaking down my year-long goals into month-by-month goals. It helps me get a handle on more daunting projects by planning out how I want to move forward month by month. For example, one of my writing goals is to finish the current novel manuscript I am working on. I have a goal of writing a certain number of pages every month. I am also a believer in daily to-do lists -- it feels so good to cross things off my list! -- but I think month-by-month goals are more flexible for those inevitable times when life gets crazy. For example, maybe I won't be able to write much for a few days during midterms, but then I can make up for it the next week and still be on track for my monthly writing goal.

What are your goals for 2011? How will you make them happen?

I'll close with another of my favorite quotes from Coach Wooden: "The journey is better than the inn." Here's wishing you a masterpiece of a journey in 2011!


Tracy Krauss said...

That's quite a list! Month by month is a good idea, too, although I'm not sure i'm that organized. Best of luck and happy New year

Dallas said...

Thank you, Tracy! I hope you have a wonderful New Year, too!