It’s Not Real Unless You Put It In Writing

I’m a little behind the curve for this new decade already. A couple days in I caught the nastiest cold I’ve had in a while. (Maybe the flu? We’ll say it’s a cold…but it kicked my ass.) Today is the first day I’ve felt like a human being again.  

So, ten days into the new year and new decade, I’m here to declare my goals for the next year.

2020 Goals*

1. The Year of the 100. (Actually two goals.)

1a. I’m aiming for 100 Rejections. I actually started this back in December and I’m up to four.

1b. Also aiming to read 100 Books. I’m up to five, so I’m doing okay so far.

2. Write and produce one full length play.

3. Write the rough drafts of three novels.

4. Co-produce 20ish short films based on my 365 Project with Fantomvagn Films.

5. Write six short stories.

*A note about my goal-setting style which I’m embracing this year. I have always, always been more successful when I set ridiculous Big Hairy Ass Goals (BHAGs). Whenever I set goals that are “reasonable” I am always, always worse off. For example, the last time I set my reading goal at 100 books, I missed and ‘only’ read 70ish books. The year I set it for 20 books, I read 12.

Challenges 2014: EPIC Edition

Because I’m a little insane, I’ve decided to give myself some challenges this year. (I don’t like to call them “resolutions” because then I won’t do them. I rebel against that kinda shit.)

So, instead, I’ve decided that I will do a writing challenge, an acting challenge, a blogging challenge, a reading challenge, and a physical challenge.

The Writing Challenge
I challenge myself to write two (2) full fledged novels this year. This means that I will have two completed first drafts by December 31, 2014. The first one is to be finished by March 31. The second is to be finished by October 31.

The Acting Challenge
I will act in three (3) different plays this year. This one might not be that difficult, since I’m already cast in two plays already. However, with theatre, since it’s such a subjective kinda gig, it’s hard to know when a director will be like “YES” or “no.”

The thing that is within my control, however, is auditions. I’m going to any and all local auditions I can get to until I land that third part.

The Blogging Challenge
I’m gonna write a blog a day for 2014. It might not be good. It might be boring as hell for you. It might degenerate to kitten pictures. But there will be a post-a-day.

The Reading Challenge
I will finish reading the complete works of Stephen King, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. This means that any books by these authors that I have not already read previously, I will read. That’s something like 30 from King, 20 from Shakespeare, and two from Austen. (See Goodreads sidebar for progress!)

The Physical Challenge
Confession. I have been unhappy in my body for a little while now. So I’m going to start putting it back into shape. I’m 101 pounds overweight. This year, I’m going to lose 60 pounds. There might be a lot of blog-crying on this one, so just a heads up…health related posts are sure to pop up!

So, 2014 should be delightfully busy, busy, busy!

New Year, New You, New Mentor: Neil Gaiman

To kick off the New Year, we have a new mentor (who had been scheduled late last year before I got all overwhelmed and schtuff). You may recognize the name:

Neil Gaiman!!!!!!!!!!!!

*and the crowd cheers*

And to emphasize the importance of mentors – whether the mentors know they’re mentoring or not – I direct you to the dedication page of the hardcover Anansi Boys:

Note: the author would like to take this opportunity to tip his hat respectfully to the ghosts of Zora Neale Hurston, Thorne Smith, P.G. Wodehouse, and Frederick ‘Tex’ Avery.”

Ah yes, our mentor recognized those who had come before him…and, I would assume, influenced him in some way.

Because, as I’ve often said and will certainly say again, we don’t write in a vaccuum people. (Unless, of course, you’re a Little and the vaccuum happens to be a cozy, if hayfever inducing, location.) As writers we are always responding to the literature that has come before us, and to the literature that is coming at us.

Gaiman is an author who is coming at us. His books rest on the shelves, dominate the bestseller lists, and he is still producing. This makes him someone you, as a writer living at this point in history, will probably have to respond to at some point. So it’s good that we look on him as someone to learn from, because, damn, his work has a lot of stuff to teach.

So, this blogger would like to take this opportunity to tip her hat respectfully to this inspiring and inspired author. And, dear readers, it is especially cool to be examining a living author who is so active in the world of social media. You wanna hear what he thinks? Check out his blog Neil Gaiman’s Journal and follow him on Twitter @Neilhimself.

And to get this party started, I would like to end on a question: What is your favorite Neil Gaiman book?

P.S. For those who may have missed it, I did start to do some work on Gaiman, and here are the links from back in December if you’d like to see where I’m coming from:

Seeing in the Dark: The YA Novel in General and The Graveyard Book in Particular
How to Avoid Being Too Dark?
Thursday Reviews: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (A Mentor Review!)
Winning the Newbery Medal: What Does It Take?