Small Goals

To Do ListIt’s a brand new year, a time when people traditionally make resolutions to do things better. But how many people actually keep their resolutions? It’s too easy to slip back into old habits. And maybe January isn’t the best time to try, for instance, cutting back on junk food – especially up here in Canada, where, let’s face it, it takes a lot of chocolate to get through the three months of frigid weather, windshield scraping and snow shoveling ahead!

For me, the key to reaching my goals is small steps. Large goals like “lose ten pounds” or “write a novel in three months” are too much. I break my goals into manageable chucks, write them down and consult my list as I go. I might only be able to write two chapters of my novel per month, but if I keep that modest target in mind, by the end of the year I’ll have a completed manuscript. Since I have so little free time during the week and have to make up for it on weekends, it helps to break those days into hours and plan what I need to get done. I don’t usually achieve everything on my list, and I beat myself up when tasks are left over at the end of the day (or week).

I suppose my New Year’s resolution should be to sit back and look at my list of accomplishments, small as they may be, and give myself a pat on the back for doing the best I can.

May 2019 bring you peace, happiness and wonderful surprises.

Another Year Coming to a Close

I’m hoping everyone had a fabulous Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time for family get-togethers, forgiveness and love. It’s a time of renewal, looking forward to a wonderful New Year.

Now that Christmas is behind us, there is the new year close at hand. 2017 held happy days, sad days and sometimes delightful opportunities beyond belief. Whatever your 2017 held, be thankful and know that 2018 holds promises we can embrace as we advance into the future.

I’ve not made New Year’s Resolutions in a couple of years, because I know I’ll remain on track for a couple of months – then it’s back to the same old same old.

Maintaining sanity is key, so I decide what I need to do, then make those goals habits. Hey, it works for me.

Why make goals? A new year means a new beginning, and new beginnings mean change. Change is a good thing, but not if you’re frustrated trying to reach goals that are too widespread. So aspire to make resolutions that are attainable, meaningful. When goals are realistic, they’re easier to follow. Whatever plan you have in mind, make it work for you.

So…again this year I’m simply going to do what works even if those undertakings need a tweak here and there. Who doesn’t need to tweak? I do, and have a feeling some of you do too.

Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you Love, Butterflies and Music.

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Thank you…and please enjoy!

Happy New Year!

2017 – The Year of More

I am proclaiming 2017 my year of More. I’m grabbing for the brass ring, climbing to the top of the mountain, aiming for the moon, kicking butt, and taking names.

wish-potMy best friend gave me a Wish Pot one Christmas a few years back. You write your wishes for the new year and put them in the pot and next New Year’s Eve you take them out and see how you did. This New Year’s Eve I took them out and I had achieved 3 out of 4 and the fourth one was thisclose!!

Then you write the new wishes and put them in for the coming year. I have decided that 2017 is my year of MORE! More exercise. More healthy eating. More writing. More joy. More happiness. More of everything that is great in life. For too long I’ve been trying so hard to get somewhere in my writing instead of just enjoying the process. I’m opening my hands and letting that go. This year I will seize opportunities that come my way. I will stretch my horizons and try new things, more things.

Who is with me in this year of more?!!!

Jill James, romance writer and seizer of the day!!

Goals and Ghostly Stories

I’ve given up on making New Year’s Resolutions.

Why? It’s simple. Most of the resolutions I was so intent on keeping, at the time I so energetically wrote on my To-Do-List, fell by the wayside. Was I the only one who posted my resolutions with that surge of accomplishment we feel when approaching a new year, a new me, then one by one forgot? No. I don’t think so. Possibly, many of you out there have experienced the same dilemma. Admit it. You know it’s true!

Sad, but true…there is hope though. We can only do so much. When life takes over, and it always does, get back on track. Don’t give up because something didn’t get done when you wanted it to. Jump back on the horse, so to speak.

What I do now is update my goals list, and do my best to stick to the important material.


This morning I ran across a page on Debbie Macomber’s blog. On the page is a link to Debbie Macomber’s Goal Worksheet.

If that worksheet doesn’t work for you, then create a personal worksheet.

My book for the upcoming “Christmas at the Inn on Main Street” boxed set is Christmas at the Granger Inn. I have never written anything with a ghost, but one of the other authors mentioned she has a ghost in her story. So, intrigued that I was, and after a lot of thought and a lot of what if’s,” my ghost emerged. Writing this story has been so much fun!

The authors have all new books in the boxed set, but not all of the wonderful stories have a ghost. I hope those of you who do like them, enjoy my new ghost story!

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We hope you’ll consider getting your Advanced Review Copy.

We appreciate each one of our readers and love sharing our stories with you!

I wish you love, butterflies and music.

Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.

Writer Wishes by Jill James

Something I learned way back when I decided to be a serious, career-minded writer was that there are dreams and there are goals.

You can dream as high as you want. Imagine yourself on the New York Times Bestseller list. Picture yourself on stage at RWA National (or conference of your choice) accepting the golden statue of Rita (or accolade of your choice). Dream of getting an agent or editor of your choice who gushes over your book proclaiming it the greatest novel ever written and they must have it NOW!!

Dreams are good. They get us through the bad writing days. They give us an apex to achieve toward. But you can’t control them. Bestseller lists are out of your hands. As is getting an award or the person who can make your published-author status a reality.

Goals are what you do to try to reach your dreams. Want to be on that best-selling list? Write the best damn book you can. That is all you have control over. Write the damn book. Want that award? Write a great book and put it up for awards. That is all you can do. The judges do the rest. You can’t control whether they like your book or not. Want that dream agent? Send out a brilliant submission. Send out dozens. Follow the steps to the letter. That is what YOU control. Putting your best foot forward. That is it. You can’t make them like it. You can only give them reasons to like it.

If self-publishing is your goal you can’t make it move up the lists, or make a list, or catch fire. But the more you publish this year (a goal) the more chances you have to catch fire! (a dream)

Make your goals realistic, but dream big.

wish potA couple of years ago a great friend gave me a Wish Pot. Inside is a scroll of paper. Make your wishes concrete. Write them down, put them in the pot and forget them. Let the magic work. I was feeling down on myself this New Year’s. I’d fallen down on the job and only published one short story. I took the pot down from the mantel and opened it up. I had totally forgotten what I had written, but lo, and behold, all my wishes had come to pass!!

Wish big. Dream Big. Make your goals happen.

Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance

2014 – Planning Out the New Year by Pepper Phillips

Goals 2014

I admit I love lists…and spreadsheets.

In my computer I have a ‘House’ worksheet. It is huge!

Cleaning Schedule, Books I own, Books I read, To-Do list, Errand list (oh yeah, I have passed by the bank four times because I was thinking of something else while driving). Calendar for the year that runs down the page with Birthdays and Anniversaries keyed in and other important appointments. My Wal-Mart shopping list where the items are keyed in according to aisle…then they change things around and I can’t find anything.  Plus lots of other information I deem necessary to run my life.

Then there is my writing life.  I have several spreadsheets keeping track of my career.  Sales, Progress, Plan…some are new, designed by other wonderful women who love spreadsheets, and some are mine.

Yesterday I sat down and planned out the first six months of 2014. Which books I would finish or start and finish and the list is impressive. I hope I can stick to it this year. Last year was a dud in my book. I hit a brick wall on one book and it’s still not finished. However, it is down for February.

Right now I’m stalled on my NANO book, which isn’t nearly at 50k words, it wasn’t supposed to be that length as it’s a novella. Plans were that I would finish it by the end of the year. I have two days.

Can I do it? Yes, if I work like a demon for two days. But then there is other work, some of which I must finish today, so my morning is already planned out.

I’m comfortable with a list, it keeps me on track, they help me accomplish what I want to get done…like writing this blog for the day. It’s on the list.

I was telling a grandkid the other day that before my hubby and I married, we made a list of things we wanted to accomplish together. We hit every item on that list except for the last one. Instead of retiring to operate a hunting and fishing lodge, we expanded into something bigger but we still house and feed people.

I can’t imagine living without a goal to strive to…this year’s goal is to get my stories out there.

What are your goals for the new year?


Image credit: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo

Waiting For Inspiration & Time

Joan Reeves

Books by Joan Reeves

Have you ever had an idea for something you’d like to create? It could be a quilt, a decorating project, a rose garden, or writing a book. A lot of people stockpile these projects for the summer since more daylight hours equals more leisure time, or so the theory goes.

Here in Texas, it’s definitely more comfortable to be inside working on a decorating project than outside in the heat and humidity. Of course, I think if you live in cold country, this might be reversed where you save up your creativity for the months when the weather’s too cold and icy to be outside.

Whatever the project you want to create, and whenever you plan to do it, have you ever noticed how time passes, and you never find the time to get started? The summer’s over, and those cross stitch table napkins you were going to do for your sister’s Christmas present just didn’t get done. Or maybe that goal of reading all of Jane Austen’s books again fell by the wayside. For writers, creative projects usually mean a book written “just for the fun of it” to see if, maybe, you can pull together a book in a different genre.

Why couldn’t you find the time to do what you wanted to do? Maybe you were inspired, but the inspiration cooled, and, suddenly, the project looked more like work than fun.

The Secret To Achievement

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, said: “If you wait for inspiration, inspiration’s going to go away and look for more fertile ground to work with.”

The way many aspiring writers work is the way most people work on anything drawn from the imagination: they wait for the “muse” to commune with them. However, there’s something all these people don’t know that professional writers have learned. Inspiration comes to those who work consistently, every day, on the creative project.

Do It Like Pro Writers

Regardless of what you want to achieve, I encourage you to work like a Professional Writer works. Professional writers don’t wait for inspiration before hitting the keyboard. We know that the part of the brain that spews words is like an old-fashioned water pump. If you don’t know how one of those water pumps work, let me enlighten you.

The pump has a long, cast iron handle. You pump the handle up and down vigorously. After a few seconds of pumping, water spurts out—unless the pump hasn’t been used in a long time. If the pump isn’t used regularly, you may have to pump and pump until your arm muscles scream in protest and you’re out of breath. It takes a long time for that water to spurt out. Sometimes, you even have to prime the pump by pouring water into it in order for it to start pumping water out again.

How Achievement Works

That’s how writing works. When you write every day, it’s easy to get that outpouring of words. But, if you write every now and then, when inspired, it takes a lot longer to get the words flowing. Many professional writers leave nothing to chance. They prime the pump every day by leaving a dangling thread that can easily be picked up the next day. They also may prime the pump by reading over what they wrote the previous day, editing it a bit, and then diving into the current day’s writing.

This holds true for planting a rose garden, stitching a quilt, or faux painting a wall. You can’t just work at it when you’re inspired. To complete anything like this, you have to work at it consistently until it’s finished.

If you stop and start, stop and start, the garden will be overgrown with weeds before the first rose ever blooms. The quilt will be a partially finished project haunting you every time you see it on the shelf in the closet. The wall will be a hideous mess that makes you ashamed if anyone comes to visit.


Everyone has heard of writer’s block. I think it happens when writers who don’t write regularly have a difficult time getting the words to flow. Sometimes the flow is less than a drizzle, only a drip or two. If they give up then, it’s even harder the next day. Sometimes if they don’t persist and keep pumping that handle and priming that pump, the flow dries up completely. The longer they go without producing a flow of words, the harder it gets to squeeze a word out. That’s when they’re diagnosed with writer’s block.

You might as well call it creativity block because this same phenomenon afflicts anyone who attempts to create something from their imagination. If they stop working consistently on it, it never gets finished. What’s worse, every time you think of it, you feel guilty and overwhelmed. If you don’t follow through this time then next time it’s even easier to shelve the project.

Post Script

Consistency of effort finishes the painting, plants the garden, writes the book, and establishes the habit of finishing what you start.

(Joan’s Books are available at all major ebook sellers. Please visit and her blog SlingWords for more information.)