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Sunday, September 24, 2006


Before I get started, I apologize for not posting yesterday or replying to comments yet. From the time I left work on Friday afternoon until late last night, all I did was unpack boxes and try to figure out where to put things. I've been complaining for a while that I'm tired of being surrounded by boxes and I finally decided enough was enough. I wish I could say I finished, but I haven't. I did, however, make a sizeable and noticeable dent. My bedroom and the closet look fab now! I still have about 4 or 5 boxes in the walk-in that I need to go through, but at least I can get to my clothes--especially the fall/winter collection. Of course, the computer room and spare bedroom are still awful and I can't find some of the things I was searching for because I didn't label anything. I know, stupid.

Along with the major house unpacking push, I also ran around Saturday morning. I exchanged the white shower rod my parents picked up for me for one in brushed nickel, ran over to Michaels since it was in the same strip mall and picked up my two big orange flowers that I wanted for my vase. My plan was to go with brightly colored sunflowers, but all the colors for those were really muted and, well, boring. I found what I was looking for in the exotic flower aisle, but I have no clue what it is. Also, to my great disappointment, while the orange looks cool against my blue and light walls, it washes out the pink of the vase. Now I have to think up Plan B.

And the last stop on my quick excursion was Penney's. I decided I liked the curtains I bought, but that I needed a second panel on each window to make them fuller. I went with an ivory 63" length and ordered it from the catalog. Because I wanted to get everything done that I could, I thought instead of waiting for an order to come in, I'll just pop over to the store and buy it there. It was a neutral, classic style--they had to have it in stock, right? Wrong. So I had to have them order 2 more panels for me.

Speaking of windows (and yeah, I'll get to the goals part of this post in a minute), I heard from the blind store. They're still waiting for my curtain rods, but everything else is in and ready to roll. If they don't have those rods by next week, they're going to come out and install the rest of it anyway. Cool! Every window--except my bedroom--has some kind of curtain or drape over it, even if it's an ugly, temporary measure. Because of the position of the house, no one can see in my windows, but it's interesting. In a way, it reminds me of this cabin we used to go to in Wisconsin. The bedroom I slept in had windows high up in the lofted ceiling that had no covering, and in the mornings, this weak, early sun would come in. Since I loved going to this cabin and the memories are good, I semi-enjoy waking up with the weak sunshine creeping in my room. However, it's kind of a bitch too, because I like to sit in bed and surf the web in the mornings and my windows face east, so I have to move if I want to see the screen.

Geez, I didn't mean to talk so much about the house. Although, in a way, it kind of does lead into goals. My goal for Saturday (and Friday night) was to get as many boxes unpacked as possible.

I like goals. Not that I always meet them since I tend to be overly ambitious with how much I can get done in the time allotted to me, but it still gives me something to shoot for. I don't like nebulous goals, but concrete ones, although I generally leave the particulars up to the universe to take care of for me. No point in tying my angels' hands by telling them how to do their job, right? ;-) Because, at its heart, that's what I believe a goal is--I'm stating my intentions to the universe and saying "Make it so."

Here's an example of what I mean. My goal is to have enough money to quit my day job. It's a concrete goal, but there are no steps in there. Now if my goal was to win the lottery so I could have enough money to quit my day job, I'd be tying my angels' hands. What if they could get me the money by finding oil underneath my house? (I know, it isn't going to happen. :-) See? So by keeping the how to do it part unimagined, I'm open to reaching my goal however it happens.

As important as I believe goals are in the rest of my life, I believe setting goals on writing is critical. I have a variety of goals here, both big and small. I have a page goal for each day so that I can make my deadlines. Before I start a scene or chapter, I'll sit down and work out goals that will move the story forward. I don't consider this plotting, although some people do. Then you add the characters. They have goals too. I have to incorporate what they want into my scene/chapter goals too. Although what they want might change during the course of the book. Hey, torture them before they can torture me, that's the Patti O'Shea motto!

I also have career goals. At one point, that was to get published and to do it within a certain time frame. Wait, you just said no stipulations, so what's with the time frame thing? (At least I'm hoping that's your question. :-) I think it's fine to give a deadline, but it has to be a realistic one. I didn't say, I want to be published by next week. My window was close to five years.

And let me tell you, spirit worked a miracle on this one. I honestly didn't believe there was a chance that they could pull this off. I finished Ravyn's Flight in Dec 2001 and that only gave them 2 years to have the book on shelves. My target publisher was Dorchester and I'd heard stories about people who'd waited years to hear anything. Even when I had my full manuscript requested off a contest, I didn't think I'd hear quickly, let alone have the book released in time.

I was wrong. I sold RF in three weeks. (It would have been two weeks, but I was in Hawaii and the editor couldn't get a hold of me.) Eleven months later, it was released. I'd made my goal with 13 months to spare. :-)

There are some people who believe you need to write the goal down to give the request power. I don't think that, although it doesn't hurt. My belief is that if you state your goal firmly at least a few times a week, you're continually sending energy to it and reinforcing its power.

Goals alone, though, aren't enough. A person has to work to make them come true. Saying I wanted to be published within five years would have been ridiculous if I wasn't pursuing it. I was writing regularly, producing pages, entering contests, etc. In other words, I can wish all I want, but until I took action to show the universe I was serious about meeting my goal, it would have meant nothing. So if you're someone who's dreamed of being published, but you don't write regularly, don't finish stories, etc, then it's time to sit down and assess what you want. Do you really want to be published? Then work. Don't wait for inspiration to strike. If I waited for that, I'd never finish a book.

Okay, I think I'm done now. I'm not sure if I was as clear as I'd hoped to be, but it's late enough in the morning that I need to get moving. You see, my goal for the day is to write a scene, and since it's been giving me fits for more than a week now, I need all the time to work on it that I can get.