A Nine Month Bucket List

There are nine months until Touch of a Thief hits the bookstore shelves. To say my writing schedule between now and then is ambitious is an understatement, but I need some balance. So to stay sane, I decided to plan a few other projects to round out my life. Here are the goals I’ll aim for during the next nine months:


1. Learn to do the splits. (I used to be able to, so I know it’s possible!)

2. Lose 2 dress sizes.

3. Grab my courage with both hands and paint my walls a color other than white.

4. Enjoy a Maine lobster dinner. In Maine.

5. Take ballroom dance lessons with my DH.

6. Visit someplace I’ve never been before … by boat.

7. Learn to cook a healthy meal my DH won’t realize is healthy.

8. Say yes to something I usually say no to.

9. Go topless on the beach on the French side of St. Maarten’s (Ok. This is one my DH wanted on the list.)


1. Read a writing craft book each month.

2. Finish writing the free online novella A Duke for All Seasons.

3. Launch the new Mia Marlowe website.

4. Organize a blog tour the month before my first release em(Yes, my darling blog touristas, strap on your cyber stilettos and wander the Internet with me!)

5. Attend at least one writer’s conference.

6. Meet my contractual deadlines: a novel and a novella on October 1st, a novel December 1st, February 1st and April 1st. emWhew!

7. Learn to text and take and send pictures on a new cell phone. Maybe podcast too if I feel ambitious.

8. Develop a new writer’s workshop proposal to submit to RWA Nationals.

9. Write an article for publication in RT, RWR, or a local chapter newsletter.

I think that’s enough. It’ll give me something to shoot for and reporting my progress to you will keep me accountable. How about you? Have you ever put together a list of possibilities you’d like to accomplish? What were they? Did you succeed?

20 thoughts on “A Nine Month Bucket List

  1. Nynke says:

    Really? You can#39;t go topless on the Dutch side of St. Maarten? I guess they#39;re a bit less liberal over there than in the European part of our commonwealth… br /Still, sweetie and I are contemplating a holiday to Curaçao, also in the Antilles. Dreamy…

  2. MiaMarlowe says:

    Ash, you inspire me to lots of things! (For those of you who may not know, a href=”http://ashlynchase.com/” rel=”nofollow”Ashlyn Chase /ais my critique partner. It get to read her sexy paranormals before anyone else!)br /br /I may have you bring a brush one of these Tuesdays, but you#39;ll have to help me pick the color first.

  3. Ashlyn Chase says:

    Hey, Mia!br /br /Did I inspire you to paint? It might be tough with all your deadlines! But if you start and need help to finish, I#39;m a good painter. I#39;ll even bring my own brush. (grin)br /br /Ash

  4. MiaMarlowe says:

    Nynke, Re: Personal Goal #9, It#39;s perfectly legal to go topless on the French side of St. Maarten, but not on the Dutch side. (Still don#39;t know if I#39;ve got the courage–or enough sunscreen–for it!) We#39;ve been to St. Maarten twice and love that little island. It#39;s only 32 square miles, the smallest island to be divided by two countries. br /br /Yay for finishing your thesis. Please let me know when you type the academic version of quot;the end.quot; br /br /Enjoy your holiday with your Norwegian sweetie.

  5. Nynke says:

    I love all these goals, Mia and other ladyfolk! Hope you make them! br /br /And may I suggest a red wall? Stylish, dark red… Or something pastel – light blue or light peach can be really nice and a bit more subtle ;). br /br /Ooh, and I love islands in lakes! Please go there! And to St. Maarten, of course ;). Why does it have to be the French side, by the way? I don#39;t know much about its Dutch side, but as a Dutchwoman, I#39;m predisposed to like it :). br /br /As for my own goals: I will finish my PhD thesis this year (for real, although I#39;ve been thinking similar things for years). And then, maybe, I can find a steady job. Either way, next year, I#39;m going to take at least two weeks off, and I#39;m going on a holiday! Somewhere warm, with my boyfriend, and without either of our mums*. I can hardly wait… br /br /*Mums have been involved in our last few trips. We don#39;t live with them or anything, don#39;t worry ;)

  6. MiaMarlowe says:

    Caroline–I too am tempted to lean heavily on my DH, the Computer Whisperer. Honestly, when I#39;m having trouble with my gadgets, all he has to do is threatened to take over and they hop to. br /br /I have to learn to bend the evil technology to imy/i will. Mwa-ha-ha.

  7. MiaMarlowe says:

    Hi Jane!br /br /Haven#39;t heard from you in a while. Hope you#39;re ok. About #2, they say 12 pounds is a dress size, but I guess it depends on how the pounds are arranged!br /br /I#39;m working on Donald Maas#39; FIRE IN FICTION. When I finish it, I#39;ll give a review here, but it#39;s been very helpful so far.

  8. Caroline Clemmons says:

    Me, too, on the dress sizes. Sitting at the computer most of the time doesn#39;t help, does it? br /br /I can take photos with my cell phone, but don#39;t know how to download them. Fortunately, my dh is a wizard with electronics. Hmm, that may be why I never learn this stuff.

  9. Jane L says:

    Mia,br /br /Ok, I am going to join you in number two! I so need to lose two dress sizes! Also in Prof. number one, after all you can never learn to much right?br /br /I also sympathize with the new phone issue! I just got mine and I can#39;t figure out half the stuff it does. I can say find quot;Starbucksquot; and it will give me directions within fifty miles of me. LOL!!! Have a wonderful week everyone!

  10. MiaMarlowe says:

    Saranna–No, when the DH starts complaining about white walls, it#39;s time to at least contemplate a change. Hey, taupe is a color.

  11. SarannaDeWylde says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention, I love Russian folk art. I haven#39;t explored any of the contemporary work, but I have a weakness for enameled boxes and icons. br /br /With those bright canvasses, maybe white *is* the best color for you walls. A canvas in itself to show off your collection… Sick melon? Eww.

  12. SarannaDeWylde says:

    That sounds like a plan! *g*

  13. MiaMarlowe says:

    Saranna–Pumpkin? You#39;ve hit upon the reason I have white walls. Last time I chose a color other than white, I thought I was getting a warm yellow, but instead it turned sort of a sick melon. I loathe most shades of orange. It makes me look dead. br /br /Plus I have a collection of still lifes and landscapes by some contemporary Russian painters (Cherkas, Brodinsky, Medvedev, amp; Markus) and while I love those colorful canvases, I can#39;t imagine taking any of the bright tones and slapping them all over. Hence the white walls . . . br /br /Thanks for sharing your list with us. I so empathize with your healthy goals. A writer#39;s life is not conducive to good health or normal weight. Too much activity in our heads and not enough in our bodies. Let#39;s work on that together! I#39;ve been trying to hit the treadmill each day, but I certainly don#39;t run unless I#39;m being chased!br /br /Sounds like you#39;ve got a good handle on your professional goals as well. And never apologize for dreaming big. What else are dreams for? br /br /My DH#39;s dream is to become my chauffeur/cabana boy!

  14. SarannaDeWylde says:

    That#39;s a great list. So, how do you feel about pumpkin? I#39;ve always wanted a room done in pumpkin, but accessorized with an Indian feel. Bright beaded pillows, lush textures… Or what about a nice Caribbean blue? Which would go nicely with Ethan Allen#39;s Hemingway collection… br /br /As for the healthy meal, I have this cookbook. I can#39;t use it for myself anymore because I have to eat gluten free, but http://www.deceptivelydelicious.com. Brownies with pureed spinach… sounds a bit nasty, but I swear you can#39;t taste it. *g* Neither could my kids.br /br /My goals?br /br /Personalbr /br /Figure out how to stay on the healthy wagon while I#39;m writing. It#39;s like I only have enough attention to give to one or the other.br /br /Run a mile. I#39;m up to a 1/2.br /br /Take a yoga class at the new co-op in town.br /br /Love food again. Since eating gluten free, food is a chore and a hassle. It should nourish your body as well as your soul.br /br /Lose more weight. This will take longer than 9 months, but I want to look like I did in high school. I wasn#39;t skinny then either, but I liked me. br /br /Keep up with friends. I go into cantankerous hermit writer mode and I forget to keep up with the people I care about other than the internet. br /br /Professionalbr /br /Go to a writer#39;s conference.br /br /Join a writing group.br /br /Keep at the agent search until I find one who works for me. No settling.br /br /Complete a book every two months. br /br /Find homes for all those books.br /br /Support my family. Yes, I#39;m dreaming big with this one. My husband has put in 20 years of work in the last 10. I#39;d like for him to be able to quit and pursue his strongman/MMA dreams. Even though the first month, I think he#39;d just sleep, but he#39;s earned it. :)br /br /My fingers are crossed and I hope everyone accomplishes everything on their lists.

  15. MiaMarlowe says:

    Cheli–One of my sisters says she never sets goals. That way she#39;s never disappointed. I so disagree with that philosophy. I#39;ll take a little disappointment if it means I reach even half of what I aim for. br /br /Congrats on your 5 year plan! What are some of the goals on your list?

  16. Chèli says:

    I#39;ve made a list like this and I#39;m stll working on it 5 years later but have goals stops you from stagnating and keeps you moving forward.br /br /Good luck with your list (I vote the cruise)br /br /Chèlibr /a href=”http://chelisshelves.blogspot.com” rel=”nofollow”Cheli#39;s Shelves/a

  17. MiaMarlowe says:

    Good idea, Sandy. Of course, I didn#39;t say how big the boat had to be. If nothing else, I can go to Boston Gardens and take the swan paddle boats to the little island in the center of the man-made lake. I#39;ve never been there before.br /br /Of course, my DH is holding out for a cruise to St. Maarten for some reason! ;-)br /br /Most of the other goals are like eating an elephant. I#39;ll just take them a bite at a time.

  18. Sandy says:

    Oh my gosh, Emily, if you get half of this list you will have accomplished tons. Do what you have to do first. br /br /I hope you get to take the boat trip to anywhere. It sounds like such a wonderful escape. Wait and take the trip after you#39;ve done everything else. You#39;ll need a break by then. lol I suggest some major pampering.

  19. MiaMarlowe says:

    Hi Marcy,br /On the personal side, I#39;m thinking the splits will be the toughest and will take longest. I#39;m starting now to do stretching exercises so I don#39;t do myself a permanent injury. All I can say is, good thing I have 9 months to keep trying. br /br /I agree that mastering a new technology is daunting, especially when I have zero innate techno-skills. But I never thought I#39;d figure out how to blog either, so what do I know?

  20. Marcy W says:

    Your optimism and ambition are awesome (and that#39;s a word I use very sparingly)! On your personal list, my favorite is #3 — I believe white walls are a waste of space, paint, and labor. I think #7 may be impossible, but worth trying for. And I#39;ll vote for #9, partly for your DH, but because that would make THE best story!br /Your professional list is fantastic, and a wonderful model for all writers, both published and aspiring. The only one I don#39;t care about is #7, but I#39;m a technophobe, so don#39;t listen to me.br /I am so impressed by your willingness to go public with this idea and lists, and am absolutely confident that you will achieve every single item. I#39;m hoping for photographic proof of all of them (excpet maybe the quot;topless in St Maartenquot; one — I#39;ll take DH#39;s word on that one. :) As they#39;re saying these days, quot;go big and go boldquot; !!

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