Updated Bucket List for What's Up Wednesday

My Bucket ListIt’s past time to revisit my Bucket List and one thing is glaringly obvious. I’m better at hitting professional goals than personal ones. I still can’t do the splits and my walls remain an unobtrusive off-white. I didn’t go topless on St. Maarten or have a lobster dinner in Maine. But I did lose 30 pounds, take ballroom dancing lessons and say yes to something I normally wouldn’t, so the list wasn’t a total loss.

Here are my new targets. I’ll work to hit them all by the end of next May.

PERSONAL

  • 1. Lose 70 pounds. I lost 30 last year, but since then, 13 have crept back on. At the risk of sharing TMI, my weight has been a life-long struggle for me. I was the little fat girl in the kindergarten picture, taking up two spaces to my classmates’ one. But if I’m determined, I can don’t have to continue to occupy too much real estate.
  • 2. Learn to do the hula. The DH and I are already booked on a Hawaiian cruise for next May. I think this will be easier than the splits. And certainly more fun!
  • 3. Play the piano at least once a week. It’s so easy to get caught up in writing, my piano molders in the corner. My fingers need a chance to do something creative that involves a different sort of keyboard than the one on my computer.
  • 4. Hit the treadmill 5 times a week. I’ve discovered I can balance either my Kindle or my little computer on the handles, so I can read or edit while I walk. This should be a no-brainer if I can only summon the gumption to do it!
  • 5. Discover a new favorite author. That’s not to say I don’t love the ones who are auto-buys for me now. I simply need to read for pleasure more. So often, I read to analyze another author’s style instead of losing myself in a well-told story. I may be a writer, but I was a reader first.
  • 6. Walk the Freedom Trail. It’s so close, it’s a shame I’ve lived in Boston for 4 years without doing it already!
  • 7. Make a new friend or strengthen an existing friendship. A writer’s life is by definition a solitary one. It’s easy to kick back with the repertory company in my head for companionship. While this leaves me solidly in my comfort zone, life is meant to be lived in community.

PROFESSIONAL

  • 1. Attend the NECRWA meetings each month. It’s easy to let other things get in the way of those Sunday afternoons. Unless I’m ill, I need to be there to support my fellow writers.
  • 2. Reissue my backlist as ebooks. My agent negotiated for rights to the titles published under Diana Groe to be returned to me. I plan to update and revise these award winning stories and bring MAIDENSONG, ERINSONG and SILK DREAMS to readers as soon as possible.
  • 3. Offer the novella I started on my website last year to my newsletter subscribers as a free ebook. Many of you have written to ask whatever happened to A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS. I did finish it! Be sure you’re on my newsletter list because once the story is available, it will be a freebie for a short time only and I don’t want you to miss out.
  • 4. Organize a blog tour for all my new releases. I’m off to a running start on this one. My blog tour for IMPROPER GENTLEMEN begins July 26th! Check my Events page for the latest.
  • 5. Attend at least one regional writer’s conference. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Romantic Times Convention and the energy of RWA Nationals is undeniable, but there’s something intimately cozy about a regional conference.
  • 6. Enter my books in published contests. Ah, yes. Just as contests help aspiring writers attract notice and garner offers of representation and publication, contests also help published authors find more readers.
  • 7. Write the best book I can every single time. This will be a difficult goal to measure because theoretically, my writing skills should improve with each manuscript, so the bar will be set ever higher. Plus an author is not the best judge of her own work. I’m routinely convinced that what I’ve sent off to my agent or editor is crap. No one is more surprised than me when someone is moved to laughter or tears by what I’ve written. But I think it’s important to have this goal on the list. I need to stretch myself, to work harder, to leave it all on the page every single time.

Now it’s your turn. If you don’t want to share your entire bucket list, how about at least one personal and one professional goal?

15 thoughts on “Updated Bucket List for What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Mia Marlowe says:

    Yay for learning to text, Barbara. That was one of the first Bucket list items I crossed off last year. It isn’t nearly as daunting as I expected it to be.

    Since I did a website launch last year, I can empathize with that as well. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of your cyber-presence. Your website is your face to the world. (No pressure! ;-)) Have you found a designer you’re happy with? WaxCreative has a “mini” website that might be a good place to start. Check WaxCreative, then look at SarahTormey.com or ElizabethKnowles.net for some ideas about polished, blog-based sites.

  2. Barbara Britton says:

    Mia, you inspire me.
    A personal goal–and I know this is lame–but I need to learn how to text.
    Professionally, I am working on a website.
    I think writing goals down and professing them in public, does help us to get them done.

  3. Marcy W says:

    Good for you, for putting these lists out! You are a braver woman than I am, fersure. I’ll join in your #4 Personal … I had just about three weeks of getting on my stationary bike at least five days a week — enough to call it almost a habit — when I tripped over a step last week, fell headlong, and have a knee that is the most ghastly colors and doesn’t want to bend that much! So, in a few days, I’ll start over on that one. — I agree, the hula sounds like a lot more fun than the splits :-)!
    I so agree with Nynke about #7 Professional. First, you HAVE improved with every project so far, and I see no reason for that to change. Second, instead of thinking in those terms (because, really, it’s in your nature to do the very best you can do), work on believing in yourself and the value of your work. (Oh, and don’t let sales numbers be the most important marker there, please!)
    BTW, Nynke, congrats on being so close to finishing your dissertation! I’m very impressed! Soon I’ll be able to say “Dr. Nynke”!
    Here’s to all of us doing the things that are best for us … :-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Marcy, but frankly every writer I know experiences the same feelings. I don’t know where this sense of inadequacy comes from, but it seems to be universal. Don’t get me wrong, I love my darlings. But I’m always terrified when they leave my side and venture into the world on their own!

      1. Marcy W says:

        Sounds a lot like motherhood?!! And it’s not just writers, of course … that sense of inadequacy does seem to be universal, and isn’t that a shame?! We are all children of God, so how can we not be adequate and more?!

        1. Mia says:

          You’re so wise, m’dear.

  4. Nynke says:

    Oh, and before I forget, *gleeee* at the re-releases of your Diana Groe work and A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS! And I pre-ordered Improper Gentlemen yesterday, so I’m all set. :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Hope you’ll love Aidan Danaher. He was lots of fun to write.

      1. Nynke says:

        And my sister helped name him, so he feels a bit like family already ;)

        1. Mia says:

          There should be a little “thank you” to Alfke for that in the acknowledgments!

  5. Nynke says:

    Yay! A new bucket list! Good luck! All of your items sounds like really good goals, although I can’t imagine you weren’t already writing the best book you could every time. Might I suggest you try to make the process easier by feeling the worth of your work before you send it in, too? ;)

    As for me, I’m getting ready to finally cross off the One Big Item that has been a list unto itself for years: finishing my PhD dissertation. Only about 2 or 3 more weeks, and then I can send the manuscript to the committee!

    After that, one item that’s definitely on my new list is making an effort to cycle nearly every day again – I’ve been working from home a lot instead of cycling to work every day, and now my favourite new pants are decidedly uncomfortable. Pesky high waist lines!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Oh, Nynke! Congrats on finishing your dissertation. That’s HUGE! Let me know when I’ll need to start referring to you as Dr. Nynke. ;-)

      You’re definitely in the right part of the world for cycling. There must be more bicyclist per square inch in the Netherlands anywhere on earth.

      1. Nynke says:

        Thank you (and Marcy)! It looks like I’ll defend my thesis on December 14 at 15.30 CET (yes, these things are scheduled way in advance), so about an hour and a half after that, I’ll be Dr. Nynke :). I’m looking forward to it so much! Defending will be a bit stressful since it’s a big public event where professors fire critical questions at you, but once it’s scheduled, the thesis has really already been approved, so nothing can go wrong. And I’ll get to wear the bright blue satin gown I bought half a year ago and I’ll throw a party! Sigh…

  6. Mia, many congratulations on accomplishing so much of your original bucket list, as well as coming up with this new one. I think it’s a great idea to revisit goals over time. Hope all goes well! I can definitely understand professional goal #7 (the “my writing is crap” feeling), but I always love your books. Looking forward to Improper Gentlemen!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Theresa. May I say that I’m so enjoying the ARC of your Season for Temptation. Wickedly witty!

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