I’m a planner. When I was in high school, I had a Life Plan:
• degree (B.A.),
• degree (M.A.),
• adopt child,
• possibly another degree?
• Start to write a book at 40.
I had no plans to marry, and a number of doctors told me I couldn’t have a child biologically.
After my M.A., I paused, unsure if I should go for another degree or teach for a while.
Finances and general burn-out on being a student made the decision clearer, and I opted to teach. . . and make a Revised Life Plan:
• Teach for 2-4 years.
• Another degree or
• Adopt (i.e. get to be a mother by mid-30s)
• Start to write novel at 40
But the following year (1998), I got pregnant, miscarried, got pregnant again. I decided to get married. Suddenly, I had two children (a 4 yr old and an infant). I was teaching. All that was left on my goals list was to write a book. With only one of my major goals left, I was stricken by fear. Dreams are delicate things. I had reached two of the biggies (motherhood & teaching), but my schedule was all sorts of off.
I clung to the notion that I wouldn’t write until 40. . . then my husband deployed, and I was suddenly alone in a new state (CA) and had to decide between daycare so I could start my new teaching job or be a stay-at-home-mom for a year. Being a SAHM was never on my schedule. I’d always planned to be a single mom.
I stayed home.
Six months in, I also started teaching part-time because really, I’m not as good at being a SAHM as I hoped to be. The house was orderly; I homeschooled; I wrote. We went to the library weekly. Museums, beach, gymnastics (2X/week for each child, plus open gym), swim lessons, hiking, camping, making paper from scratch, working out, beach . . . I was still bat-shit crazy half the time. Too much freaking time! Must. Find. Tasks.
I had that one big goal/dream/item on the list. I was NOT 40 though. Friends, family, and spouse all gently suggested that my “must be 40” rule was a little unbalanced. So . . . in 2003, I started Revised Life Plan C:
- Write book or get another degree
Somehow over the past 5 years, I’ve written 5 more books. I turn 39 this year. I’ve hit the key items on the Life Plans, as well as a few random ones (mostly travel related) and . . . I suddenly need to come up with new plans.
Of course, I have general writing goals:
• Co-author a book
• Write in a new genre (middle-grade, contemporary, or historical)
• Write a screenplay
• Create a dual story narrative with story intersection (a la Faulkner’s Wild Palms)
• Write a straight-up horror novel
But I need other possibilities too. I’m pondering starting a business, learning rock climbing, or . . . beginning to plan for getting another degree. Maybe that will be my turning 50 goal. It could work, right? We’ll see. The goal is to create the new goal list before I hit 40, so I have 16 months to make the newest Life Plan.
I think the idea of striving for things is a compelling force. I like goals of all sorts. It’s kinda satisfying to conquer them. So . . . reply here & tell me some of your goals. I’ll send 3 copies of Darkest Mercy and 1 ARC of Graveminder out to randomly selected winners on April 6th.
+1 for each tweet, FB, blog this blog post (up to 4 extra entries).
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PS HUGE thanks to you all for making the 5th/final Wicked Lovely book a USA Today bestseller list & putting the WL series on the NY Times bestseller list again! *sends you all many hugs!!!*