101 Things in 1001 Days

Long lists

This girl’s always loved her lists.

Making lists of things you want to do is not only good for motivation, but it is also a nice record to look back on months or years down the road. It’s an opportunity to see what mattered to you most at one time, remind you of what you have accomplished, and make you note what has changed most, and what you still hold important to do.

I know that I’m not normally the big “New Year’s Resolution” type, but I got this idea from a great friend of mine and, being the big listing type, I just had to make my own! I’m actually really excited about this particular resolution-esque attempt of mine. Just since compiling the list a couple weeks ago (this post is a little late because, well, thinking of 101 things was harder than I thought it’d be) I’ve felt a deeper sense of purpose in my everyday life, because I’ve just laid out all my biggest long- and short-term goals for myself.

So, here it is, on the blog for the world to see, even if it’s just so other people might hold me accountable…

My 101 Things in 1001 Days:
started 1/15/2014

Finances
1. Save a sizeable down payment for a house.
2. Save for below purchases.
3. Invest
4. Start family planning

Purchases
5. New laptop.
6. New phone for Ryan.
7. 50mm lens.
8. Macro lens.
9. Long lens.
10. Bedside table.
11. New bed frame + headboard.
12. End table.
13. Console table.
14. Dog and/or cat.

Career Advancement
15. Apply to the Creative Writing MFA program at UNM.
16. Research other MFA programs and apply where Ryan applies to jobs.
17. Apply to the teaching assistantship at UNM.
18. Volunteer as a teacher, mentor, or tutor; gain teaching experience.
19. Apply for grants, scholarships, and graduate assistantships at UNM.
20. Study for and take GRE test, if necessary.
21. Use tuition remission benefit to take writing and digital arts continuing education classes.
22. Use tuition remission benefit to take graduate writing classes.
23. Use tuition remission benefit to take a copy-editing class.
24. Actively pursue editorial tasks at work.
25. Become fluent with permissions process, & any other relevant aspect of publishing possible.
26. Tell UNM Press authors & photographers who come into the office my interest in their field.
27. Network with former classmates in my fields of interest.

Writing
28. Write something every day.
29. Write to a prompt once a week.
30. Write a blog post at least 1-2 times every week.
31. Finish screenplay.
32. Submit screenplay to agents, production companies, and contests.
33. Write 10 memoir pieces/personal essays.
34. Write 5 new short stories.
35. Write about something I have no experience with.
36. Outline a novel.
37. Revise old pieces until they’re “done.”
38. Submit writing to at least 12 publications a year.
39. Try self e-publishing.
40. Find or found a local writing group.
41. Continue writing for Newscastic at least once a month.
42. Grow the blog & engage in blog communities.

Photography & Design
43. Take & post one manually shot photo a week.
44. Photograph an event for a stranger
45. Photograph a wedding
46. Photograph an engagement session
47. Photograph a portrait session.
48. Print a canvas of one of my own photos.
49. Design my own book cover.
50. Design my own business card.
51. Design Ryan’s business card.
52. Design something for a friend.
53. Launch my own website.

Travel
54. Take big trip to Europe; visit London, Dublin, Rome, Venice, Prague, Barcelona, and Majorca. (and maybe Athens and Paris)
55. Go on a couples’ vacation with friends.
56. Go back to Mexico.
57. Go to the Caribbean.
58. Weekend trip to Las Vegas.
59. Go back to New York.
60. Visit family and friends on the east coast.
61. Visit family and friends in LA.
62. Go back to Seattle.
63. Go to Hawaii.
64. Take a road trip.
65. See the white sands.
66. Go camping in Jemez again.
67. Go somewhere unexpected.
68. Go to Elephant Butte.
69. See the Carlsbad Caverns.
70. Hike the Grand Canyon.

Friends & Family
71. Give all our Christmas gifts on time.
72. Go hiking, especially with my dad.
73. Run for the Zoo with my dad.
74. Host a fondue night.
75. Spend time with work friends outside of work.
76. Buy my parents dinner.

Marriage
77. Edit long-cut and short-cut wedding video.
78. Bind wedding cards into book.
79. Change my name on all documents.
80. Celebrate first, second, and third anniversary.
81. Have a date night once a month.
82. Exercise together.
83. Go snowboarding.
84. Go to a concert—The Black Keys, if possible.
85. Go scuba diving/snorkeling.
86. Host house guests.

Cooking, Baking, & Crafts
87. Make Christmas gifts, starting in November.
88. Cook or bake something new at least once a month.
89. Make a four-course meal.
90. Make art pieces for walls.
91. Make coasters.
92. Set up large votive candles in coffee beans.

Personal
93. Read at least one book every month.
94. Exercise at least once a week (but try for 3 times).
95. Take dance classes.
96. Try the insanity work out.
97. Once a month, watch a small budget movie I’ve never heard of.
98. Try a food I think I don’t like.
99. Go back to church.
100. Read the Bible.
101. Practice Spanish with Ryan.

If you made it through that whole list, I sincerely congratulate you! I’ll try to keep giving updates as I cross things off my list. So, until next time!

My new priority: me.

This year was the first where January came rolling around and I actually had that spurt of refreshed positivism, with a real idea of what I could and want to accomplish in the 12 months to come. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely altered my view on New Year’s celebrations, but for whatever reason, I have just been able to approach the new year with the sense of purpose that other people seem to have mastered (or pretended to) long before me.

The last year has been composed of my frantic wedding planning, moving into an apartment with my husband, and adjusting to the routine of being post-grad and working an 8-5 job, while managing the house, cooking, and trying to find time to relax and enjoy newlywed bliss. In short, not much besides manic thinking about the wedding and marriage and all that has been able to take up much real estate in my mind. My other passions like writing and photography fell by the wayside. In fact, I’ve felt like I’ve had writer’s block since 2012, and I know I haven’t gone out for a real photo shoot since the end of 2012 when I was finishing my photography class in my last semester of school. So, while the thoughts of life on our own together as a married couple were very exciting, and I dove happily deep into planning mode like I always do, I am glad that now enough time has passed that I can accept my new life routine and move on to new (old) obsessions.

And now, I’m going to do those old passions better. Now that I’m done with seating charts, guest lists, price comparisons, discussions about colors and flowers and musical arrangements, thank you cards, and moving, I can take some time to rediscover my writer’s mind and my photographer’s eye. Now, I can focus on this blog as my creative forum and inspiration to keep going with my passions. I can (and will, soon) rearrange it so that it really reflects what I want to do with it. Because I really do want to make something of it, though the lack of posts thus far might reflect otherwise.

So, be on the lookout for a blog makeover here in the near future. Be on the lookout for more posts (I’m being serious now). Hold me accountable. Follow me. Maybe we can bond over our passions, or just the hope to make a passion come to life again. I would love that.

Hello, NaNoWriMo. We meet again.

I failed again.

Right around this very time last year, I was sitting in my writer’s workshop with my fellow writing friends, tucked in the back of my college library, talking about writing a novel. Not just writing a novel, but writing one in one month. A whole novel.

You may have heard of this concept. National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo. Every November writers from every corner partake in a large, communal effort to write an entire novel.

I actually hadn’t heard of this event until just last year, in my writer’s workshop. It sounded overwhelming to me. A novel. In one month. I could never do that…could I? Actually…it’s a fantastic idea. Give a writer a deadline, and–at least in my experience–she will work harder, simply because that deadline exists. Maybe she (I) will not fully meet the deadline, but a hell of a lot more will get done because there is a reason to be doing it.

Last year, I decided that I should definitely partake in this overwhelming yet inspiring event. In a year. I needed to prepare some sort of idea that could spark a novel, of course. I needed an outline, mental preparation, more training. Yes, next year definitely would be the time.

And…here I am. Having forgotten about NaNoWriMo again until just this morning. And the excuses are still there, tempting me. I’ve already lost five days. I still don’t really have a good idea for a novel. I’m out of practice. I’m busy with my full time job. I just want to be lazy.

But then, there is this more important part of me that is screaming to do it anyway. I’ve been looking for a reason to dig back into my writing, and here it is, staring me in the face. Didn’t I already start a YA novel for a class my last semester? Didn’t I want to finish that? Oh, yeah, that’s right. I can do that.

I can do it.

So you know what? I may not join the movement officially, but I am going to bust my butt to do my part. I spent a good half hour at work this morning just getting giddy about the fact that I might actually be able to force myself to get moving on my writing again. Maybe I’ll even finish a long-term project, for once. Maybe I’ll become inspired enough to dedicate more time to all of my writing in general.

Here goes! I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store for me.

Join me?

On New Year’s Celebrations and Resolutions.

I’m sorry that this is about a week late, but let me tell you why I hate New Year’s.

It is one of the most hyped-up holidays with the least amount of follow-through. On January 31st, millions and millions of people across the world get together and wait around to count down until midnight in their respective time zones. The kids get a kick out of being allowed to stay up late, the adolescents and young adults enjoy in their favorite binge-drinking and hooking-up holiday, and the more mature crowds sip their champagne and discuss what changes they will implement in their lives in the year to come. While I normally try and avoid stereotypes, from my observations in the last 21 years of my life, this is what tends to occur. In the midst of all this celebration, people convince themselves that the year to come will be the best yet, because the year that is coming to an end will be easy to trump. But in the moment they don’t realize that 365 days before, they were saying the same thing, and 365 more days later, they will repeat themselves yet again. There are other types—those who appreciate the year they just had, and hope that the next year will bring similar blessings. These are better. But I still can’t help but wonder why, simply because the calendar switched from December to January, they might think that everything could change.

Furthermore, as all these New Year’s celebrators amp themselves up to be better individuals for good, starting tomorrow, they unknowingly, in my opinion, demonstrate themselves to be hypocrites. Next year will be better, one might say, but for now, I shall drink until I black out and wake up in the new year unaware of what happened in the last moments before midnight. Next year I will eat healthier and exercise, another might think, while downing the last pound of Christmas chocolate all at once—so that it won’t be around tomorrow, of course—and ignoring the likelihood that by January 9th, the exercise regiment will dwindle away. Next year all of this good stuff will happen, we just know it. But then in the morning we will read at least five news articles that pretend in their headlines to contain the scoop on what big changes we can expect this year, while actually proving by the end of the article that, though the economy, the politics, the environment, the entertainment world, etc., may fluctuate a bit, there is little telling of any huge alterations.

I realize that this is quite a pessimistic view and negative point to start this blog off with. Be reassured that though I may seem to find myself far above the hype over the new year, I fall into its trap, too. The one thing that I can understand about people loving the idea of January 1st is that it provides a tangible clean slate to work off of. Though many people, as I’ve already depicted, fall off the wagon and return to the old slate of the past year, others are able to maintain their dedication to self-improvement. We all look up to these, and perpetuate our cycle of approaching each new year with the same enthusiasm.

I find myself with this similar feeling of a chance for renewal multiple times a year, thanks to being in school. At the beginning of each semester I think to myself: this time I will be more organized, I will not procrastinate, I will work my hardest in every class, I will earn more money at work, I will have fun on my weekends, I will keep up with my creative writing on the side. At the beginning of the summer, I compose lists of all that I want to accomplish with my time off. It is a good way to approach marked new time periods in your life, indeed. But we need to remember to distinguish the achievable goals and the higher wishes, and how much effort is actually reasonable to dedicate to each. We need to remember that though our goals define us in some ways, so does our ability to actually achieve them. I’ve learned to work at setting goals that I know I could achieve, but understanding that realistically, I should not expect to fulfill more than a handful in a short amount of time (like a semester, or a summer, or even a year). I’ve learned also that goals like “be a better friend,” or “do something new,” while worthy, are impractical if you don’t follow them up with more specificity. For example, if you want to be able to measure your broad goal of being a better friend, add in things like telling your friends you love them at least once a week, keeping in personal contact with your friends regularly, say at least once a month, and making the effort to see your friends as soon as possible.

On that note, I’ll finish off with my own list of goals for 2012. Yes, I make them too. So maybe I’m the ultimate hypocrite? I’ve considered this multiple times before.

  1. Graduate in December.
  2. Intern at Red Hen.
  3. Work all summer.
  4. Have $4,000 in savings by graduation.
  5. Work out twice a week or more.
  6. Have the best Dance Production yet.
  7. Live off campus my last semester.
  8. Obtain a DSLR camera (Sony or Nikon) and know how to USE it.
  9. Submit as many of my stories and poems as possible, to at least fifteen publications each.
  10. Enter the writing contest at school in February.
  11. See some of my writing published.
  12. Write and finish four (or more) stories.
  13. Keep up brainstorm for ideas on a novella.
  14. Submit my screenplay from class to several agencies.
  15. Read all of my new books.
  16. See Madison and Amy in Spain.
  17. Go to New York City this summer with Ryan.
  18. Go to Harry Potter World with my best friends.
  19. See my brothers and their families.
  20. Go to Las Vegas.
  21. Go camping in Jemez again.
  22. Find somewhere to dance at home.
  23. Keep up with this blog, and my journal.
  24. Give friends Christmas gifts (or at least cards) this year.

Some of the topics on this list are easily attainable. Some I realize I will not likely achieve or cannot control whether I achieve, but I find are necessary to keep on the list as reminders of some of my higher goals. Others are goals that aren’t so easy, but also not impossible; I could attain them with bona fide effort.

Notice, though, that all of mine are goals to do things. I don’t bother with “resolutions” to not do things (I also hate the word “resolution,” and as you may have already noticed, stick to the word “goal” because it feels less confining, having more of a liberating purpose). Accomplishment comes from doing. Regret comes from not doing at all.

I hope this entry inspires many to accomplish, and at the same time to do themselves a favor and not build up such high expectations for the holiday of New Year’s. People should allow themselves to set goals at any point, and not limit themselves to a particular day on the calendar to begin achieving their aspirations.