Just Do It!

The new year has  rushed in on me! How about you? If you are like most of the people I hang out with you are probably looking at January and saying to yourself, “how did I end up here so fast?” The truth is. . .one day at a time! And the clock is still ticking.

I took some quiet moments around the first of the month to do the proverbial New Year’s Resolutions. However, I decided not to call them resolutions.  Instead, I decided to call them, for the second year in a row,  My Bucket List.

Now, let me explain…this is not the list that I want to accomplish before I literally ‘kick the bucket’. Instead, these are my writer/illustrator goals and aspirations. Being the visual learner that I am, I pictured in my mind a daintily painted bucket faux-country-rustic with flowers (daisies, of course) circling the rim. Inside my imaginary bucket, are strips of paper neatly printed with my  writer’s and illustrator’s goals and desires for 2017. Every week (or two) I mentally pull out one of these  desires and work on it until my steam is gone.then I choose another strip of paper to begin on.

I did this last year and, I surprised myself, and accomplished about half of my list! So this year, I began a new list. (See photo) But before I started this year, I wrote down a short list of my strengths and short comings. It went something like this:

“Things  I have learned a few things about myself.”

  • I am a creative self-starter
  • I work best in spurts of passion and intensity. These spurts tend last about two-to-three weeks or until my creative side finds a new challenge. Drawback: projects tend not to get finished before I move on.
  • I love variety and get bored easily with humdrum routine. Drawback:  I am easily distracted when a ‘ho-hum moment comes upon me.
  • I need at least one satisfying social contact per week– preferably with a writing buddy. Benefit: a happy spirit and more energy to work on my writing/illustrating projects.
  • I have a voracious appetite for learning new things– especially about writing or painting and drawing. Drawback: I end up taking ‘rabbit trails’ when I should be painting or writing.
  • I am a coward when it comes to facing something that I can possibly fail at, or at best, in which my better side might not be showing (i.e.rejections!) Drawback: reluctance in getting my work out there for others to see and to get constructive feedback to improve my art.
  • I tend to avoid doing scary things that have uncertain outcomes–like sending out query letters and book pitches to agents and publishing editors.

Self examination is a good thing!

Knowing these truths  about myself, I decided that this year, I need to push through and attempt ( against all the odds)  to accomplish some of the things on my Bucket List–in spite of the limitations of my  negative tendencies. I have decided to take advantage of the positive aspects of my personality  while still being aware of my negative tendencies . I am challenging myself not to be overcome with discouragement–instead to forge ahead with a positive and persevering attitude.

Here are some things that have come along to help me with my Bucket List.

SCBWI Member, Stacy Stengberg, shared at our December Connect meeting  a simple processing sheet to get us writers and illustrators move in a positive direction in pursuing our writing goals. “At least write down some of the hopes and aspirations you might have for 2017,” she admonished. (Above is a photo of my sheet.) “Tell some one about your goals/ aspirations. Saying them out loud helps put substance to them, and you will be more likely to accomplish them than if you don’t.”

So we started this process  in our group time. Below is my humble Bucket List– and I count you, dear reader, as my person with whom I have shared this. (I have shared it with my writing buddy already.)

My Bucket List

  1. Work on my author’s website & blog (www.lindakbridges.com) This will include updates, new pictures and establishing a more regular habit of writing blog posts.
  2. Apply for a writer’s/illustrator’s grant (One is coming up in March)
  3. Enter something that I have written or drawn/painted in a contest
  4. Attend at least one webinar or workshop per month pertaining to some aspect of my craft of writing , illustration, and/or marketing
  5. Put some of my art into a juried show, or display in a gallery to show and sell (at least three pieces!)
  6. Take figure drawing lessons (human, not forest critters)
  7. Submit my finished stories (2) to at least 20 agents/publishers in order to pursue traditional publishing this year
  8. Attend one writers conference in 2017

Now here’s my challenge to you!

  • Make your ‘desire’ list. Call it what ever you want. Be creative! Write it out legibly and read it often out loud to yourself.
  • Mark off the things that are not SMART: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant and Time Bound.
  • Set a date to begin.
  • Read it to, or share it electronically, with at least one person you respect and trust.
  • Ask some one to be your accountability partner, and agree together to check in regularly (be specific!) with them to recount how you are doing. Listen to their list too, and encourage each another to keep moving forward.
  • When you get off track, eat chocolate and made a recommitment to get back on track.
  • Have a champagne toast with a friend with every accomplishment!

All the best with your Bucket List in 2017! Drop a note to me and let me know how things are going. I might even have a glass of champagne to celebrate your successes!


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