Milestone Party: How to Survive Fast Draft and Dance Like No One’s Watching
Helloooo Out There! Come one, come all; we’re having a party today! Most of you know that about a year ago Marcia Richards and I founded the organization called The Life List Club.
What is the Life List Club?
A bunch of us writers got together to create our life lists – those things you want to do in life and never manage to complete. We spent many months touring around each others’ blogs guest posting and getting to know our readers. As the group adapted, we created our own blogsite, The Life List Club! If you haven’t followed us, what are you waiting for?! Click on over and sign up!
In short, you can get involved in the Life List Club in two ways: as a Reader or as a Writer. Anyone and everyone should be a reader. As readers we encourage you to create your own life list of those “to do’s” that are lingering around or big dreams you’ve put on hold too long. Your goals are anything that is right for you. Post your life list on your blog, and share with us via comments and tweets how you’re doing! You can cyber hang with us at the hashtag #LifeListClub. Enjoy weekly posts filled with true stories, inspiration, and humor to boot to keep you motivated on your goals.
Hey Writers out there! You can get involved by becoming a contributing writer for the LLC blog! We’re currently accepting new writers to our rotation of posting and would love to hear from you! E-mail me at jessi(DOT)witkins(AT)gmail(DOT)com if interested! You don’t have to blog about writing. We’re looking for a variety of goals to be covered so our readers can find multiple avenues of inspiration.
Here’s What We’re Celebrating Today!
Since launching the LLC blog, 3 months have gone by and we always have a Milestone party to celebrate the learning lessons and achievements along the way. You can check out how all the Life Listers did by reading and entering our sweet giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
Cue the Party Music!
This is my new favorite song! Why? Because it involves splices of Love is Strange by Mickey and Sylvia from Dirty Dancing! Duh!!!
- Write Everyday.
- Read 2 books a month.
- Save money.
- Work out at least once a week.
There were definitely days where only my minimum 5 things in the gratitude journal got written down. Examples from the past few months include: reading a good book, meeting bloggers I follow at the DFW Writers Conference, Joe cooking dinner, Bellavitano cheese, iced tea, leaving work on time, hammocks. What really kicked my butt into gear on this goal was attending the DFW Writers Conference. I decided to give Candace Havens’ Fast Draft a try. Fast Draft is the idea that you complete your first draft of a novel in 2 weeks by writing 20 pages/day.
Now before your eyes bug out of your head, know thatI hadto adapt this goal. On day 1, I did get 20 pages written. But once I was back at work, it was too difficult to get to 20. I set a minimum of 10. Ten pages was exactly ten pages more than I’d been writing everyday. And this process takes a lot of planning! I spent the whole week before blogging ahead, reading books, and getting emails sent out so I could focus on my writing.
Then week 2 of Fast Draft came around and I had a really difficult time. I was having arguments with my boyfriend. I was trying to assist planning 2 weddings/bachelorette parties/getting dress fittings for the upcoming marriages of my two best friends. My sister underwent surgery for her third recurrence of cancer and was recovering. We had company stay at our house. The cupboards were getting bare. And I was up until somewhere between 1 – 4 a.m. every night? morning? I’ve lost track.
It wasn’t my week. Still, I always got some writing done! The least amount was one page, and the most on those awful days was eight. But that’s one more page or eight more pages closer to the “The End.” Despite all that happened, I’m proud and relieved I’ve completed this challenge. It taught me what’s important to me. What I’m willing and not willing to give up, and it showed me who truly supports me in this journey and who doesn’t. I would like to give Fast Draft another go for the next round of LLC goals.
Read 2 books a month.
Right now I think I have 7 books going at once. I’ve had to postpone a few in order to complete others. Books read just this month: Back to Madeline Island by Jay Gilbertson, Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James, and Red by Kait Nolan. I also coordinated an author interview with Jay, and have one next week with Kait!
I’m currently on track to complete my TBR Pile Challenge book Blessings by Anna Quindlen this month, as well as my first Janet Evanovich book, Three to Get Deadly, and the final book in the Fifty Shades series, Fifty Shades Freed.
Looking for more book reviews? Check out my Bookshelf!
Believe it or not, folks, I made myself a sticker chart to save! And it helped! I was able to budget better and reward myself for not buying more clothes or jewelry, etc. and had enough funds to travel to South Korea and to Texas for the writers conference. Next trip I’m saving for is Joe’s and my road trip out west in August!
I still need to visit with a personal banker yet and look into some better savings options at the bank and read Suze Orman’s Women and Money book.
Work out at least once a week.
This goal was a bit hit or miss. I dove back into working out and did so many weighted lunges around the gym floor that I spent a good 3 days walking around like an old pregnant woman! I was literally hobbling and could barely get in and out of my car. I did start up at the gym again, weight training, using the elliptical and stationary bike. Even if I didn’t make it to the gym, I would have a dance party in my room – just to move around!
I did improve my diet. For several weeks I limited the amounts of red meat and cheese in my diet (mostly cause my boyfriend is doing that on his diet), but I also tried several great recipes from Self magazine. I found 2 awesome breakfasts, and made two different chicken curry dishes. I’ve been better about packing my lunches again and eating salads or peanut butter and jelly. For breakfast on the go, I invested in some nut mixes to get protein in my system. I cannot agree to switch to Almond Milk. I still prefer cow’s milk! LOL.
There’s my Life List recap! Be sure to enter for all the great Life List Club milestone prizes by visiting our blogs! You can find us all in the blogroll on the right. And to enter for the $50 Amazon Gift Card, you’ve gotta get to the Life List Club blog!
But first, enter here! Win an additional $10 I-Tunes Gift Card by subscribing to the Happiness Project and leaving me a comment about a learning moment or success story from your own life list! I’d love to hear what you’re up to!
We’re Taking Over WordPress: Life List Club – New Blog, New Prizes!
Big news! Huge! Spectacular! Extra, Extra!
The Life List Club Launches Own Blog!
That’s right guys and gals! The Life List Club has decided to launch their own blog site and make things easier ON YOU! Instead of trying to bounce around between 8 or more blogs on one day, we’ll be able to space out our plethora of viewpoints and encouraging ideas over the course of a month at our site. We’re posting on Wednesdays and Fridays all about achieving goals, and using Mondays for any announcements or guest posts that may occur (hint, hint – Who’s interested?) Please give a round of applause to my co-founder, Marcia Richards who worked doggedly on setting up our site. You can visit us at our new blog, and we’ll officially transfer there the first wednesday of April! Don’t forget, we hang out at the hashtag #LifeListClub too, so you can always give a shout out there!
And Now a Word from our Sponsors:
Ok well not sponsors, I don’t currently have any of those, but if companies like Bath and Body Works, Lush, Target, Barnes and Noble would care to make a contribution, I’m sure it would only do wonders for the ol’ Witkins’ Happiness Project. 😉
It’s time for our Milestone Party!
You can’t have a party without dancing! Previously you’ve raved to Ce Ce Penniston’s Finally, you’ve jammed to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok and here to teach you how to boogie is the Bingo Boys featuring Princessa singing ‘How to Dance!’
The point of a Milestone party is to celebrate the strides you’ve made on your life list. A few months ago I condensed my list to the core necessities, and here’s where I’m at with my progress:
1. Write Everyday – My minimum goal was to write at least 5 things in my gratitude journal each day, with a long term goal of scheduling time each week to get writing done on my book. However, in the last month, I changed projects. Instead of the paranormal young adult novel I was working on, I switched to memoir. Pretty drastic switch there! I got some good tips from my Warrior Writers Boot Camp gang and will be starting to piece together this project in the next weeks. I’m also attending the DFW Writers Conference in May, featuring guest author James Rollins.
(My favorite items to have made the Gratitude Journal lately)
- Writing a letter home
- Crossing paths with 7 young deer while hiking in Hixon Forest
- Reading the fun comments on my Musicalpalooza blog
- Watching the finale of Season 2 The Walking Dead – OMG! What is about to happen??!
- Feeding the ducks down at Riverside Park
- Discovering Joe Lando (Yes! As in Joe Lando who played Sully on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) is playing Cassie’s father on The Secret Circle
2. Read Two Books a Month – I’ve excelled at this goal! In February I read four books, and hope to complete that same number by the end of March. My upscale in reading led to two author interviews for Shifting by Bethany Wiggins and The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund! It was an absolute treat to get to chat with these phenomenal women! I also felt a big push to get to that “To Be Read” Pile and cut out costs of buying more and more books before getting to the ones on my shelf, so I joined the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge. I’ve completed 5 out of my 12 books so far, two more in progress, so I just need to finish writing the reviews.
3. Save Money – I was amazed at how much money I could add to my savings after using my ridiculous star stickered chart to track when I didn’t spend money frivolously! I was able to save up funds to ensure my trip to South Korea is a go! (I leave in a week and a half!) I have yet to meet with a personal banker to find a better savings account and finish Suze Orman’s book, Women and Money.
4. Work out at least once a week – I’m probably most behind in this goal, but I have stepped it up nutritionally. I started keeping a food journal along with my gratitude journal so everything’s in one place. I track what I eat each day, and just writing it down keeps me accountable enough to make sure more fruits and veggies find their way onto the plate. I’ve made some new recipes including CM Stewart’s Green Smoothie! And I’ve definitely been buying more produce instead of junk snacks at the grocery store. On days off, I’ve been good about doing some hiking or walks because I read an article about how even 10 minutes/day in nature can do wonders for anxiety and fatigue issues (which I’ve been battling as of late). The next step is to go full swing with some consistent workouts!
That’s what I’m up to! How ’bout you? Do the Bingo Boys inspire you to take dance lessons? How’s your writing going? Your workouts? What dream vacations are coming up?
AND…any time the Life List Club has a Milestone Party we give away prizes! Drop me a comment below sharing your goals and you’re entered to win a blog swap and I-Tunes Gift Card!
More fabulous prizes to be had! Visit each contributing writer of the LLC for a chance to win:
Marcia Richards Guest post swap and Amazon gift card
Sonia Medeiros A guest post from Sonia or the winner’s work featured on Sonia’s blog
Jenny Hansen A Margie Lawson lecture packet and a $10 Starbuck’s gift card
David Walker A free download of his “Web Wisdom: Inspiration from the Inbox”
Gary Gauthier A choice of 3 eBooks
Lara Schiffbauer A $25 Gift card
Happy Friday Everyone!
You Can Do Anything for 30 Seconds: A Guest Blog by Marcy Kennedy
Recently the Life List Club held their second Milestone Party recapping where we’re at on our goals. And a party isn’t a party without prizes! One of the prizes was a blog swap with one of my commenters, so I’m very very pleased to introduce Marcy Kennedy from Life at Warp 10. Marcy is awesome in every way possible, and those of you who’ve been reading here for awhile will immediately know why I feel such a kinship with her! And you can find me reveling her readers with some the story of how I met my honey bunny, so please drop by and say hi! Here’s Marcy!
You Can Do Anything for 30 Seconds
I’ve broken both my arms (not at the same time) and multiple toes, sprained my right ankle three times, torn the cartilage in my left ankle, and dislocated my shoulder, and if there’s a door I can walk into or something to trip over or slip on, I will. It’s safe to say I could be a founding member of a clumsiness support group.
So when my husband and I needed to lose weight and bought the P90X workout series, I had visions of ending up on a first name basis with the ER staff. If you’ve ever seen the videos, you know that P90X is the scariest workout imaginable.
The people in the 12 videos do airborne clap push-ups. They do an hour and a half of yoga with exercises where you flip your feet back over your head to touch the floor (what kind of a person is that flexible?), and an ab routine that makes you long for normal crunches.
But “the mother of all P90X workouts” is plyometrics. It’s an hour of jump-training cardio exercises. The instructor broke each exercise into 30 seconds to one minute moves because he claimed, “You can do anything for 30 seconds.”
And I thought, “Yuh-huh. Maybe you can, but I can’t do that.”
Until I tried it. What looked impossible when I thought about it as an hour of pain became manageable in those 30 seconds. I could do those crazy hopping lunges for 30 seconds. I could do the wall squats and chair dips.
Normally I’m a planner who has contingency plans for her contingency plans and looks ahead, but sometimes, when you hit the P90X moments of life, those moments that hurt but also end up building character and strength, the way to get through them is to take 30 seconds at a time.
When my husband enlisted in the Marine Corps, a lot of people thought he’d never make it. The Marine Corps’ boot camp is the longest of any branch of the service—14 weeks. For those 14 weeks, you have no contact with your family, and your body is pushed to its physical and emotional limits. The drill instructors scream in your face about how worthless you are, you hike 15 miles carrying 50-60 lbs of gear, and if the DIs don’t give you permission to speak, you can’t ask to go to the washroom. My husband went chow to chow (meal to meal) because going day to day was too hard. That was his 30 seconds.
My neighbor while I was growing up was like an uncle to me. Just before he moved in down the street from us, he’d lost his driver’s license for repeatedly driving drunk. It was the point where he admitted he was an alcoholic and needed help. He once told my mom that he couldn’t think about not drinking for the rest of his life. He had to think about taking it one day, one hour at a time. He could do it for one hour. That was his 30 seconds, and he’s been sober ever since.
It’s the same way with anything in life that seems overwhelming and impossible. When we take it one box at a time, one application at a time, one page at a time, one breath at a time, it’s manageable. Not fun, but manageable. What’s better, doing something for 30 seconds proves we can do what we thought we couldn’t. Maybe we can even do it for longer. And maybe one day we’ll be able to look back and see how much better we are for surviving it.
Like the corny old joke says, “How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”
What’s your 30 seconds? What elephant seemed impossible to eat until you took it one bite at a time?
Marcy Kennedy is a fantasy author who also writes suspense/thriller short stories and works as a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, and non-profits and a freelance editor for both businesses and individuals. Her current work-in-progress is a co-written historical fantasy about Amazons. When she’s not wrestling unruly commas, she spends her time with her equally nerdy husband, her Great Dane, and more cats than she’s willing to admit to in public. You can visit her at her blog, Life At Warp 10.