A Focus for the New Year: #oneword2016

scarebothwaysIn the past I’ve used seasonal keywords, and they’ve worked rather well for me. But I didn’t keep up with it for more than a year’s worth of seasons. So when I first saw this idea of a single word for the whole year, I wasn’t sure that I could think of one word to encompass a whole year. After all, my choice of seasonal keywords seemed difficult enough.

But as 2015 came to a close and people were posting their #oneword 2016s, I realized that it was a good year for me to try it, too. At first, I was tempted to use the word no,” as I’ve seen a few others have done. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to get really caught up in saying yes to anything that catches my interest, which is often more about someone else’s goal than my own. Another word I thought about was moratorium,” a word I acted on as a new year’s “non” resolution for 2013 in an attempt to keep myself from taking on too many new things.

But I realized that both of those words are driven largely by symptoms (doing too much, often without much discernment) and that they ignore the root cause — no yardstick to really measure the value of possibilities on my long-term goals.

I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but not by design. I jump into all kinds of opportunities as they’re presented, and I make the best of them, even if they sometimes have higher costs than I had anticipated. I don’t have many regrets, but life isn’t endless, and if I’m going to accomplish what I really want to do, I need to figure out what I really want to do.

I feel like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz when it comes to knowing which way to go with the time I have left. While wandering and going with the flow and being spontaneous has served me well in many regards, it is, as time to find a star to hitch my wagon to. So my word for 2016 is:


It doesn’t need to necessarily be about my direction for the rest of my life, though that would be a huge bonus, but for now, I’ll settle for having something concrete to strive for this year. Rather than just being busy and accomplishing things while I do, I want to have a destination, a measure of how I will determine whether or not I’ve met my goal.

I will start by using January to explore possibilities. By the 31st, I hope to have an idea or two about which direction I will take. I will also be finishing up a couple of projects that have completion dates in January, so that I will free up time and focus so that I am ready to head in the right direction and use that as a guide for the way I spend my time and energy in the coming year. Who knows what I’ll find along the yellow brick road.


This post is part of JusJoJan, Day 4.

A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80) Goals for Round 1 of 2016

ROW80LogocopyI’ve learned through a lot of different experiences that writing down my goals and being accountable helps me achieve what I’m after. So with the new year, I’ve decided to join Row80. It’s claim is that it’s “A Writing Challenge that knows you have a life.” You set goals for 80 days at a time, with weekly check-ins. Weekly check-ins work well for me. Enough to keep me moving without being too overwhelming in reporting. The first round 1 of 2016 begins today, January 4. And I’m jumping in.

Much of this first round of 80 days focuses on editing projects for others and planning activities for my own writing, which will emerge as writing goals in Round 2. My other goals include figuring out the shape I want my blog to take, determining the other creative outlets I will pursue, and becoming more settled in a new home. Specifically, I will target the following:

Finish Accreditation Editing  (DEADLINE: January 30)
This project is going well. Ten of 15 chapters pretty much finished. The other five are well under-way. I have a meeting next week to finalize the recommendations. Then I can finish.

Finish Co-Authored Paper  (DEADLINE: January 11)
I’m waiting for my co-author to respond to my last take on the revision. This is relatively low-stress at this point, since we are largely in agreement about how to incorporate recommended revisions.

Finish planning courses and upload materials to website
I have to update my assignments and projects for Intro to Criminal Justice, but the Intro to Sociology will take a little more effort. I haven’t taught this course in a few years, and it’s a hybrid course (a few in-person meetings and the rest online).

Post on blog 25 days in January
I hope to publish something on my blog every day, but it’s better for me to exceed the goal than to miss it by one or two days. The January posts do not fit a specific theme. In fact, there is no real plan other than to experiment with all kinds of things, and see if anything sticks. Which leads to the next goal.

Create  a Blogging Plan
I am not talking about looking for a niche. I’ve made peace with the fact I don’t have to write about one or two topics and leave out things that don’t fit those topics. I admire people who have niche blogs, but as long as my life remains as eclectic as it is, I can’t expect my blog to be different. I’ll be looking for a couple of focal points for my life, but not necessarily for my blog. Still, I want to have a plan for publishing with a list of possible post topics and a rough schedule for doing so.

Read Draft Novels (TBA)

Work Out a Weekly Schedule
With all the various activities I need to do in a week, I need to schedule routine activities like grading, course prep, tutoring review, writing, and personal time. No reason to waste thinking time on remembering and scheduling these activities over and over.

Finish Jack’s Quilt
I’m ready to start the machine quilting. I want to have the quilt delivered to my grandson and then post pictures online (my daughter-in-law wants to be surprised), so no posting until the quilt is delivered.  😉

Piece the back of Kate’s quilt
My daughter has given me until her 30th birthday to finish it, but I’m going to see how many months ahead I can manage to beat that deadline. (She’ll be 29 the lst of March.)

Get back into regular music activities
I got a call about scheduling some dates to play at a church nearby, and once I get back into it by working with them, I can be on a wider sub-list. this is one of those two-birds-with-one-stone kind of things. I want to brush up on my skills, and earning a little extra money will be good. Who knows, I may even pick up a couple of piano students.

Determine longer range goals
I want to make this year really focused toward specific goals, but I haven’t yet really defined what those will be. The first half of Row 1 is going to be focused on creating a plan that will carry me through the year.

I’m sure there will be adjustments as I go, but this seems like a good place to begin. I’m off and running!