First post for the New Year!

A new year is here and I, like many others, take this time to look backward and forward, taking stock of where I am, and how that stacks up to where I thought I would be. I’m not a big one for resolutions. I AM a big one for plans – I make them all the time, throughout the year. Plans help me set out goals, assess where I am with those goals, and re-adjust when life either gets in the way (what happens most of the time) or joins forces to propel me forward in a giant burst of sunshine speckles and unicorns (does this happen to people?)

But resolutions – those are a lot of pressure. And I have pressure in other areas of my life. Pressure that helps me succeed, that makes me better at my job, that keeps me from stagnating. Pressure that I need to get away from when it comes to other areas of my life to free up time to be creative, to do non-work projects, to do other things than those things I have to do.

So, I’ve been thinking a little bit, and there are a few areas that I would like to try to … let’s say … “shape” in the coming year. (In no particular order.)

1. Writing. As always, my plan is to write more. Write every day. Whether it’s a few hundred words, a few thousand words, words on an established project, words on a haiku, words on a blog post – put words on paper. (Or computer.) In addition to my amorphous writing goal, I would specifically like to make sure that I push myself out of my comfort zone and start working on publicizing Soft Target, setting up a store here on the blog to sell copies, as well as actually calling bookstores and seeing if they are interested in having me come and do a reading. (This could be a great way to travel and see friends I haven’t seen in a while…) Also, I am going to finish and self-publish Border Watch, using some of the lessons learned from the Soft Target launch, and finish my three novel Works in Progress. And last but not least, beef up my Characters and Conversations feature, inviting more people to do interviews, as well as doing some of those interviews in person.

My desk, all cleared and ready for action.

My desk, all cleared and ready for action.

2. Reading. Read more. I have about 100 unread books on my bookshelf, and about 20 on my Kindle. My work is cut out for me.

3. Travel and see friends and family I haven’t seen in a while. (Sound familiar?) This year started with the news of yet another loss, and my first thought was, “I wish I had…” I’ve had this thought too many times over the past eighteen months. “I wish I had written that note.” “I wish I had called.” “I wish I had gone to visit.” So, my plan in this year is to travel more and see friends and family. Because “I wish I had…” is a terrible phrase, especially when it ends with “…seen my Uncle more times in the past decade than just at my sister’s funeral.” RIP, Uncle Joe.

We also have this neat guest room, if anyone wishes to come down for a Southern vay-cay.

We also have this neat guest room, if anyone wishes to come down for a Southern vay-cay.

4. And last but not least, I want to get better at my job. I was having a conversation with my NCOIC today, and realized that of the five years I’ve spent as an officer, four of those years have been spent on staff. Therefore, if I’m not good at my job (or even VERY good, considering the time I’ve spent), then it is no one’s fault but my own. I’m not sure how to go about this plan. Most likely, I will start with some professional reading and hopefully some future mentorship from my boss and others. I don’t know if there is a book for staff officers out there … but if there is, I’m going to find it and read it. Or maybe write it.

So there we are. Four areas to concentrate on in the coming year. One post to come back to when I inevitably over-plan my life and need to remember the basics. Good luck to all in the New Year!

My name is Captain, and I approve this message.

My name is Captain, and I approve this message.

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