26 November 2012

Accepting Limitations and Pushing the Limits

A few weeks ago, I posted a declaration that, this November, I planned to "Do it All!" Immediately, several friends and family members pointed out that my lofty goals might be a little bit insane, and cautioned me not to overdo it, not to try to push myself beyond my limits. In almost the same breath, these friends and family members offered encouragement and applause as they cheered me forward in my insane race to accomplish all of my November goals.

This mix of encouragement and caution reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures: "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster‍ than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize;" (Mosiah 4:27). The Lord doesn't expect us to kill ourselves with trying to do everything, but He does want us to push ourselves to be the best we can. Keep going, even when the going gets tough. Become better and stronger than we thought we could.

I'm so grateful for these people who have cheered me on and reminded me to take breaks as needed this month!! I know I wouldn't be able to do it without you! (I thought about providing a list of names, but I'm sure I'd forget someone.)

The month isn't over yet. I still have another week to accomplish my goals, but I wanted to check in and give you an update so far. This month, my goals were:

1. NaNoWriMo: I LOVE the story I'm working on! The characters have come to life for me, and I've literally laughed out loud at some of the scenes while writing them. I'm not sure if this is a sign of really good writing or just raging egomania, but it's made my November writing time extremely fun! My word count right now is 34,620 - I'm a little behind the goal so far, but I can still catch up... And even if I don't, I'm 1/3 of the way through the plot outline for the full manuscript (can you believe it? I actually wrote an outline!!), so I think I'm still coming out ahead on this challenge.

2. PiBoIdMo: I'm "finished!" I now have 30 picture book ideas (& 1 shiny new YA novel idea, as a bonus!!), just waiting to be turned into actual books. I've even written a first draft for one idea. Some of these PiBoIdMo ideas may never again see the light of day... some might evolve into longer stories instead... and I may come up with a few more gems in the next few days, but the point is that I've been exercising my creativity muscles, and I think a few of these ideas will be really fun picture books to write!
3. Finish revising at least one of my two middle grade novels: Honestly, I haven't worked on this goal at all. I use a different part of my brain when revising than I do when writing first drafts (NaNoWriMo) or brainstorming new ideas (PiBoIdMo)... So I'll probably push this goal into December or January. But who knows? Tomorrow, I might wake up with some amazing ideas for one of my middle grade projects that won't wait... so I'm going to leave this goal on the list, just in case.

4. Keep moving forward with querying my finished projects: I've sent a few query letters, and I entered a pitch for both my YA contemporary novel (Kissing Frogs) and my picture book (The Princess and the Frogs) into the Agent for the Holidays contest on YALitChat. I might try for one of the slots in the Pitch Wars contest tomorrow too...

5. Check in weekly with updates on the status of my goals: Well, I haven't exactly updated weekly, but I did provide a couple of updates on my original "Doing it All" blog post.

6. Maintain at least a small shred of sanity: I couldn't have done it without my amazing cheerleaders (I hope you all know who you are!!), but I think I'm at least as sane now as I was when I started the month...

7. Participate in the Spectral read-along: I finished this one fairly easily. As you know, Spectral is one of my favorite books of 2012, so this goal was just to give me something fun. :)

8. Weekly Crock Pot Gourmet blog posts: I've posted 3 installments so far (with a total of 4 recipes), and response has been good. Since my family has really enjoyed being taste testers for the recipes I come up with, I think I'll continue these weekly posts for the foreseeable future.

I've accomplished a lot this month, and I plan to accomplish even more. But I realized this week, when I couldn't drag myself out of bed on Thanksgiving morning (dinner was a little late, and it may not have made it to the table at all, if my hubby and kids hadn't taken over the preparation when I had to go lie down again halfway through), that maybe I was pushing myself to run faster than I had strength. So I think I'll be working at a more manageable pace for the remaining days of this month. And if I don't finish my to-do list, I can always roll some tasks over to next month. The important thing is, I won't be giving up. I'll keep going, and I'll do my best to "finish," but if I don't, I'll still celebrate the accomplishments I've managed this month!

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