Resolutions…er…I Mean Goals for 2012

We are officially one week into the new year, so perhaps now is as good a time as any to get serious about some resolutions.  Or, better yet, goals.

Typically I shun the idea of resolutions – you either have goals for yourself in life, or you don’t.  And those who have goals generally don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions because, as Jackson Pearce points out in her latest video, resolutions are meant to be broken.  There’s no real social penalty for breaking a resolution because people expect that you’ll break them – people expect you to FAIL when you call something a resolution.  And most people tend to fail the second they declare their resolutions…

So instead, I call them goals.  When you set a goal, people don’t expect you to fail, they expect you to succeed, or at least hope that you’ll succeed.  If you call something a goal, people will cheer you on in your pursuit (unless you surround yourself with mean people who constantly “boo” your every endeavor, in which case you might consider “finding supportive friends” a new goal for yourself). And when you finally achieve your goal, the victory is that much sweeter.  (Seriously, who ever celebrates when you do keep a New Year’s Resolution?  Most of the time they look at you kinda dumb-founded, blink a few times, and mumble “oh…that’s cool…”)

With that in mind, I like to use a new year as a chance for me to reevaluate the goals I’ve already set for myself, and perhaps set a few new ones.  For example, last year, one of my goals was to publish something before I was 25, and this last November I accomplished that – my short story “The Escape” was published in Buzz Books’ Sleigh Ride: A Winter Anthology.  So what’s my newly revamped goal in its place?  To publish something again, naturally. 🙂

So, without further ado, I give you my goals for 2012 and beyond:

  • Get a full-time job (because the glamorous life of a writer doesn’t pay all too well until you’ve got a large number of books to your name).
  • WRITE!  As much as possible!  Stories, journals, blog entries…anything – but preferably stuff that will further my writing skills and keep me on the path to…
  • Publish a novel (or multiple novels) before I’m 30, which should naturally include…
  • Finishing a first draft of a novel (and maybe a second, third, or fourth draft) by the end of this year.
  • Submit completed short stories to writing contests/literary magazines.
  • Explore video blogging.
  • Devote more time to blogging – aim for one entry each week (at least).
  • Make time for friends.
  • Enroll in some group fitness classes.  (If I’m going to be doing so much sitting in front of a computer, I probably should make sure my muscles won’t atrophy.)
  • Read more (because it’s a serious problem when unread books sit on my bookshelf taunting me for months).

So there you have it.  Now I’ve shared some of my goals, what goals have you set for yourself?  Share some of yours in the comments!

Brant Flakes Book Review and a Recipe!

Hey everyone! Head on over to the Brant Flakes blog where Marilyn has posted a lovely review of sleigh ride, and a few things about me as well 😉

http://marilynbrant.blogspot.com/2011/12/its-lovely-weather-for-sleigh-ride.html

SLEIGH RIDE Release Day and Writing “The Escape”

Welcome to my blog!

Today is 11/11/11, and for someone who makes wishes whenever the clock reads 11:11, this is kind of a big deal.  But what makes today an even bigger deal is this:

I, Megan Barlog, am now a published author!!!

Today is the book birthday of Sleigh Ride: A Winter Anthology, which includes my short story “The Escape” as well as equally enchanting short stories by established authors Maria Geraci, Malena Lott, Maggie Marr, and Samantha Wilde, as well as fellow newbie authors Jenny Peterson and Dani Stone.  Though I haven’t received my physical copy of the book yet, I have read the pre-publication proof of the entire anthology, and I can say with utmost certainty that it is absolutely amazing!  I’m so happy to have been a part of this marvelous project!

The Making of “The Escape”

I first started writing “The Escape” back in April 2011.  All my friends were stressing their brains out working on term papers and final projects, but it was one of those weird semesters for me where I didn’t really have a whole lot to stress over in the final weeks of the spring semester.  And a part of me felt left out.

So, when I logged into Twitter and came across a post about the Sleigh Ride contest, it didn’t take much convincing for me to enter it.

  1. I had plenty of time to dedicate to a short story.
  2. “Sleigh Ride” is my most favorite Christmas song EVER!
  3. If I didn’t win, there was still the tempting thought of receiving my draft back with feedback from an established author.  What was the harm?

I wrote the story in two weeks, sending copies drafts and re-writes to some of my most trusted writing friends for some honest, tough-love feedback along the way.  When the May deadline came around, I wasn’t sure it was the best story ever, but I knew it was the best I was going to make it.  I emailed it in, hoping for the best.

Then came the wait for August.

Though at first the wait seemed an eternity, I soon found other things to occupy my mind, and so I wasn’t really expecting an email from the editor, Malena Lott, in my inbox on July 13th.  And I definitely wasn’t expecting her message to begin with “Congratulations!”

My eyes quickly scanned the email, reading the whole thing twice just to make sure, before screaming “MOM!”

It was 9 a.m., so perhaps I should have been expecting the panicked looks of my mom, sisters, brother, and the dog as they ran into the office.

“What?” asked my mom.
“I’m gonna be published!” I shouted.
My sister, ever observant, asked “Are you…crying?”
“Yes,” I said, grinning ear to ear.

Since that day “The Escape” has undergone some major revisions (thanks to Malena’s thorough editor’s letter and copious notes – how in the world did I forget to give my main character a clear motivation?), and it’s visited many a friendly editor’s/proofreader’s computer screen, but now, I am happy to say, my story is out in the world for more readers to enjoy!

Acknowledgements:

To Malena Lott and everyone else at Buzz Books, thank you for giving my story a chance, and helping me make it the best it could be!

To my first readers, especially Stephanie and Chris, a huge THANK YOU for reading the many rough drafts of my story and helping me make it amazing!

To all my writing teachers, especially Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Koff, and Mr. Duel, thank you for sparking my interest in writing, and teaching me all the basics of writing creatively.  It’s because of you that I chose to major in Creative Writing, and that I even thought my work might one day be published.

To all my family and friends, thank you for all the support and encouragement!  You guys rock!

And a special thanks to Hans and Beka – you’ve done me proud.

In closing…

As one of my creative writing professors once said, you can’t call yourself a writer unless you write, and as it is known in the realm of publishing, you can’t call yourself an author until you’ve been published.  For years I’ve been calling myself a writer, but now I am proud to say I am a published author! 🙂