Sunday, January 1, 2012

Violet is level six!

There's a sign on my fridge that my wife put up there, a misquote from an early novel of mine she read while we were still dating, "Violet is level six, start where you stand." It's become one of our house mottoes. When life is really being nuts or unpredictable we acknowledge that whatever ridiculous circumstance we've arrived in, and we've landed in many, We start here! Look forward!

So here we are at the New Year, January the 1th. For me this is always a time of thinking and planning and wondering. Wondering at what the last year brought: 4 books written (2 joyfully and merrily for Casablanca) and a new job in a new city (that was a serious "Violet is level six" type of experience as it all occurred on 9 days notice, but that's a different story).

Also, being January the 1th, I spend a lot of time wondering what the next year will bring: the launch of my "The Night Stalkers" romantic suspense series, 4 more books (including more for Casablanca), and hopefully not another new job or another new city.

At this time, the beginning of a new year, I'm deeply involved in deciding what comes next on many levels. Corporate goal setting sessions, year-end performance reviews, FAFSA for my step-twerp's college education (she's awesome btw), and personal goals. Setting goals, setting priorities, setting hopes. And I'd like to touch on that last for the moment, because that's what I think is so often left out of planning.

We learn about goal setting: choose a goal, make a plan, make sure it has steps and a definite deliverable (a book, a new operational process, a new number on the scale), etc. etc. What I used to forget to do is set the shoot-the-moon goals. The unmeasurable ones. The ones that I'll never put into action unless I focus on them, even though they can never be truly achieved. I'm starting to think those are the most important. So here are some of mine.

Be Sillier! -I already have a silly streak, I love making people laugh. I used to wear a Pogo t-shirt with the quote, "Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent." But with being laid off for 13 months, abandoning our home on 9 days notice, and learning a new job, I've been taking myself way too seriously of late. Lighten up, laugh more.

Write Truth! -I strive to make every book better and I honestly think it's working. And my method is to focus on writing truth. My truth and belief in the magnificence of human nature. My characters' belief that they will triumph against all odds. The truth of my joy at reveling in both.

Love! -Seems obvious, but I don't dare let it be. Much to my own surprise, I have the most amazing lady by my side and a step-kid who runs to hug me when we've been apart and wants to sit beside me on the couch and be silly though she's college-grown. My goal is to pay immense attention. To be more present tomorrow than today. And more present the day after that.

Will I succeed? Ha! Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much. But every time I fail I just need to remember one thing...

Violet is level six, start where I stand!

What are your goals, big or small? Where do you want to stand? Ask yourself, share if you want. Remember to revel, it's a must!

Thanks, ML Buchman

"The Night is Mine"
-1st book of The Night Stalkers (Special Forces helicopter pilots)
-Sourcebooks, Casablanca, Feb 2012

Some of my more concrete goals are at


  1. Goals... a discussion of linear processes in general usually makes me twitchy, but... I suppose this qualifies as a goal: Be kind, tell the truth.

    It works for an approach to writing, an approach to other people, an approach to myself. It cleaves Gordian knots and serves as the platform upon which I stand when my hydrangeas are level sixing on me.

  2. Happy New Year! I haven't had a chance to sit down and write-out my goals yet this year. One goal I do plan on accomplishing, no matter the stress involved, is to enjoy every second of my debut year. I have waited so long for this moment.

  3. My goal is to enjoy every single day of 2012, the same goal I made in 2011 and I may have failed at times but looking back it was a good full year full of laugher and life.
    This is my debut year into women's fiction and I absolutely loved writing it.

  4. Happy New Year Ladies ;)

    start the new year with good wishes, health, fortune and pile of books ;)

  5. I've probably always set goals for myself, but I've never sat down and carved them in stone. For me, flexibility is the key. It's gotten me though many a new year, and this one will be no different. Well, maybe it will, but that's a topic for my own post later this month!
    Happy New Year, everyone!

  6. Writing down goals is always an interesting question. I've actually studied this a fair bit and could write a whole separate blog on it. The consensus among the experts, and yes, there are experts in this, say you must write them down for a wide variety of reasons. The plan to achieving it can change, grow, morph, be discarded and rebuilt. But if it is a clear goal. Write it down. Much more likely to be achieved. Certainly works for me.

    Grace: I absolutely love the line "my hydrangeas are level sixing on me." Still laughing...

  7. Start where you stand - great advice! Jan. 1 is a great time to let go of all the things I didn't quite get done last year and start fresh. Happy New Year!

  8. Welcome! Sorry I'm coming in so late, but I took a couple-day internet vacay, which is essential for my focus and peace of mind!

    My goal is to pay immense attention.

    I love this, in so many ways.

  9. Amanda, Tamara and all, I couldn't agree more!