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 www.mlbuchman.com.