Focus

Hi, friends!

I haven’t been very good at keeping up with y’all.  Sorry about that.  I’ve seen two out-of-town friends this week and have been hiking and swimming and bowling despite my body telling me that it’s feeling sick and that I need to slow down a little bit and today… it just kind of crashed.

Still, I want to try and get some work done because I have been playing way too much for someone who wants to get two more books out by the end of this year.  Play is a wonderful thing, and I want to spend as much time with my out-of-town friends (and my in-town friends as well) as I can, but I do need to focus.  I can’t lose sight of my goals and what I want to accomplish.

Since I was little, I’ve always been a very goal-oriented person.  I’m like those mice in Who Moved My Cheese.  I have to be working toward something or else I just don’t know what i’m doing.  Right now, I’m working toward getting the next Cemetery Tours book written.  My goal is to have the first draft of the manuscript done by the end of the month so that I can get it to my editors and published by late September/early October.  Then, I hope to have the next Boy Band book out by December.  Overly ambitious?  Perhaps.  But if I don’t feel like the books are high-quality enough or worth publishing, then I won’t.

So yeah, getting those two books out by the end of the year are my short-term goals.  Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about long-term goals.  It used to be those long-term goals that drove me, but lately life has been so busy that I’ve only had time to really think about the short-term.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s good to have both short and long-term goals.  Those long-term goals, I think, inspire short-term goals.  For example, my desire to succeed as an adult drove me to try my hardest in school.  Well, high school anyway.  By the time I got to college and grad school, I really just wanted to graduate.  Even then, however, my hopes and dreams for the future continued to drive me.

I know I’ve shared my Bucket List of things I’ve already done (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/extraordinary/).  I did that because, even though I think it’s wonderful and good to have dreams of the future, it’s also a good idea to acknowledge the good things that have already happened in life.  Counting your blessings, as it were.  However, I don’t think I’ve posted my actual Bucket List here, my dreams of what I hope my life will be.  Maybe I haven’t shared them because I’m afraid they won’t come true.  I’m not sure.  Whatever, the reason, these aren’t all of my goals, just a few of them.

1) Travel.  My dream destinations are: Australia, New Zealand, North Carolina, Alaska, back to Scotland, New England, London, and Paris.

2) Become a NYT bestselling author by the time I’m 30.

3) Renovate my parents’ house.

4) Do something good for homeless animals and endangered species around the world and work with a marine mammal/sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center.

5) Own a beach house.

I have several other smaller specific ones, such as celebrate Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts and go see a movie at the drive-in (I can’t believe I still haven’t done that one).  But I think those five I listed are the ones I dream about the most.

What do y’all dream about?

Extraordinary

Today is a big day in my household.  It’s the day my little sister goes off to college and moves into her new dorm.  I know it’s not like she’s leaving forever, but it’s still weird and, I’m not going to lie, sad.  She’s my best friend in the world and I’m going to miss her like crazy.  Sure, she’s close enough that we’ll be able to see her at least once a month, but it’s still a big change.

While I’ve mostly been preoccupied with the fact that I’m going to miss her, I have to admit, I’ve also been a little envious.  See, I never had the full college experience.  When I was in middle school, my family suffered a tremendous financial blow, the effects of which still linger to this day.  Things have gotten better, but my mom still says that they’ll probably never fully recover from that period in our lives.  Because of everything that happened, I couldn’t afford to go away to college, so throughout my four years of undergrad and two years of grad school, I lived at home.  Even though several kids do that to save a little money, it’s something I’ve always been insecure about. 

However, everything I’ve gone through in the past year has inspired me to stop dwelling on the experience I didn’t get the opportunity to have, and all the amazing and wonderful experiences that I have had, and that I hopefully will have in the future. 

This post isn’t really about my book or my work as a writer, although seeing that through has given me more confidence and self-respect than I think I’ve ever had in my life.  It is a little self-centered, but I think it’s good for everyone to take a minute and think about everything extraordinary about their lives.  The shooting stars, if you will.  Here are a few of mine.

I’ve hiked to the top of a mountain.

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I’ve seen the Red Woods of the West Coast.

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I’ve visited Heaven on Earth.

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I’ve danced with a beluga whale.

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I’ve worked an amazing job as a summer camp counselor.

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I’ve seen my favorite band live in concert.

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I’ve earned my Master’s Degree.

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I’ve enjoyed a sunset picnic on the beach.

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I’ve been inside a fairy tale castle.

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I’ve eaten Haggis.

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I have not one, but two of the best friends in the world; two people I trust completely and know will be there for me no matter what.  And that’s a rare find even one time around.

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I’ve played in the mud for absolutely no reason other than that I could.

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And I’ve started my own business and written a novel that will be in print and an eBook in exactly one month!

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I can’t wait for whatever happens next!