A Milestone was coming, a Life List Milestone Party, A Life List Club Celebration.


I’m new to this club we call Life List, so I asked a question of my Life List Mates:

“What goal on your Life List surprised you most or brought about the most unforeseen changes?”

With any luck, those surprises or changes would be of the WOO HOO persuasion.

‘Who’d have thought from an online class would come a perfect circle of  friends?’ Self-proclaimed ‘procrastinator of major proportions’, our Marcia Richards has been knocking the goals off her Life List at a satisfying rate, but it is Goal # 6, finding a critique group, that is the winner of major proportion.

Last summer Marcia joined an online class, subject: blogging. Real friendships were formed, a tight-knit group who support and encourage, discuss and share writing, publishing and marketing tips and brand development.

But books and writing and promotion aren’t the only subjects the group tackles. Personal issues, fears, proud moments and bouts with the flu–anything is up for discussion. Writes Marcia, ‘This band of men and women are the most generous and supportive group of people I could ever hope to have found. I was certain I would never find a group that was a good fit… We are each other’s inspiration, motivation and lifeline in so many ways every single day.’

Lara’s goals are on target!

No one particular goal has made a huge impact for Lara Schiffbauer. Rather, Lara has learned to identify how many excuses she mastered when not achieving past goals. Better, ‘I have learned I am capable of much more than I ever thought.‘  Lara also learned ‘that it’s all right to let some goals slide while I work like a fiend to achieve a goal that has gained importance. Now I know I have no excuses!’

When Sonia Medeiros started with LLC, she assumed that it would be a fairly straight path to the end of her fantasy novel.

For those of us who have taken a ride on the revision train more times than we can count, that there is a big ole Ka-snort!

Says Sonia, “I was well into it and I (mostly) knew where I wanted to go. I thought it was just a matter of committing to the goal and seeing it through. As it turned out, I wasn’t ready to complete that story yet. I put it on the back burner to focus on expanding another work, Postcards from Hell.”

When she started out, Sonia thought she had to complete the goal she set, but has since learned that, “sometimes, life takes us in another direction. I learned that it’s okay to follow those twists and turns. In fact, sometimes the most interesting places are only found if we go with the flow.” 

Jess Witkins claimed the title Perseverance Expert not long after she began blogging.  But those words were put to the test when she took on the goal that was giving her most trouble square in the face!  After a grueling 2 weeks that caused relationship problems, friendship concerns, family phone calls, a terrible diet, and less sleep than anyone should be operating vehicles under, Jess Witkins completed Fast Draft.

“My Life List Goal to write everyday was never stronger.  Week 1 of Fast Draft was fabulous!  I averaged about 10 pages a day on my book and I’d prepared well both in plotting and blogging ahead the week before.  When week 2 came crashing forward, there were troubles in Coupledom, a friend’s wedding plans to attend to, my sister was recovering from cancer, the shelves in the fridge were empty, and I was having more than one night of only 3 hours of sleep.” 

You know what, gang?  “I’m grateful for all of it!”  She may not have kept up with the impressive page count during that tough time, but she still kept writing and she learned about what’s truly important to her and how to balance it in her crazy busy life.  “That’s priceless.”

Gary GauthierGary Gauthier says he was “aiming for the stars” and we shouldn’t be disappointed if he doesn’t accomplish all his goals.

“Two of my Life List goals were a little lofty because I wanted to motivate myself and see how far it would get me. The plan worked. What I didn’t foresee was how much I would learn along the way. The good news is, I’m still on track.”

And now, the time has come to answer the question myself.  Compiling my Life List was easier than I thought, and helped me streamline and compartmentalize my goals. Not sure if that’s a surprise or a relief! Having the list helped me see where I was, where I wanted to be, how to prioritize, and most notable of all, identify the goals on my list that weren’t taking me where I wanted to go. As a result, I exercised an Executive Prerogative, and dropped 3 items from my list, an entire category, within a month of becoming a Life Lister.

You may not be an official member of The Life List Club, but if you follow this blog, even if you read the odd post, then you likely have a list of your own, in your head, if not on paper or in cyberspace. If any goals have surprised you, inspired you, changed how you do things, we hope you’ll share with us in a comment.

And you’ll want to leave a comment, trust me. One random reader who leaves a Life List comment on any of our posts between June 29, 2012 (Holy Calendar, Batman! That’s today!) and July 6, 2012, will receive a $50 gift card. Amazon or Barnes & Noble: Winner’s Choice!

Be sure to visit us for the announcement on July 6. The Surprisification may belong to you!

For more Milestone festivities, please visit our individual blogs. You can find each and every one of us on the blogroll to your right. Party on!


37 responses to “Surprisification

  1. What a fabulous interview, Sherry! Go you…. I sure do miss y’all. 🙂

  2. You know when my Aha! hit yesterday, Sherry.

    You bonked me on the noggin with it during a pre-write-a-thon chat check-in.

    I tried to weasel explain my way out of writing using a yawn-worthy list of nit-gnats on my list of to-do’s.

    “I need to get those out of the way today, so I can focus on my WIP tomorrow,” I wrote.

    “Pick two,” you responded. “Writing is your J-O-B. You do the other crap personal items during breaks and lunch.” You were so right. Life is one big nit-gnat Craps game.

    No. I have no LLC list. Yes. I should. During lunch.

    Great write-up and Woo-Hoo! to the LLC!

    • AMAZING LEARNING LESSON! What an A-Ha! Moment! Thanks for sharing that story Gloria! I hope you kept up writing and took Sherry’s advice! It can be done, all of it, but we have to work hard. I’m rooting for you!

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  4. My goals seem to change from week to week. I think the basic idea is to keep trying, keep pushing. Congrats, Life List, on the anniversary!

  5. This is such an inspiring post with writers showing us that no obstacle is insurmountable. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”

    • That’s right, Brinda! We have all run into some doozies of obstacles, but we made the decision to keep moving forward. Thanks for joining us!

  6. I have a very long list of goals, but I’m with Sonia, this year the surprise has been the twists that life (not my WIP) has thrown at me. One of my goals this month is to re-visit my goal list and see how far off I’ve drifted since April. Surprisingly enough I think I’ve stayed on course, I’m just way behind. Oh, well, on course is good enough!

    • For me, it helps knowing I’m not alone. I had a writer meltdown after I thought I was falling behind everyone else. I couldn’t manage the things they were all achieving. And then I read a blog post by another writer (Renee Schuls-Jacobson – who’s fabulous, you must check her out – who had experienced the same thing. And I reached out. While she was being cheered on my so many other writers, that came back my way too. Renee, and several other writers, personally emailed me to share their own stories and let me know it would all get better. The support from the writing community is immense, we each just need to embrace it and give it back ten fold!

      Keep it up, Jessica! I know you’ll do wonders!

    • Isn’t it funny how creating goals really requires a fine balance of firmness and flexibility? We have to hold ourselves accountable, but be able to go with the flow if something just isn’t working. Congratulations on staying the course – sometimes that’s all we can ask for!

  7. Pingback: Milestone Party: How to Survive Fast Draft and Dance Like No One’s Watching « Jess Witkins' Happiness Project

  8. I’ve had to learn that goals that may work for others won’t automatically work for me. If I try to push myself to write too much too fast, I just get a lot of poo on the page. I’ve decided to come to terms with my writing pace. I’m going to accept it and make my writing goals more about daily writing and time spent writing, with only a small reasonable word count goal. That makes things a lot better for me.

    • What’s so smart about that, Emma, is that you know yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing. Some people are okay with setting high goals to seriously challenge themselves and somehow it doesn’t stress them out. Others of us need to learn our limits and work within them, and that’s what you’ve done. That’s a formula for success! We’re standing with you for any support you may need!

  9. Great interview, Sherry and such wise people here in the LLC. Like Lara, I’ve discovered I am capable of more and different things than I thought. While I am woefully behind on my writing goals for my WIP, I have realized I am a lot further ahead in other areas of my writing.

  10. This was a great post, Sherry. You did a fabulous job of pulling it all together and making our answers cohesive! Thanks so much 🙂

  11. I’m shockedified at all the things your guys manage to get through, It’s inspiring. I’m just grateful when I can open my eyes in the morning.


    • ‘Shockedified’! Love it! We have our moments, Nigel, when opening our eyes in the morning is more than we can handle. Fortunately we have few days like that. We try to be inspirationalific!

  12. “We are each other’s inspiration, motivation and lifeline in so many ways every single day.” Marcia, you summed up the group perfectly! It looks to me like the LLC shares a similar dynamic. Great job everyone here on ‘reviewing the situation’ … *humming tune from ‘Oliver’*.

    • Ah, Patricia, it is time for more inspiration and motivation over lattes. Lifelines online and in real life go hand in hand.

    • So jealous, Sherry and Patricia, that you two live close enough to get together! You girls have a great time. I love my online friends and am determined to meet some within the next year. Oh, hey! I should put that on my Life List!

  13. Elizabeth Varadan

    Congratulations to all of you. It sounds like a fruitful year for you all.

  14. I should have had “room with Jess Witkins at a writers’ conference” on my Life List, just so I could cross that one off. (Then again, I could add it now and repeat the lovely experience.) I love the concept of your Life List Club. A few years ago, I wrote my 40 After 40 list. I turned 40 years old, asked myself what else I wanted to accomplish in life, and came up with 40 things. I am WAY BEHIND on completing them. I need life, the universe, and everything to please cooperate so that I can knock those babies off.

    In the meantime, I stand on these sidelines, wave my banner, and cheer y’all on! Go you! Congratulations on what you’ve learned.

    • Julie, what better way to beat the doldrums out of a To-Do list than to include the fun stuff. Make a point of the fun stuff! And be pleased to look back and be thankful for all they joy your life holds.

  15. Great topic, Sherry! I’ve never met a more supportive community than writers. I can’t imagine reaching any of my goals without my writing buddies and groups like this one. I’d say what has surprised me most is learning to set realistic goals, both time-wise and in specifics. I always think I will get more done than I do. What I’m grateful for though, is that I do set weekly goals. Well, last few weeks have been dismal, but I’ll get back to it because setting these goals helps me to stay on the path.

    • Sharon, there is soooo much more to our critique group than feedback on our ms, and offer so much more than a place to share progress on goals. The writing journey is all-encompassing, and our critique partners not only become part of our journey, but part of our lives.

  16. My big goal for the summer of 2012 is to finish editing my Science fiction novel and submit it to a publisher. I’m half way finished.

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