Tag Archives: Sherry Isaac

Surprisification

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

WOOT!

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!

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A Million Miles of Fun

1999. The year the artist formerly known as Prince asked that we party like.

That summer, chauffeur to soccer games, school dances and babysitting jobs, a familiar beat reverberated in this mother’s minivan. ‘Steal My Sunshine’, a one-hit wonder released by Toronto-based band, Len.

‘Steal My Sunshine’ is one of those songs that, should it strike a chord with you, you may never grow tired of. One of those songs that will transport you back in time. ‘Steal My Sunshine’ brings me back to summer.

A Million Miles of Fun!

In 1999, I still toyed with the idea of being a writer. I mean, only a select few special, talented, rare individuals could actually be writers. Ordinary people, like me, were moms, in minivans, driving kids to karate lessons.

In 1999, I was mother to a 16-year-old male. You know the type, uttering neanderthal grunts we struggle to distinguish as either Yes, No, or I dunno. My little neanderthal wanted his own money, truly wanted a summer job with which to make said money, but wasn’t keen on the actual seeking of job. Had we lived in the Stone Age, my little neanderthal’s reluctance to leave the cave would have meant no hunting, and no hunting would have meant my little neanderthal would have gone hungry.

We did not live in the Stone Age, but the Technological Age, and so my neanderthal was jobless yet well-fed.

I shared with him advice I’d heard somewhere, sometime, said by someone I can not credit here because the memory fails, just know this wisdom did not originate with me:

‘You can’t build a reputation on what you say you’re going to do.’

Silly minivan mother. I thought this wisdom would light a fire under my neanderthal’s couch-potato bum. Apparently, fire had not yet been discovered in his world.

Enter Len. Enter the lyrics to ‘Steal My Sunshine’:

And of course you can’t become if you only say what you would have done.

And then, the consequence:

So I missed a million miles of fun.

Fast forward 2012.

Trying the Cooper on for size. Toronto Auto Show, 2011

Minivan is now a Mini Cooper, and all of my neanderthals have learned to enunciate, found gainful employment and left the nest. Summer is on the rise, I exercise my 2-60 air-conditioning (2 windows down, 60 miles an hour) and crank the radio.

‘Steal My Sunshine’ blasts from Cooper’s speakers.

The last six months have been met with challenges. Nothing catastrophic, just life–with  a few extra ounces of complication. I have embraced the writer title, but the writerly tasks have floundered this year.

In my ongoing effort to be thankful in all things, I am thankful I am not yet under contract, for this year, I’d have failed. Deadlines would have come and gone.

And still, I am bothered that I have accomplished so little on the writing front.

Yes, allowances had to be made, time had to be taken for family and home and life. Yet I wonder, could I have been more disciplined in my professional life?

Good angel says, Yes.

Bad angel says, Hell, yes.

Of course I can’t become if I only say what I would have done.

In April, I joined the Life List Club. I have said what I will do, but all the life list clubs and lists of goals in the world mean little if I only say, or write down, or blog about what I would have done.

A million miles of fun is a lot of fun to miss. I am a thief. I did this to myself.

I stole my sunshine.

But now, I’m taking it back.

I know its up for me, making sure I’m not in too deep, keeping versed and on my feet.

Thanks, Len, and thanks 104.5, for the inspiration!

How about y’all? What song lyrics, movie lines, or verses of poetry light the fire under your keister?

Join us Friday, when Marcia Richards takes the reins! Or visit Marcia today and share in some Dr. Suess wisdom.

Life. List. Club.

It’s cool to be part of a club. Membership means acceptance. Belonging means we’re not the social pariah we feared we were. The common interests that bind members, and often turn members into friends, assures us that we are not weird alone.

International Oddball Awards--Collecting the Prize

Ahem.

Club members may be weird. But being part of a club means we have found kindred weirdos. Kindred weirdos means we’re less likely to get beat up.

While it is true I am nothing if not odd, Life List Club is not.

Life List Club members are are writing professionals with vision. They looked like they were having fun.

So I approached the playground, asked if I could play, too. I even brought my own ball.

Marcia, Jess, Gary, Jenny, Sonia, David and Lara said yes.

(Look right, and links to my club mates’ sites can be found on the sidebar. Scroll up, and you can see their sun-shiny faces and read their profiles.)

As a writer, with a flitty-flighty muse on my shoulder and a fragile ego (yeah, right), acceptance in the Life List Club meant more than a simple yes.

It is hard to establish a reputation as a writer. So many new to the craft feel unjustified. They could be turning out a thousand words per day, but without that coveted publication label, they don’t fully embrace their craft.

I’m aspiring, they say.

I say, PHLPHLPHL!

Published or not, we must provide and proclaim our own validation. We write, therefore we are writers. In doing, we become. In doing, we are.

But there is more than simply doing. We must determine our target, set out a path, mark milestones along the journey. We must set goals, and measure our progress.

And that is where my Life List comes in.

My Life List is recorded, but not written in stone. Heck, it isn’t even written on paper! My Life List can be found here.

*Pause for shameless self-promotion: You can sign up to follow my blog, Wildflower, here.*

I’ve laid out my Life List with care, have committed its contents to this club and to cyberspace, and yet, I know it is fluid. Some goals I will meet, others will take more time. Even now, a month after I set the goal, recent events have made me reconsider workshop presentations. This goal is still worthwhile, but is this the direction I want to take this year?

I’ll let you know next March.

What targets are in your sight this year, or this month? Any milestones to celebrate? Let us know.

Next up in the club, Marcia Richards on Friday, March 6. Don’t miss out!