5 a.m. What?

5 a.m. Some people view that time….literally, because that’s when they wake up or are already awake. Most people I know….see 5 a.m. and cringe!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

I used to think I was not a morning person. But knew I was definitely not a night owl. I liked to say I was an afternoon person….whatever that means.

Anyway, the past several days my husband and I have been attempting to create the habit of waking up at 5 a.m. I mentioned in a previous post (Purposeful, Intentional, Productive) that I had spent the last week of NaNoWriMo getting up that early. It’s easier to rise when you have a very specific goal in the morning. Also, December being a hectic, holiday-filled month, getting up that early was sporadic at best. We have progressed to rising earlier than 5:30, so still in the middle of transitioning into the habit of a 5 a.m. rise and shine. But we’re getting there!

Why?? Why are we attempting something so crazy, when we don’t have to? ….you may ask.

Because all the people we want to be like… The leaders. The achievers. The people who make a big impact on the world around them…. All those people we look up to, and want to be like, were self-disciplined enough to be early risers. At 5 a.m. you don’t have the interruptions that you have the rest of the day. That first hour in the day, you can do whatever you like. Every day. Consistently. Which in turn, enables you to achieve your dreams!

What habits help you to achieve your dreams? Are your dreams important enough to you, to alter your lifestyle?

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Purposeful, Intentional, Productive

Okay, wow.

I did it! I reached over 50,000 words in the month of November. For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, it’s NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012-180x180

The month was a crazy one:  Moving everything we own one weekend, working on a church project every night another week, and of course, the Thanksgiving holiday with family. On top of having a full-time job. I spent the last week getting up at 5:00 a.m. to catch up on my word count. And strangely enough, it turned me into a morning person. Which I now love!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write about this last Thursday–I was sick for an entire week. Which brings me closer to the point of this post…

After training for and running a marathon (see Here We Go Again… and Good vs. Crappy Runs and My First Marathon:  The Wonderful in the Horrible), after trudging through NaNoWriMo (see NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!), and after a week of being sick, I decided to take an evening “off” from everything by watching TV and surfing the net. Of course, I did a few productive things like eat supper, play with the dog, and put laundry away/organize my closet (it’s still a little crazy after moving). I expected to feel relaxed.

Nope.

I felt like the evening was a complete waste. And I was frustrated because I had no idea why. Well….. Having spent every spare minute in the last six months working productively and intentionally toward huge goals, I have reprogrammed myself. Just like a person can “become” a morning person (see Michael Hyatt‘s post, How to Become a Morning Person), a person can become other things. I am becoming purposeful, intentional, and productive.

So now I’m struggling with conflicting feelings about the “new me”. I’m excited because being purposeful, intentional, and productive will propel me toward my future goals, life dreams, and crossing things off my bucket list. But I’m also a little saddened because I wonder if I will never feel relaxed again. But my husband reminded me, relaxation could just be redefined.

All in all, even if I have lost the ability to feel relaxed doing “nothing”, I am beyond excited at the future accomplishments and realization of dreams before me!

NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is officially the first day of NaNoWriMo 2012!!

Thus I wrote this post the night before, so all I had to do was hit the “Publish” button tonight. (I should have prepared all my November posts pre-nano…oh well)

A few of you might remember I attempted NaNoWriMo last year. I was not a winner–I reached somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 words before quitting. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to churn out 50,000 words before the clock strikes midnight November 30th. Fortunately the goal is not quality. Only quantity. Which makes good practice for those of us who have a hard time moving on when our draft doesn’t sound quite right. And that’s the main reason I attempted last year–practice in imperfection. But this year my mindset is completely different!

I finally believe in myself as a writer. I believe God wants me to publish books. So my goal this year is to have at least 50,000 words of a first draft by the end of November!

Just as there was a difference between the first time I started training for a marathon (and didn’t follow through) and the second time (I reached my goal!), there is a definite difference between how I started NaNoWriMo last year, and now. I even came up with a motivational tool:  money in an envelope….enough to cover a Christian Writer’s Guild membership, a NaNoWriMo t-shirt, and a celebratory dinner. If I reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, I get my reward! If I don’t, my husband gets to blow the money. And yes, he did promise not to sabotage my goal!

Wish me luck and hold me to it! And good luck, fellow NaNoWriMo’ers!

Goal Setting, Self-Discipline & Dreams

I mentioned in an earlier post that I rediscovered my joy of writing fiction. I am more than ready to jump right in!

There are two things I have heard over and over, when it comes to seriously attempting something:  Make your goals very specific, and write them down. So here I go…

I am attempting to finish and publish a novel. And there are four things I have implemented, or plan to:

  • I contacted my former writing accountability partner. We plan to hold each other accountable for our use of time, and any specific goals. I am so excited! Getting feedback from another writer can be a ton of fun.
  • I purchased Michael Hyatt‘s Get Published. This is information I have always wanted to get my hands on! I have mentioned before that we are doing Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps, so this material was purchased with money made from selling our mower.
  • Once I am done training for my marathon, I will use that time to write. Marathon training has definitely upped my self-discipline ability!
  • I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month promotes quantity–50,000 words to be exact–over quality. But it will enable me to get the gist of my story out. I can go back to tweak and research later.

This is going to take a lot of self-discipline! But I figure, when’s a better time to start? Just this evening I told someone there are too many people who never pursue what they’re really passionate about…not enough time, not enough money, too many other things to do, or they spend too much time in front of the TV. If I have the chance to accomplish my dream, I’m going to go for it!

Of course, I haven’t given myself a specific deadline to have the first draft done… Maybe it should be January 1, 2013, considering I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. What do you think?

How have you used self-discipline to pursue your dreams, or to reach a goal?

Unfinished Business….

I guess that would be an appropriate name for this post.

Thanksgiving Day 5k

I did not complete a post last week Thursday, I did not complete NaNoWriMo, and I have not come to a conclusion about my current job.

Posting an entry on my blog last week was a bust. Obviously the day wasn’t all bad–it was Thanksgiving for goodness sake! We spent the time with family, ran a 5k, ate really yummy food–it was a blast! Other things happened too, like my dog chewed through my  laptop adapter. Unfortunately my battery is so bad, my laptop will only operate plugged in. (My mother-in-law let me have her old adapter, but it was a little late for a posting–thanks Momma J!)

Thursday was also the day I decided to quit NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I had over half the word count left to write. I didn’t see that being accomplished in roughly a week. At that point in time, the only thing NaNoWriMo seemed to be doing for me was contributing to my stress level.

And that brings me to my job. I’m still not sure what to do (see What to do when we don’t know what to do). And not knowing what to do, can be very stressful. Especially when a decision will directly impact one’s way of life. I worry about being able to sustain my family financially. The other day my co-worker reminded me, God takes care of our finances. I needed that reminder.

So yeah, I feel like a bunch of loose ends thrown together.

Despite not completing a post last week, spending Thanksgiving with family was priceless. Despite not completing NaNoWriMo, the decision to pull out early lifted the burden of too many commitments. Despite uncertainty with my job, having a wonderful co-worker there to say what I needed to hear most is invaluable.

Most importantly, having a God to hold my loose ends together….irreplaceable.

NaNoWriMo: A Little Over Half Way (Supposedly)

We’re past the half way point in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If I was following my plan perfectly, I would be a little over half way there.

My plan consisted of 2,500 words Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And 3,800 on the weekends. That would put me at 28,100 words.

Sad to say, my current total is 17,115.

I guess you could say life got in the way. In addition to attempting a novel this month, I’m keeping up with this blog, reading The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell, running, looking at the possibility of another job, helping my husband start up a business, helping a friend start up a business, working through some family stuff, and a million more tiny little things. Just like everyone else.

So I guess it’s a good thing this weekend should be relatively commitment free. I’ve got a five mile run, church, a meeting with my writing partner. Of course, there are all the things one would normally catch up on over the weekend:  laundry, dishes, bills, etc. But what are those to writing 50,000 words in one month!?

Maybe I am going a little psycho. But somehow I think that’s the only way anyone finishes out NaNoWriMo….a little psycho.

Wish me the best, and that I don’t drive my husband nuts!

Keep trucking all you other WriMos!!

Nation Novel Writing Month

Okay. I admit it. This will probably be one of my shortest blog post thus far. It’s past 11:00 pm, and I’ve just started writing. But….this will not be the last time I find myself writing this late. In just five short days I will begin the long, crazy…more like psychotic…journey that NaNoWriMo is. National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to have 50,000 words written by midnight, the last day of November. Think I can make it? I try not to think about that…

But it is a challenge. And some might say impossible. I figure, if I bother to write a blog titled Specializing in the Impossible, why not? The goal is not quality in content. The goal is simply in the numbers. Most of my life has been focused on the quality of what I accomplish. Even to the point of considering something not accomplished if it did not meet “the standard”. Whatever that was.

Will I really gain anything by going through the NaNoWriMo process? I think so. Though at this point I couldn’t tell you what. I know I’ll probably fry my brain. Which I think I’m doing at this very moment, staring at the computer screen. I better get to bed…

Good luck to all you NaNoWriMo people out there!