Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goals Update 1

It's already time for one of these updates. I've made decent progress on some of these goals already, and others I haven't even started. Oh well, plenty of time to get through them! Here goes:

1. Go back for my bachelor's degree. I've researched a few schools, and I'm trying to narrow it down to two or three to apply to. I'm actually leaning towards something that I can take online. They cost a bit more than my cheapest option, but I think it'd be worth it for the convenience. Especially as I don't know how long it will take me to finish, and I can't guarantee how long I'll be living here. I don't want to be stuck here indefinitely because of classes, and I also don't want to have to worry about transferring if I do decide to move.

2. Design and get my second tattoo. I've thought about this a little bit, but haven't come up with anything so far.

3. Photography, part 1. I'm never going to be ready to start Project 365 in just two days, so I'm leaning towards the first of February as a start date. I don't think I'm going to have any kind of theme. If anything, I may have short themes (a few days or a week) throughout the year. For the most part though, I think that it'll be challenging enough just to take pictures every day, without having to meet additional requirements. Still haven't decided where I'm going to post every day, but I have a little time to figure that out yet.

4. Photography, part 2. I've bookmarked half a dozen different sites that help you self-publish photo books. They aren't too terribly expensive either. I'm thinking of starting one for Ireland, and then maybe at the end of the year doing a smaller, cheaper one with the best pictures from my Project 365, if I'm happy with enough of the photos.

5. Photography, part 3. I haven't done much for this goal yet. I've looked into a few different external hard drives but I can't afford them yet. In the meantime though I can start organizing the photos I have, and start deleting the RAW files I don't need.

6. WriYe. Technically, I'm behind a bit on this one. I didn't get a chance to write much last week, especially while I was away for the weekend. But I'm making up for it this week. Plus, I'm sure that throughout the year I'll go back and forth a lot, between falling behind and getting ahead of where I should be. I'm not going to worry about word count a whole lot, especially this early in.

7. Submit writing. Bit early to do anything with this yet. I doubt I'll see any kind of substantial progress on this one for the first half of the year, though in the next month or so I'm going to start trying to polish up some stories and looking for places to send them to, and also for different workshops.

8. Write in journal at least once a week. I haven't even started this one yet. I can't find my stack of blank journals, and I don't want to buy a new one. I'm definitely going to dig them out this weekend and get started. I have a lot I want to write about!

9. New hobbies. For now I'm still coming up with ideas for things to try. I think yoga may be up first. I actually used to do yoga daily but that was years ago so I would like to give it another shot. Plus lately I've been too tired for my normal exercise routine, so it would help me be more active during the winter months!

10. Miniatures. I have a list of paints to buy, and I'm going to go through it again this weekend to finalize what all I need to get now. I'm also hopefully going to buy them this weekend, though they may have to wait until next Friday when I get paid again. Either way I'll be ready to properly start on these soon.

11. Save money. I put some money aside this paycheck. I'm hoping to hit the 2 months salary in savings in February or March. This shouldn't be any problem, especially if I put part of my tax return into savings too. Once I get to that point I'll figure out my next step.

12. I want to go see at least 12 different concerts/shows this year. Wicked was spectacular - so that's one down and eleven to go. I already have tickets to two others, and this blog reminded me to look into some more things coming up locally, so I can start worrying about tickets and scheduling with Danielle and Shannon. I know there are a number of things over the next few months coming to town that I'd love to see.

13. Donate to charity. This month was easy - I went with Yele. 100% of the donation goes directly to the Haiti earthquake fund and the relief operations there. So like I said, easy decision this time. Already donated earlier this evening. Next month I may actually get to research some different organizations and see what I'd be interested in supporting.

14. Read 30,000+ pages. So far I've read 1,779 pages. Not too bad for a couple of weeks. No nonfiction yet, so still have 12 books to go there. As for different types of books, I haven't finished any yet but I'm about halfway through something totally different for me, and enjoying it. I'll post more when I actually complete it.

15. Write 52 new blogs. Well, this makes two, lol. I have a number of ideas I'm toying with, plus I will probably start updating more with book reviews and progress with my miniatures.

16. Music goal. Nothing here yet. Seriously people, start sending me music ideas! It's hard for me to find music from artists I don't know without specific recommendations, though I'll have to start poking around for my own ideas too.

17. Watch 100 different movies. I'm through 13 movies already, so I'm off to a good start! Plus about half of them are ones I'd never seen, so I'm also doing well there.

18. Learn more in general. I haven't managed to figure out this goal yet. This weekend, I'm going to come up with some topics, and also hopefully get started (any suggestions are welcome - I'm interested in most things, and I'm sure there are a ton of subjects out there I'd never think of on my own). By next update I should be started on this one and have a much better idea of what I'm doing with it.

Not too shabby for being two weeks into the year. I made at least some progress on nearly all of my goals, so I'm quite happy with that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010, everyone!

I can't believe it's 2010 already! Time for another batch of goals. I've tried to do some different things this year, so that I don't get bored having the same goals year after year.

1. Go back for my bachelor's degree. I'd like to finish it actually, but I'm not sure if that's even possible. It's going to depend too much on scheduling and money to guarantee I can finish. But I want to decide for sure on a school and get myself enrolled and through some classes.

2. Design and get my second tattoo. Self-explanatory really. I have a number of other tattoos I'd like to get, so this year I'd like to get at least one of those done. Possibly more, but I'm sticking with one for the goal as I want to give myself enough time to figure out exactly what I want, instead of rushing.

3. Photography, part 1. I need more tangible goals for this one; things that I can actually measure and complete. So first up is Project 365. That's one photo per day, every day, for a year. Nothing old is eligible, you take a new photo daily. I'm not going to start this right away, so this goal will carry over until next year. I haven't decided yet if I want to try for any sort of theme, or maybe have weekly or monthly themes, or just try and get 365 photos in general for my first attempt. I'm going to read up on the project a bit and think about it, and start around February 1st, or maybe January 15th if I get myself organized in time. I'll also have to decide if I want to post pictures on here or somewhere else. Any suggestions anyone has for this one are welcomed!

4. Photography, part 2. By the end of the year, I want to make at least one book including my photos. It might be one from Ireland, or maybe something else. Or maybe both. Right now I'm leaning toward one of the coffee table type books that you can order online and have published, though there's also a possibility of a scrapbook. I'm not going to count just printing pictures and throwing them into an album though.

5. Photography, part 3. Develop a way to back up and organize all of my photos. I already have a couple thousand from Ireland, and if I do Project 365 and start taking even more photos like I plan to, this is going to become an issue. There will be a few parts to this goal. One, I need to pick up a pair of 1TB external drives for backup. I want at least two copies of everything, just in case. Two, I need to come up with a standard way of tagging and organizing everything I take. Three, I need to only keep RAW files I'm going to do something with, as they take up a massive amount of space (23.4GB from Ireland alone!).

6. WriYe. This is an off-shoot of Nano, where you set a goal for how much you want to write in an entire year. Unlike Nano it doesn't all have to be one book - actually there aren't really any guidelines. So for the year, I'm going to shoot for 500,000 words. I'm not going to include any work or schoolwork in that, but everything else is fair game. I'll be continuing with my normal writing but also including blogs that I write, as well as anything I write in a journal, etc. Half a million words seems almost insane, but I think it's doable. It's less words per day than Nano, and it's also easier when I can spread the words over a number of projects instead of having to plug away at the same thing even when I'm stuck. So we'll see how it goes!

7. Nano 2010. I want to participate and win for year number 5. This goal won't be included in any of the updates until later in the year, but I wanted to throw it out there now as it's definitely something I plan to do.

8. Submit writing. Throughout the year, I want to submit at least 3 things for publication. Probably short stories. I also want to look into any workshops and possibly classes for writing that I may be able to participate in. I wanted to apply for the Clarion Writers' Workshop, but I've decided against it for this year. The simple fact is there's no way I would ever be able to afford it ($5,000) or the 6 weeks off work to go to California for it. I really doubt I'd ever get in anyway, but I'd be crushed if I was accepted and then couldn't go. So I'm going to look around for smaller and maybe more local things, and Clarion may be an option next year. Of course then I wouldn't have GRRM as an instructor, but that would probably be for the best. I'd probably get kicked out for harassing him about A Dance With Dragons! ;)

9. Write in journal at least once a week. For years and years I'd kept a journal almost daily, but I've neglected it for quite a while now. First it was school and going out with friends, now with the internet being as big as it is, and having blogs, Twitter, etc., it's rare that I actually pick up a pen and write. I really want to get back into it. Writing is stress relief for me, and with a paper journal I can also be a lot more personal in a way that I can't (well I guess I could, but I won't) be on the internet. I'm setting the goal at once a week, though I'd like to build up to two or three times a week.

10. New hobbies. I feel like I don't have a lot of hobbies, aside from reading, writing, and games, and I'd like to do and try more interesting things. I've branched out a little bit with photography, and Japanese, but there are a lot of other things I could try. I'm not going to make this one too specific, as 1) I don't know if I'll enjoy something and want to continue with it, and 2) Some of my goals may be too expensive to really get into right now (learning piano for one, continuing with Japanese or other languages for another). Let's just say I want to try at least 6 new types of hobbies this year. I might end up trying more but that gives me a couple of months for each at least, to give something a legitimate chance. Any ideas on this are greatly appreciated, as right now I only have a couple in mind.

11. Miniatures. This somewhat falls into the hobbies goal, but I'm separating it as it's something I've already invested some time and money into and have gotten started with. I already have a number of miniatures and all of the tools. I need to get paints still, so that's my first step, then next will be to assemble everything I have. I will post pictures and whatnot of my progress on the different miniatures. I'm not going to set a goal yet for how many I'd like to complete, as I don't really have any idea on the amount of time involved to do a decent job. I'll come up with a number later on.

12. Save money. I sort of did this goal last year, but now I want to get more specific with it, instead of just saying "save and spend wisely". This one is going to be a number of steps. First I want to beef up my savings to 2 months salary. I'm more than halfway there so that hopefully won't take long. At that point I'm going to start taking some money from every paycheck to set aside for bigger purchases (saving for trips, keyboard, etc.) and at the same time continue to stash more into savings. Goal by the end of the year is to have 3 months salary set aside in my savings account that I don't touch. This one obviously depends on a number of things. If I have a lot of unexpected expenses pop up I might not make it, but I'll do as best as I can.

13. I want to go see at least 12 different concerts/shows this year. Averages to one per month but it doesn't matter when I go. Already have a couple planned - Wicked next week, Gaelic Storm in March, and probably at least two more of the Seton Hill theater productions. I probably have another ten that I'm interested in (Sweeney Todd, STOMP!, and possibly Muse to name a few) so this shouldn't be hard to complete. I just want to expand my horizons and get to see and experience new things as much as possible.

14. Donate to charity. I've considered making a goal to volunteer or somehow contribute to various charities. I don't know that there are a lot of options available in my area for volunteering though. It's something I may look into after winter is over, but for now I've decided at the very least I'm going to donate. I'm going to take $25 out of each paycheck, and then donate that $50 a month to a different charity. I already have a couple in mind but will have to research the rest, so if anyone has any suggestions let me know!

15. Read 30,000+ pages. I've decided to go with a page count as a goal this year, instead of a number of books. It seems like a better way to keep track, as many books I read are 800+ pages long. That's the overall goal, but I have mini goals within this. Again, I want to read mostly books that I own and have never read before, and keep borrowing to a minimum. I also want to broaden my horizons with reading. I read mostly fantasy, with some science fiction, romance, and mystery/thriller thrown in occasionally. I'd like to read some more diverse fiction and also read some of the classics. I own many of these books already, and it's high time I start getting through them! I'm going to say I want to read 12 books of these books that are outside my "normal" zone, and additionally, I'd like to read 12 nonfiction books.

16. Write 52 new blogs. Doesn't have to be once a week, that's just the number I'm shooting for. Also, I want them to be proper blog entries. I may keep track of the movies and books I get through, but I'm not going to count just a list as a regular entry. Same goes for the Project 365 entries. However, if I write reviews of books or films, or provide some explanation with my photos, then I'll count those towards the 52. I want to write about more things, and also start including more pictures and videos in my entries.

17. Music goal. Similarly to broadening my horizons with hobbies and books, I'd like to do the same with music. I want to try at least 20 different artists or bands that I haven't really listened to before, and listen through at least one of their albums. I love all types of music, but I don't tend to find new artists easily, and I want to make more of an effort to. Definitely looking for ideas here, so let me know some of your favorites!

18. Watch 100 different movies. They don't have to be films I haven't seen, though I'd like a good number of them to be. I just want to get back into watching more films like I used to. And once again, suggestions are welcome!

19. Learn more in general. I'm not quite sure how I want to set this one up yet. I just know there are a ton of different subjects that interest me, that I would like to learn more about. I'd like to devote some time to doing so this year. Tentatively I'm saying I'll pick a new topic every month (or maybe two) and learn whatever I can - read a book maybe, or just research on the internet and read some articles, etc. For my first goal update I'm going to come up with a few of the topics I'd like to get into, and from there I'll have a better idea how much time I'm going to devote to each one (if they're all broad topics I'll give it a couple of months, whereas specific things wouldn't need nearly that length of time). At any rate I'll clarify this one a bit better in the first update or two.

Whew, that's quite a list, but it's about the same length as every other year so here's hoping I get through the majority of these! Overall I'm happy with the diversity of my goals and I'm looking forward to working through them in the coming year. Wish me luck!