Posted by: devonellington | January 2, 2015

Answers to the Questions: January 2, 2015

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions Answered for 2015:

Take a look back at the last year, and give yourself an honest assessment. Remember to be kind to yourself. Did you achieve what you hoped to achieve? Where did you fall short of your own expectations, and why? Where did you exceed them? What unexpected events changed your direction? What did you choose to give up because it no longer fit your goals, dreams, resolutions, and life?

2014 was a year of ups and downs. It started low; it picked up as the year progressed, although there were many rocky patches. I started a job I always wanted — in a library. Three novellas, a novel, and a short story in an anthology were published. A play of mine was produced, and I wrote an audio script for a company in California. I cut back on the teaching, and I need to cut back on the teaching even more. I didn’t pitch for as much freelance writing, because of the library job and the contract schedule in the fiction. I started INITIATE, which is one of the books I believe most in, of anything I’ve written. I joined Sisters in Crime, although I have not had a chance to take advantage of its opportunities. I fell short of my expectations of myself — a combination of lack of information, believing the wrong people, and allowing other people’s agendas to distract me. I will fulfill a term commitment I made to an organization that ends later this year, and then step away from the organization. It does not meet my needs, either creatively or professionally. I don’t believe I exceeded my expectations anywhere, unfortunately. I fell short.

Do you feel you are on the right path? If so, what do you want to build on from this year to make next year even better? If not, what do you want to change? How do you intend to change those things?

Most of the answer to this question is not ready to be shared publicly yet. I need to make some adjustments on the path. As stated above, I allowed myself to be distracted by other people’s agendas, and that has to stop. I have to remember to be ruthless when necessary.

Take a look at the disappointments from this year. Can you find their root cause? Did you get something positive from them, in spite of the disappointments?

Most of the disappointments cannot be discussed in a public forum, because it is inappropriate. The disappointments are connected to specific individuals. But that’s okay. People grow and change in life, and sometimes it means they grow away from each other. One of the major disappointments has to do with the difference between the perception that there’s a vibrant artistic community in this region and the reality — most of the “artists” only work when they “get around to it.” That’s a huge disappointment. I need to be around people who commit to their art, not do it “when they have time.” I’m also tired of people who claim to want change, but aren’t willing to take the actions that create that change. They want results without work, or they want someone else to do the work for them and reap them benefits. I’m not interested in being that person.

Take a look at unexpected events which changed your path. Were the changes positive or negative? Did they send you in a new direction you might not have found otherwise, or were they a distraction?

There was a lot of positive, and even the negatives taught me something that will help me go forward. Even the distractions proved useful. And it’s all material, that will come out in the fiction over the next few years. One of the most positive things I did is to disconnect at least one day and often more per week. That quiet, uninterrupted time is precious and crucial.

Do you feel fulfilled creatively, personally, spiritually? What contributes to that? If something is lacking in any of these areas, what actions do you need to take in the coming year?

Creatively, it’s up and down. When I write, when I fulfill the daily writing discipline, yes, I feel fulfilled creatively. When I let other factors drain me and keep me from the daily writing, I get frustrated and it resonates into every area of my life. Personally, it’s been up and down. There are some personal changes that I am determined to make this year. Spiritually, it was up and down, but, in the last quarter of the year, that part of my life began to strengthen again. Hopefully, I can build on that cycle. I need to cut some deadwood out of my life, make some difficult choices, and, again, not let other people’s agendas interfere in my path.

List three goals for 2015 — concrete things that you wish to achieve. Under each goal, list three specific action steps you can do to achieve each of them.

1. Complete drafts of three novels, two plays, one screenplay
A. Stick with the 1K/each morning routine
B. Block in additional writing time on certain days of the week.
C. Finesse the way I move between projects

2. Enter a screenplay contest
A. Either polish a screenplay I have or polish a new one
B. Research the contests and see which one or ones are best suited to my long-term goals.
C. Prepare the application and paperwork so I can submit it in plenty of time.

3. Sewing — I want to get back into sewing
A. Pick a project and see it through.
B. Sort through my projects set aside.
C. See what needs to be finished and what needs to be jettisoned.

I have a couple of other goals that I am not yet ready to share publicly.

List three dreams for 2015 — things you would like to do, but that may not be ready to manifest. List three action steps under each dream that you can start this coming year, on the road to manifestation.

I have these, but these are not yet for public sharing. Sometimes one needs to keep it quiet and close to the vest in order to make it manifest. Still, it’s an improvement over this time last year, when I felt like I didn’t have any room or reason to dream.

List three resolutions for 2015 — definite things you want to change about yourself or your life for the better. Under each one, list three action steps that you can take to start achieving those resolutions. Again, remember to be kind to yourself.

1. More physical activity
A. Up the yoga practice
B. More other exercise, such as adding weight training back into the regime
C. Try a form of exercise I haven’t yet tried.

2. Recommit to the garden.
A. Organize what I want earlier in the year
B. Stay on top of the yard work
C. Chronicle life in the garden better.

3. Reorganize
A. Finally unpack all the boxes in the basement and re-organize or purge what’s left.
B. Get my office back to rights
C. Get more bookcases.

Take a look back at the last several years, and then look ahead to where you are and where you want to be. Take some time and figure out a one year, three year, and five year plan.

I am in my fifth year here on Cape Cod, since moving from New York. Many things have changed since I left New York. I know it’s time for me to reassess what I want and need, and how I want to get there. I let go of a lot when I left New York, and was full of hope and optimism when I arrived. Some of that has been met; but there have also been some disappointments, and I have to regroup and make new choices based on the realities I’ve found here.

One year: Sort out some of the scheduling, time management, and inter-personal issues that are interfering with productivity. I want more script work, and script work that pays better. I want to be in a higher-paid contract cycle with better advances. I would like to expand my environmental work, especially in the area of environmental law, and I want to dig deeper into issues of neuro-ethics.

Three years: Be settled in my own house. Have at least one prose series that sells well and sets a firm foundation, financially and creatively, for the other writing. Continue to get better script projects.

Five years: Be in a solid writing groove that balances personal and professional life.


I’d assumed all of last year was a wash, in spite of the novellas, the novel, the play, the script, and the short story in the anthology. My overall feeling, looking back, was that I was trying to fight my way through a lot of briars that were pulling me off-course.

But, looking back to the GDRs at the beginning of last year, I see that I managed a little better than I remembered.

I didn’t quite meet my manuscript goals — I have several novels in progress, but finished few novel manuscripts. I only wrote one play, although I have at least two to write at the beginning of this year. I didn’t commit enough to short stories. I only saw one through to completion, instead of six — the three novellas I published had been previously written. I also fell short on releasing the Topic Workbooks, which is a shame, because they have good information.

However, I landed a job that was “partially on site” -a part-time job at a library. But I managed to do that.

I got some of the backlog out, but there’s still more to do.

My yoga practice fluctuated, although I think I’m getting back on track with it. My meditation practice deepened, and that’s helped a lot. Cutting back on the teaching and dropping unreliable clients has helped A LOT. I’m getting better at saying “no” to projects that I know instinctively do not suit me. And, a particular belief has been reinforced: When someone tells you to do something you know isn’t right — be it personally or in the bigger picture of right and wrong — “for the good of the organization” — it is complete and utter bullshit. It is for good of the individual who is trying to manipulate you. Trust your intuition and stick to your guns.


As I’ve discovered in the last few years, the “To Do” lists don’t work. I don’t like a daily To Do list, and the monthly one — I have to keep changing things and reshuffling all the time.

There are several big projects, in and around all the programming stuff I have to stay on top of for the library.

I need to:
Write at least 1K every morning
Finish the Burns/Woolf script
Get started on the Irish radio drama
Get back on track with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE
Stay on track with RED WIDOW and INITIATE

Dozens of other things will swirl around that, but those need to be the primary focal points for the month.



  1. […] plenty of yoga and meditation. The answers to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions are here. They got me thinking in some interesting […]

  2. My goals are simple this year. Write first before going on the Internet and focus on my To Do list for writing. I find the To Do list and the Done List work well for me. I got side tracked by medical issues last year and didn’t realize how much it hurt my writing focus until the year was almost over with. I signed on to NaNoWriMo this year just to focus on writing 2 K every day and writing before I went on the Internet…and it helped me a lot. I wrote a memoir type novel that proved fun and easy to write which 1) made me write 2 K a day, 2) stayed off the Internet, and 3) had fun with writing that I haven’t had in a long time. I finished with over 67K.

    Checking on your goals and questions at the end of the summer showed me where my problems were and what had happened to all my goals and writing time, so I thank you for that. Now if I can get my illness issues handled along with writing and dealing with Hubby’s physical issues, I know I can fit my writing in. After all if you now know the problems, you can deal with them. I’ll also know when I fall into that medical deep pool again and I can swim out before it gets too bad.

    I’ve already started on my new To Do list and have check off a few items I’ve worked on. I’m ready to go, have a plan in place, and have the metal focus to deal with what comes up. I’m looking forward to my first quarter check. It has to be better than anything I did all last year.

    Wishing you well with your endeavors. Again thanks for all your help and inspiration.

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