Posted by: devonellington | January 2, 2020

GDR Questions Answered for 2020: Transition and Transformation

image courtesy of johnhain via

GDR Questions for 2020

I’m doing something a little different this year. I have a theme for 2020: “Transition and Transformation.”

I anticipate several huge transitions in my life in the coming year. I want to use them to transform my life and get it back on the track I need it to be on for this next cycle.

So let’s start.

1. Reflect on 2019. What worked? What didn’t? What did you release, even if you thought you wanted it early in the year, because it didn’t serve your life?
What worked:

–Writing in the mornings, sometimes in longhand, sometimes on the computer
–Two early morning writing sessions, before any client work
–Some afternoon/evening writing sessions, as needed
–Deepening my yoga/meditation practices
–Expanding my social media presence. Adding a business Twitter account. Working on Ink-Dipped Advice posts
–Getting the blogs up to speed and keeping steady with them
–Redefining what I want and need out of my career
What did not work:
–Financials. Every time I started to gain ground, I got hit with something else.
–I wasn’t able to put all the pieces into place to move this year; therefore, I have no choice but to make it work for 2020.
–I didn’t get enough work done on the novels. The schedule nearly killed me, and had to be adjusted.
–I didn’t succeed in balancing the fiction/plays effectively with the client work.
My idea of how I thought I wanted to adjust my work situation. When I started down a particular road, I didn’t like it, so I have to re-adjust for 2020.

2. Do you have any regrets? Are any of them something you can work on in the next cycle, or do you need to let go and move on?
I regret that I didn’t write enough or pitch enough articles. Yes, that can be adjusted for 2020. Sleep less, write more. I didn’t make the financial leap I needed to make in 2019, in order to make the other things happen. I laid a good foundation, but it hasn’t paid off yet. I also let go of the fantasy that this is the place where I’ll retire and live the rest of my life.

3. What was your biggest obstacle in 2019?
Finances. Every time I started to get ahead, I was hit with another emergency. Not only do I have to put the finances in place for some major life changes, I need to build a better cushion.

4. How do you plan to transform this obstacle in 2020? List several active steps so to do.
I want an
d need to do a hell of a lot better financially in 2020. Among the steps to achieve it:
–1. Better rates from better clients.
–2. More aggressive campaigning to land better clients.
–3. A steadily increasing slate of article pitches to high-paying markets.
–4. More corporate work; less non-profit work.
–5. Increase my regular client load instead of doing mostly one-offs — and make sure the regular clients are reliable payers.
–6. Use Jenn Mattern’s 90-Day Plan on several goals to hit the points, which I need to hit.

5. Where are you getting in your own way of achieving your goals, dreams, and resolutions? Is there anything you need to change in your approach in order to achieve what you want and need?
I refuse to work for companies/individuals I believe are unethical or who support rightwing political agendas. Unfortunately, those tend to pay the most. I have to work harder and cast a wider net to find ethical clients who pay well.

6. Are there specific goals you know you MUST reach this year, instead of simply WANTING to reach them? What are they? What steps do you plan to take to get there?
Goals I MUST reach this year have to do with moving, a new-to-me car, updating my computer system. They are not optional, and it’s stressful that they all hit at once. The steps to reach them are to removed financial obstacles and earn more money, to make sure it all happens. Easier said than done.

7. How does your health affect these other aspects of your life? What can you do to improve your health and build strength to make necessary changes in the next cycle?
I have had more health issues this year, and more stress issues due to insurance problems. It looks like those might be sorted out, but I am cynical. I worked steadily to deepen my yoga and meditation practices, which helped. But menopause, lower back problems, eye strain, headaches, and all the rest — the stress of the insurance issues made it impossible to heal. As the financial stress eases, so will the insurance stress. Right now, illness is a luxury I can’t afford.

8. What illusion do you need to release in order to move forward?
That the area in which I live will ever respect working artists.

9. Did you make any compromises in 2019 that you regret? What kind of course correction will you do in 2020?
I regret giving too many potential clients the benefit of the doubt early in our meetings. It resulting in ridiculous demands, changing parameters, and expectations that I will accept demeaning behavior on their part because I’m desperate to work for them. I’m not. Also, the demands for unpaid labor or video auditions as part of the initial meeting process is ridiculous, and I won’t tolerate it. My adjustment for 2020 is to cut off waste of time meetings as soon as I intuit we are a bad fit.

10. What tools for organization, health, and creativity did you find most useful last year? Will you continue to use them?
–My handwritten, personal journal. That’s the most important tool for every aspect of my life.
–Yoga and meditation practices. I will continue to deepen both practices. I want to make time for several retreats this year.
–Large calendar (a real one, not electronic). Different projects are on the calendar in different color inks.
–Social media expansion. It has helped a lot, and I believe I can do even more with it, remembering it is a tool I use, not letting it use me.
–Twuffer. Made Twitter much easier for both my clients and me.

11. Is there a tool you are eager to try this year? What is it and why?
–Jenn Mattern’s 90-Day Plan because I think it will help focus
–Kantree App when and where it is appropriate
–High Fidelity’s VR app — again, when and where appropriate.

12. For your big goals, how can you break them down into specific steps to reach by specific points in the year, in order to achieve them?
All of the big goals demand I earn more this year. That is step 1.
Step 2 is putting aside something toward each of the major goals from each payment, and handling in the smaller goals as I can.
Step 3 is increasing my workload in a smart manner, not a scattered, panicked matter, and try to earn as much as possible as early as possible in the year.
Step 4 is ongoing research for my big goals, so when I gather the resources for each, I already know the smartest way to deploy them.
Step 5 is making decisions, trusting them, and acting on them.
I intend to use the 90-Day Plan to help with these steps.

13. What are you not willing to compromise?
I am not willing to work for unethical individuals who do not believe that I (or anyone) deserves a fair wage, health care, or basic human dignity and quality of life.

14. How can you build or strengthen your support system to work on your goals, dreams, and resolutions?
Stay in contact and interact with my favorite online groups. Some of the best business contacts are made in social conversations, based around other activities. I want to expand my contacts in the fields that interest me the most, and do so on an international scale. I honestly do not want to attend more local networking events, even though I know that I should. My time is better spent courting potential clients on the mainland and internationally. I do want to attend more art openings and other such events. I will continue to work regularly with my elected officials.

15. List a handful of smaller, fun goals that you have on your list because you WANT them, not because you have to get them done. Things that will give you pleasure, that you’ve always wanted to try.
1. Continue working on my French.
2. Go back to walking on the beach on nice days.
3. In general, walk more.
4. Learn how to make a good pie crust.
5. Cook more with lentils.
6. Get back to sewing. I miss it.

16. Are you more comfortable in gradual transitions or in fast changes? This year, do you want to do anything differently than you usually do?
I always WANT gradual transitions and, too often HAVE to make fast changes. I’m hoping it will be more balanced this year.

17. Do you need or want to change anything about the way you present yourself to the world?
When I was young, I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought. I’ve lost some of that, although, this year, I started to get it back. Accept me as I am, or get out of my way.

18. How does the economic and political landscape affect your goals, dreams, and resolutions? How will you deal with them this year?
I’m worried about a recession. I may make some short-term decisions with that in mind over the next couple of years, and then making course corrections from there. The political situation sickens me. The level of corruption and the sale of our country to our enemies, the turn toward authoritarianism. I will continue to work with my elected officials and support candidates I believe will do the best for the country, not just me. We have decades of work ahead of us to fix what the GOP has sold off/broken/destroyed through their greed.

19. There’s a lot of talk about ending the decade and what we’ve achieved in the last ten years. When I look back at the past decade, on the one hand, I’m discouraged because things didn’t manifest in the way I hoped and planned. On the other hand, I’ve been through a lot, learned a lot, grown a lot. I made a choice not to let myself be discouraged and angry and feel “less than” because life took different directions. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan to work hard in the next cycle to achieve certain things. I feel like this was a decade of change, but also of refueling and preparation for the cycle I’m about to enter. How does the change of decade affect your choices this coming year, if at all?
This was a decade of resting and re-grouping for me. It didn’t turn out the way I hoped in many ways, and yet I got a lot out of it. It’s given me the determination to do what I want and need to do in the coming years.

20, What are three DEMANDS (things you have to do or need to get done, that might not be a goal, dream, or a resolution, but are necessary to your life). How will you integrate them with your goals, dreams, and resolutions?
The big house move and the car are the two biggest demands. They have to be goals as well as demands in order to get done.

21. List your three biggest goals, and at least 3 steps to achieve each.
1. Move
A. Decide where I want and need to be
B. Get the finances in place
C. Find the right place and go
2. Car
A. Get the finances in place
B. Research what I want, which will depend on what I can afford
C. Make the purchase
3. Work
A. Change direction to the next tier of client
B. Research and send proposals
C. Juggle both long-term and short-term projects

22. List your resolutions and at least 3 steps to achieve each.

1. Yoga/meditation
A. Continue my daily practice
B. Take more workshops, whenever possible
C. Do at least 2 retreats this year.
2. Fitness
A. Walk more
B. Put the weight training back into the routine
C. Lost 30 pounds over the year — goal of 10 pounds every 4 months.
3. Boundaries
A. Keep a balance between flexibility and boundary, and handle each situation individually
B. Give less benefit of the doubt when it’s obvious a situation is the wrong fit
C. Not be silent

23. List one dream you’ve put aside, and list 3 steps you will take this year to make it a reality.
I’ve always wanted an upright piano and to learn how to play. There are a ton of them on craigslist for free all the time.
1. Put aside money for movers
2. Find the right piano
3. Get it delivered and start practicing

24, List 3 dreams you have and are either still working on (from previous years) or will add into the mix this year, and 3 steps for each you plan to take.

Again, I’m not comfortable sharing these publicly right now. But I have three, and the goals and resolutions will play into them.

Please feel free to share any answers you are comfortable with sharing.


  1. […] on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site, where I’ve answered the questions posed for 2020, which I consider the year of Transition […]

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