The last of 2017

Can I pinpoint why I am so grateful for 2017?

Probably. Let me try:

  • I ate a mostly plant-based diet for a month this summer and felt amazing doing it. (Then Life.)
  • I published three paperback books (two under a pen name), and several ebooks (all of those under pen names).
  • I made great strides in self-improvement, self-love, and self-confidence.
  • I cut off all my hair, going from shoulder length to a #1 buzz.
  • I wrote  200,366 words of fiction and logged  290,263 words total through fiction, this blog, and the short-lived Veg*ism, Nickified blog (see that aforementioned healthy eating month).
  • I wrote 48,266 words in seven days, my best writing week of all time.
  • So many generous people spent their time with me this year, giving money, time, friendship, and love.
  • We moved my grandmother halfway across the country to live two blocks away instead of 13 hours.
  • We visited our Iowa family and my childhood haunts and collected a photo of my children with all their cousins.

Among other things that don’t come to mine or that I didn’t take pictures of to remember.

I’ve been tracking my writing regularly for two years, but I do have some files from as far back as 2014. Last year, I took my Excel file and put it in Google Docs because I was tired of waiting for Excel to open. Halfway through the year, a friend asked to use it, and so for the past couple of days I’ve been working to make my tracking as generic as possible for anyone else who likes to keep track of this kind of thing.

Here you go!

I’m very, very excited for 2018. I may try to get back to daily blogging because I really enjoy it. I haven’t set resolutions this year, but I have intentions and goals, and I also have tucked away that when one has large goals, failure can still be rather amazing.

I’ll talk more about that tomorrow. For now:

I am so very grateful for your presence in my life in 2017. I am so very grateful for this year, and everything it has taught me. I look forward to 2018 with excitement and positive energy, a positive mindset, an attitude of gratitude, the knowledge that there is abundance all around me, and I look forward to having you enjoy it with me!
Happy New Year!

Getting ready for 2018

I have lived through two birthdays, two Christmas celebrations, and one anniversary. I now have a little bit of a break to get ready for 2018, and here’s what that looks like for me. (In no particular order.)

  • Preparing my 2018 #bujo (it’s new and hot pink and incredibly attractive), which involves drawing in calendars, bringing over a couple of pages of tracking things, and getting all the pages drawn out that start my months.
  • Prepping my 2018 word tracker (it’s just a spreadsheet), which involves setting up formulas to automatically total words, average weekly totals, rank weeks, and display my best month. It’s more than a bit involved, but terribly helpful once completed.
  • Cleaning out the last of the “must clean” areas (since there’s probably not enough time to do them all), and that is going to be much like it sounds, including a trip to more than one second-hand store to rehome things I no longer love.
  • Settling on my writing goals for next year, whether that means words or stories – I haven’t quite decided yet.

I’m sure there will be more tidying, maybe cleaning out a closet, making sure all my thank-you notes are written, stuff like that – trying to make sure there’s nothing urgent left undone this year.

I wrote over 200,000 words of fiction this year, by the way! I may take more time to really get to the details later this week or perhaps early next. It’s actually really kind of interesting.

Okay, I’m going to sign off for now. Have a lovely 2018 to you all if I don’t see you until then!

This is my holiday

I just wanted to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas Day and Monday. The lights, the snow, the opportunity to find ways to show my loved ones they’re loved, it all adds up to a rather lovely day.

Lots of times Christmas is a sad time for me, although not always for any particular reason. It can just get depressing sometimes. Some of my family and loved ones suffer in this season as well. I can do nothing but be there to listen and do the best I can to listen when they need me and reinforce how much I love them.

This Christmas season, this December, has been a positive one for me. I have been filled with gratitude and joy for all the good things and people in my life, and I am excited about my upcoming 40th birthday, to start a new decade with the right mindset and the right attitude.

I’ll still be writing. I’m taking a bit of a rest right now, and it’s just what I need. I will be back soon in full force, blogging and wording and doing Nicki things in a suitably Nickified manner.

For now…

Merry Christmas!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

The “woo-woo”

I am not a religious person, but I believe I could be defined as a spiritual one, in that I’m up for a bit of “woo-woo”  to advance my life and my self. I wasn’t like this until recently. I was simply Nicki, and Nicki was firmly in the “life sucks and then you die” camp.

My change started about five years ago with a box from Quarterly, which is a subscription service. I was part of the Tim Ferriss box, and I received The Five Minute Journal. It wanted me to, of all things, write down three things I was grateful for that day.

Ick.

If you’ve never practiced gratitude, that’s how it can be that first time. I mean, WTF was I grateful for? I was grateful I ate breakfast? That my cat didn’t scratch my face in the middle of the night? She didn’t even have her front claws. There was nothing to be grateful for.

My change continued with a course for work. I’ve spoken about it many times, so I won’t bore you about it again, but it was kind of life-changing (even though I wasn’t the target audience at all). Part of the daily exercise I engaged in for the next year was to write a money-based affirmation 25x a day and to note down three gratitudes daily.

Gratitudes get much less ick when you have a motivational speaker tell you for four days that you should do it, and then you watch everyone around you doing it, and then you have access to the entire seminar on audio to relisten to as many times as you wish for reinforcement. They’re addicting. And yeah, they can be simply, “I’m grateful I ate breakfast,” and “I’m grateful my cat didn’t scratch me last night.” But I digress.

Then a friend and coworker who also attended the class picked up a book (You are a Badass) and recommended it to me. I really liked it. And that book recommended a book (Ask and It Is Given) – and let me tell you, that book was the “woo-woo”-iest of them all). And I really liked it. And then I found someone on YouTube (Raw Alignment) who recommended another book (The Untethered Soul), and then I had to pick up another that was similar, and…

Hint: I liked them all.

Now, here I am. I’m reading another book (You are a Badass at Making Money), I’ve just sorted out that I have $175,000 in debt (house, car, student loans, and credit cards), and I am determined as fuck to get rid of it.

And I mean now.

So that’s where I am at the moment. Neck deep in “woo-woo” (which is rather fun), cleaning off shelves, cleaning up the food I put in my body (except for that Son of Baconator today…that was delicious, but not green enough), getting my head in the damn checkbook and admitting how large a hole I have, and learning to meditate. Or practicing meditation. Or sitting still and trying not to fall asleep. Maybe more of the last just now, but I’ll keep working on it.

Overflowing with Gratitude

I haven’t had a bottle of wine since last Christmas, I’d bet my glass on it. So my fingers are a bit liberated, to put it finely.

That should not negate what I have to say tonight.

Christmas does not feel like Christmas without a tree and without lights. I do not subscribe to the Christian portion of the holiday, but I do fervently enjoy the exchange of gifts on Christmas morning, being able to give my children things they wish for and trying to do the same for my husband.

Today I spent the day, as I often do, taking care of laundry. It’s an all-day task because we have the unique situation of not having laundry facilities in our home. We travel to my parent’s home, which allows us to see and stay in touch with them as well as benefit from their clothes washer and dryer.

While there, while taking care of getting a week’s worth of clothing clean, I was able to take care of financial responsibilities I have for my grandmother, to watch several episodes of The Crown, and to read some in my book, You are a Badass at Making Money. I was able to clearly label their fuse breaker, and to help with (but ultimately not solve) their smoke detector issue (it keeps beeping even though power was removed before replacing the battery).

When I got home, our Christmas tree, which we had avoided putting up last year because of the addition of four (!!!!) new kittens in our household, was up again. There are ornaments on the tree (mostly red) and lights (all white). It’s a fake tree, and there are fake needes all over the floor.

I am in love.

I am so grateful to my husband and my child for getting the tree up today. I opened up a gifted bottle of wine and the accompanying cookies and enjoyed them with more of The Crown, and am just soaking up the season. I’m am so happy and excited about the way today has gone.

Did I mention we got 4″ of snow today? The lovely card I got from a relative back home (Iowa)?

<3

I am so grateful that there are not words.

So there’s a project to finish

I mentioned yesterday that I wrote in three different stories during November. At one point I decided not to count the words for the first of the two romances, but as the deadline crept closer I realized I really, really needed those words so I tucked them back into my word count for the month.

Yes, I was a rebel. I think that will be a standard thing from here on out.

The science fiction piece I worked on I got about six thousand in before stopping and switching – again – back to romance.

It’s this last story that I want to finish up as quickly as possible and hopefully publish before the end of the year. When I write against a deadline, I don’t have time to waste thinking about what I wrote before and whether it’s good or bad. When I don’t worry about whether it’s “just write”, I get to the business of writing a story. My inner editor/critical voice shuts up, and I do the thing I love to do:

leave trails of creativity behind me as I fly forward in my stories

So I’ll be working on that for the next few days, and since I found a new tool on the NaNo website (goal trackers), I’ll use them along with my spreadsheet to track my words and see how quickly I can wrap things up. If I had to set a date I’d like to finish by, I’d say the 15th, with the 10th as a “dream date”. Ultimately if it’s done by the end of the year, I’ll be happy.

Wish me luck!

Photo by Will Oey on Unsplash

National Novel Writing Month 2017 and forward

This past November, the one that just ended yesterday, I write 50,000 words of fiction. The challenge is to write one novel in November, but that wasn’t my choice this year.

I wrote the words in three different stories – two romance and one science fiction – and 48,266 those words I wrote in the last seven days.

It’s now a fact that if I pushed myself, I could potentially write four 50,000 word novels in November. I’m not planning that anytime soon, mind you, but my output indicates it’s a possibility.

I did not have a good month overall. There were Life issues, and episodes of depressed moods, and a lack of motivation until I realized that if I didn’t finish, it would be the first since the birth of my son that I would not complete (and “win”) the challenge. That was my tipping point, and I found the time to write 15,002 words on the final day, with several four-digit days before those.

Today, I woke up empowered. I was excited to get things done, to accomplish goals, to set new challenges for myself and achieve them.

December is more a month of transformation and change for me than January is, at least in recent years. I am going to clean my Life, my space, my body in the few weeks of this year that I have left. I am going to end this year at a high point and charge toward 2018 with purpose and energy.

I am going to accept myself the way I am, and with that acceptance, I hope to find peace. I am going to create a space around me that assists that purpose. I am going to treat myself well.

That’s just a bit of what I want. At this moment, it all feels possible and probable. It won’t always feel that way because that’s the way Life is, but I will endeavor to keep my needs front and center so that I am properly prepared to care for those I love.

And that’s what I have tonight. November was good, but it was better because it showed me what I’m capable of, and I plan to take advantage of that to turn 2018 into an amazing year.

Also, I turn 40 in a month and two days (the third day of the new year). I’m rather excited about that.

Sorry, that’s a lie. I’m extremely excited about that.

Photo by Will Oey on Unsplash