Doing the Work of Creative Goal-Setting

Well, I didn’t get to work on my manuscript for Unleashing the Sun during my writing retreat in June with Judy Kelliher, but I did finish a client’s book. I also finalized the content for my soon-to-go-live, new-and-improved Beetle Press website, and I created a loose five-year plan for my business and life.

That’s not nothing.

Let me tell you all about it.

The first weekend in June, Judy and I headed to Emily’s Bed in Breakfast in Amherst, which specializes in serving women writers and was indeed a perfect, quiet and calming setting for a weekend of literary work.

We stayed in what’s called the Carriage House, behind the main home, and occupied the entire top floor. The Carriage House was once a barn, and the renovation of it into living space was impeccable. Judy and I loved to stare at the barn-board walls, the vast open ceiling and gaze out the expansive windows down onto the wooded property.

The landscaping made us feel like we were miles away from civilization in the forest or glen. Emily, the owner, has actually won two awards—displayed on the shared kitchen wall downstairs—for landscape architecture and design on the property.

We arrived Friday and developed a plan for how we would use our time over the weekend; on Saturday, we got to work. Judy fleshed out and edited chapters in her nonfiction book about her brother Bobby and his two tours in Vietnam.  I put the finishing touches on chapter fifteen of Flight of Integrity, and then wrote the epilogue.

This fast-paced and raw work of fiction details James Kowalski’s dogged pursuit of employment at an airline, his stellar performance once he lands a job as a ramp agent and the dysfunctional work environment that brings his fantasy to an abrupt and traumatic end.

My client has the manuscript in hand now for his review. He texted me a few days ago to tell me his daughter has read it and couldn’t put it down. She said the last paragraph is “epic.”

I’ll tell you more as the process evolves!

On the Sunday of our retreat, I finalized the web content for the new site Cider House Design is developing for my business, Beetle Press. And Judy took some photos that Lennie Appelquist of Cider House will incorporate on the Home page. I’ve seen a draft of the site, and it is incredibly well-done. I am now making edits with Lennie. Can’t wait for it to go live.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, on a walk on with my dog Lipton, as Judy worked back at the Carriage House, I planned the rest of my life. Or at least the next five years.

I want to work to grow the book development side of my business, which my new website will emphasize. And I feel I’m well on my way in this endeavor with several client books on the shelves at Levellers Press in Amherst, and I have a new prospect from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean who contacted me last week for help in writing a book about nutrition.

My fantasy is that when my work load has shifted so that I am only writing and editing my own and client’s books, I’ll run a bed and breakfast in the Valley (or Florida perhaps??) in the winter months and on the Cape in the summer, in a new home I will buy as part of my plan.

In the short-term, I will also soon get serious about planning the cross-country tour that I will take when I finish Unleashing the Sun. I need to plan a few (dozen) more retreats to get that book done!

I know Judy will be game. She is making great progress on her book and is feeling great about it.

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