If you’re just tuning in, today is day #3 in the 30 Day “One Question” Series. If you want to learn more about the series, be sure to check out the first interview.
I used to be a Platinum Level Member of the “Failed-New-Year’s-Resolutions” Country Club. (It’s even rumored that I once won accolades for the quickest backslide, failing at my resolutions less than 30 minutes after I made them… but that’s just a rumor…)
This was prior to joining the online accountability group that changed my life.
For the last three years, this small group of women have brow beat me into actually accomplishing the goals I set each week. One of the fiercest and most diabolical members of this group would be fantasy/paranormal suspense/horror author Raven Bower.
Raven is a shining example of what you can accomplish through sheer determination. A prolific (and talented!) writer, she’s currently working on eight manuscripts, three of which will be released THIS. YEAR! She was also recently named Lead Designer and Head of the new Hydra Games division of Hydra Publications, a role in which she’s in charge of the development of three worlds, several game-related novels, and the massive world guidebooks and mods that are at the heart of any role-playing game.
(Oh, and how could I forget to mention, she’s also a damn good wife and mother!)
If I showed you Raven’s average weekly To-Do list, you’d swear I’d compiled the lists of four or five people at least. I’ve seen her accomplish more in a week while suffering from food poisoning than I accomplish in a whole month!
If that’s not enough to make you hate her… when the rest of us were sharing lists of something like five or 10 general objectives to achieve for 2013, Raven sent a whole YEAR breakdown. On it she’d mapped month by month exactly what she planned to accomplish in terms of chapter counts, RPG characters, world building scenes, final drafts and edits, parties she’ll host for friends and family, holiday shindigs, vacations, and DIYs to complete their major home and garden renovation.
And–as though that’s not enough– the timing of possible side projects she’s still trying to decide whether they’re interesting enough to tackle!!!!
After I picked my jaw off the floor and wiped away my tears of envy, I sent her the following email containing the one question I was dying to ask her:
I look at your yearly plans and wonder if I’d get more done if I planned out that far, but when I think about breaking my goals down into concrete steps like that, I can hear my peanut gallery of internal monster critics starting to rumble around in my chest. They remind me that there’s no way I could stick to a schedule like that and they promise they’ll laugh at and taunt me unmercifully when I give up because I missed my self-imposed deadline.
I’m wondering what YOU do to shut up the monsters in your head when/if you get off track?
It’s hard. There’s all sorts of monsters living under my bed, in my closet and lurking around my desk. It’s not easy to shut them up.
What keeps me on track and them quiet is reading books like Jillian Michaels’ Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life. And right now I’m reading Dare to Win by Mark Hansen.
Even then, I slip. I fall. But I remember my favorite Rocky quote:
“it’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up!”
Planning is scary – what if we fail to realize our goals? Well, that’s a possibility. But the year will pass, whether we win, lose or draw. I’d rather try to build my empire of doom and fail, than lay on my death bed with all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘wish I woulda’s’. Really, there’s no harm in trying and yes, if we fail to obtain our goals there’s the fear factor that others will look at us as ‘lesser’ somehow. But are we? I say no. Every single person who puts forth an honest effort to gain their dreams is infinitely more successful, even in ‘failure’, than he who has never bothered to try.
And really, is anything we do a failure? Or is it a learning experience to build off of?
People of Edison’s day picked on him because of all his thousands of ‘failures’ to produce a working light bulb (and really, for the time, what a preposterous notion it was!). His response?
“I beg your pardon. I’ve never failed even once. I’ve had thousands of learning experiences that didn’t work. I had to run through enough learning experiences to learn how it did work.”
And here we are, with light bulbs.
When I don’t obtain a goal, it’s rough on me. But then I remember that I cannot control life, but I am ALWAYS 100% in control of my attitude.
I don’t accept excuses. Not from anyone, including myself.
So I get back up, brush myself off (okay okay, some of the times it takes major washing of grass, blood and dirt stains but hey) and get back on task. No matter what.
Visit Raven at her website, RavenBower.com to learn more about her and her latest releases, including Primal (featuring sexy and powerful werewolves bent on world domination), and the Apparitions trilogy (a paranormal suspense featuring a beautiful clairvoyant). You can also connect with Raven on Facebook and Twitter, and on the Hydra Games Facebook page.
As always, I encourage you to leave your comments and feedback! I’m also open to suggestions for other creatives to add to the series, as I’m still seeking 10 more people to interview.