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My evil plan worked! Well, it wasn’t an evil plan…I rarely have evil plans, only brilliant ones. I woke up, did my Morning Pages, did a quick kickboxing workout, and got to work early enough to sit in the cafe and do half an hour of writing. Then I wrote a little bit more on a break and another half hour at lunch. So I got in exercise and writing…two important things to me that somehow always fall to the bottom of the list…before I even got home. And good thing for that! It was definitely the first day of school. I was on and I was in a good mood, but when I got home at a quarter to six I didn’t feel like doing anything. Of course, I have since gone through all the bills and am now writing my blog, but I don’t think I would have worked out, and I like knowing it’s okay if I don’t write another word after I hit Publish.

On Friday I mentioned I had an inspirational day at work. That was because it was Professional Development Day, and as part of it, in anticipation of the semester starting, we all gathered for the College President’s speech and to hear a keynote speaker who spoke about “Student Support (Re)defined.” It reminded me of the positive work we’re doing, the life dreams we’re involved in…she called us dream-makers…and how the littlest actions can make the biggest differences in some lives.

As a writer, what I also took away from it was the six factors that students identified as being key to their success. Halfway through the speaker’s discussion of them, I realized how perfectly they could be applied to a writer’s success. Here were what students, seeking success and dreams come true, had identified as being key. What did they look like applied to my own current journey…not as a student, but as a dream-chaser,none the less? So I thought I would list them here and how they apply to me as a writer.

Directed – having a goal. I have a definite long-term goal…to be a successful, published writer. Do I keep it in mind…do I know the small, manageable steps that might get me there? Do I take them? Sometimes. Perhaps not consistently enough to get me to that goal.

Focused – keeping eyes on the prize. I am and I’m not. I often let myself get distracted. Writing is a long process and sometimes you want something immediate to satisfy your sense of success, but these things…in my case, teaching, Oxford, even positive things like writing contests…can take away the focus needed to get to the big prize…a book deal!

Nurtured – being helped to succeed. I’ve definitely got this key well in hand…with all the supportive friends, family, writers, blog-followers in my life!

Engaged – participating in extracurricular activities. This blog got me started doing that and I’ve been pleased with the results. I’ve eased up a bit and am trying to shift my focus back to the big goal, but I’ve also joined Sisters in Crime, am getting together with my writing groups, and am trying to keep the creative well filled.

Connected – feeling like a part of something. I do and I don’t. I’ve started to network and make friends in the writing world, but I feel like I often drop the ball on those connection, not from a lack of desire but a lack of energy and time. Is that an excuse? I’ll have to think about that. All I know is that I’d like to be better connected.

Valued – being recognized. My recent publication, my success in the NYC Midnight Short Story contest, and the input I receive from my writing groups all have made me feel recognized and validated as a writer. I still have bouts with self-doubt and unworthiness (I mean, I can write, but can I write the great novels I dream of writing?), but not enough to stop me.

I guess I’m a dream-chaser with some of the keys, and at least an idea of how to get the rest.