Ahh…1st Quarter In Review

The first quarter of 2017 is over and it’s time to review goals.Tweet: The first quarter of 2017 is over and it's time to review goals.

While creating an editorial calendar in January I set some goals for 2017.   Now that I’ve had some time to work on them I think it is important to sit down and review how I am progressing.  This helps me stay on track and continue positive momentum setting new goals going forward.

Goal #1: Post at least once a week.  In 13 weeks I have made 10 posts for the year 2017.  In quantity my posts are almost on track.  However, my posts have not been regular in timing.  Going forward I want to increase my frequency to solidly hit once a week and do so more regularly.   One way I can do this is to pay more attention to my weekly feature categories like Wrap it Up Wednesday.  Just doing one of those weekly would meet this goal so it is definitely attainable.

Goal #2: Add website pages leading to online store.  This goal isn’t very good because I didn’t make it measurable.  Going forward in the second quarter I will be more specific and plan to add plant picks, garden flags, mailwraps, and Pure of Heart to both website pages and our online store.

Goal #3 Begin placing videos on blog posts.  I did it!   This has been so much more fun than I expected.  To clarify this one:  I would like to post at least 3 new videos each month for the remainder of the year.

Goal #4: Increase number of followers to 500 by the end of 2017.   I didn’t specifically say where I want these followers to be – the blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn – What was I talking about here?

To define this a little further I’m going to say I would like to have 500 followers to Little Gift Shop OH and on at least one social media platform. This goal has so many components to it for implementation that I think I’d be better off to break this down with some sub-goals.  Such as … create interactive posts on Twitter at least twice a month or consider when the time is right and promote posts on social media once a month.

Goal #5:  Monetize website.  I have our Square shop in place and have set up some affiliate links.  My goal for 2017 is for Little Gift Shop OH to be in the black.  I expect this might not be attainable for the first few years, but one can dream right?

Over the next week I will be celebrating my accomplishments thus far and fine tuning my direction for the second quarter of 2017.

How often do you review your goals to help stay on track? Once a week? Once a month? Once a quarter?

What goal have you met or worked on this year that has you most excited?

Feature photo by Christopher Campbell


I Will Make 114 Mistakes

Imperfect Silverware Ring

For 2017 I have joined a book reading group and am currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  So far this is my favorite quote from the book:

“I am a man because I err!  You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen.”

This is the ring I bought at a craft show toward the end of last year.  The woman making the jewelry was crafting bracelets, necklaces and rings from old silverware or flatware. When I was looking at the rings she explained to me that this one was the first ring she had made.  That was why it was not perfectly round like the rest.  I bought the ring because I immediately wanted it as a reminder not to get frustrated with myself when I make mistakes.

I need to always keep in mind that my mistakes are just part of learning. Tweet: I need to always keep in mind that my mistakes are just part of learning.https://ctt.ec/nptYs+

Prior to that I had started making sleep masks and was frustrated because in effort to produce more at a time I miscalculated and ended up making slightly smaller masks.  Not the end of the world, but I wanted them all to be the same.  (Another previous mistake has taught me that too much choice in size and color sometimes paralyzes customers and they end up not making a purchase.)

Not only do I make mistakes when crafting, I also make mistakes at work.  I make mistakes when I’m baking.  I make mistakes when helping my kids with their homework. Most frustrating of all, sometimes I make mistakes when I hear someone’s idea and think it is true and believe it for a while letting it influence my actions.

For instance, I once believed the idea I heard or read when I was younger not to write about your own life because people don’t want to read about your boring life.  Now I can see that obviously that is not true.  We have reality shows all over the place and blogs of ordinary lives sometimes go viral.  I can see some truth in the idea, but at the same time I can now allow myself to use ideas and scenes from my own life in my writing.

I purposely used a couple of harmless examples, but there are many more I could remember that had worse consequences.  However, I have also learned not to dwell on mistakes.

The best thing I can do when I realize I’ve made a mistake is to own it, fix it if possible, and keep moving forward. Hopefully I won’t have to make a different version of the same mistake 114 times, but if I do I’ll have to accept that the cookie crumbles that way sometimes.

Sometimes mistakes aren’t even noticeable to others.  People can’t tell my ring isn’t round when I wear it.


I don’t have to get everything right on the first try. Tweet: I don't have to get everything right on the first try. https://ctt.ec/KnEH9+

NaNoWriMo 2016

Journal Gift

When I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2016 I didn’t expect it to be easy.

I knew from the beginning that my November was going to be incredibly crazy.  I was in the process of moving my office space.  (Here to for to be called Vine Street Atelier.)  We were set to be a vendor at a local craft show.  I was going to be orienting to a new position at a new facility.  I was committed to working a research study at the end of the month.  I had some computer based training that needed to be completed before the end of November. Oh -and throw Thanksgiving holiday fun in there too.

So I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

However, I was not prepared for the pace of writing 1,667 words and what it would feel like.  I had never participated in the contest called NaNoWriMo befrore.  If you don’t know it stands for National Novel Writing Month.  Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word piece of fiction within the 30 day month.  That is why the pace is 1,667 words a day.  The daily pressure of knowing I had set this far out goal for myself created stress that made the goal harder than it needed to be.

I had never even heard of NaNoWriMo before October so needless to say I didn’t do any planning or outlining.  I was what is known as a “pantser.”  I guess that refers to flying by the seat of your pants.  It might have been easier if I had ideas and characters already planned out.  Instead I just had a vague novel idea that had been bouncing around my head for the past 15 years.

Despite the stress it was a fun experience.   I enjoyed pep talks from published authors along the way like Alaya Dawn Johnson’s pep talk.

I relied on some of the information presented in Balance Isn’t the Point.  I knew my month wasn’t balanced at all, but I was hoping it would at least turn out effective.  In the end I think it did.

I learned what a word sprint is and what a word crawl is.  I invented a few Nanoisms while doing both.  I took a good inventory of what the website offered and participated in some of the forums.  I picked up lots of great writing resources and bought Scrivener which I plan to use to backwards to plan the novel I have from this year.  I’ll also be using it to plan next year’s novel.  I’m not going to be a pantser next year.

I probably wouldn’t have made it to the finish line if it weren’t for my kids cheering me on.  My oldest daughter got me a journal for writing and slipped some encouraging notes on some of the pages.  When I was down to the last 13,000 words and thinking I wouldn’t finish my youngest daughter said, “But you’ve come so far. You can’t quite now.”  If my son saw me meandering around the kitchen browsing through the fridge he would say, “Mommy. Shouldn’t you be working on your words?”

So big shout out of Thanks! to my best fans for cheering me on!

If you are a writer or if you just like a challenge you might want to consider NaNoWriMo 2017. Otherwise come next November check to see if my novel made it to any bookshelves:

It’s Not Magic 

Synopsis: Previously a skeptic, Marin discovers magic at her salon Curl Up and Dye.  Clients come to Marin for a great cut & color and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. Lives intertwine unexpectedly as Marin uses her new knowledge to expose deceptions and spread joy to those around her.

Even miracles take a little time.  – Fairy Godmother