Happy New Year! and 2014 Goals

2014 seems like a good time for my first post on WordPress. I’ll be phasing out my blogger site over the next few weeks (public service announcement! update your bookmarks!) as I revamp my web presence. As you can see from my blog’s archive, I rarely posted to my blog in 2013. It was a hectic year—Husband and I bought our first house in May, and practically the weekend we closed we found out we were expecting our first. I’m due in a few weeks, and my to-do list has a lot of writing and school related tasks left on it.

One thing that’s not on my to-do list? Finding a job! Yes, I will have employment after I finish my degree (hopefully sometime this summer). I accidentally networked my way into a position as the operations manager/content provider/editor for a start-up called STEAMTrax. Turns out all those hours answering emails for the Graduate Student Association weren’t for nothing. This past semester, I was a TA for a freshman writing seminar on educational technology, and as a side project, the instructor developed a company that provides 3-D printing curriculums to K-12 schools. We’ve lined up investors and customers, and after I take off a month or two for maternity leave, I’ll join the company part-time until I defend, at which point I’ll work full-time. I’m as excited as I am nervous about this opportunity. It’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’ll be able to work from home most of the time and it will fill the gap between grad school and whatever else comes my way.

I never would have thought I would be working an alt-ac job when I started graduate school, but the scales fell from my eyes as I watched my colleagues go on the job market again and again over the past five years. Even as recently as this August, I compiled a list of academic jobs I would consider if I were on the market. It was short and highly competitive, to say the least. There just aren’t enough good academic jobs to go around. So I’m trying a different route, at least for now.

That’s where I stand at the beginning of 2014. And unlike past years, where I had vague expectations for what I could accomplish, I have definite ideas on where I want to end the year. Without further procrastination, here are my goals:

1. Finish editing my novel and begin querying agents. Though many of my blogger friends have self-published to great success (and despite my forays into entrepreneurship), I’m a traditionalist at heart. My novel-in-progress is 3 years in the making, and is very close to completion. I want to finish edits and begin querying by March 1.

2. Continue to submit my work. I made a goal in 2012 to submit to five markets every month, and found that it greatly increased my productivity. I continued to submit heavily in 2013, but without a goal, my output slowed. I plan to return to my 2012 goal to submit to 5 markets/month. I’ve already sent out material to three and it’s only the second day of the year, so this should be an easy goal to keep.

3. Write a story each month. This is my stretch goal. I have several half-finished stories, so presumably I can work on polishing these. Once the baby arrives, however, this may have to go on the back burner. Still, ever tried …

4. Finish revising academic article, and submit one more. I’d like to submit my Lady Byron paper for a CFP due in a few weeks, and I have a revise-and-resubmit lingering on my to-do list. This shouldn’t be a stretch goal, but the timing of completion may need to be adjusted to take into consideration my biggest goal of the year:

5. Finish writing and revising my dissertation, and defend. I have four chapter drafts completed, and need to write the introduction. If I’m to defend over the summer, I need to improve the speed with which I turn over material to my advisors. This will be the biggest goal to be sure, but also the one for which I have the strongest motivation.

And finally—

6. Train for half-marathon for the fall/winter. Some people can exercise at their normal level when they are pregnant. I couldn’t. My energy levels dropped considerably from practically the first week, and I haven’t raced since March. I won’t be able to start training right away, but I would like to slowly build my base over the summer and fall. If I can’t run a half in 2014, I plan to sign up for several 5Ks to improve my speed. I’m excited to have a baby, but I’m almost as excited to be able to bring the jogging stroller to the track.

Those are my goals—I look forward to sharing my progress over the next year. Keep writing, my friends.