A New Year of Possibilities

Congratulations to KARA O’NEAL, who is the winner of the Femmes Favorite Book of 2014 post! You’ll win an official Violet Femmes mug! Enjoy! I’ll be reaching out to you to send your gift.

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For me, welcoming in the New Year is like buying a brand new notebook. The spine is perfect, the cover unwrinkled, the pages are blank. How I choose to fill them is up to me. But rather than that causing me stress, I’m energized with hope…with possibilities.


2014 was both a good and bad year for me. From a writing perspective, it was a good year. My debut book, Untangle My Heart, was made available world-wide in March, I completed edits for the second book in the series, Forever in My Heart, and I started writing the third story. Things were stressful at my day job but that was okay because my writing kept me grounded and brought me joy. From a personal perspective, I suffered a deep personal loss at the end of last year. Looking forward to 2015 gives me a chance for a start fresh and with it, renewed enthusiasm to strive to be the best person and writer I can be.

At the 2014 NJ Romance Writer’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, one of the speakers asked us to write down our goals. Here’s what I wrote with 2015 in mind:

  1. Finish writing Tangled Hearts Book 3 (Awaken My Heart).
  2. Begin plotting/scoping/writing a new contemporary series.
  3. Pitch new series at the 2015 NJRW conference.

Even as I’m typing this #3 is sort of freaking me out as I haven’t pitched in a couple years and the thought of going through that process…AGAIN…makes me feel as though I’m taking a step back. But as I think about this more, I realize it’s not going backward. Rather, it’s going FORWARD. Similar to RoseAnn who mentioned in last week’s post that she’s in RoseAnn 2.0 mode, I need to move to the next phase in my career. I’ve gotten my feet wet and am published. Now I need to move up the next rung on the ladder.

I’m 32k words into Awaken My Heart, and I’m hoping to finish it during NJ Romance Writers Jersey Romance Writing Month (JeRoWriMo) this February. Of course, Forever in My Heart is being released February 20th, which means I’ll need to spend time preparing.

In addition to my writing goals, I’ve set some personal goals:

  1. Get back to my goal weight by the end of March.
  2. Attend Jazzercise three times a week.
  3. Spend more quality time with my family.

No matter how many goals I set, sometimes those goals have to be changed or extended. And that’s okay. It’s my empty notebook to fill as I see fit. Life’s too precious and too short to be spending it not doing what you want. So have fun, enjoy life, and fill your notebook with things that make YOU happy!

Since last week we asked what your writing goals are for 2015, this week I’d like to hear what your personal goals are. Is anyone planning to run a 5k or a triathlon? How about any special trips?

Enjoy your year of possibilities!



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  1. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  January 12, 2015

    Hi Maria. Great post! Thanks for sharing your 2015 personal and writing goals with us. I found it inspiring that you looked at your goals as possibilities. I also love the idea of the fresh start in the new year. Your goals read like an action plan. GO FOR IT!

    My personal goals are similar to yours. Quality time with family and improved health. Basically, I need to start MOVING! I don’t have the ability to commit to regular exercise classes, but I found a block of time in which to get up and MOVE hopefully every day. It’s a start!


    • Hi RoseAnn. Our physical health is important to keep up our mental health. It’s good that you found a block of time to move. It’s a challenge. Too often I push it aside so I can do other things…like write.Good luck with your goals this year!

  2. JB Schroeder

     /  January 12, 2015

    A blank notebook indeed, Maria! So true. I’m in line with you and RoseAnn. Carving out real quality time with my family, including being more present in the little moments (always a hard thing for a writer as our subconscious is always churning with something else. And as I’ve largely conquered the healthy eating and figured out what works for me with a lot of hard work last year, now I really need to find ways to build in exercise. It’s been difficult with plantar fascists, my erratic schedule, and sadly it always seems to be either/or: writing or exercise. I must also say that my writing goals this year, I must admit, feel awfully personal!

    • We women take on so much with managing our family, work responsibilities, volunteer work, in addition to our writing. I find it difficult to motivate myself to exercise when there are plenty of times I just want to write (especially on Saturday mornings when the weather is bad). It’s all about finding that balance and adjusting it regularly. And yes, writing goals are personal! Best of luck with all you have planned this year!!

    • Jaye Marie Rome

       /  January 15, 2015

      JB, I didn’t know you have PF, too. What a (literal) pain! It’s hard to really get moving when moving your foot just the wrong way can have you limping for days. Hugs.

  3. Good post, Maria! You have a great plan for the new year. The first step is always to write down your goals. I hope to finish the first book in a new series I’m working on and start another. I’m also looking forward to NJ Romance Writer’s 30k writing challenge in February. And I do plan to work out more and spend quality time with family. I’m attending the Romantic Times Conference in Dallas for the first time this year and hope to get even more inspired about my writing.

    • Hi Tina. Smart choices are key when we have so much to do and only so many hours in the day. It sounds like you have a busy year planned. Best of luck accomplishing your goals!

  4. Diana Quincy

     /  January 12, 2015

    HI Maria – I love seeing your goals written down. There is something to be said for writing something down…it does make it seem more real. I haven’t written my goals down yet, but they also include starting a new series (writing) and losing weight (personal)!

    • Starting a new series and losing weight seems to be a common theme among us. I think we need a segment at our next NJRW conference on Fitness for Writers! Best of luck with your new series!

  5. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  January 15, 2015

    Love this upbeat, optimistic post, Maria! I have a few personal goals, most of which pertain to taking care of medical check-ups I’ve been putting on the back burner. Definitely working on reaching my goal weight and exercising more, as well. I’d love to devote more time to rescue, too, including going on the big annual transport in the fall.

    I really should write my goals down, so I get moving on them.

    • Hi Jaye. Writing them down is a good way to make them more real. Taking care of yourself should be a high priority for all of us. If we’re not well, we can’t take care of our family or write. Best of luck in hitting your goals this year!

  6. One of our goals should all be to see more of each other in 2015!!

  7. Anyone else scared to death this year? You know, except for the alternate moments when I see all the promise and possibility of the new year. I should be a politician the way I flip back and forth…


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