Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello again, Dear Readers.

I planned to write a post about how it felt to say goodbye to my life coach back in August. Those three months with her went by so fast! But after speaking with a friend who has a life coach on retainer for an entire year, I decided to ask Ashley how she felt about it. Imagine what I could accomplish with her help in a year! Thankfully, she thought it was a great idea.

So until September 2014, a life coach has my back. Whew!

My first task of the year was a daunting one. Ashley asked me to list everything that has to be done during the year–including my writing and freelance business goals, marketing, getting the house ready for sale, getting back in shape, and all the other personal goals I hope to achieve in the coming months.

I quickly realized I had to go farther than September 2014, as much of the work on the house will be done right before it goes on the market. So I made a timeline that stretches from now until September 2015, which is when–barring some unforeseen circumstance–I will be starting my new adventure and moving away from this comfortable little city.

It was exciting to have a firm date rather than repeatedly saying, “um, two years from now…”, but it also made it more real. Which is thrilling, but also scary. Seeing everything that has to get done before that date was terrifying. It plunged me into a state of inertia for a little while. To accomplish my goals, I’ll have to be the most productive I’ve ever been–consistently–for the next two years.

And to do that, I’ll have to be less self-indulgent and not curl into a ball for weeks whenever I’m feeling blue or unmotivated. I will have to, as they say, suck it up.

Have you ever plotted out a year of your life in this way? What keeps you on track when you have a daunting amount of work ahead? How do you stay motivated?

To give you an idea of what I’m facing, here’s a partial list from this month:

September 2013
Remove construction rubble from basement (I inherited this lovely mess when I bought my home)
Fix eaves troughs
Get handyman/contractor to assess deck
Clean office 
Organize linen closet
Shred personal letters I’m not going to keep and return shredder 
Yard work
Research places to live
Sell stuff (auctions, Ebay, Kijiji, etc.)
New business card
Finish novel in progress
Get three pages of novel ready for writer’s conference, send—due October 1!
Rewrite Dragonfly Summer?
Blog one to three times a week
Stick to healthy eating/exercise plan 
(I already know some of those things are not going to happen this month. Unless I start taking speed.)

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Lisa S.

    What keeps me on track when I have a daunting amount of work ahead of me? Trying to remind myself that it WILL get done because it somehow “always” gets done (if history is any indication). Chipping way at a to-do list is kind of like cleaning up after a tornado – you just have to do it one branch at a time. Before you know it, you’ve cleared your driveway, then your house, etc…
    Guess I should get back to work now!

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks, Lisa. I find this easier when it does HAVE to get done–like when I’m meeting a client’s deadline, for instance. Those goals are always achieved.

    I find it a lot more difficult to honor my own goals and deadlines. Somehow, I have to find the way to treat myself as another important client.

    Thanks for your comment! The way you tackle your work has always been inspiring.

  3. Michelle D. Argyle

    Wow, what a list! Exciting stuff ahead, though. I love that the writing goal is all in bold. 🙂

  4. Holli Moncrieff

    Ha! You mean the one writing goal out of three. Yikes! Thanks for the encouragement. I need all the help I can get!

    You’re a good friend. <3


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