Turning Plans into Action: (Lots of) Round 3 Goals

Ursula Le Guin Fiction Quote

It’s time for Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days–the writing challenge that knows you have a life!

If Round 2 was about cupping an ear and listening, about learning and intensive study, about thought and preparation, then Round 3 is the action stage.

In Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that knows you have a life, I began my studies in aromatherapy, took a workshop on deep POV, and mostly researched, prepared, and planned.

Of course, the best laid plans go oft awry, which is why I try to remain flexible, even as I put plans into action.

My list for this round is extensive. I have two projects that are about 90 percent completed but need some polishing and deepening. Those need to be finished and sent out on submission, so they are top priorities. I have several other projects that are also calling to me, but I’m more flexible on those because they’re in the early stages.

I definitely want to get back into blogging and actively visiting others’ blogs. I’ve been having some mysterious health woes that are now affecting my hands, so I’m really hoping the weird sensations in my hands don’t interfere with this goal. Seriously ROWers—I miss you!

I also recognize that my health needs attention, and I have been chipping away at bad habits—such as a sweet tooth and tendency to be lazy when it comes to cooking from scratch. Health is foundational, so I will be easing into some yoga and stretching this round while moving away from sugary or processed foods toward a home-cooked, natural diet.

And, as hubby and I debate whether to stay in our cozy townhome and for how long, we’re fixing it up, though whether for ourselves or new occupants, we’re not yet sure. In any event, worn-out carpets are being torn out and replaced with durable vinyl plank flooring, warped countertops and leaky faucets shall be replaced with shinier new upgrades, and clutter is slowly falling away, room by room.

The plan is to write daily, Monday through Friday, from 4 to 5 p.m. No interruptions, no excuses. Of course, I want to write more than that, but I’m hoping starting with this small, manageable goal will give me momentum.

As Ursula K. Le Guin said, “The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.”

As I delve deeper into my stories, I recognize that what has kept me from taking my stories to soaring heights and gut-wrenching depths is this deepening of character emotion. I’m shying away from the depths of despair, the terror of seeing your worst nightmare brought to life, the fear of repeating the past, the intense vulnerability of fledgling love.

And so, armed with new knowledge, I go forward. This round is all about crafting the stories that I so intensely want to tell—and moving forward on my storyteller’s path.

All that said, here are my goals for this round. They are extensive, but my plan is to only report on active goals.


  • Finish a draft of Spellfire’s Kiss; query.
  • Finish and resubmit Oak-Bound.
  • POTENTIAL WRITING GOALS: first draft of Wild Tarot; first draft of Silver’s Stray, a paranormal cozy mystery; fourth draft of Rose Petals and Dragon Scales; first draft of a nonfiction project.


  • Respond to blog comments and return visits to commenters’ blogs.
  • Regularly post ROW80 check-ins and keep up with commenting on other ROWers blogs.
  • Make and post one video per month.


  • Do yoga or gentle stretching daily.
  • Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy whole foods and fewer processed foods. Also work on seriously minimizing the amount of sugar in my diet.
  • Try making my own bread, granola, etc.
  • Continue making my own cleaning and bath products.
  • Finish aromatherapy courses on Udemy.


  • Replace worn-out carpet in living/dining rooms with new flooring.
  • Remodel upstairs bathroom.
  • New kitchen countertops and sink.
  • Painting—neutral colors—where needed.
  • Hang all remaining artwork.
  • Clean attic.
  • Organize office closet.
  • Clean out storage shed.
  • Decluttering—items to thrift store.

*exhales deeply*

Wow! I have a busy few months ahead of me. What about you? As we sprint through summer, iced tea with lemon in hand, our skin sun-kissed (for those of us who dwell in the northern hemisphere), what plans do you have?

denise signature

Posted by

Fantasy & paranormal romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland sprite. Debut release TANGLED ROOTS now available. Magic awaits at www.denisedyoungbooks.com.

18 thoughts on “Turning Plans into Action: (Lots of) Round 3 Goals

  1. Your summer sounds intense with much going on. I’ve appreciated your discussion of that deep pov class you took. This last year has brought me new insights about my characters and conflict — which tends to happen ‘off stage’ for so many reasons. Your comments (and the le Guin quote) remind me of Natalie Goldberg’s quote: “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about.” And so we persevere. I hope the summer brings you many words, good health, and maybe a new home!

    1. Beth, I am going to see Natalie Goldberg on Saturday evening! I am amazed that this opportunity fell in my lap. She’s been my writing shero for nearly 2 decades, and changed the way I write and live. She also recently survived cancer.

      I will be writing her a stream of consciousness letter and including it in a copy of the first anthology I was published in. My short story, “A Splash of Red”, owes a tremendous debt to her methods.

      I will be blogging about the experience in August, after I have a bit of time to absorb and simmer it.

      1. Wow, Shan! What an amazing opportunity. I first encountered Natalie Goldberg’s works in grad school, and she had such a profound impact on me. It’s definitely time for a reread of Writing Down the Bones. I can’t wait to read your post about the encounter. Yay!

      2. Shan, Already looking forward to hearing about that lecture by Natalie Goldberg. What a wonderful idea to write her — and to pay tribute to how she has inspired you. Now that means it really is time to reread WRITING DOWN THE BONES. See you back online!

    2. I love that quote, and it’s one that I think about often. So many times we engage in shallow writing because we’re afraid to experience the terror, the grief, the sadness, the anger, whatever deep emotion is buffeting our characters. But good fiction digs deep, and if we are to write riveting works of fiction, we must brave what we fear. Thanks, Beth!

      1. Thank you, Denise. I’ve forwarded your blog to some writing friends but very much appreciate that reminder to dig deep. Not sure I’m ready or if I ever will be, but I will persevere!

  2. Health is so important, for sure. Taking care of my own–specifically, my mental health–has been a huge focus for me this past year, after letting things get bad in 2017, and I can already notice a difference. Hope the attention you plan to give your own health works out just as well, or better!

    And wow, that’s exciting how you already have two projects that are about 90% completed. Hope all the polishing and deepening for those don’t give you too much trouble. And I’m in awe of all the goals you have on your plate right now. Best of luck achieving ’em!

    1. I struggle with managing my mental health, too, so trust me, take all the time you need. Be gentle and kind to yourself and show yourself all the compassion you would show someone else. Of course, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I know that sometimes it helps to have a gentle nudge from someone who’s been there. Wishing you much health this summer, Heather!

      Thanks! I am trying to make slow but steady progress and take things one goal at a time. I don’t want to rush, but I also don’t want much-loved projects to languish in the almost-there stage for too long. 🙂

  3. I like how you have goals in each area of your life. How inspiring! I’m sending Reiki to help with always having a balance between gratitude for what we have and energy to live vibrant lives.

    My writing goal is to finish the second draft of “Deep In The Dreaming” and to submit older short stories I found on my flash drives.. I’ve been successful in writing for at least an hour each day, five days a week. Sometimes I get more time in, like the hour and forty-five minutes from today.

    Newsletters are next on my list. I’m writing a short story collection to share with newsletter readers.

    My business has streamlined to put focus where I want it in my career – writing and The Reiki Café.

    I added a massage therapist to my self-care routine to help balance the time I spend sitting. She gives good guidance on exercises for neck and shoulders.

    Your posts have helped me keep balance in mind. Thank you!

    1. Any Reiki energy is always deeply appreciated, Gina. Thank you so much! I hope we get to chat soon about our stories and what we’ve got going on–and about next year’s Coastal Magic Con, which I’m already looking forward to! 🙂

      I love massage therapy, especially when you find a really good massage therapist. Some people literally have a healing touch, and that’s a very literal kind of magic.

      Thanks, Gina! 🙂

  4. Health has been a big focus of mine these past few months, too. Like you, I’m into more cooking and less sugar/processed foods, as well as separating fats and carbs for weight loss (THM diet). So far it’s working! Now I just have to get back into the writing. Those stories won’t tell themselves, as we all know.

    You have some aggressive goals, but I have no doubt you can do it. Good luck!

    1. I’m cutting sugar way down–not out entirely, but almost down to nothing. And hubby and I are getting back into home-cooked meals instead of eating out and feeling much better already. I’m slowly getting back into writing, but migraines that last for days on end are never good for creativity. Ugh!

      Yes, they’re definitely ambitious goals, but I’m going big this round. Thanks, Jennette! Good luck as well. 🙂

  5. It’s so good to see you back and energized, Denise! Love the new goals, and the new focus! Looking forward as always to your updates, and seeing how you progress through this round of self-care and passion-growing.

    1. Thanks, Shan! The energy ebbs and flows with all the random health issues, unfortunately. But I’m trying to aim big and hoping to hit as many of those goals as possible. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.