How to Set Goals As the Year Winds Down: 18 Before 2018

Originally posted at

Summer’s almost over, and the last few months of the year are coming up quick. Which means it’s time to do a little bit of assessment and see where I’m headed with my yearly goals.

One unique way to take stock of your life is to participate in what Lisa Jacobs calls the “18 Before 2018.” The concept is simple: write up a list of 18 goals to accomplish before 2018. These can be big or small goals, or a combination of both. I did a bit of brainstorming, and this is what I came up with…

My 18 Before 2018

  1. Finish my World’s Coolest Jobs book proposal and start pitching it to agents
  2. Write a second proposal for a totally different book and start pitching it to different agents (this one is still in the kernel phase, so I don’t want to say much more about it, for now!)
  3. Write a novel about middle-school ninja during the 3-Day Novel Contest (Sept. 2-4)
  4. Edit and publish my ninja novel
  5. Take a train trip to LA

    “Surfliner” image by Flickr user Nick Chill
  6. Visit with my BFF, Jenna, in November and try to convince her to write a joint novel with me, à la Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke COMPLETED! (Well, okay, I’m still working on convincing her to write that book, but we did have a great visit in November.)

    Have you read this book? It’s super fun, and written by two ladies who are BFFs from high school, Liz and Lisa. How cool is that?
  7. Visit with my parents during the holidays in December
  8. Sell books at the San Diego Festival of Books – August 26 COMPLETED!
  9. Sell books at the San Diego Zine Fest – October 8 COMPLETED!
  10. Attend San Diego chapter meetings for SCBWI beginning in September COMPLETED!
  11. Read 52 books COMPLETED!
  12. Get a new mattress (my old one is already sagging, and it’s only been 4 years… I thought these things were supposed to last at least 10?!)
  13. Journal daily, on paper (I’ve recently started Bullet Journaling, and want to start doing some art journaling as well)
  14. Walk 10,000 steps every day
  15. Attend John Lithgow’s free lecture at UCSD WHOOPS! Missed this one…
  16. Make a French Silk pie for my birthday – October 14 Christmas
  17. Try one new recipe every week (for some reason, I’ve decided I need to start with a pot roast – something I have never cooked before – but I am also reading a lot of cookbooks that I’ve borrowed from the library)
  18. Start a NaNoWriMo write-in at my local library COMPLETED! And here’s the write-up about it, from a local magazine, in case you’re curious…

As you can see, some of these are pretty big goals, others are pretty small, and some are just for fun.

I need a little more fun in my life!

What about you?

What are YOUR 18 Before 2018? Let me know in the comments section for a chance to win a 2018 Get To Work Book!

Cool Job of the Week: Ninja

Did you know that there’s currently a ninja shortage in Japan? Yes, it’s true: Japan’s number one fighting force is currently under attack!

The major problem, as I see it, stems from the fact that ninja are currently being treated as entertainers, not the lethal forces of mischief and mayhem they truly are.

Nevertheless, if you’ve been looking for a career as a ninja, this is good news for you. But first, you’ll need to get trained up! The best places to learn the ancient art of ninjutsu are Nabari and Iga, both of which are located in the Mie Prefecture of Japan.

Training you’ll need to become a ninja:

  • Unarmed combat
  • The art of concealment
  • Acrobatics
  • How to use throwing stars (shuriken)
  • Swordfighting

As per the Independent‘s article, however: “Invisibility and walking on water, despite the folklore, are not part of the job description.”

Need more ninja?

If you’re looking for more ninja in your life, be sure to check out my Instagram feed this weekend, when I’ll be furiously writing the first draft of my new ninja novel, The Reluctant Ninja, as part of the 3-Day Novel Contest (September 2-4, 2017). I’ll be posting a variety of Ninja Tips to keep you entertained, so follow me @LauraRobertsBooks to join in on the fun!

Friday Fun: Paperback Writer and the San Diego Festival of Books

Last week’s Friday Fun post featured “9 To 5,” Dolly Parton’s 1980 hit, but this week I’ve got something a little different…

“Paperback Writer” by The Beatles!

This delightfully rockin’ tune is all about a wannabe writer soliciting a publisher to accept his book. While this is just a snippet from the full song (and I strongly encourage you to buy the full-length version), this felt like the perfect way to get me in the mood for the San Diego Festival of Books, which is happening tomorrow (Saturday, August 26) from 10 AM to 6 PM.

It’s the first-ever book festival to take place in San Diego, so I’m super excited about it!

I’ll be posted at the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild table from 10 AM to 12:30 PM, so if you’re in the area please stop by and say hi.