Category: Goals

November 17, 2017

Hi, yes, hello again. It’s been a while.




I’ve been absent from the blog (though not anywhere else) for far too long. So now that it’s my favorite time of year, NaNoWriMo (it is a time, don’t question it), I figured it was also time to return to you, and with a much-needed update on how the month is going. Here is the quick and dirty version:


I am…

  • Writing a new genre this year, sci-fi. It is much harder than anticipated.
  • A Municipal Liaison for my region. It is fantastic and a little more time consuming than anticipated.
  • Daily vlogging my experience over on YouTube. It is alsdkvja;wljg;a than anticipated.

That being said, one of the responsibilities of Municipal Liaisons (or MLs for short) is writing pep talks for our Wrimos. And while I do address our region at the beginning, I hope the content will be helpful for you too!


Copied below, in full:


Day 4, “Writing Superheroes & Double Up Donation Day”:

Welcome to Week 1, InSANoWriMos!
This year, the theme is Superheroes. Which is very fitting, because as writers, we’re up against a lot of Dangerous Foes. We have a hard path set before us to create a world and characters that exist only within our imagination. We must overcome Crippling Doubt, the Distractions of the Internet, and the dreaded Interactions of Family and Friends, all to write a novel within one month. It’s a hard challenge, but I think you’re up to the task.
I hope the first three days have been smooth-sailing, but if they haven’t, just remember that your story is one worth telling. Lots of times we can lose the battle to Crippling Doubt. We can convince ourselves that someone else has already done it, and better, or that we’re not capable, that we’re not worthy. It’s during NaNoWriMo that we throw that doubt aside. We lean on our fellow writing superheroes to reassure us, to motivate us, and to congratulate us when we succeed. Every word written is one you didn’t have before and no one can ever write a story like you will.
Whether you’ve already hit 50,000, are just typing your first word, or somewhere in between, I want to say that the fact that you’re participating in NaNoWriMo alone is AWESOME. You’re helping to cultivate a community that celebrates the craft and love of writing, gives back to writers in need, and applauds the hard work of others.
In that spirit, I want to remind everyone that TODAY NaNoWriMo HQ is running a day-long writing and fundraising marathon. There will be virtual write-ins, Twitter shenanigans, and a special treat for anyone who donates $25 or more today.
NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit and this fundraising push helps ensure the programs can continue year-over-year. Your support helps cover the cost of sending materials to Young Writers Program classrooms around the world, bringing the power of creativity to thousands of children and youth. It also helps keep our programs and websites alive to continue making NaNoWriMo happen every November!
Hop online to take a look at the schedule of events and track our worldwide word-count goal during the day!
Happy writing!
– Your ML


Day 15, “Stuck In The Middle With You…”:

We’ve made it halfway, InSANoWriMos!
All of the pep talks recently have been talking about the Dreaded Second Third slump and this will be no different.
I won’t mince words. This is the hardest part of NaNoWriMo.
By now, the newness has worn off. We have fifteen days separating us and the kick-off, plenty of time for our excitement to dwindle. If it feels like your story is beating you, like you don’t know where to go, or that you do know but you don’t know how to get there, if NaNoWriMo is slowly eating your soul, I just want to be here to say: I hear you. I get it. This part sucks. Days 11 – 20 lack the fun and fanfare of the other twenty days, and include the beginnings of Thanksgiving stress. Not only that, but this is the part where our novels can be toughest too. We’re past the beginning, past the set-up and the introduction, but we’re not yet at the big ending. We’re somewhere else, slogging through chapters, hoping that we can do justice to the image in our head. It. Is. Hard.
But here’s the awesome part: You’ve written the words, you’ve put in the hours, and your story is forming. Something that once was only an idea in your mind is becoming a fully-fledged novel. You’ve gotten halfway. You’ve done it once, now you just need to do it one more time. You have all the support of your fellow InSANoWriMos, you have the forums and the Facebook, participants ready to encourage you in-person and online. You aren’t going through this alone. And you can do this.
As Neil said in his pep talk the other day, it’s just about putting “one word after another.” So whether you’re preferred method is slow and steady, fast and frenzied, or somewhere in between, we only have fifteen days left. We can do this!
– Your ML

I’ll make sure to update this space with the next pep talk I write in its own, separate post.


If you’re looking for daily NaNo updates (ranging from honest talks on creativity to milestone words to writing slumps to random things about my characters), check out my NaNoWriMo 2017 playlist here:



As always, I’m also active on Twitter for in-the-moment NaNo thoughts and on Instagram for pictures of weird bears in coffee shops. (Don’t ask. Or do.)


Questions for youuuuu:

What are you writing this year? And now that we’re a little beyond the halfway mark, are you still as excited (or more?!) about your idea as you were at the start?

December 28, 2016


Once Upon A Time, when I was a young Kate Cavanaugh (~20, to be more precise), I had just graduated college and started my first full-time, corporate job. At this ripe age, I decided it was time to look forward, to when I would be much wiser, much more experienced, and much closer to “having it all figured out.”


This meant a combination of what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, where I wanted to live, etc., etc.


Life, basically.


So I decided to create a list. A list of 25 things that I would have accomplished by the time I turned 25. “25×25” is what I wrote down at the top of the first page of my new notebook, some four years ago.



A few things to note:

1) My perspective on goals has changed entirely since creating this list. I’m a much bigger fan of building habits, and think they need to be considered right alongside your goals when brainstorming. More on that in early 2017…

2) Now that I am almost 25, the idea that anyone could “have it all figured out” sounds simultaneously asinine and hilarious. I’m no closer to understanding life than I was before, but I think I’m much better now at enjoying it and loving myself. That seems like a Win in my book.

3) I still love lists.


All that being said, in honor of the New Year, I figured it was time to revisit my 25×25 list. For your amusement and mine, here are the serious/weird things I thought would be good to have accomplished by the time I turned 25, with notes from Present Me:



(Can we start with how smart I was for creating groupings ahead of time? Man, I love lists. Strikethroughs indicate completion. Red means I ABSOLUTELY, in no universe, this one or a slightly similar alternate, see this being completed before I turn 25.)


“SKILLS”: (Quotes added now.)


1) Be fluent in Spanish.

I try, succeed for a few months, and then ultimately fail at learning Spanish. Repeat ad nauseum. Fingers crossed this is still achievable, though I may fudge on that “fluency” bit. Shout out to Duolingo for trying its best to remind me every day, even if I ignore the notification.


2) Learn metallurgy/welding/jewelry making.

Why? Because I think I could make something pretty. 🙂 I more/less have the jewelry bit down, though I’d like to get a bit better before I cross anything off. I don’t entirely trust myself around an open flame so why I thought welding would be a good idea is beyond me.


3) Try meditating/yoga seriously.

Apparently yoga is not for me. I fall asleep. But still! I tried! Meditation, on the other hand, is great, and though I don’t practice regularly, I do when I feel the need. Check out Headspace for help getting started.


4) Have submitted for publication/be published.

I love how I thought it would be so easy. Overcoming the self-doubt is a challenge itself, but I think I’m closer closer than ever to submitting a query. That’s another post for another day.


5) Paint something to use as my own wall art.

Is it cheating if I went to Painting With a Twist to accomplish this? Oh well, I do have it on my wall!


6) Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon.


I believe the “skill” here is the actual half-marathon, which I did twice! But this was one of the most fun races I’ve ever been part of and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. RunDisney FTW! (I’m Disneybounding as Ariel, above. You’re forgiven for not recognizing it, because at that point I was mostly just sweaty.)


7) Learn how to cook one full-course meal.

I crossed this out about two years ago, with no notes, so I’m not sure what full-course meal I believed I could make. If stretched, I feel confident enough to Google a few recipes and I’m great at desserts.


8) Thoroughly research my heritage.

And I have a million genealogy trees to prove it. Next step is to visit all the different places my family is from. 😉


9) Learn Krav Maga/some other form of self-defense.

I have always been a weakling at best, much more apt to outrun a foe, and at almost-25 that still hasn’t changed. There’s some time left, though!


10) Know how to change a tire.

This feels like it should be basic car knowledge but guess who never learned? Guess who’s had this as a goal for years, and still hasn’t learned? This girl!


11) Grow my own strawberry garden.


Strawberries are, unequivocally, the best fruit (and Kaylee from Firefly agrees with me). And they can be grown in relatively small containers! Perfect for apartment living. I’ve done all the research, the next step is to plant. (In case you’re curious, you should freeze the seeds for a week or so first. Helps them grow!)




12) Go back to Europe.

I’m angling to go to Scotland at the start of the summer. Now it’s just a matter of those dolla dolla bills.


13) Go to Australia.

I went to Australia AND New Zealand (with a fascinating layover in Fiji) this May! And it was just as amazing as I always hoped it to be. Actually, it was better. I have high hopes to return someday, and soon.


14) Sit down at a poker table and play in Vegas.

I did not win.


15) Go to ComicCon AND have created my own costume.

What a distinction! Maybe this should have been lumped under skills? I mean, “skills”?


16) Go to the Renaissance Festival in Texas.

Truly I’ve never seen anything like it. So many talented people, and so many drunks. (Can you guess which I was?)


17) Visit Harry Potter World.

Butterbeer, butterbeer, butterbeer. This is the only part of Universal I visited. One day I’ll go back and, you guessed it, have more butterbeer. (I’ve made my own and it’s just not quite the same without the backdrop of Hogsmeade. But it’s still delicious.)




18) Swim with dolphins.

BECAUSE HOW FUN WOULD THAT BE? Dolphins were my favorite animal for years (alongside cheetahs). No specifications on if I could just be in the ocean and SEE the dolphins, but I haven’t had that happen yet either.


19) Buy a house/condo.

Houses are expensive. Condos only just less so. Either way, my slightly-younger-than-25 still sees a lot of plusses to rent life, and that’s what it will be for the next few years.


20) Try speed-dating.

Why? Why did I decide this was a good idea? I must have just watched a movie and thought it looked fun. Regardless, it’d be an experience! (Or “activity.”)


21) Get my tattoo.

I’ve had the same idea for a tattoo since I was in eighth grade. I’d personally love to partner with an artist to come up with the exact design, and it just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe I’ll make it my birthday present to me!


22) Ride a mechanical bull.

I live in Texas, so this should be more easy than hard, I just need to walk into any country bar.


23) See a psychic/fortune teller.

Do I believe in psychics? No. Do I want to write a story with a psychic as a side character? Yes. Do I think this would provide not only great research opportunities, but also all of the entertainment? Absolutely. The problem is that I want to do this right, and not just go to the second floor of a Magic Time Machine, so I need to do more research.


24) Go to a shooting range.

I want to feel the pow-ah, in a very controlled environment, and then probably never again.


25) Go paint-balling.

THIS WOULD BE SO MUCH FUN. Like a better version of a shooting range, because it has fun colors and I can beat my friends. 😉


If you’re counting and/or calculating, I have completed a whopping 36% of my 25×25 list by crossing through 9 skill and travel goals. If I want to seriously complete this list – to the best of my abilities – it shouldn’t be too hard to dig deep into that “activity” section. The only thing it may cost is a little bit of money and a whopping amount of pride (looking at you, mechanical bull!).


Regardless, this list has been fun, I just no longer expect it to be anything more than that.


Do you have any goals to reach before you hit a certain age? Or, have you ever reached the age you promised your younger self you would have accomplished something? Let me know!