Reflect, Assess, Prepare

It’s the last week of the year. Time to look back at the 2021 goals and accomplishments, and then figure out the 2022 list.

I look at my goals every month throughout the year to reassess where I need to adjust and where I should be pushing myself more. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes life gets in the way and derails things altogether. I had a two month stretch earlier this year where my plans went not just off the rails, but got lost in the woods as well. In addition to the life stresses, I added more with my pressure on myself for failing to meet my own deadlines. I know I’m not the only one who does that, but I am doing my best to stop that. Sometimes it’s unconscious, but eventually you realize what you’re doing. I’m trying to catch myself at it sooner to ease that pressure. We have plenty of pressure on us we can’t control, so putting more on ourselves seems mean and stupid.

There’s good pressure, and there’s bad pressure. Setting goals with deadlines for yourself is good. Being realistic about those goals and deadlines is good. Stretching yourself a little to grow is good. Pressuring yourself by comparing someone else’s goals and deadlines is not good. I’ve been guilty of that in the past as well. Or comparing my past achievements with current–it’s easier to write more when you’re home full-time than when you have a full-time job in addition to the writing, so I had to realize that for myself as well and make adjustments.

I am probably not the only one working on my 2022 goals. I want to accomplish more than I did in 2021. I have big writing plans for the next few years, but I am trying hard to be realistic about what I can achieve without making myself crazy, while still having some down-time to enjoy family and maybe even a short trip or two in the new year, assuming covid permits.

Before I get back to whittling down that goal list, I have a little snippet for you from Hunting Medusa.

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It was one of those days when having the Medusa’s fabled power to turn people to stone would really come in handy.

Andrea Rosakis did not, however, have that ability, not this week, anyway. Even though she was the reigning Medusa.

She glared at the man on her back porch, wondering if he could ever understand how lucky he was she wasn’t suffering from PMS this week. And why wouldn’t he stop talking? Her fingers itched to slam the door.

“…if you have just five minutes, ma’am,” he concluded.

She narrowed her gaze on the vacuum beside him. “No, thank you.” And how the hell had he found her all the way out here? No one ever bothered to follow her rough, muddy driveway all the way to the top, even if they did ignore the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the foot of it. Not to mention the protective warding she had set at the boundaries of the entire property. Sure, it wasn’t the heavy artillery of protection spells, but no one else had ever gotten past it. This man, however, had not only ignored the signs and the subtle “go away” protections, but managed the entire bumpy, muddy track into the woods and halfway up the mountain. Just to hear her say, “No.”

And he didn’t look discouraged. At all.

Andi almost wished she were PMSing this week, though it would be a real pain in the ass to have to get rid of a life-sized stone statue of a vacuum salesman.

Or maybe she could keep it. He was very pretty, even if he annoyed her. He was tall and broad, his inky black hair was a tad too long, and his bright green eyes held her attention. At least as stone, he’d be silent and still pretty. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this–“

“When would be a better time?”

“Never.”

He did blink at that, but his smile never disappeared. “I’ll have to check my calendar.”

She snorted, then clapped her free hand over her mouth. Laughing would not discourage the man. “Look, I’m sure it’s a great vacuum, but I don’t need it. I don’t want to see how it works, and I’d like you to get off my property.”

His smile did fade a little bit. “Well, I suppose, if that’s what you really want.”

She quirked an eyebrow, trying not to smile again. He had the faintest hint of an accent, but she couldn’t place it. Not without hearing him talk some more, and she didn’t want to encourage that either, or he’d just keep trying to sell her an expensive vacuum she didn’t need.

“Maybe I could talk you into meeting me for coffee sometime then,” he said.

Her jaw dropped. The cute salesman was hitting on her. For half a second, she indulged the fantasy of a date with the hunk. A real date, maybe ending with a real kiss. Her pulse quickened. Then she remembered one good date led to more, and eventually, it led to guys running away from her, gibbering like idiots when PMS struck. She shut her mouth and ignored the regret burning in her middle. “Sorry, but no.”

“You’re a hard woman,” he said lightly, his bright gaze sliding down to her mouth. “I’ll leave my card in case you change your mind. About the coffee, that is.” He forced a small card into her hand and picked up his vacuum.

Andi stared after him as he strode off her porch. The bulky vacuum looked like it weighed nothing in his hand, swinging at his side on his way to the shiny, new truck parked behind her car.

When he took one hand from the steering wheel to wave at her, she stopped herself from lifting her hand in response. He turned the truck around and vanished down the drive into the trees. Frowning, she went back inside and shut the door, then locked it an re-armed the alarm. He’d tossed the vacuum into the bed of the truck. A very strong salesman.

Who didn’t seem to care the impending rain was going to damage his expensive vacuum.

She turned back to the door and stared out the narrow window beside it, her heart beating faster now with alarm. Maybe he didn’t realize. Or maybe he really hadn’t come here to sell her a vacuum.

She swallowed hard.

Aunt Celosia had always told the cousins stories of the Harvesters, the men who still hunted for the Medusa. Somehow, Andi had always thought they’d be more frightening. More obvious. Ugly men intent on murder.

If this vacuum salesman was a Harvester, he was sneaky. Of course, if he was a Harvester, he would be sneaky, as Perseus had been when he killed the first Medusa.

She was in a lot of trouble.

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I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your goals for the new year. Have you started working on them, or are you going to cram that into the last few days of this year?

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