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By Ckepper (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the items on my list of impossible things are related (building from one to the other) and some are standalone. Many have steps/accomplishments that are necessary but not immediately obvious.

Much of this list is built around the goal of selling our house, buying a sailboat, and cruising until retirement. Planned date to put the house on the market and kick off the dream: April 2021. I have just over seven years to accomplish the impossible.


The top section outlines what I hope is the path to a fiction writing career. I have another career (as an instructional designer) that isn’t covered here, because it’s how I pay the bills, not how I feed my soul. I had a non-fiction book published ten years ago, and I’m well educated about the publishing industry. I’m up-to-date on the chaos within as Amazon takes over, publishers merge or crumble, and self-publishing skyrockets. I don’t even fantasize about replacing my annual salary as an ID with income from fiction writing. I do, however, think it may be possible to cover the monthly cost of cruising. The goal then is to build a respectable backlist by April 2021.

  • Finish The Novel.
  • Get a literary agent.
  • Publish The Novel.
  • Sell a screenplay based on The Novel.
  • Sell 10,000 copies of The Novel.
  • Sell 20,000 copies of The Novel.
  • Sell 50,000 copies of The Novel.

I have a mainstream novel in progress. The Novel. I do honestly (based on objective feedback from industry insiders) believe it’s publishable. Or, it will be once it’s finished. My goal is to finish The Novel by the end of 2014. The steps I’m taking toward this are trying to write a certain number of words per day and working on tasks related to platform building.

The screenplay probably seems like an unusual addition to the list. This novel started out as a screenplay and was a semi-finalist at Nicholl. That’s… a big deal. After I finish the novel, while I’m shopping it, I’m going to rewrite the screenplay and give it another go through Nicholl. Many novels (even first novels) get optioned for movies, but as a general rule, novelists don’t get to write the screenplay. I figure, though, if that novel just happened to have an already written screenplay that was a Nicholl finalist….

Well, couldn’t hurt. It also wouldn’t hurt to tell the producers who call the Nicholl finalists that the screenplay is based off a novel that was recently picked by one of the Big Five.

Big impossible dreams.

I have another mainstream novel planned to follow The Novel:

  • Write and publish The Next Novel.
  • Sell a screenplay based on The Next Novel.

At the same time I’m writing that, I want to begin working on an urban fantasy I’m currently outlining. The mainstream novels I want to traditionally publish, but I’m leaning toward self-publishing for the urban fantasy series, which would enable me to get the entire series complete by my 2021 target date and hopefully provide a steady base income.

  • Write the ENTIRE urban fantasy series.
  • Make enough money with my fiction writing to support my household comfortably.


Next comes health. First up is Paleo and getting my blood sugar under control.

  • Be (95%+) Paleo for 6 months.
  • Be (95%+) Paleo for 1 year.
  • Maintain my morning blood sugar at <100 for 6 months.

I tend to feel best when my carb intake is <50g per day, and that, conveniently, drops my blood sugar into normal levels. I’m not planning to be militant about my diet, with even one slip resetting my counter, which is why I said 95%+. There is a difference between choosing to have a sushi lunch with my girlfriends and having a multi-day binge just because I’m too tired to cook. The things I’m most trying to avoid are sugar, wheat, corn, and GMOs. Although I call my diet Paleo, I don’t worry about dairy in the forms of cheese or butter unless I’m doing a challenge that specifically leaves out dairy.

  • Complete level 5 on all exercises in Convict Conditioning.
  • Complete level 7 on all exercises in Convict Conditioning.
  • Do 10,000 steps per day for 6 months.
  • Do 10,000 steps per day for 1 year.

I’ve done Crossfit in the past — and loved it — but we’re money poor at the moment, and I rather like body weight exercise. So my weight lifting program will be the seriously awesome Convict Conditioning. I also need to build my cardio and get off my butt, so I’m aiming towards 10,000 steps per day. I’m starting damn close to zero, so I’ll have to build to get there. I may add a yoga goal to this. I’ve wanted to do yoga for a long time, but I haven’t ever made time for it.

  • Weigh <200 lbs.
  • Achieve 20% body fat.

And this is where I’m headed. I know 200lbs for a woman sounds insanely high, but I haven’t been below 200lbs since my teens. Believe me — it sounds IMPOSSIBLE to me. I have a long, long road to travel to get there. The health and fitness checklist is all about the baby steps I need to take to accomplish this section of the list.


Now we have every other dream in my head. First we have the steps I need to take to be ready to sail into the sunset. I’ll likely start with the first of these next summer. (I live in the Pacific NW. Trust me — this is not the time of year to begin learning to sail.)

  • Take sailing lessons.
  • Get certified to bareboat charter.
  • Get all ASA certifications.
  • Learn boat engine and electrical maintenance.
  • Rent a large catamaran for a week and sail in ocean waters.
  • Live on a boat and write my sailing mystery series.

The last one is the ultimate goal. I have an idea for a series that I could write while sailing that will continue to add money to the coffers. Hopefully that and my backlist will keep us going.

  • Finish remodeling the house and get it in salable condition.

In order to sell the house, it has to be remodeled. We have done a great job creating a turnkey horse property outside, but the inside of the house needs a lot of work. The first steps there involve installing central heat and air, finishing the basement, moving a stairway, and finishing my husband’s office. Those are all major projects! We’re currently saving funds so we can tackle the next project.

  • Become fluent in Spanish.

This one, too, is related to the sailing dream. Many of the countries we hope to visit (and maybe settle in for retirement) are Spanish-speaking countries. I don’t want a language barrier to impede us, nor do I want to travel and be the ugly American who expects the rest of the world to speak English!

  • Meditate daily for 6 months.
  • Meditate daily for 1 year.
  • Complete both Levels 1 and 2 of Debbie’s animal communication course.

The rest of these are all about the woo. I love the woo. It’s easy for those to fall through the cracks, so I’m going to try to do a little bit of woo every day. It’s good for my soul.