Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Taking Time to Celebrate Our Dreams & Goals

By Marilyn Brant

Call it an occupational hazard of having spent so many years as a teacher but, to me, the "New Year" never really started on January 1st. Instead, I always liked to ring it in on July 1st -- yes, today -- when the old school year had officially ended and the new school calendar was set to begin. (So, hey, let's bring out the noisemakers and pop some champagne, shall we?!)

For my family, the winter holidays are routinely a frantic time of trying to meet up with relatives and friends -- often amid snowstorms, hail, and freezing temps, given that most of us live in the American Midwest. But mid-summer? Busy, to be sure, but my husband is a high school teacher and our son is a teen...so, we all still think of early July as vacation time with a range of more laid-back family events, fun outdoor activities, and evenings when we can stay up late and watch DVDs together without needing to get up the next morning at the crack of dawn.

An eight-novel romantic comedy boxed set -- LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY
EVER AFTERS -- on sale for a limited time for just 99 cents at:
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Because of the lighter workload for us all, we tend to finally have time to review the highlights of the prior July-through-June year, reflect on the most meaningful accomplishments for each of us, and look ahead to our goals for the next year. There always seems to be some challenge we're especially proud of having mastered (for me, it was hitting the USA Today Bestseller List for the first time back in September), and at least a handful of new ones that we're still striving to meet. (I'm definitely still waiting for that Hollywood movie deal...LOL.)

I appreciate the time the three of us get to spend sharing these achievements and goals with each other, though. It's become a family tradition. My husband and I have collected two decades' worth of them since we got married, and it's an intriguing thing to look back on what we'd hoped to accomplish five or ten or fifteen years ago. To see which dreams we succeeded in reaching, which ones we've still got our fingers crossed about, and which ones we dropped because they proved to no longer be as important to us as they once were.

(the sequel to Pride, Prejudice &the Perfect Match),
coming in JULY!!
In my writing career in particular, where it can be a long time between major achievements, I've found I needed both the encouragement that comes from reminding myself of goals I've met -- even tiny ones -- and taking the time to daydream about those I still wish to plan for and pursue...

It takes a lot of courage to keep working toward a big goal (it's a long game, this novel-writing thing) so, in my opinion, it's necessary to applaud the small steps along the way. We ought to pause at least once every year and acknowledge the hard work we've done in the prior 12 months. For me, that day is today. For some of you, it may be January 1st. For others, another time. But, whenever it is, I really do hope you'll celebrate. You deserve it!!

Do you have any goals you're especially proud of having accomplished in the past year and/or some big goals you're still hoping to achieve? I'd love to hear about them! :)

Marilyn Brant is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Visit her website: www.marilynbrant.com .


  1. Great post, Marilyn, and you're right - if you don't celebrate as you go, the downs will get you down!

    I'm floored to be a double RITA Finalist this year - it was beyond my craziest dreams!

    1. Laura, being a RITA finalist is an amazing accomplishment... being a double finalist is downright stellar! SO excited for you ;). I'll be cheering you on from Chicago this month!!!

  2. Woot Woot to the USA TODAY Bestselling novelist ;) I just love the ring of that. I'm a very happy participant in any and every part of your success as a writer/storyteller, you're a fabulous one. Me well I'm just a work in progress you close one door in my face (B&N) and I'll just pry open another one (Goodreads/General Fiction Expats Group). I LOVE blogging, reading, reviewing it's not just a past time it's a passion and I'm just so lucky that you're part of that for me. So I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope I don't trip over my big feet :)
    Love you Girlfriend!!

    1. Deb, you are such an amazing woman, and I'm blessed to have you as a friend! Thank you -- as always -- for your kind words and support. Your passion for reading and reviewing shines through in every one of your posts!! I know I've been lucky to get to be a part of a few of your novel discussions ;). BTW, I hadn't realized until now that you had a Goodreads group -- just joined it!! I'm not on GR a lot, but I'll pop in on you all whenever I can! XOXO

  3. Beautiful cake--too pretty too eat, well, maybe not! I laughed about your view of a year--as a teacher, my years were always divided into two. For weeks after I retired, I'd look at my watch and think, oh, this is third period, lunch is next...

    Thanks for the reminder about celebrating. I'm excited to be writing again. My last book released in March, and I've been angsty and not writing for way too long! Finally, today in fact, have cobbled together something I'm totally excited about. And it will be my first venture into the world of ebook, indie pub, so I'm eager to make that dive.

    Writing and teaching are both professions of delayed gratification, but sometimes--as you said--we can find joy in the small accomplishments.

    1. LOL, Christa! I figured you'd understand about the persistence of that old school schedule ;). The rhythm of the day/seasons/year has a way of sticking with us, doesn't it?! And YAY on your return to writing! Congrats on this new story and the plunge into the indie world. So excited for you!! I'm looking forward to your upcoming novel.