Author Carol Mason outlines some random goals she is striving to achieve…

Create a zen workspace

At the very least a desk that is free from bed-socks, pens that don’t write, ancient cassette tapes, a doggy nail clipper, lipstick, chapstick, enough receipts from pockets to load up a land fill. A clear head comes not from giving up alcohol, but from getting rid of all this clutter. Which I do. For about a day. Then it all comes back like a boomerang, as though my junk has a special affection for me and can’t bear to see us parted. I’ve bought an essential oil burner, and a Himalayan salt crystal lamp to give me a “glow” of inspiration. I managed the latter, and do feel massively inspired, but the bottle of lemon oil (refreshing, cheering, uplifting), hasn’t been opened. Perhaps I secretly fear setting something on fire?

Goal: to be profiled in those Living Space features that make you pine and sigh.

Achieve Bikini Body of the Year award

I always want to be fitter. Ever since my husband lost a little weight, I have become somewhat obsessed with being in my best possible shape. Not because I worry that the more attractive he becomes, the more threatened I become by younger and improved versions of myself who might attract his eye. Mainly because it feels good to be fitter in your forties than you were in your twenties. I actually like hopping on the scales and finding that – oh dear! – despite climbing 1000 stairs from the beach, a round of Pilates, a near-carb free dinner and only one chocolate biscuit, I’m the same weight as I was yesterday. On the other hand, to mysteriously be 0.2 lbs lighter following a day of pizza and fish and chips, is a joy worth celebrating with cake.

Goal: To be Jennifer Aniston and stay that way forever.

Write my next novel faster

I am supposed to write a book a year. Theoretically, if you write 1000 words a day, you can complete a book in 4.5 months. This should mean either a) you can write two books a year, with a little breathing room for editing. b) you can write one, rewrite it while you update your Facebook page and do daily stints of online shopping. But for me it means neither. I somehow always manage to be in a permanent state of freaked-out-ness about how I’m not really making much progress even though I’m always “at it”. This might be solved if I…

Learn how to plot before writing

When I get a new book idea – one that, after days of living with, I still think is brilliant, original and about to catapult me up the bestseller’s charts – a strange compulsion happens to me. I just want to jump in and get going. I become paranoid that someone else is going to come up with the idea before I write it, which has happened twice (thanks, Steven Spielberg). I always know the beginning and ending before I start out. It’s the other 80% that is my worry. Plotting a book doesn’t come naturally. I don’t have a crystal ball for my own life, nor do I have one for my characters. But I want one, please! If I could get in touch with my inner psychic, it would make life so much easier.

Goal: To be even 10% as productive as Stephen King.

Stop regretting I’ve got people coming for dinner

It happens all the time. The moment I say the words “come over!” I start dreading all the cleaning, shopping and cooking madness that will ensue. While cooking relaxes me, there is one time when it doesn’t: when guests are arriving and my inner Martha Stewart has been let loose. I have always been ambitious. Writers have to be. Friends don’t.

Goal: to ease up on proving myself super-human. No one cares anyway.

Read outside of my genre

Admittedly I am a women’s fiction junkie. I adore the more deep and meaningful stories – books not unlike the ones I write – page-turning dramas that portray the many sides of modern love, marriage, family, and friendship. If there isn’t an affair in it, a love triangle, a thwarted passion, a falling out of friends, a heinous moral wrong-doing, then I struggle to care. But I am particular. It can be funny and wry but not silly. It can be tempestuous and sad but it can’t deal with dark themes that disturb me.

Goal: To be more open-minded and see what I might learn from it.

Sell e-books and help support breast cancer

To celebrate all my novels being turned into Amazon e-books, I am donating 50% of my net proceeds to breast cancer for the month of March. The e-books are only $2.99 or 2 UK pounds. Barely the price of a latte. My website has details.

Goal: To cut a cheque I can be proud of.


Carol Mason is the best-selling author of The Love Market, Send Me A Lover and The Secrets of Married Women. You can find out more about her books at http://www.carolmasonbooks.com or follow her on Twitter @carolmasonbooks or Facebook.

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