Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January Update: 2017 Accomplishments and 2018 Goals

Here we are. Another year of my writing blog. I've made some amazing headway in the last seven years. Three more years to reach my ultimate goal--the goal I started this blog for. I feel like I'm on the right track. I just need to quit putting the cart before the horse and quit rushing. Slow and steady will get me to my goal. And the baby steps along the way make it all possible. My yearly goals are the key to that.

So, speaking of goals, for 2017, my goals were to do the following (I've added in parenthesis the degree of completion for each):

  • Write Scions of Mythos (wrote roughly half of the book)
  • Sell or self-publish Monsters of Lawrence (I queried it a lot, but didn't sell)
  • Send Towers of Kansas to beta readers and incorporate their edits (done)
  • Finish the first season of my adventure novellas (done)
  • Start the second season of my adventure novellas (done)
  • Write at least six stories for the Cafe and keep the Cafe running (done)
  • Edit Druid Wars Book 1 for beta readers (didn't finish, but made good progress)
  • Start writing Druid Wars Book 2 (have decided to put off writing second books in series until I get a book picked up)
  • Do dev edits for Online Dating for Demons (pushed this back a year)
  • Help run Reader Con in October (con was canceled, sad face)
  • Write a blog update every month, even if I have nothing to report (done!)

I had a lot of lofty goals, and while not all of them were 100% completed, I feel really, really good about where I'm at, especially since I battled depression most of last year. I mean, look at what I accomplished.

In 2017, I:
  • Finished editing Towers of Kansas (and sent it to my brother and sister to read)
  • Finished writing the first season of my adventure series
  • Started the second season of my adventure series
  • Did most of the edits on the first book in the Druid Wars series
  • Wrote over 10k words on a new project during NaNoWriMo
  • Wrote a flash fiction for the 24-hour writing contest
  • Wrote six stories for the Confabulator Cafe
  • Wrote over 50k words on Scions of Mythos
  • Won the story-in-a-bag contest at ConQuest
  • Brainstormed nine ideas for short stories and novels
  • Managed the Cafe so that it had at least four stories most months in 2017
  • Sent out 60 queries for book one (and got two partial requests)
  • Wrote blog posts every month this year
  • Beta read two novels for writing group friends
  • Overall, wrote 115,636 words on various projects and spent 101 hours editing
  • And in addition to all of that writing, I also had three different freelance editing clients, where I edited two novels, one novella, and three short stories in an anthology.

I learned a ton about querying and self-publishing. I've developed something of a system for editing, so now I almost enjoy the editing parts more than the writing parts. I completed a full year of tracking my writing and editing habits, so I have a more realistic idea of what I can do in a year. Which means I have a better plan going forward.

No more writing full series all at once. I'll finish up book three of MystWatch then self-publish it, but I need to write more first books and query those. When they get through the querying process with no luck, then I can focus on writing additional books for self-publication, but right now it is frustrating that my best book to date is the second book in a series. 

So I guess what that means is, I'd like to be able to write two books a year: one for querying, and one for self-publication. As long as they aren't massive 125k-word books like the MystWatch books, that should be do-able. I averaged around 115k words a year the last two years, which isn't quite two books, but once I start publishing, I'll buckle down and push that a bit. It's like doing a budget. You have to spend some time analyzing your spending before you can implement spending goals.

My goals aren't as lofty this year, but they're pretty serious. I need to get them done so I can stay on-track. I've been wishy-washy about these projects for awhile, but now it's time to buckle down and do them. And I have a whole year to do them without too many other projects as a distraction.

Here are my goals for 2018:
  • Finish writing Scions of Mythos
  • Send Druid Wars to beta readers, incorporate feedback, and hopefully start querying it this year
  • Edit Online Dating for Demons
  • Write at least four stories for the Confabulator Cafe (and keep it running)
  • Start a brand new project for Nanowrimo
  • Finish the first adventure in season two and start the second adventure for Sally Prescott
  • Volunteer at ConQuest
  • Write at least one blog post a month here.

Those goals are, notably, in order of importance, and the first three are the ones I absolutely must do. The others I will let slide if it comes down to it, but those three are the core of this year. Oh, except for the blog posts here. Those keep me accountable, keep me motivated, and keep me apprised of the big picture. Without the big picture, without looking back to see what I've accomplished on a small and on a large scale, the momentum would peter out and I'd be dead in the water. Even if I have nothing to report, it's still important for me to update this blog.

I also know I will be editing at least a few books from Bottle Cap Publishing. I'm not sure if I'll have any other freelance clients, but BCP should keep me plenty busy outside of my own work. And I will probably have beta reads from my writing group friends, which I always enjoy.

So that's it. Here's to a brand new year of writing, and another few steps closer to getting published.

What a journey it has been.