Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Looking Back at 2018 and Ahead at 2019

For the last few years, I’ve had a spreadsheet with a general idea of what I want to get done for the year and the general time frame in which I think it’s going to get done.

There’s a lot of overlap from year to year–the same projects not really getting done–so I may want to rethink this moving forward.

But, hey! Things got done in 2018, and they were generally useful:

  • I wrote 20K to get to The End on my space dinosaur story first draft (started in 2014)
  • I wrote approximately 10K on the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin
  • I had a story published in an anthology (The Necro-Om-Nom-Nom-Icon) and wrote another one for an anthology that will be released this March
  • I finished the revision on Book 1 of my trilogy (two years in the making, argh)
  • I had a short story published in a magazine in April (Bards and Sages Quarterly) and also had two more published online (here and here)
  • I went through a critique cycle with the beginning of my YA paranormal novel, which will help me streamline it for submission
  • I continued my monthly scifi serial (which should be complete within a few months)
  • I worked on the nonfiction books here on the blog (and we’re on our last one now!)

Plus other, littler things. But it’s not too shabby. I’ve laid a lot of new projects out, so I should be good to go to work on them when I get there.

Of course, getting there is always the issue.

It’s hard to plan out a whole year of projects. Things take longer than you expect them to, or new things pop up, or priorities change, but here’s generally what I’m thinking for 2019.

  • CoHaR II MUST get done. Hopefully by March. That may be a little optimistic. This is a hard one since Siri and I have to work together on it, so I don’t have full control of the time frame, and it’s hard to work on other things around it, because then I have to re-center myself on it every time it’s my turn again.
  • I have a bunch of projects that are in this weird state between revision and publication. There’s Book 1, which I finished a major revision on last year and could, in theory, be submission ready, though I would like some betas to read through it before I act on that. There’s the YA paranormal, which I was submitting, but probably needs some work before I send it out again (the critique process I put it through pointed out that the tone is inconsistent in the beginning). And there’s the space dinosaurs draft, which is pretty good but does need some tweaking. Again, betas will be necessary. All my normal betas are too busy for writing lately so I need to find some new ones.
  • The nonfiction books are almost ready. The outlining one we’re doing right now is the last one. Then I’ve got to consolidate, write the new sections, get betas (Lord), and get them out into the world.
  • I could, in theory, start a new draft of something. Hooray! I have no outstanding unfinished drafts, and it helps to write something new occasionally instead of revising all the time. But then the options, and which to choose.
  • I spent some time in Nov/Dec poking at ideas for children’s books of various levels. While the chapter book ideas need some fleshing out (right now they’re mixes of premise and character without anything really solidifying), I do have three picture books completely outlined that I could get going on.

My thought is that until CoHaR II is out of the way, I’m going to be fairly useless on revision, so I may focus on new things at the beginning of the year (and finding betas) and then do the more brain intensive bits later on. But hey! Plans change. We’ll see.

How did 2018 go for you, squiders? Anything major and awesome planned for 2019?



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Goals, Accomplishments, and Zombie Alpaca

Happy arbitrary division of time, everybody! But a new year feels good, doesn’t it? I feel good, anyway, like there’s a year of possibility out there just waiting for me to take it.

To get things started, look at this awesome mug my sister got me for Christmas.fear them

Ahahahaha. Sometimes she has excellent taste.

(Sometimes.)

The rest of this post is the obligatory reflection of how 2016 went and how I hope 2017 will go. At the beginning of last year I made a spreadsheet of all the things I wanted to do and gave them general time frames for completion.

I only completed two things on the list, but I think that’s a bad reflection of how the year actually went.

  • I revised, edited, published, and marketed City of Hope and Ruin (with help from my intrepid co-writer Siri, of course). That’s no mean feat in of itself, as you guys probably know.
  • I also wrote a near-novella length story for To Rule the Stars and went through the revision process with that. In addition, I did both the print and ebook formatting AND the cover. I’m pretty dang proud of that. (The cover in paperbook form is gorgeous and I regret nothing.)
  • I wrote and published a CoHaR-related short story/prequel which may or may not have made people cry.
  • I wrote several (not sure how much, but probably at least 10K) thousand words on my nonfiction books, both here on the blog and in the books themselves.
  • I redid the book description for Shards and redid the back matter for both it and Hidden Worlds.
  • I’ve done several drafts of my query letter for my YA paranormal novel.
  • I completed the revision prep for the first book of my high fantasy trilogy, which took about six months because it was in a terrible state.
  • I’ve continued to shop short stories to appropriate markets.
  • I’ve also continued to write monthly installments of my stealth scifi serial (say that five times fast), and have also started posting it to Wattpad.

So how does 2017 look?

First of all, I’ve got a short story collection coming out in early February called The Short of It. It will have four previously-published stories and one brand spanking new one. I’m doing final edits on it now, so I’ll let you know more information as it becomes available. I’m going to test out KDP Select with it, so I’ll report back on how that goes.

I’ve also got Shards in a promotion this weekend where it’ll be available for $.99 (It’s normally $3.99). I’m testing some new promotion techniques, and am also interested to see if the new book description (see above) will hatch me any chicks. More information on that later, too. I may post a Saturday post depending on when I get the info from the promo coordinator.

That’s the immediate future. Other plans:

  • My revision of the first trilogy book takes top priority. My mother and sister signed me up for PPWC at the end of April, and if all goes according to plan, I hope to pitch it there. I’ve applied for a session with the acquisitions editor of Del Rey.
  • The next highest priority is the query letter for my YA paranormal. I’d like to start querying it sooner rather than later.
  • I’d like to continue to try out new promotion techniques with both Hidden Worlds and Shards. I didn’t market HW at all when it was released, and Shards suffered from a misleading book description. I feel like they deserve more/better work than I gave them the first time. If you have ideas/want to help, please let me know!
  • I’m going to continue work on my nonfiction book series. The publishing/submitting posts will start back up here next week. I’m also considering moving to a three-times-a-week posting schedule to speed things up.

If all that gets done, I’d like to:

  • Finish the first draft of my space dinosaur scifi adventure novel.
  • Research, outline, and start a steampunk adventure/mystery series.
  • Start a new novel in the Shards!verse.
  • Discuss and perhaps start a sequel to City of Hope and Ruin, or at least work on other stories in the same world.

There’s more odds and ends, but those are the main things.

How did 2016 go for you, squiders? Anything really exciting happen? What are your plans for 2017?

(I know typing this stuff all out is a pain, so feel free to link me to posts and whatnot if you’ve laid it out elsewhere!)

January: Came and Went

Is it just me, or did January seem extra short this year? One minute it’s a brand new year, brimming with possibilities and freedom, and the next it’s snowy, dark February and despite trying to be realistic in my goal planning I am already horribly, terribly behind.

Sure, there were extraneous circumstances. My website (technically websites, since I had to move my editing one as well, though it hadn’t been crashed since October), which we’ve gone over. (Now all moved and still working, thankfully, except I still need to figure out how to fix my stupid theme.) And I’ve been sick all month. First there was the pink eye debacle (two and a half weeks to clear up, all told) and now I’ve had a cold for about as long, with is mostly annoying because I cough myself awake several times throughout the night and can’t take any decent decongestants because of life.

Oh, sleep, how I long for thee.

Oh, well, life happens, and you just have to shrug your shoulders and climb back into the saddle, and other nonsense sayings.

(As a random aside, my sister got bucked off a horse when she was about 12 and did the whole get back on and so forth, but I don’t actually know what her current thoughts on horses are, and she didn’t answer when I called her to find out. We were part of the Westenaires at the time and I don’t know if either of us have done anything with horses since. I know, for me, that it firmly determined that I didn’t actually like horses.)

(I think it probably says something that my favorite horse was a cranky Appaloosa named Smokey that liked to try and bite me when I brushed him and was known for kicking people across the arena when they tried to pick his hooves.)

(ANYWAY.)

I mean, January wasn’t all bad. I wrote half of a nonfiction book and got my short story collection in order with a title, cover, and everything. (I’m just waiting for the final go ahead on that.) I’ve done a fair amount of work on the co-written sekrit project. I submitted two short stories, one of which is still out (and finally got a rejection on a story that’s been out for almost a year and a half). I learned to use a new image processing tool which I can use both in book publishing, and probably here at the blog when I stop being lazy. And I did a ton of freelance work and made a bunch of leads in that direction. So those are the good things.

I did have a lot more planned, though, things that probably wouldn’t take too long if I could just get to them. Mostly marketing things. Poor Shards needs a new book description and to be re-categorized on Amazon. My YA paranormal needs a decent query letter (and probably a Twitter pitch–I’ve been wanting to try out those #PitchMad things and there’s one around Valentine’s). And I’d like to get Hidden Worlds some new reviews, so I need to hunt down some reviewers for that. (Let me know if you’re interested, and I can get you a free review e-copy in the format of your choice.)

Sigh, alas, and all that rot.

It’s no use crying over passed months. It’s February now, and there’s still things to do. And, maybe, I can get some of those dropped January things done around the sekrit project edit. (We’re still waiting on our formal feedback, so if nothing else, this week is kind of free! Though I have tons of edit prep to do.)

How was your January, Squiders? Get anything exciting done?

 

What I’m Thankful For (And What You’re Thankful For)

We’re in that holiday spiral now, squiders. Halloween’s gone and done, Thanksgiving is mere days away (oh no, it is! I’m not ready!), and then from there it’s downhill to Christmas and New Year’s and 2016 and that horrible feeling that yet another year is gone and you didn’t quite get done what you wanted to get done.

And during this time of year, when you realize the end is looming and you have unfinished plans, there’s not much you can do about them. The month-ish between Thanksgiving and Christmas is full of other obligations–cards and presents and wrapping and guests and family–so it seems like you might as well give up and wait til next year.

(Maybe this isn’t an issue if you don’t celebrate Christmas. Let me know!)

Deep breaths, squiders.

I think it’s important, when the holidays are upon us, to take a step back and look at what we’ve done for the year. Maybe our to-do list is still twenty items deep, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t take some important steps.

For example, I didn’t get my nonfiction series done. I’m still not done with this novel draft that’s due to my editor at the beginning of December. And I still don’t have a usable query letter for my YA paranormal novel. Those were my big goals for the year. Do I fail?

No, not really. Because looking at it another way, here’s what I did do:

  • I outlined an entire nonfiction series, wrote a nonfiction book, and came up with related workbooks to go with the series.
  • I edited and polished a 89,000 word YA paranormal novel
  • I’ve taken a ton of marketing classes
  • I got my Patreon up and running
  • I finally got an email list!
  • I wrote 9-10 sections of my serial story
  • Have written most of a co-written novel
  • Worked some on other novels so I don’t forget ideas
  • Completed a fair amount of freelance editing and coaching
  • Blogged here consistency throughout the year
  • Wrote and edited three short stories
  • Took a flash fiction course and wrote five flash stories

So, from that standpoint, things are actually looking pretty good. And I’d bet you, if you sat down and looked at how far you’ve come, you’re not doing too shabbily either.

What are your accomplishments for the year, squiders?

I’d like to promise a landsquid drawing/story for Thursday, but I’ve got people staying here the next few days and I’ve got to host Thanksgiving, so it’s not actually looking too likely. You’ll get them Tuesday if Thursday doesn’t happen.

Looking Forward at 2015

Woo! Does anyone else find the holidays absolutely exhaust them? I look forward to them every year, but by the end, I’m happy to return to the normal routine of everyday life.

So! We’ve got a bright, shiny new year, full of potential! I’m not really a resolution sort of person, and I don’t really even like to plan too far ahead, in case I change my mind, or something happens, or I come across a fantastic idea that needs immediate doing. But I have laid out a vague plan for the year, and am going to try some new things.

General plan for the year:

For my main projects this year, the plan is to switch off between an editing project and a writing project. First up is finishing the edit on my YA paranormal novel, which should be done by the end of the month. Then I plan to finish the first draft of my scifi adventure from Nano. And then, in theory, I’ll do the chainsaw edit on the first book of my high fantasy trilogy. I’m not sure where I’ll go from there–nor am I sure how far through the year that all will take me. Book One needs quite a bit of tweaking, so that could take most of my time.

Marketing and submitting happens co-currently with the above as necessary.

New Things:

I’ve been toying with branching out in some new directions.

  • Nonfiction: I’m looking at putting out some nonfiction ebooks–focusing on writing motivation and process, as well as some speculative fiction studies. Also maybe some formatting and editing books for people who are planning on self-publishing.
  • Serial Fiction: The serial form seems to be making a comeback, especially in digital form, and I’d like to look more into it and maybe give it a try.
  • Comics: I’ve been looking at translating the Landsquid into some sort of more coherent project for a while now, and a comic book/graphic novel format may be what I’m looking for.
  • Audiobooks: I think this would be fun, though I’m not sure I have everything I need to make it happen.
  • Cooperative Writing: I’ve written novels with other people before, but always more for fun and experimentation, but I’d like to approach a couple of people about trying some more serious projects.

So! That’s a busy year. And I’m still going to do short stories and so forth around everything else.

How about you, Squiders? Trying anything fun for 2015? Any major goals?

To Word Count or Not to Word Count

So, after last Thursday’s post I got to thinking. And I realized that word count is a major indicator of progress to me.

And I also realized that this is probably because I didn’t start finishing novel drafts until I started Nanowrimo, and, of course, Nanowrimo is all about quantity over quality, not spending too much time thinking, just doing.

And it made me a little uncomfortable, honestly. I got to wondering whether “real” authors keep track of their progress in word counts. Like, say, does John Scalzi sit down when he starts a draft and calculate how many words he thinks it’ll be? Does he keep track of how many words he’s written in a day, and how many days he will need to write to get to that proscribed number? Does Brandon Sanderson? Did Anne McCaffrey? Isaac Asimov?

Part of me wonders if my writing process has been infected with this concentration on word count, and whether I am a lesser writer because of it.

Of course, most of me realizes it doesn’t really matter, and if keeping track by word count works for me, what do I care what other people do?

But there’s a little bit that whispers, “Maybe you’re so focused on your word count that you don’t let the story flow naturally. Maybe you add too much in, or leave too much out. Maybe your stories would be better if you focused on the progression whether than what your word count is versus where you think it should be.”

And the rest of me worries that that little bit is right.

And if it is? I don’t know how to judge progress without word count. Do I outline the whole thing, and then just judge progress against that?

I feel all befuddled. I mean, I’ve never forced a story to a word count if it wasn’t going to go, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost something of the craft in the way I work.

Do you also write, Squiders? How do you judge your progress in a draft? If you don’t use word count, what do you do? How does it work for you?

ROW80 Goals

So, I’ve been generally aware of A Round of Words in 80 Days for a while. Billing itself as a writing challenge for those who have a life, you’re supposed to set a writing goal and regularly check in, so there’s a level of accountability. It runs fours times a year.

So, Kit, you say, why are you doing ROW80?

Well, squiders, you may remember that around Nano I was waffling about whether or not to participate, since I was working on marketing for Shards‘ release. And I did eventually decide not to play, for my own sanity, and I do think that was the right decision. And, at the time, my good friends Siri Paulson and Erin Zarro were going through the same dilemma (although not, obviously, because of Shards marketing).

So, having all decided that Nano wasn’t going to work for us, we agreed to do a writing challenge slightly later. Say, the beginning of 2014. And it just happened to line up with ROW80 and ROW80 would work for our goals, so here we are.

You’re required to have a blog for the challenge (check) and post your goals (working on, obviously) there. I’ve been kind of ditzing about looking at other people’s goal posts, and they’re really complicated. Multiple projects, multiple steps, writing and editing and researching, oh my. Maybe I going to be doing this wrong. But you know me, squiders. I think having one main and one side project at a time is the best way to roll.

And so, for the first round of ROW80 of 2014, my goal is:

  • Write 50,000 words in the third book of the Ri’shan Trilogy

Tada! That’s it. A single project. It breaks down to a little less than 700 words a day, which is totally doable provided I get my act together, which was not yesterday and may not be today if I don’t get on it.

I mean, sure, I have other writing goals, but they’re little things like working on my serial or submitting short stories. Don’t really seem like they’re worth sticking in the challenge when I’m totally going to do them anyway.

How’s your 2014 thus far, squiders? Any new goals or challenges you’re trying? (Aside from this, I am also doing a 6 day a week, 6 week boot camp challenge at the gym. I am two days in and I both love and hate it.)