2020 Goals

Just like everyone else this time of year, I’m setting my resolutions for 2020. It’s not enough to have dreams: to make them a reality, you have to have a plan. I’ve broken out categories that make sense to me.

Books

My top goal for writing this year is to match last year’s output: 4 books for 2020. I think this is achievable: the first book (Bonds of Iron) is two-thirds written, and what remains is completing the book, then all the editing/beta/formatting/marketing. I also have a concept for a cover but nothing mocked up.

I also have solid plots for the next 3 books in the series, a sequel to Dark Empire that I really need to finish (60,000+ words in!), a new series that I have in mind, and several standalone novels I’d love to write.

Of course, actually advertising these books effectively so they bring in some income is also a pretty important component of this goal. I’m investigating AMS ads as my next step.

Blog

I’m on track to write two blog posts a month. If I can do this consistently with content that I find really interesting (and hopefully you do, too!) I’ll look at increasing the frequency.

First up is a series in advance of Valentine’s Day… Stay tuned.

Newsletter

I need a new approach to writing newsletters…and I need to send them out with some regularity, too—at least monthly, but that doesn’t really help people know who is actually sending them a newsletter. If I can generate some good free content that I can give away to subscribers, that would give me a focal point for adding value to people’s inboxes. I’m going to focus on this goal starting in the second half of the year.

Personal

What would a New Year’s resolutions list be without some fitness goals? I’ve got a few inches left to lose. I’m already on Day 6 of a new 30-day HIIT/body weight challenge, and I’ve been working out consistently since I left my corporate job. I’m trying to remember that pounds matter less than inches, but getting on a scale is my default response to monitoring my fitness. I’ve got a pretty good collection of workout videos that I’m pretty good about following, and of course there’s a great variety always available on YouTube.

I don’t usually bother with resolutions for things that I already do that are habits: personal reading (follow my personal Goodreads challenge!), my language lessons (befriend me on DuoLingo!), or things I do just for fun, like drawing.

So why share my 2020 resolutions here? Accountability begins with writing down the goals and sharing them here on the blog. I’ll check in quarterly with progress updates.

A Look Back at 2019

Another year gone by so quickly! 2019 definitely came with its ups and downs and its life changes. 

Books

After the thrill of having a short story selected for Atthis Arts’ anthology, “Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove,” I also published three novels in the Sea Deception series:

  • Sea Dreams
  • Sea Rivals
  • Sea Memories

I started the next book in the series, and I made some decent progress despite some plot hiccups. I am considering rebranding the three books in the Sea Deception series as the direction of the next books doesn’t really work with that series title. I’m about two-thirds done with the first draft of Bonds of Iron, and I have solid plans for another four books in the series.

While I didn’t get through NaNoWriMo with the word count I wanted, we had a lot of travel and family medical stuff going on that made November a difficult month to expect consistent results. However, any new words are better than none. Can’t edit a blank page, after all.

Blog

While I may not post as frequently as you might like, I wanted to consistently build up to twice a month before trying a greater frequency and falling short. I’m working on an editorial calendar to help me spread out different topics systematically instead of randomly, as has been my past MO.

Of course, I’ll still be writing Word Wednesdays, Saturday Snippets, and Why Engineers Shouldn’t Watch TV in addition to my random thought posts and writing updates. I’m also looking at adding a focus for the supernatural characters I write about (“Monstrous Mondays,” anyone?), but I’m open to suggestions of what you find interesting.

Other Stuff

As I’ve previously discussed, I left my corporate job to support the family small business full time. I’m still getting into the groove of this new role. Since you’re home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of either never ending your day or of spending too much time on stuff that needs to be done at home. What it’s definitely shown me is that I need to carve out appropriate time for writing that doesn’t interfere with what’s actually income-bearing.

Long-term, I think the choice to leave when I did will pay off in large dividends. We’ve already benefited from the flexibility in my time after dealing with the family medical portion of our year. Trying to scramble for childcare at the eleventh hour while also trying to meet end-of-year goals on a demanding project without adequate resources sounds like a recipe for a high-stress failure.

This picture also seems apropos—the expression on her face is at once annoyed, severe, and smoldering. It seems fitting to look back on the year knowing that I accomplished more than I expected yet not as much as I wished to.