Wow, here we are in a whole new year. Choosing watchwords. Taking stock of 2017. Making plans for 2018. So in this accountability thread, I want to look at the big annual picture before I set my January goals. And as for accountability for my December goals? Well, to paraphrase Jeanne paraphrasing Robert Burns, the best laid schemes of mice and writers…you know how it ends.
Say the Word
I struggled with a watchword this year, trying on a few possibilities: focus, dedication, gratitude. None of those are bad, and in fact I do hope to incorporate all of those in practice this year. But none of them felt like a thesis statement for the year ahead. Then while thinking about something entirely different, something I now can’t even recall, I thought about how happy I am when I discover am surprised by the turn a story takes, get to see how other writers create story, or try to decipher how to complete a challenge (mental or physical). I get such joy from the sense of wonder these experiences engender, and I knew that was it, my 2018 watchword: wonder, as in ‘to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe’.
Make a Plan – 2018
First things first. To know where I’m going for the next few years, I have to be honest about where I am as we stand at the dawn of the new year. So I took an inventory of the ‘deliverables’ I hope to complete in the coming year, and assigned completion percentages so I know how far I have to go.
Victorian Romance novella (title still in flux) – 100% drafted, 100% revised, ready for professional editor
VR book 1 (One Kiss From Ruin) – 100% drafted, 50% revised
VR book 2 (Two Scandals Are Better Than One) – 50% drafted (if I stay on track on my current plan for this one, I will have completed the first draft in four months!)
VR books 3-5 – 25% plotted/pre-planned, 0% drafted
Women’s Fiction book (Take the Money and Run) – 50% drafted (have been working with writing coach)
Nordic noir book (aka Nicky O’s story) – 75% plotted/pre-planned, 0% drafted (will work with writing coach)
Website – 80% completed
Newsletter – 10% completed (template identified, plug-in that is supposed to connect to landing pages and website)
Marketing plan – 25% completed (reams of research, rough overall plan for the novella and novel 1, nothing ‘in place’ yet)
OMG, am I insane? I want to finish all the things, right now! The bad news: I can’t do all the things this year. The really bad news: a lot of my time in January is obligated to a client as I finish out the last month (!) of my six-month contract. The good news: I am not doing any non-writing related work for remaining 11 months of 2018. The really good news: I worked with a really amazing coach on the first half of the WF story and wrote 50% of it in less than 3 months. So, with all of this data in mind, my goals, with hard completion dates not yet assigned are:
-Have VR novella, book 1, and book 2 published/ready for publication in 2018 (revision, editing, more revision, line editing, formatting, covers)
-Have website and newsletter running and ready to support launch of the VR series by end of Q1
-Establish marketing plan for VR series by end of Q2
-Finish 1st draft of WF story
If I am able to always be working on a first draft of the next story while getting through revisions/editing/marketing functions for completed drafts, I should be able to start on either book 3 o the VR series OR Nicky’s story sometime in the latter half of the year. I’m going to be honest, that’s a HUGE ‘if’, but let’s be optimists for a minute! If that happens, I’ll have to decide what to write next. My head (and good indie writer business practice) say write the next book in that series asap. My heart says ‘but, Nick!’. I’ll reassess this summer and adapt the plan based on reality at that point in time.
Break It Down – January
1) Finish the damn website. I still haven’t solved landing pages, sign-up links for the newsletter, and making everything work together. Oh yeah, and I’m not sure I like the look of the thing, either. I’ve gotten one more program I’m going to try to see if I can pull it all together, and I’m going to spend one eight-hour day trying to complete this. If it’s still not ready for prime time after all that, it goes to a professional, with the hopes s/he will have it operational within a few months.
2) Finish the revision of book 1 of the Victorian Romance series. I participated in an amazing revision weekend in December, which has helped me look at the story and my revision process with fresh eyes. So while I’m still revising, I’m feeling very happy with the results and hopeful for a clean draft very soon.
3) Turn over the VR novella to a professional editor. I’m narrowed my selection of editors to three, and hope to work through some sample pages with each of them to determine the best fit and hire one of them. And by the time she (all the editors on my short list are women) gets the novella back to me, I should be able to hand over book 1 to her.
If these goals look familiar to you, it’s because they were my goals on the December Accountability Thread. While it might look like bad news that they’ve turned up here again, there is good news, too, as I’ve made progress on every front and light at the end of each of these tunnels (and I’m, like, 90% sure none of those lights are from oncoming trains).
So, onward, upward, and bring on 2018!