It’s now February. Of 2018. February 2018. I need to sit with that for a minute, because I really can’t believe January 2018 has headed for the exits. But here we are, on the first Monday of a new month, and you know what that means: it’s accountability time, people!
As I prepared today’s accountability post, I scrolled back through previous posts on this thread, and realized I just started doing the First Monday accountability posts in June 2017. I recently heard the past year described as feeling as though we lived it like dog years – that 2017 felt like seven long years. So maybe it’s no surprise I thought I’d been tracking my accountability for well over a year, but nope, this is only the ninth time I’ve shared my monthly goals.
Perhaps a bit more discouraging, though, was rereading my post from a year ago, in February 2017. That post was all about changes I was making in multiple areas of my life. I’m sad to report that in some of those areas, I took a step forward and two steps back (for example, the professional changes re: the day job – but more on that in a future post). And when it comes to writing, the goals I was setting a year ago are eerily similar to those I’m setting today, including that fact that I’m still working on the kickoff novella and book 1 of my romance series. BUT – and this is important – I actually did make some amazing progress. I did an extensive study course with Lisa Cron, after which I planned and wrote a big chunk of and worked with a coach on my women’s fiction book. I continued discovering Nicky O’s world (future Nordic Noir book), also using Lisa’s theory of ‘the third rail’ in story, which forces us to dive deep into a character’s life and connect with the emotions driving every decision and action the character takes.
Which brings me back to the novella and book 1. After all I learned in the first half of 2017, I went back to those books and starting tearing them apart and rebuilding them. I firmly believe I’m a better writer today than I was just a year ago, and my stories will be stronger for taking all this extra time – so much extra time – to deepen the emotional impact of them. And so, with that in mind, I give you my January progress and February goals. And yes, I’m still working on goals associated with the long-completed but oft-revised novella and novel.
January Goals with Outcomes
I was going to list the goals I laid out in last month’s post, but when I realized I’d made progress toward each goal but hadn’t completed any of them, I decided just to report that: no goals completed in January. There are Reasons. (Aren’t there always!) My time for much of the month of January turned out not to be my own. Life threw down challenges. I had to shift my priorities. Shit happened, as it so often does.
There is a silver lining, though. As I mentioned in my January 15 blog post, I laid out a release schedule for my Victorian Romance series, then worked backwards for each book so I’d know when I’d have to finish the first draft/subsequent revisions for each one. While things will get tight during the second half of this year, I’m actually doing fine (better than fine!) for meeting the release plan for the first few books. Cue chorus of angels.
And now, onward and upward with a plan for February that might actually keep me on track.
1) Finish the damn website. TBH, I didn’t even look at the damn website in January, except to pop over there early last week and realize that my host has made my ‘new’, nonfunctional site live. Which is NOT supposed to be the case. Grrrr. So, while fighting with tech support on that front, I’ll also have to buckle down and try the one last thing in my arsenal that might fix landing page and newsletter sign-up capabilities on my site. And I’ve engaged a person – a live person whom I actually know IRL! – to step in if I can’t solve it really soon.
(If I may offer one piece of assvice to all non-techie writers out there: DO NOT believe anyone who tells you that you, too, can build your own website with bells and whistles and landing pages. Be more like Jeanne, less like Nancy. Hire a professional from the beginning.)
2) Finish the revision of book 1 of the Victorian Romance series. I actually did finish a revision, it’s just not the revision. I’m up to my eyeballs in round 2 of the complete, deep-dive revision. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a also a round 3. Regardless, I’d like to have this into the hands of my gadfly reader (will read all the books of the series for me) by the end of Feb, then turn it over to an editor in March.
3) Turn over the VR novella to a professional editor. I coulda shoulda woulda done this in January, but with so much other stuff going on, it just felt overwhelming to arrange the sample pages submission and then go through comments to determine the best fit with an editor. And besides, I made teeny, tiny, subtle changes in the novella as stuff came up in the book 1 revisions. Because of this, I actually don’t regret sending this to an editor last month. Serendipity!
So, let’s talk about you. Did your January go better than mine? Any progress you’d like to share? Do you need a hug to help you move past January and embrace a new, hopeful attitude for February?