Nancy: June Accountability Thread

It’s officially June, unofficially summertime, and nearly the midpoint of 2018. Unbelievable, right? While I’m trying to figure out where the hell May went, let’s take a look at all the great things we did this past month and set some new goals (or update some old ones) for the new month.

One of the things I’m trying to do more often this year is appreciate the non-writing parts of my life so I can reintroduce some balance into my world. In May, I visited out-of-state relatives, saw a fantastic opera at the Kennedy Center with my favorite (and coincidentally only) daughter, tried some new kinds of Scotch, and hopped a plane to Boston and then drove into the wilds of Massachusetts to meet up with other writers in person. (In fact, I’m writing this blog post on the plane ride home!) Although that last one was a writers’ retreat and therefore writing related, it also included talking about life stuff, making s’mores around a campfire, and dogs – Maya and Dustin, our unofficial retreat mascots.

For activities over the course of a month, that might not sound like much, but it’s a lot for my introverted soul, and I need a nap just thinking about it! But first, accountability. My progress against plan for May was mixed, but I’m still on track for 2018 overall goals, so as our mentor Jenny Crusie says, nothing but good times ahead.

May Progress

1) Complete the next 20k words of my Women’s Fiction project. DONE and then some! I wrote 32,191 words of the story in May. Perhaps another reason I need a nap.

2) Complete the major threads of my Harrow’s Finest Give novella and novel 1 revisions. Partially done. What was I drinking when I came up with this goal??? I harvested the low-hanging fruit for revising each story, wrote some missing scenes, and I introduced a new and fun (at least to me) element to address a story issue in the novel. But the rest of the revisions are shifting to June, which isn’t a disaster because I told my editor she’d get a second pass at the stories in July. My take-away: set editing goals drunk, manage your editor’s expectations sober.

3) Find a new cover designer, discuss series branding, and get on the designer’s calendar. Mostly done. I’ve chosen the design company, learned their process, and have the paperwork to submit to start the process. I didn’t complete this one, but made enough progress that I should have covers to reveal later this summer. WOOT!

4) Update my website. Nope. I did update the template for GDPR compliance, but honestly, that’s because the template designer did all the work and pushed the update, so I only had to click a few buttons to complete it. The other updates, which will reflect bigger changes in my writing career, have to be completed in June or I’ll fall behind schedule. So stay tuned for my reveal of the website and the reasons behind it later this month.

June Goals

1) Finish the first draft of the Women’s Fiction project. I have approximately 30k words to go, so if I can meet my goal of submitting 20 new pages to my writing coach each week, I’ll be typing ‘The End’ (which we all know is just beginning of the next phase of the writing process) by the last week of June or the first week of July.

2) Finish the romance novella and novel revisions. I have a hard deadline unless I want to email my editor and beg for more time (I do not want to do this). I hate to say it, but sometimes hard deadlines are necessary for me to motivate myself, so I have high hopes for accomplishing this one in June. Who says I’m not an optimist? (Other than my husband. And my daughter. And my friends.)

3) Update the website. Step 1, pull up big girl pants. Step 2, set aside an entire morning or afternoon to do it. Step 3, update the damn site!

4) Prep the partial I have of novel 2 of the HFF series for my coach to review in July. I made a conscious choice to walk away from novel 2 and let it marinate for more time while I completed the WF first draft. But in July, it will move to the front of the writing queue, so it will require a bit of TLC in June.

That’s all I’ve got on my work agenda for the month. If I manage my time a bit better, I really should have no trouble meeting all these goals. And it’s time to get my time management issues under control. After all, I’m entering the fourth month of being a full-time writer. You know you’ll find out how well it all went when I report back next month.

In the meantime, to quote another Crusie-ism, how’s by you? Did you reach any milestones in May? Is the summery June weather (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) inspiring your creativity, or enticing you to take some down time?

7 thoughts on “Nancy: June Accountability Thread

  1. That’s a good question about where the hell May went. I have no idea. Kudos to you for getting so much done, though…that’s fantastic!

    Here’s what I’ve done in May:
    — Decided to self-publish
    — Attended an all-day marketing workshop by Marie Force
    — Established my LLC (me, 99% owner; my sister, 1% owner — we’re a woman-owned business YAY!) and got my Fed tax ID
    — Created my new website, including new author branding (unfortunately, technical glitches are slowing me down from sharing my site with the world) and new emails for (future) readers to communicate with me (yes, I’m giving myself credit for that last one, even though it took all of 10 seconds to set up)
    — Got going with MailChimp integration for newsletter sign-up form
    — Purchased Vellum (for self-pub) and put together my freebie story that I’ll give away for folks who sign up for my newsletter (tweaking still necessary); next is figuring out how to distribute it.
    — Hired an editor and started working on my storyboard (we’re doing a storyboard check before I finish up my MS)
    — Think I found a cover designer; send her what I like and the names of the books so she can start working on mock-ups
    — Came up with titles for all 6 of my books for my historical series, The Beggar’s Club (major reveal coming up on that when I get the book cover done for the first one)
    — Got my kids through the last 4 grueling (for all of us) weeks of school. Summer vay-cay has officially started!

    For June, my work will be light. I’m on vacation for 2 1/2 weeks starting on the 11th, so the only thing I want to get done is really stuff other people are doing…namely 1) get a mock-up of the first cover from my cover designer by the time I get back at the end of the month and 2) get back the comments from my editor on the storyboard so I can troubleshoot/continue writing. Oh, and get my website launched to the world before I leave next Monday (or at least get it so I don’t have a 404 error).

    In looking back, it was a pretty productive month. I’m hoping to get all the marketing hoopla done and storyboard squared away by the end of summer so when the kids go back to school at the beginning of August, it’s pure writing time. (Trying to write with them in the house all the time is…trying. Plus, we’re going back to Maryland to visit family for most of July and I think writing time will be light.)

    • Wow, that is a lot!

      Congratulations on making a decision about indie publishing, and moving forward on all the learning and marketing prep work for it. With romance, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with reasons to go trad. I know, I know, some people will always prefer that, but with so many romance writing friends getting out of trad and into indie because it’s pretty much the same amount of work (so little publisher support for marketing, publicity, and sometimes even editing these days!) for a MUCH smaller piece of the pie. Anyway, welcome to the dark side!

  2. Productive month–yay you! It’s amazing how much more you can get done when it’s your primary focus, isn’t it?

    I have my check-in scheduled for tomorrow, so we’ll leave that for the morning.

    • And yet, there are so many other things vying for my attention. I think the problem is I let so many things go while I was working the day job like a fiend, so I’m playing catch up in almost every area of my life. Also, I’m still trying to teach every person in my life that although I’m ‘home all day’, that doesn’t mean I’m not working. Still, it beats the alternative by a thousand miles!

  3. Congratulations! Sounds like you are moving forward quite well.

    What did I get done in May? Um. Showed an old story to a new set of eyes, and made a promise to show another story to her? I do think I’ve got a lot of revisions to do before I make good on that promise, so that’s for June. Revise and show a story to someone who hasn’t seen it before.

    OH! I found out about Heart’s Kiss! So, another goal for June: check out their submission guidelines, and also the submission guidelines for Uncanny, another short-story market (not romance, though). I’ll also read sample issues and get a better feel for it. Plus, there’s one other magazine/short story market I’ve heard of, but have not written down the name of. So, I’ll at least find out the name for it.

    • I didn’t know about Heart’s Kiss. I recently spent some time with a few SFF writers, and the short story markets there seem pretty strong. Even with strong romantic elements in your stories, I think you might find some crossover there.

      Showing your work to new eyes is always nerve-wracking, so good on ya for doing that!

  4. Pingback: Elizabeth: By Age 35 . . . – Eight Ladies Writing

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