Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The 2014 Recapitulation Post

For the last couple of years, I've been doing recapitulation posts at the end of December. I got the idea from an article in Yoga Journal. These posts are opportunities to go over the goals and objectives I created at the beginning of the year and to determine how far I got in reaching them. This is not a beat-yourself-up opportunity. It's all about time. Assessing what we've achieved during a particular unit of time (say, a year) is useful in helping to plan what we're going to do in another unit of time (say, next year).

Remember, the goals you'll see here are what I wanted to do. The objectives were the actual tasks I planned to do that would lead to achieving the goals. Notice I only had six goals. How hard could it be to do six lousy things?

Goal 1. Finish the revision of The Fletcher Farm Body
  • Continue revising to enhance the brothers' relationship to support the control theme
  • Continue revising to eliminate as much material that doesn't relate to plot, character, or theme as possible
Assessment: I met this goal. I think I met it twice. I believe I did a second revision halfway through the year relating specifically to scenes and chapters. I've revised this thing a lot. It's kind of a blur.

Goal 2. Write a number of short pieces

Possible Objectives:
  • Statics and Dynamics for Writers essay. This was originally a workshop proposal. The proposal wasn't accepted, but the organization running the conference required such an extensive outline that I think I can flip it into an essay.
  • Walking for Writers essay
  • The Northeast Children's Literature Collection essay
  • Promoting eBooks for Traditionally Published Writers essay
  • Relic Hoarding essay
  • Becoming Part of Blog Culture essay
  • The Value in Becoming Part of a Local Writing Community essay
  • Hannah and Brandon short story (held over from last year)
  • Your On-line Friend short story
  • How to Make Friends and Live Longer short story
Assessment: I was dreading assessing this goal, but the results may not be as bad as I thought. I did write the Statics and Dynamics for Writers essay and even submitted it a couple of places, for what good it did me. I also spent way too much time on a piece of flash fiction and wrote a guest post for another blog. I just didn't pick up on many of these possible objectives that I had in mind last year. Quite honestly, I don't even remember what my thinking was regarding the Your On-line Friend short story. I hope I made some notes for that somewhere. Did I meet this goal? Define "number of short pieces."

Goal 3. Complete a draft of the so-called mummy book

  • By February get back up to speed with this project
  • By February start assigning a few 45-minute units a week to this project  
Assessment: I got nine chapters into a draft for this one. Didn't meet the goal, but made progress. And since I'm working on this project again now, I'm feeling warm and fuzzy about it.

Goal 4. Make submissions

  • Submit The Fletcher Farm Body to a specific editor
  • New agent research
  • Research markets for short works
  • Submit short works
Assessment: I did seventeen submissions this year, which wasn't bad for me. This included submitting The Fletcher Farm Body to agents, at least two of whom asked to see more of the project, and submissions of short work to journals. I really went on a submission binge in November. For my efforts I have one guest post coming up next month. I'm going to say this goal was met, though I'd like to spread submissions out more over the course of the year and do less binging.

Goal 5. Continue to work on community building

  • Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar
  • Attend other authors' marketing events
  • Attend a few professional events
  • Prepare a new workshop to offer at libraries and bookstores
  • Try to find a writers' group 
Assessment:  This one I made some real progress on, though not necessarily with the objectives I have here. I didn't make it to any other authors' marketing events or any professional events (that I recall), but I prepared two new presentations, one that was prepared for and given at a library this past summer and one on preparing for NaNoWriMo that I gave at an elementary school in November. I also found and joined an incredible writers' group. I joined the 10-Minute Novelist Facebook group and was invited to join  The Connecticut Women Writers Facebook group. I make use of Google+ communities whenever I can and am kind of into Twitter. Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar continues, so let's call this one done.

Goal 6. Continue marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook

  • Check out the blogs and sites I've been collecting for possible contacts
  • Start researching blogs to contact again
  • Continue the Environmental Book Club at Original Content whenever possible
  • Get trailer up at Twitter page
  • Consider a price reduction for a limited time and promoting same
  • Consider pulling eBook from Barnes & Noble and Kobo to take advantage of Kindle marketing for books exclusive to that company
Assessment:  Well, I hit all but the last objective. My blog contacts resulted in coverage for Saving the Planet & Stuff at Connecticut GreenScene and Reduce Footprints. There's a possibility of a third blog giving it some attention. I'm using Twitter to network with environmental groups. And I ended up making two appearances this summer that were all about promoting STP&S. So while there isn't a lot of movement with this book, I'm going to call this goal met, too.

An Overall Assessment Of My Year

I did a lot but not that much generating of new work. I struggled with time early in the year because of health issues, then I had an opportunity to make an appearance that required a lot of preparation. And then I had another. And then a workshop I proposed got picked up, so I had to actually plan and prepare it. Those appearances could lead to more work, but they still took time away from writing. I was on vacation for nearly three weeks in September. I came up with a few ideas that could lead to writing in the future, but I wasn't writing while I was on the road.

This assessment of how I spent my time last year will have an impact on the plans I make next week for how I spend my time next year.

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