So here's what I planned to do this year and how well I carried out those plans.
Goal 1. Generate New Work: Complete a draft of the so-called mummy book
- Commit the bulk of each week's work to this project for the first quarter of the year.
- Revise the first nine chapters that I completed last year in order to bring myself up to speed with this project.
- Plan scenes and chapters ahead in order to speed up the work and make it generally easier.
- Plan scenes around action, character, theme, revealing new information, and moving story forward.
- Bring pages of this project to my monthly writers' group.
Goal 2. Generate New Work: Complete two to three short pieces
- Set aside a few days a month specifically for this type of writing
- January--Go through files and journals and pick a few pieces to work on
Goal 3. Generate New Work: Do another revision of adult Becoming Greg and Emma
- Shoot for starting this in June. A summer unit.
Goal 4. Make submissions
- Submit The Fletcher Farm Body to a specific editor by the end of January.
- Commit a few units of time every Friday (limiting this kind of work to Fridays) to researching short story/essay markets.
- Maintain a Friday Marketing Research file in journal to speed up work on preceding objective.
- Submit a short work every month to avoid binge research/submissions. (Binging takes time away from writing and requires a big effort to bring myself back up to speed with the writing projects I've put aside in order to binge.)
- Follow short story writers and essayists on Twitter to note where they are publishing.
- Begin agent search for Becoming Greg and Emma
Goal 5. Continue to work on community building
- Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar
- Get Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar newsletter going by March.
- Attend Marketing Your Brand (NESCBWI) program on March 7.
- As part of Friday promotional work, find new ways to promote workshops I offer. (I try to limit promo work to Fridays.)
- Continue activities with 10-Minute Novelists groups
- Continue building Twitter presence.
- Now that the Facebook Author page is gone, be more proactive with blog, content and promotion.
- Improve my skills as writers' group member.
Goal 6. Continue marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook
- Use Twitter to make a presence for myself with groups with environmental interests.
- Continue the Environmental Book Club whenever possible.
- Look into taking book down from Barnes & Noble and Kobo to take advantage of Kindle. marketing for books exclusive to that company.
- Look into the expense involved with printing a paper edition. (This would involved negotiating with the cover artist, since our contract only involves a digital edition.)
- Check out 10 Tips for Selling Your Book on Amazon
- Contact more bloggers/sites for promotional opportunities when appropriate.
Goal 7. General Marketing/Branding
Last summer I added this goal, mainly because I was spending time on things like blogging, tweeting, and Google+, which I felt was a legitimate use of time. But if it was a legitimate use of time, I ought to have a goal for it.
ASSESSMENT For The Year
I was only successful with The Mummy Hunters, community building, and general marketing/branding. I was weak on writing and submitting. This is a classic writer problem these days--writers have trouble balancing marketing/keeping their names out in front of the world with actual production so that they have a reason for marketing/keeping their names out in front of the world. I should have known better. What went wrong for me?
- I had big impulse control problems, which I described earlier this month.
- I didn't do quarterly check-ins with my goals, check-ins that required me to really concentrate on them, because I was doing weekly check-ins. So long as I could see that I had been working on any goals, I was satisfied. I wasn't paying enough attention to realize that I wasn't working on some goals at all.
- Personal Life: More family events. I ran two parties for big birthdays, a rehearsal dinner, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I am not a quick, calm host. A holiday meal usually means a couple of days of work for me.
- Personal Life: More travel. Altogether, I spent more than a month traveling this year. That did generate blog material, and I do professional reading during those periods. But I'm not generating new work.
Yes, things will be different next year. Next week, I'll discuss how I hope to make that happen.