Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Time Management Tuesday: The 2015 Recapitulation Post

Before I start planning goals and objectives for a new year, I like to assess how I did with the ones I had for the past year. I want to know what went well and what I could have done better because that information should have an impact on the goals and objectives I create for the next year.

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. 
ASSESSMENT: Well done, Gail. I completed a draft and am within pages, as I write this, of completing the second draft.

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 
ASSESSMENT: Oh, dear. I was going to set aside a few days a month to do this? Not even close. I do recall picking a few pieces to work on. I do not remember what they were. I'm also quite certain I wrote up one of those pieces I selected. That's right, I don't remember what it was. I know I did a new, quick essay this summer. That went nowhere.

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
ASSESSMENT: Wow. Those were some really good objectives. The only ones I formally met were the first and last ones. I have a folder in my journal with agent names and attended an agent program last month. Otherwise, I made five manuscript submissions and two workshop submissions.

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.
ASSESSMENT: This one I did much better with. The CCLC is a monthly feature here, and we got the newsletter going this year. I did attend that program in March. I've been busy on Twitter and even started using Tweetdeck. Since dropping the Facebook Author page, I've been far more active on Goodreads. And I like to think I'm becoming a more experienced writers' group member, if not a better one. I did let the 10-Minute Novelists group go, though. Too much activity there. I also attended a number of author presentations.

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. 
ASSESSMENT: Ouch. Except for maintaining a Twitter presence and keeping up (somewhat) the Environmental Book Club, I've let this one go.

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.


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.


Anonymous said...

Three cheers for "writers group" goals! :)

Gail Gauthier said...

Yeah, that worked. One of the higher points of my professional year.

Lindsey McDivitt at A is for Aging said...

Nice to see your Kidlitosphere reintro Gail! I'm going to check out your Environmental Book Club now--love that idea. Best of luck with your 2016 goals!!

Gail Gauthier said...

Lindsey, I think I've heard of your blog before. I'm always interested in blogs that have a very specific focus.