Goals for 2019

And just like that, we’re in a new year.

I’m kind of at a crossroads this year, as I’ve alluded to in previous posts. Writing a book takes up so much time, and there are so many projects in the wings that I would like to be working on. Just off the top of my head I can think of three or four books that I have partially outlined and begun research on. Only one of those will get written this year, if I’m lucky. I don’t have any specific contractual obligations to guide me as to which one I should pick.

Last year I wrote two novellas and rewrote part of a novel. You can estimate that I probably wrote about 60-75 thousand words in that process, not counting my blog time, etc. That is barely a book. Really in speculative fiction I need about 90,000 words to make a book, at least. So you can see, easily, that writing a book is a minimum of a one year commitment. That’s assuming I work on nothing else, which is not how writing works. There’s still editing and submissions and everything else.

So, with all that said, I wanted to be very intentional about my goals this year. 

1. Focus on my edits and submissions

I have written a lot of stuff, and some of it is very good, and some of it I have self-published. But I have realized after five years as a self-published author that my writing speed and my lifestyle mean that I’m probably better suited to being a traditionally published author, or at least a mix of the two. I can’t keep writing things and not putting them out there, not trying to move towards that eventual goal. So while I will be writing new work this year, my number one goal will be to improve some of my existing stories and submit them to agents and publishers and magazines. Accordingly, I want to accrue fifty rejections or an acceptance by the end of the year. That’s a little under one per week, so I’m going to have to work hard.

2. Give myself permission to work on something new

There is nothing more frustrating than having to pick from amongst these ideas clamoring in my head. I want the time to do them all. I want to be able to write you so many books, so many worlds. But I only have so much time – a few hours of the week that I snatch greedily for my work. That’s all I have.

So this year I am going to pick the story that’s been shouting the loudest, and go for it. I’m not going to think about the market or if I can sell it. I’m just going to do it. I’m going to write the story I hope I can get out before I die, every time. After that, we’ll see. So my goal is to have a new project picked out soon. Once that happens, I hope to write 30,000 words on it before the end of the year.

3. Continue my Patreon

For self-publishing projects, I have my Patreon, and I plan to keep that up. It’s been a somewhat stable source of income, unlike most of my other work, and I would like to see it grow. Unfortunately, there’s little I can do to control the growth of pledges besides talking about my Patreon, so the goal here is to talk about my Patreon projects regularly. This means at least once a week there should be something up on Twitter or Instagram about Patreon. I’m already doing some of this, so the goal will be to keep it up.

Final Thoughts

This year already feels like a trust-fall exercise. Accordingly, I’m going to reassess these goals a few months in and see how I feel. If things feel comfortable, or the right kind of scary, I’ll leave things where they are. But if I feel like I need more definition, I’ll address it then. You may see me in April totally redefining everything here. I give myself permission to do that, if that’s what is needed.

I want to keep making lovely stories for you, but I also want to write for myself. And that means I have some hard choices I need to make about where I see myself. Thanks in advance for supporting me in this process.


New Year’s Recap

It’s that time of year! Let’s see how I’ve done on my New Year’s Resolutions.

Last year’s resolutions were:

  • Finish Daughter of Madness.
  • Finish APM.
  • Successfully attend Futurescapes.
  • Successfully attend my planned events, RAI and MystiCon.
  • Figure out my next novel project and start on it.
  • Be better at not over-committing myself, and on following through.
  • Keep up with my short story craft.

I think overall I’ve done pretty well with all of these. Daughter of Madness is published. I drafted APM and took it to Futurescapes to workshop, which was a blast. I made it to Roanoke Author Invasion and had one of my best years there, and attended MystiCon as well. And I have continued to write and edit short stories, though I’m a little behind on some of my work there.

As for my next novel project, I’ve been working on research and outlines for a couple of ideas. I’m not really sure what I’m doing yet, and more on that next week, but I did finish a whole other novella after APM for my Patreon subscribers. The Patreon is a huge win this year, in my opinion, though I am excited for it to continue to grow. I didn’t have any specific resolutions regarding it, so everything has been extra credit, as it were.

As for not over-committing myself…this is a thing I am still working on. I don’t think that I will ever be totally free of the impulse to add to my plate on projects. But I’ve been a little less frantic in the latter half of this year, trying to take the time to recharge. I’ve also been working on figuring out what I actually want from my writing career. That navel-gazing will probably continue going forward, but I’m hopeful that it will be valuable time spent prioritizing my efforts, and that those priorities will help guide me in balancing the many aspects of my life.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me this year. Here’s to the end of 2018!


Happy New Year!

December is come

It is the end of the year.

Jeez, that’s intimidating. The end of the year. We’ve got not a lot of time to get caught up with our writing progress and start thinking about next year’s goals. Also it’s the time of year when the “Best of” lists are coming out, which means I need to get my thinking cap on and review some of the magical worlds I’ve experienced this year. Look for my own best of list in the next week.

But first, let’s look at what has been accomplished this year. I’ve written a minimum of 60,000 new words of fiction this year, as well as all of my weekly blog posts at about 1,000 words a week. I know I’ve been productive. But have I met the goals I set out to meet? Let’s take a look.

  • To make this marriage thing stick. To get the wedding plans planned and then let it go to be what it will be. To continue to remember that relationships are work and require cherishing just like any other small, precious, hopeful thing. Remember that time I got married? I did that. It was awesome. It’s like getting to know one another again right now in some ways. So much of our lives were on hold for the wedding, and now there’s free brain-power to figure out what’s next. But I think we’re doing pretty well with it, so I’m marking this one off. And I did this, and yea it was done, and it was good.
  • To find us a home and plant it with flowers and fruit and all good things. To experiment with growing sweet potatoes and lemon trees and mangoes, because I can. Okay, the only part of this I’ve done so far is the sweet potatoes. I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE, HOUSE!  We’ve got a house! And I live in it! We need to do a lot of landscaping. And I planted some sweet potatoes, but I need to harvest them now that the frost has killed them. Success!
  • To attend all these conferences I’ve signed up for, and most especially to make it to WFC in San Antonio in October. Selfishly, I’m most excited about seeing my family there, but also super jazzed about Martha Wells being the head honcho for this go-round. I survived many of the conferences, and just remembered I still haven’t made reservations for WFC. Oops?  I did it! I so much did it! Wow that was an awesome accomplishment, actually.
  • To finish Daughter of Madness and get it to my readers, sometime this year, no matter that I’m behind. To not feel guilty about that behind-ness. To give you an outline of next steps with this, I need to: finish the rough draft, send it to beta readers and/or an editor for a look, and then do second rewrites as well as deep line edits. I’m also in the process of doing the cover design which will hopefully be finalized this month sometime, so be looking for that! (I am focusing on being excited, so excited, to bring this book to you and not intimidated by all the to do’s that still need doing.) Marking off half of this, which seems appropriate considering the timing. Check out my post from last week for more updates! Okay so, I’ve got a whole separate post on this you’ll get soon. Suffice to say that things are moving. And it is good.
  • To re-issue Child of Brii, taking it back to my original vision for it, before I got caught up in word counts and mess. I sort of did this. The book is back out there, anyway. I feel pretty okay about that. Did I mention I also made a print book of this? 
  • To start something new – either the last Creation Saga book, which I’ve honestly already got about 10,000 words of from cuts from Daughter of Madness, or the Child of Brii prequel I’ve got planned, or maybe both. Ideally I’d get the roughs for both finished this year but realistically it’s probably one or the other. And maybe… Eek, I have not done any of this. Okay so this one is complicated. I am mentally drafting the 3rd Creation Saga book, title TBA around the release of Daughter of Madness, but I can’t really strike it.
  • To start something entirely new – it might happen anyway if I’m being honest, because I’m excited about a great many projects right now. There are octopuses and mermaids and werewolves and princesses and warriors all begging for my attention at the moment, so you’ll know as soon as I do what I pick up next. Marking this off, but don’t consider it over. There’s more new stuff longing for passage through my pen. Yeah, about that more new stuff. I started a new book, and it was neither octopuses nor mermaids to my surprise….but witches. You’ll hear more when it’s time, but I am so excited about this project.
  • To put honest work into querying a project that I have previously referred to as ‘The Zombie Book’. This requires putting together a synopsis, since that’s the last element I’m missing, and updating my agents list for queries. I’d also like to finish the spin-off story from that novel, and hopefully find it a home, or maybe hold onto it until it’s time. I did this part, at least. And it was fun times, my friends. Now to do the rest. I have not gotten much farther on this, but I want to. Mostly DoM rewrites have really bogged down the time I can healthily spend not writing. That and moving. I did accidentally query a whole other project through PitMad, but that didn’t end up going anywhere even though it helped me to clarify some issues with that project.
  • To love and care for those important to me. To visit my brother finally, and to make time to travel with my soon-to-be husbandOh, we traveled. Did we travel. And more to come! And my brother is still cool, and we had many awesome drinks and foods.
  • To never stop believing in myself and my work. To continue to try to find homes for my short stories. To write new ones, as the mood takes me. To write for the sake of writing. This is an ongoing goal, especially the last bit. And it is a hard thing to do, every day. But I love writing, friends.
  • To take care of myself. To make sure I eat well and exercise, which is hard, and that I get enough sleep, which is easier but still doesn’t always happen. To climb some more mountains, and float some more rivers, and spend some time under the stars. I can’t mark this off because I want to do more of it! I climbed so many mountains! Also taking aerial silks has been a great way to meet my fitness goals.
  • To fear less and try harder. Basically, this is an ongoing life lesson, and I’m not afraid to work on it forever.

Man, this was such a huge year. So much got done, and if there are a lot of things that didn’t get done, well, my goals were pretty ambitious honestly. Now it’s time to meditate on what I hope for the future, and come up with a new list for next year!


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2017: Looking forward

It’s a new year – indeed, it’s been a new year for about a week now. That newness has a lot of worry and strangeness caught up in it for me and mine, but also a lot of excitement and forward-looking hopefulness. There is the prospect of marriage, of maybe moving, of traveling. There is no doubt to me that 2017 will be a time of upheaval, much as 2016 was. Not all of those upheavals will be bad – some will be wonderful. But this will not be a year of placid waters, in all probability, anymore than 2016 was.

In 2016, I got engaged. I moved up in my day job. I published an audiobook, which was a weird and edifying experience. I mostly wrote a first draft, though I’m not quite done yet, and finished a few short stories. I read so many books that I’m a little baffled at how I found the time, and grew a whole mess of tomatoes successfully for the first time. I became a cat-mom, which has been incredibly rewarding. Mostly, though, 2016 has felt like paddling upstream, like fighting a current. In the last slow weeks of it, I found some peace with that. I’m ready to float downriver.

I grew up on a river that’s renowned, in places, for its rafting. I’ve canoed or kayaked it often, waded, swam, and generally frolicked in the at times treacherous waters.One of the keys to successfully navigating white water, in my experience, is to know where you are going, and to aim to go where the flow takes you. It is so important to have goals in this new year, so important to look forward – down the river, not back up it. To keep your eye on your destination, even knowing you might get shunted off to the side. You might scrape rocks, you may miscalculate. But the water will carry you down the river regardless, and as long as you know where you are going you can regroup. Don’t get thrown from your boat. If you do, float as far as you can. It’s not without its perils, navigating troubled waters, but it can be done with resolve and skill and a vision.

So, enough with fighting the river. I’ll look at where it’s taking me, and enjoy the ride.

These are my goals for the year of 2017. They’re a mix of personal and writing goals. I look forward to being able to tell you all about them in the coming months.

  1. To make this marriage thing stick. To get the wedding plans planned and then let it go to be what it will be. To continue to remember that relationships are work and require cherishing just like any other small, precious, hopeful thing.
  2. To find us a home and plant it with flowers and fruit and all good things. To experiment with growing sweet potatoes and lemon trees and mangoes, because I can.
  3. To attend all these conferences I’ve signed up for, and most especially to make it to WFC in San Antonio in October. Selfishly, I’m most excited about seeing my family there, but also super jazzed about Martha Wells being the head honcho for this go-round.
  4. To finish Daughter of Madness and get it to my readers, sometime this year, no matter that I’m behind. To not feel guilty about that behind-ness. To give you an outline of next steps with this, I need to: finish the rough draft, send it to beta readers and/or an editor for a look, and then do second rewrites as well as deep line edits. I’m also in the process of doing the cover design which will hopefully be finalized this month sometime, so be looking for that! (I am focusing on being excited, so excited, to bring this book to you and not intimidated by all the to do’s that still need doing.)
  5. To re-issue Child of Brii, taking it back to my original vision for it, before I got caught up in word counts and mess.
  6. To start something new – either the last Creation Saga book, which I’ve honestly already got about 10,000 words of from cuts from Daughter of Madness, or the Child of Brii prequel I’ve got planned, or maybe both. Ideally I’d get the roughs for both finished this year but realistically it’s probably one or the other. And maybe…
  7. To start something entirely new – it might happen anyway if I’m being honest, because I’m excited about a great many projects right now. There are octopuses and mermaids and werewolves and princesses and warriors all begging for my attention at the moment, so you’ll know as soon as I do what I pick up next.
  8. To put honest work into querying a project that I have previously referred to as ‘The Zombie Book’. This requires putting together a synopsis, since that’s the last element I’m missing, and updating my agents list for queries. I’d also like to finish the spin-off story from that novel, and hopefully find it a home, or maybe hold onto it until it’s time.
  9. To love and care for those important to me. To visit my brother finally, and to make time to travel with my soon-to-be husband.
  10. To never stop believing in myself and my work. To continue to try to find homes for my short stories. To write new ones, as the mood takes me. To write for the sake of writing.
  11. To take care of myself. To make sure I eat well and exercise, which is hard, and that I get enough sleep, which is easier but still doesn’t always happen. To climb some more mountains, and float some more rivers, and spend some time under the stars.
  12. To fear less and try harder.

It’s a hefty list. No doubt I will struggle with it at times. But I think it’s doable for the new year. I’m not worried about losing my seat in my boat, or rather, I can worry about it. But it won’t affect my resolve.

It’s 2017, folks. Put those paddles in the water, because here we go.

new-river-north-carolina1
Photo from Abingdon Outdoors.

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