Thursday, December 29
Where Did the Time Go? A Year in Review. Kinda.
The Writing Goals
1. Write my spy novel and have it ready to go to my agent by August.
Odds of success: 100% for the writing part, maybe 70% by August. Pass/Fail: The novel is done and currently with my crit group, but it never made it to the agent by August. I don't feel too bad about this one, because I love how the book is developing and we all know that some books just take more time. I also started later on it than I expected to.
2. Write a few short e-books on special writing topics.
Odds of success: 100%. Fail: I have some written on these, but I got distracted by redesigning the blog, which wasn't on the To-Do List. I did that instead of this early in 2011. No regrets there.
3. Do NaNo with an MG fantasy idea I have kicking around.
Odds of success: 50%. Fail: The YA novel took longer so this got pushed back. And I came up with another idea I like a lot better, so who knows when this book will be written.
4. Do a fun blog/NaNo tie-in idea I had last year.
Odds of success: 50%. Fail: Again, I blame the YA novel (grin). Had that been done by August, I would have had the time to do this. I did do a mini-NaNo Week though, so I did the spirit of some of this.
5. Finish a novel called "Creatures" that's almost done and had to be back burnered, and keeps getting back burnered.
Odds of success: 30%. Fail: This was a long shot so I'm not real surprised I didn't get to it. I actually forgot it was even on the list until I wrote this post.
6. Blog Tour!
Odds of success: 90%. Fail: I did do some guest posts but no actual tour. Things were too crazy by the time Darkfall came out.
The Non-Writing Goals
Odds of success: 100% to start, 60% to finish the year. Pass-ish: I did manage to exercise more and get out and about, though this last month with all the holiday travel and craziness I haven't done squat. (or shall I shay squats? har har) But the hubby and I did get bikes, have gone riding, played Frisbee golf and did a lot of work in the yard. We were both more active overall.
2. Balance work, writing, and life better.
Odds of success: 70%. Pass: However, I learned that balancing things better meant cutting things out. I started taking at least one day a week off from writing, shut down for the day at a reasonable "end of work day" hour, cut WAY back on social media, and a little on blogging. I didn't stress as much over not being where I though I would be or doing what I thought I should be doing, (I still stressed, but I'm getting better at not stressing) and I have a much better idea of what matters most to me and where I should spend my time.
3. Read more.
Odds of success: 80%. Pass: I did read more in 2011, which I enjoyed. I also read some new and different genres than my own, which was fun. Some of my faves from the year: Across the Universe, Black Cat (currently reading the sequel Red Glove now), Will Grayson/Will Grayson, Hourglass, Cleopatra's Moon, Married With Zombies (and the sequels, Flip This Zombie, and Eat, Slay, Love). I'm sure I'm forgetting some, especially anything I read early in the year.
4. Get organized.
Odds of success: 70%. Pass: This surprised me more than anyone. I got my closet, kitchen, and garage organized, though I still want to do my office. I'm spending more time writing now than the day job stuff, so it's time to make a few changes to make the writing easier. And it seems the garage needs it again. Holiday decorations never get put back right at the end of the year. My fault of course, but this gives me an excuse to clean out the garage in January.
So what the heck did I accomplish?
A total redesign of the blog started my year, and was a huge success (my monthly numbers now are a tad higher than what my total 2009 numbers were). An update is in the works, but I decided to wait until folks are back from holiday/end of year busyness before talking about that more. (It involves hearing from you guys!)
I wrote a book and stretched my creative muscles by trying something I'd never done before (romance! eek). There's still work to be done, but I'm pretty happy with it so far. It has the potential to be really awesome, which is quite exciting. And terrifying, because it also has the potential to totally suck. But I guess that's true of every new book. I am feeling the pressures of "the next book" though, which makes me second guess every word I write. (that's probably a whole post in itself)
The hubby and I came up with an awesome idea for a reluctant readers middle grade series. This is a market I've been interested in ever since Erin Thomas' guest post here, and one I feel is worth pursing. I get emails from young readers who say they didn't like reading until they read The Shifter, and that's one of the best feelings ever. To be able to reach kids who like stories but don't like reading? Totally awesome.
I visited a lot of schools, met a lot of readers, participated at book festivals/conferences/events. I really enjoyed that and hope to do more in 2012.
I set up and learned how to Skype! Very cool, and I felt like I was talking to NASA. The ways the screen looks, and the slight delay reminded me of the videos the astronauts send back from space. This will make it easier for me to visit non-local schools next year, which I hope to do more of.
I learned how to paint Nerf guns and they looked awesome. More on that later, as there's a fun writing tie-in. (and pictures, you have to see the pictures)
Overall, I realized I've spent way too much time trying to do it all, and frequently spending time doing the wrong things. Between the writing, the blog, and the day job, I essentially have three jobs, all of which demand full-time job attention at various times. Nothing new here for writers, we all wear multiple hats, but it did take me a while to figure out all those hats are not created equal. You gotta prioritize, and when you do, you have to put "me and my family" at the top of that list. If you spend all your time working and worrying about work (be it a job, a blog or writing) you miss out on the things that give you the fuel and passion for that work.
I've been thinking about my 2012 goals, and they'll be a lot more realistic and hopefully doable. I tried to do too much this year and failed at most of it. But that's okay, because I learned from it and the really important things got done. I can see having a few lists for next year--things I want to do, and things that would be nice to do, but are probably not gonna happen. Goals to feel like I accomplished things, and goals to push to do just a little better.
How about you guys? How did you do for you 2011 goals? Ready to make new ones come January 1? (and share some here on my New Year's Day post?)