Monday, December 31, 2018

The 2018 Wrap Up: What Did We Accomplish This Year?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

New Year’s Eve is a time of reflection, and 2018 was a year full of highs and lows. I published some books, attended a slew of events, and ran myself ragged. My husband and I said goodbye to two cats—one we lost too young to cancer (he was 10) the other to old age (he was 18, but still too young), but we also adopted two kittens who made the losses easier to bear. We tore up our house and our lives and reached a dream we’d been after for a long time (at least halfway—the other half is this year). I spent a lot of time with friends and family, but also forgot to carve out enough time for myself.

Every year, I like to take today and wrap up my year and set some goals for the next. I don’t always meet them, but I do try, and pushing myself a little more every year means I get more accomplished than I would have had I done nothing. I invite you to join me in this look back before we move forward into 2019.

Let’s return to what I’d hoped to accomplish in 2018 and see how I did.
  • Stick to my schedule (which includes the marketing, promotion, and social media stuff I'm terrible at maintaining) Verdict: Success! I did better than I have the last several years, so I’m on a positive trend.
  • Release the new revision book project Verdict: Success!
  • Write and release book two of my urban fantasy series Verdict: Fail! I did start it, but I wasn’t happy with it, so it got set aside until I could figure out how it needed to open. Good news—I think I figure out how to open it just this past week.
  • Write the next writing book Verdict: Fail! I shifted to fiction in 2018, so I let the writing books slide. This was choice more than a failure, though.
  • Finish that YA fantasy and get it off to my agent Verdict: Success! This one is a real accomplishment for me, since this book has had all sorts of issues since I started it.
  • Write the first draft of a sci fi idea my muse of a husband gave me that I'm dying to play with Verdict: Success! I did this one for NaNo, and finished the rough draft in December.
Overall, that’s better than most years, so I’m fairly pleased with how the year went. Let’s look next at what I did this year.

What I accomplished in 2018:
  • Published my urban fantasy Blood Ties
  • Rewrote my young adult fantasy novel and sent it to my agent
  • Completed NaNo and finished the first draft of a science fiction detective novel
  • Repackaged my Revising Your Novel into three smaller “Fixing Your X Problem” guides
  • Attended and taught at nine writers conference and festivals
  • Remodeled the downstairs of my house
  • Built out a new and bigger office for me upstairs
Not bad, and I’m happy with the results. It was a big leap forward in productivity, and if I can take an equal leap in 2019, I’ll be delighted. So let’s wrap up this wrap up with my 2019 goals.

What I hope to accomplish in 2019:
  • Revise the YA fantasy novel based on my agent’s feedback and get it ready for editorial submission
  • Polish the science fiction novel and send it off to my agent
  • Write the first draft of book two of my urban fantasy
  • Write another skill builder writing book (still deciding on the topic—suggestions welcome)
  • Refine my work schedule to see where all my time goes every day
  • Start guest posting again (I did very few last year)
  • Make strides in creating the online classes I’ve been wanting to do for years
  • Remodel the upstairs of my house
  • Don’t work on my vacations of days off
  • Exercise! (Seriously, I really need to do this)
A little ambitious, but if I can get the revisions done on the two manuscripts early in the year, that leaves me a lot of time to write the other books. I’d love to have the revisions done by the end of March so I can do an April Camp NaNo and knock out a draft of the urban fantasy, but realistically, it’s more likely to happen in the July Camp session.

And finally, I always have a few pie-in-the-sky tasks:
  • Write a larger “concept” writing book I’ve been itching to write
  • Write that dang middle grade fantasy I keep shoving to the side
Odds are these won’t happen, but I’ll give it a whirl anyway. I got both tasks done last year, so who knows?

I found a cool thing to organize my time!

Or more accurately, my husband did. The TimeFlip productivity device. It looks like a super easy way to track how long I spend on each task, and will let me see it all charted out. All I have to do is flip the die to the right task.

It seems ridiculously easy to use, so I have high hopes for it. I’ll start using that next week, since this week is a holiday, and I’ll spend Wednesday through Friday just catching up and getting organized after being off for over a week. Next month, I’ll let you guys know how it goes. If it does what I suspect it will, this could be a huge help for a lot of writers.

So that’s my 2018 and goals for 2019. Time to start fresh and let go of all the things I didn’t do, and focus on the things I want to do next.

How did your 2018 go? What are your goals for 2019?

If you're looking for more to improve your craft (or a fun fantasy read), check out one of my writing books or novels:

In-depth studies in my Skill Builders series include Understanding Conflict (And What It Really Means), and Understanding Show Don't Tell (And Really Getting It). My Foundations of Fiction series includes Plotting Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for plotting a novel, and the companion Plotting Your Novel Workbook, and my Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft series, with step-by-step guides to revising a novel. 

Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The Shifter, was chosen for the 2014 list of "Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read" from the Georgia Center for the Book. It was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize (2011), and The Truman Award (2011).

She also writes the Grace Harper urban fantasy series for adults under the name, J.T. Hardy.

She's the founder of Fiction University and has written multiple books on writing, including Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It), Plotting Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, and the Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft series.
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  1. I am going to finish Leilani’s journal and revise it and publish it in 2019 besides doing a story about one of her grandchildren named coralina. Since she is a goddess and a mermaid. Coralina story will be in third person also ya fiction.

  2. A good way to remember exercise (at least, for me) is to remember what it's for. Exercise resets the brain chemistry, which clear your stuffy head, which will make for more clarity of thought, and therefore a better writer.

    1. I need to stick a post-it on my monitor with that. Or at least something that says "Feeling fried? Time to exercise and clear the head!"