Monday, December 30, 2019

What Did We Accomplish This Year? The 2019 End of Year Wrap Up

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to look back on what we accomplished, and set new goals for 2020.

2019 was a better year for me, with life settling down some and no emotional trauma to deal with. It was also the busiest year I've ever had, and I traveled a lot. Our home grew by one (a family member moved in with us), the kittens have grown into sweet cats, and we saw family and friends more often than we have in the past. It was a good year, if a hectic one.

I’m a goal-focused person, and the end of the year is always a great time to reflect on what I managed to do over the year, as well as decide what I’d like to do for the coming year. I’m also an optimist, so I tend to have way too many goals (and a few failures from the previous year), but that’s okay. I’d rather push myself a little than not get as much done. The trick though, is finding that balance between pushing and setting too-high expectations. I’m still working on that. Hmm…maybe a goal for this year?

Let’s return to what I’d hoped to accomplish in 2019 and see how I did.
  • Revise the YA fantasy novel based on my agent’s feedback and get it ready for editorial submission Verdict: Fail-ish! After discussions with my agent, I decided this is a project better suited to the adult market, and that requires another extensive revision. I’m not ready to spend more time on this story at this time.
  • Polish the science fiction novel and send it off to my agent Verdict: Success! It goes to my agent on January 13, so I’m counting this as a win.
  • Write the first draft of book two of my urban fantasy Verdict: Fail! I set this one aside to work on other projects. 
  • Write another skill builder writing book Verdict: Fail! Though I did shift my focus to the online workshops, which took the time that would have gone to this. 
  • Refine my work schedule to see where all my time goes every day Verdict: Success! I figured out a schedule and system that really worked and I was a lot more productive because of it. It happened at the end of the year, so I’m looking forward to starting 2020 with it. 
  • Start guest posting again Verdict: Success! I did a fair number in 2019, and hope to do more in 2020.
  • Make strides in creating the online classes I’ve been wanting to do for years Verdict: Success! I’ll be ready to launch this in the spring, and I’m excited about it.
  • Remodel the upstairs of my house Verdict: Success! It’s been two years, but the remodel is pretty much done. Still a few small touch up things to do after the holidays, but nothing major. 
  • Don’t work on my vacations or days off Verdict: Success! This one was really hard, but I was able to shut down my computer and not work during most of my time-off time. 
  • Exercise! Verdict: Success-ish! I did succeed, but not until August. Since then I’ve been walking every day and plan to expand that in 2020. 

And for my pie-in-the-sky tasks:
  • Write a larger “concept” writing book I’ve been itching to write Verdict: Fail! I figured this would happen, and it did. Maybe next year, but I suspect not.
  • Write that dang middle grade fantasy I keep shoving to the side Verdict: Success-ish! I started it, and I’m a third of the way through the first draft. I imagine this will be ready for beta readers around May at my current writing pace.
Overall, four fails in all those goals is pretty good. And a few of those successes are fairly large, such as the science fiction novel and the online workshops. I’m pleased. Let’s look next at what I did this year.

What I accomplished in 2019:
  • Finished my science fiction detective novel
  • Wrote a third of a new middle grade fantasy novel
  • Found an amazing critique group (hence the success with the MG novel)Presented at thirteen writer events (where I taught nineteen workshops—maybe a few more. I feel like I forgot a few intensives)
  • Remodeled the upstairs of my house
  • Created the bulk of my online workshop launch material
  • Got organized in my new office and created a solid working schedule and system
  • Did some groundwork for a few new writing book projects
  • Got several new coaching clients 
  • Took better care of myself overall
  • Read a lot of great books, and discovered a few new genres I hadn’t read before
Not too shabby, especially with how busy I was all year. So let’s wrap up this wrap up with my 2020 goals.

What I hope to accomplish in 2020:
  • Revise the science fiction novel based on my agent’s feedback and get it ready for editorial submission
  • Finish the first draft of my middle grade fantasy (ultimately get it off to my agent as well)
  • Write another writing book 
  • Write another novel
  • Increase my guest posting
  • Launch my online workshops 
  • Update the blog
  • Do NaNo in November 
  • Increase my newsletter and marketing efforts
  • More consistent exercise
  • Form another critique group with two other writer friends. (The one I did with the MG fantasy group did so well. Meeting a few times a month really helped keep me writing and progressing on my MG novel. I’d like to do the same thing with my adult work.) 
These goals are pushing a little, but not too badly. They might all be doable with one or two exceptions. I think it’s more realistic that I’ll get one more book written besides the MG, either a novel or a writing book, but I’ll try my best to get one of each done. I’ll consider those my pie-in-the-sky goals. 

So those are my 2019 accomplishments and my goals for 2020. I think I did okay, and I’m feeling motivated to start 2020 at full speed for once.

How did your 2019 go? What are your goals for 2020?

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 ShifterBlue 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 Structureand the Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft series.
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  1. Welcome back Janice.

    My accomplishments were to throw out all my darlings in my current WIP, archive every written scene and Scrivener file, and start over from a blank slate. I simply kept my major plot points on sticky notes as targets for the 4 part story.

    I started writing yesterday and am about 7000 words in, the words just flowing. No more prologues, no more hair pulling over character arcs, no more massively detailed scene sequences. My goal is to finish a first draft by March. It will be what it will be!

    1. Thanks! Good to be back.

      That's wonderful that you had such a productive day. Sometimes you do just need to write and finish and not worry about anything but the flow of the words. The rest can come in revision after you see what you have.

      Good luck on keeping that momentum going!

  2. I didn't really set goals for 2019 for my writing. I had a major focus on a much needed win from my paying gig, which was a bittersweet success.

    I think I'll set some writing goals this year along with a goal for my paying gig.

    Great work on 2019. Wishing you the best success for 2020!

    1. Thanks, to you as well. Sounds like writing took a back seat for you, but that happens to us all. The gigs that pay the bills definitely gets priority!