2015 was one hell of a year. My family’s health became a top priority (thank you NHS), I moved (& bought a) house, I got a new job in a different field, began planning a hand-fasting, and still tried to be a part-time writer. And those were just the big stressors; ignoring the day to day changes, family events and milestones.
Blog posts dwindled quite epically, but I think from that list alone you can probably see why. Despite the year’s drama, my short story was published in Twice Upon A Time, I met my goal of writing 100,000 new words of fiction, attended a convention, sold another short story (details in the new year!), and completed the first draft of two novels.
And 2016 makes no promise of slowing down. But before I worry about that, it’s time to review 2015.
My 2015 Goals:
* Begin submitting.
I submitted a few short stories, and took valued feedback from a new beta reader that Planes Shifter isn’t ready. But I did begin researching the process so once a novel is set, I’m good to go. Also, near the end of the year, I have a second novel I feel is quite close to being ready for submission in 2016.
* Complete another novel.
Double Tick! I completed The Felled Gods, and during NaNoWriMo, completed a draft called Fury’s Seal.
* Keep track of wordcount. No official aim, but unofficially chose 100,000 words.
Tick! I passed 100,000 words, and kept track of my words throughout the whole year.
* A four-monthly cycle, resulting in two completed books:
Jan-Mar :: Project 1 (e.g. editing PS)
May-Jul :: Project 2 (e.g. continue drafting TFG)
Sep-Nov :: Project 3 (e.g. editing TFG)
I did not quite follow this plan, due to moving house/health stuff/hand-fasting stuff, but I did finish two new first drafts and did some editing on Planes Shifter, Kindling and The Felled Gods during the year.
* Read 24 books.
14/24 – This is a goal I really didn’t manage. Thinking about lowering this for next year, as I’ve begun a habit of setting myself up to fail.
In 2016, we’ll be tying the knot, getting cats & I’ll also be going for a dayjob opportunity which will require more work than my current position.
Goals for 2016:
- Read 12 books: Although I believe it’s important to keep reading, pushing myself to read a number of books a year isn’t working. I often pick short, non-fiction books to hit the target number, without focusing on good stories. Also, when I’m drafting my own works, I try not to read as much as I am easily influenced. I wanted to aim for 16 for 2016, but I want to be realistic.
- Submit a novel draft to an agent: The main block this year was feedback from both an editor friend and a new beta reader that my story still need a lot of work. I didn’t think it was ready, but having that feedback was a useful reassurance. This year I have two finished drafts I could edit to a decent standard without a full re-draft, which makes this feel like a realistic goal.
- Track my wordcount and aim for 100,000 words: I like to aim for a completed first draft of a new story per year, but if I really want to focus on submitting, I have to let something go. Besides, I’ve completed seven novel first drafts since 2009, and am therefore technically ahead on a one-per-year goal.
Thus, 100,000 words in whatever form they come will do for now.
- Re-create a wellness routine: I spent 2015 constantly run down. I know the things that nourish me and thus my writing include reading, meditation (metta+reiki+mindfulness), exercise (shivanata+yoga+weights) & learning (home study course+trainee prep). In 2011, I focused on these practises and felt much more able to manage life’s twists and turns. I’d like to at least remind myself of those techniques.