2017 retrospective, 2018 resolutions, and January goals

It’s the last day of 2017, and I’m sitting here reflecting on the year while I wait for a pot of coffee to brew.

It’s easy for me to focus on the worst days. It’s natural, and we all do it. We’re all bad-news junkies.

The important thing is to figure out how to change the shit you didn’t like, and then do it.

So, on that note, let me have a think about my writing career during 2017.

2017 retrospective

What do I need to fix?

My fear of writing was strong in 2017.

See, as much as I want to write, and I’m driven to write, I still don’t know if I can write.

I’ve held back, procrastinated, and stared at the screen for so long — not because I’m out of ideas, but because I’ve got that secret terror to write them down.

I need to smash that fear in 2018. I had a goal to get a novel published by the end of the year, and I failed because I let that fear hold me back.

What do I need to keep doing?

2017 was the year I started this author blog, and that was a smart move for me.

Journalling my progress, sharing my goals, and keeping myself accountable all contributed to 2017 being the most productive year of writing I’ve ever had.

Prior to 2017, the most I wrote in a year was probably 10,000 words maximum. My rough count in 2017 is something like 80,000 words.

I won’t lie; I’m fucking proud of that.

So, I’m committing to this blog for 2018, and I’m committing to… not really changing anything. The formula works well for me. I’ll post weekly updates every Sunday, and more often if something amazing comes up.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

Here are the three things that I need to do so I can look back at 2018 and call it a success. A year from now, I’ll be judging myself on these three metrics.

#1: Publish a novel

Okay, yeah, I’m just carrying over a failed goal from last year. But I’m adapting my expectations, too.

If you’d asked me last year how many novels I think I could get out in a year, I’d probably have guesstimated three. I think that’s a fair goal for a few years from now, but the evidence from 2017 is that one novel is challenge enough.

It’ll most likely be Esthree Postbuild vs the Void Rock. It’ll most likely be far into the end of the year, since I’m barely half-way through the first draft still.

But getting this novel finished, getting cover art made, compiling it all together, and getting it up for sale on Amazon and Kobo is my primary goal for 2018.

#2: Submit stories to three anthologies

I’m not saying “be published in three anthologies” because I can’t control if I’m accepted or not. My goal is simply to find three calls for submission, and to go for it.

I’m really enjoying preparing a submission for the MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation anthology, so I want more in 2018!

If you run a blog or Twitter account that publicises calls for submission, please let me know in the comments!

#3: Write 1,000 words per day more often than I don’t

I’ve tried pushing myself to write 1,000 words every day, and I know I can’t do it. Not yet, anyway.

My day-job anxiety very often overrides any normal or healthy emotional experience. I know that being too anxious write plus anxious because I’m not hitting my word goals equals anxiety paralysis.

So, in terms of word goals, all I’m asking myself is to write 1,000 words per day more often than I don’t.

If I write 1,000 words every day on four days out of the week, that’s great.

If I write 7,000 words one day then nothing else for the rest of the week, then that doesn’t count. I’m trying to develop a habit to write every day, not a habit of sprinting and burning out.

Goal for January 2018

As well as those resolutions for the year, I’m going to continue setting myself month-by-month goals.

The goal for January is pretty simple: finish MCSI: Kids Today and get it submitted to the MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation anthology.

The deadline is the end of January, so it’s a fairly obvious goal!

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