2016, So Far, So Good

I feel like I’m always behind, I swear. I intended to do a yearly goals update early in July and here it is, August and I’m just now getting around to it. Oh well, life happens. I think that might be the title of my auto biography, honestly.

Anyway, July is a crucial point in the year. It’s the magic halfway mark, and a good time to stop for a few hours, review what you’ve done so far, and make a plan to make the rest of your goals happen in the next six months. It’s also a great time to realize that one might have been a little drunk when they made their goals for the year, and it might need to be pruned the hell back. Marketing Creatively had such a great article about a mid year review. You should check it out and do a review of your own.

So, in the spirit of honesty, here’s where I am for the year. I started out sharing three big goals with you guys.

  • Make actionable content.
  • Write awesome stuff.
  • Make money writing.

So, I kind of scrapped the first one, as I started writing more personal essays and complaining about politics instead. I think I’m going more toward the second goal, of writing awesome stuff.

Now, awesome is a relative term, obviously, but I have been producing a ton of new short fiction, which I’m pretty psyched about. I wanted to write eight new short stories this year, and I’ve done that. I’ll actually be increasing that goal, since I want to publish new short fiction every week.

I’ve finished the second draft of Starting Chains. I’m almost done with the rough draft of Missing Stitches. I am about to start the third draft of the secret project. (I know, I’ve been talking about this since January without actually talking about it. It’s coming soon, I haven’t forgotten!)

Sadly, though, I have made no money writing. If we’re going to use that as a measure of my great indie writing experiment, it’s been a failure so far. No one has paid me for my writing.

But a lot of people have read it. A lot of people have read my stories, shared my stories and liked my stories. I’ve had the opportunity to give away several copies of Days, and that made me pretty happy.

So, I’m doing okay. I wish I were farther along, but I’m not, And I’m not going to waste a second being pissed at myself about that. It takes time away from getting shit done, playing with my kids and shopping for makeup. Here, then, is my list of remaining goals for the last six months of 2016. They’re a little more specific, because at this point they need to be.

  • I want to finish and launch the secret project. I’m estimating that this should be happening in late September, early October.
  • I want to finish the rough draft of Missing Stitches. This is going to be kind of bitter sweet, since it’s the last book of the trilogy, and when it’s done I’m putting these characters away for a while. So while I’ll still be editing for a year, I won’t have any new stories from them.
  • I want to completely finish Starting Chains, the second book in the series.
  • I want to at least make a start on the second draft of Missing Stitches. This is always the longest part of a novel for me, because I’m basically ripping up the first draft and starting over again now that I know what doesn’t work. Also, it takes me forever to type it.
  • Finally, I want to keep writing flash and short fiction to post here on PBW every week.

Now then if you haven’t done so already, you should take some time to do a mid-year review. I’d advise starting with the Marketing Creatively review, but I’d advise a further step. I have a series of steadfast rules that I apply to making goals. I would highly suggest, for your own wellbeing, that you give them a try.

  1. Plan for days off. Start with your birthday and the birthdays of those you love most (for me that’s the monsters and the darling husband.) Then factor in holidays that are going to take up your time. Then any vacations you’re planning. Finally, I plan a day off a month if none of the other things apply.
  2. Don’t make goals based on things that are out of your control. This is something I still find myself doing, and I had to go through and kill a lot of goals I made at the start of the year because of that. I don’t make goals, for instance, that involve getting a certain amount of readers. Or selling a certain amount of books. Those things are entirely out of my control. What is in my control is how good my writing is. How good was my advertising? Did I send it to enough book reviewers, the right book reviewers? Did I get the word out effectively? Did I make it easy to find and buy my book? Those are things that I have control over, and those are things that I make goals concerning.
  3. Finally, make two lists. The first one should be a realistic list, that takes into consideration your time constraints. This is the totally attainable list. You can break this down by the month, the week and the day, and you know you can achieve these goals.

Now double it. Make a list of everything you really want to do this year. Make the list of things that, if you were done with them by the end of the year, you’d be over the moon excited about. If you had all the time in the world, no other responsibilities and everything went your way.

You’re going to blow through your first list, and you probably won’t finish your second one. At least, that’s what I do every time. I still need both lists, though, because if I only had the first one, I’d not get as much awesomeness accomplished. If I only had the second list, I’d get discouraged. That’s why I have two lists.

How are you going on your goals for the year? Anything awesome that you want to brag on? Let us know in the comments below.

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