Hi booknerds and friends! So I’m a bit late to the whole “goals/resolutions for 2019” post… thing. There’s good reason, I didn’t forget the New Year happened or anything like that; I assure you, I do not party that hard. But I didn’t want to make just a generic post about what I wanted to do or accomplish this year, with a—supposedly—clean slate. Sure, I could have sat and agonized over my thoughts and what I want to make a reality this year, and what would need to get sacrificed in order to accomplish that, but I didn’t. I was being present in the moment with my family and friends, so it just didn’t happen. Which sounds rather flippant, but eh, there it is. But, I have put some real thought into what I need to do and what I truly want to do this year, and really considered what I’d need to do to accomplish that. So, here goes!
Firstly, it should be mentioned that this is the year the 6th, and final, book in The Monster of Selkirk series will be released. Which is a huge fucking deal, or it is to me. This was the book, and then the series, that started it all for me. Now I have a couple of my short stories published in various anthologies, and have been hard at work writing 2 different books. One is a family drama that is in the super final stages of peer review and beta reading, which means I’ll be drafting the query letter for that and then, you guessed it, sending that out and waiting… and hoping that an agent, and then publisher picks it up! So that’s goal #1: send out queries. As I’m not in control of when or if an agent picks it up, I’m not going to set myself up for failure and say “publish that book” this year. This particular process will be a lot longer than what I went through with TMOS, which is ok! I want to query for the entire year and see what happens before looking at the self-published route. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this year has taught me a big lesson: while I did work in the advertising industry, I don’t like marketing. I don’t like “pounding the pavement” and the emotional energy it takes to constantly promote myself. It’s necessary, it’ll always be something I do, but self-publishing requires a lot more of that and… I am just not passionate about that. I’d rather write all the new words! Which I can’t do when I get myself stuck in these promotion and social media loops. But I digress.
Goal #2 is simply to write more. I have started another fantasy series which is very adult and in the cyberpunk vein, which I have made no secret of--especially on Pinterest. I have finished writing the first book in that series and need to really buckle down and get draft 1 into the place it needs to be before I give it over to my beta readers. This is a lot of detail adding and editing for me. Making the world feel whole and complete and making sure I keep everything consistent. Not exactly fun but necessary, especially as doing that means that I can—and will!—start writing the second book to that new series. Which needs a name. Desperately. Ugh… So that’s a pretty vague goal, but it’s mainly to get farther in this new project as a whole, which means writing the next installment, and handing the first book over to beta readers.
In order to make that second goal attainable, it means I need to take a bit of a step away from my previous reading goals. As you all know, I do a lot of book reviews for other indie authors. I accept most of the books I get requests for, and as such, it means my “currently reading” pile—which is really just my indie book pile—is still very long. Even when I stretched myself and read 65 books last year (I am not a fast reader), I didn’t put much of a dent in that pile. I do genuinely feel guilty about authors having to wait a long time for a review from me, but as I do promise to read the books and post the reviews, I am hoping to be forgiven for goal #3: to cut back on the number of books I read this year, especially indies, in favor of reading things that will better my craft—research material and other books in the genre I am currently writing in in order to ensure I am presenting a unique voice and memorable characters—that aren’t mirror images of the characters in TMOS. Which is a huge fear of mine, by the way, to just recycle my old work unknowingly. That’s not fun, for you or me. But I digress. Again.
That brings us to goal #4: to get out of my comfort zone and do more events, make more connections with book sellers and librarians, and just, frankly, to get out there more. I hate cold calling people/places. I had a job that required it and its left this lingering paralyzing fear in me ever since. I really don’t like calling up strangers and trying to convince them I’m worth their time and my books are good. It makes me feel icky, which I won’t get into the psycho-analysis of right now. But, to my previous point, even with a traditional publisher this would be something I’d have to do, so I should just do it. Not doing it hurts no one but myself. Yes, this kind of marketing and going to events costs money, but I’ve been working a little part-time gig to pay for things like that specifically and have for all of 2018 (which is continuing in 2019, too). So I really have no excuses and I need to just get out of my own way on that front. So, if you want to see my face at some point, I’ll try and make that happen? Just tell me where you want to see me!
Last, but certainly not least, is less of a goal and more of a mantra: be ok with my process. Often, I look at other writers of varying levels and stages in their careers and how they craft their stories and think “well, I don’t do that, so clearly I’m not doing it right.” Which is wrong and all those authors and writers I follow would say the exact same thing! Just because their process works for them, doesn’t mean it does, or even should, work for anyone else. My process works for me, taking my time in writing, elaborately world building and character crafting before I write the first true sentence of a new project, so even if no new words are getting done, I am still working, and hard! I need to work on not feeling guilty and holding myself to others standards for what productivity looks like. This is not something that’s a light switch, it’ll probably be something I work on and struggle with this year, and years to come as I work on myself and silencing my imposter syndrome. But the point is to try, to breath, and to be ok with my pace while applauding what others can do in their own time. To remember life isn’t a competition, and my success doesn’t mean you can’t also “make it”, or vice versa. I will be reminding myself of this constantly throughout the year, and welcome anyone who also wants to drop me little reminders from time to time.
So, this is going to be my 2019 in a very large nutshell—sorry for the rambling, but, well, that’s me for you. So tell me friends, what are some of the things you are going to work on this year, or some of the things you want to accomplish? No goals are too small, because remember, even baby steps are steps forward! So let’s do great things together, friends!