Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Goals for 2020

I’ve had a good start to the new year so far, but haven’t sat down to think about my goals until now.

I love setting New Year’s resolutions. Some people think that’s weird and I know all about the low probability of keeping resolutions, but I still like to make them. It makes me feel positive about myself and the upcoming year, and for me, that just feels good.

So I came up with some goals/resolutions for the new year that I hope to keep.

1) Three novels in 2020

Since I write full-time, this isn’t an unrealistic goal for me. Last year, I was still suffering from several bouts of writer’s block. Some was because of personal issues, but because I got nothing done during that time, it then made me doubt what I should be writing. I ended up flipping between several different projects as I tried to figure out what I wanted to work on, and the indecision itself also triggered writer’s block when I tried to write any particular project, because I wasn’t certain if that project was what I should be spending my time on.

But in mid-2019 I was able to break through my last bout of writer’s block as I finally decided what I wanted to work on (my Regency Lady Wynwood’s Spies series) and also how I wanted to structure the series. Once the indecision was gone, I was able to get words written and finished the rough draft of Lady Wynwood’s Spies volume 1 on November 2nd.

The hard part about figuring out the structure of the series is now done, so writing the other books in the series has been easier. I finished a rough outline of volume 2 in December and started work on the manuscript.

Based on my writing speed for volume 1, I think that four months to write a book isn’t too hard for me. My writing speed has been even faster when I started using dictation, but I’m still getting used to that and my words per hour rate isn’t consistent yet.

2) Daily Editing and Word Count

I started trying to do a daily editing habit, which I’ve never done before. Usually I’d just edit my manuscript all in one go after letting it sit for a few weeks, but since I detest editing, I found myself procrastinating early in December. When I started my daily editing goal, I found myself more likely to edit a scene or a few pages every day and make some progress. I’m hoping to finish editing Lady Wynwood’s Spies volume 1 and have it ready for release in February or maybe early March, depending on how things go with my graphic designer for the cover. Once I finish editing that, I’ll start editing the beginning of volume 2 even if I’m still working on the rough draft.

I also am utilizing what I learned about writing sprints last year to do a daily writing sprint so that I’m doing at least a few words every day, no matter how busy the day gets with family or home stuff. Normally I have several hours for writing, but lately I’ve been trying to clean the house up after the craziness of the holidays, so I’ve been spending time on housework instead. My writing fell by the wayside for a week, but I’ve started the habit of writing again. Some days I only get 500 words done, and other days I get a few thousand. I’m making progress, which is what’s most important.

I’m also still working on tracking my writing statistics to optimize my writing process. I started this last year, tracking the length of my writing sprints and words per hour rate, but this year I’m also tracking how long each process takes, including the research I have to stop and do when I’m editing the manuscript, the outlining I have to do if I’m writing the rough draft and come across a plot hole, and planning a detailed scene outline before I write each scene. My words per hour might be fast, but those other things take much more time, so I want to know how efficient (or not) I’m being. I hope to have a good understanding of my process by the end of the year so that I can write more quickly.

3) Blogging three times a week

I won’t lie, I dislike marketing. It might be because marketing feels like me running around naked shouting, “Look at me!”

But I enjoy blogging—I had only blogged occasionally during my writer’s block phases, but ultimately I really do enjoy it. So I decided to focus on blogging since I’m not great at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I’m going to try to blog 3 times a week and see how that goes. I have lots of knitting projects I want to blog about, including some things I knit because I was inspired by the Regency series I’m writing.

4) One short story a month

This is related to my blogging goal. I want to write a short story each month to post on my blog. I enjoy writing short stories, especially from picture prompts, but I often found myself hesitating if the story genre wasn’t something I usually wrote.

This year, I am giving myself permission to write whatever I feel like. I’m also aiming for flash fiction rather than longer stories, unless I feel motivated to expand a story idea.

5) One devotional a month

This is also related to my blogging goal. I finished a Bible study on the book of Luke in 2018, and I want to use my notes on that to write some devotionals that I can post on my blog. Eventually, if I write enough devotionals, I’ll collect them in an ebook and print book, and I’ll also hire a translator to translate the book into Japanese.

I would really like to release another Japanese devotional that I can give to the non-Christian Japanese women who come to my church outreach ministries. Because of my personal issues and writer’s block and just some unforeseen problems, I was very bad about finally releasing the devotional in Matthew that involved several other authors, so this time I think I’ll just write all the devotionals myself so that I don’t leave the contributors hanging like I did before.

6) Spiritual accountability

I wasn’t terribly consistent with my daily Bible reading last year, although I did manage to complete a lengthy study on Genesis. So my new resolution is to be better this year and do my quiet times every day.

I started doing the devotionals in the YouVersion app on my phone again. Some of them are really good, and I’ve given myself permission to stop any of them that I don’t particularly care for. I have started a Bible in a Year devotional which I’ve enjoyed so far, plus it gets me in the Word and not just reading other people’s words about the Bible.

If you’re also using YouVersion, be sure to look me up and add me as a friend! I’ll add you back. It’ll be fun to see everyone’s daily Bible reading.

I also have been reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers again this year, this time using the My Utmost app. I have always loved this devotional book because he focuses on complete surrender to God, and that’s something that really resonates with me spiritually. The hardest and best parts of my relationship with God have been related to complete surrender.

Consistency

I suppose the majority of my goals for 2020 involve consistency—in writing and blogging, in my quiet times. I love the beginning of the year because all my goals are shiny and new, and the year is full of potential. I have great motivation to create good habits and the year looks bright.

What are you goals for this year? Feel free to comment to share them. Also if you’d like me to pray for you, feel free to share that too.

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