2018 goals review

This is actually an email I sent out to my writing group members, and I thought there might be a few folks here that would be interested in this stuff too. Here it is:

Hey y’all,

I want to put this out there for accountability’s sake. If you’ll recall, I made some goals for my writing a couple of months after Brandon’s class ended, and I see very little point in making goals if I don’t go back and assess how they turned out. This may be of limited interest to you, but you folks are really the only ones I’ve got that will both understand what I’m talking about and also possibly give a damn.
Please do not take this exercise as any sort of implied criticism that you ought to be doing the same things as me or compare your progress to mine. This is for my own sake, really. If you’re prone to taking on extra stress by hearing others’ plans and to-dos, please just delete this without reading it. I will not be offended in the slightest. Honestly, you don’t even need to respond unless you have some burning desire to do so.
So, here were my goals, how they turned out, and what I think of them:
1. Complete 1st draft of WIP – June 1st
Check. Actually completed mid-July. This was my first completed novel that was 100% mine. It’s the Ro and Cartael story (currently unnamed), clocking in at about 120k. This felt like my biggest writing accomplishment this year.
2. Finish 20k short to submit to tor.com – Sep. 1st
Check. Also mid-July. This was the drug mule story you all read, so it wasn’t 20k new words, but I did have to write 6-7k to get it to the necessary length. Currently sitting at #271 in the submission queue at tor.com. Boo.
3. Attend WorldCon – Aug.
Check. This was a huge bust. Sat in an uncomfortable and un-private AirBnB for three days wondering what in the hell I was supposed to be doing. Lesson for the future: if I’m going to spend the $1k+ to get to one of the big conventions, I need to account for the fact that I’m an incurable introvert by arranging a group of folks to go with me so we can divide and conquer. It was useless to go by myself. 

4. Query 50 agents on current novel – Dec. 31st
Nope. Not a single one. This is my biggest fail, since the writing only becomes useful to me once I send it out into the world. However, this was a calculated decision: I decided that Cartael’s story is not the way I want to introduce myself to agents and publishers. The book I’m working on now is going to be the one I hit the pavement with; it matches the brand I want to establish.
5. Consistently write 8-10k words/week
Hahaha nope. I figure I got down 130k words this year, which translates to about… (whips out calculator)… huh. 2500 words/week. That’s better than I thought it would be, but still only about a quarter of what I want to achieve. Consistency is the key thing lacking here – I went entire months without sitting down to write, which is what I want to eliminate. However, I do feel that I made some progress on this front, in that I was more consistent in 2018 than I had been in previous years. I’m currently searching for a good writing tracker app to help me with this.
6. Win NaNoWriMo (new novel) – Nov. 31st
Check. Yay for a new book (that’s only 1/3rd done)! I barely squeaked out my 50k, but it still counts. 

7. Submit at least 2 short stories to magazines/WoF
Nope on this one. I did submit Drug Mule to WoF, but I had no other professional submissions. Honestly, the subs are the point here for me, not the pubs. That and learning the short story forms. One mollifying fact: I did write a very-short short story for the long-delayed Kickstarter RPG team I’ve been working with for several years, and I will eventually get paid for it. I think. 

8. Write 1 blog post/month on my website
Pshhh nope. Maybe one, and I’m not even sure about that. My engagement with my personal website – and, by extension, Twitter – has been awful this year. I think I just feel like an idiot trying to put posts out there like I’m an up-and-comer when I have no real quantifiable progress or product to show the world. It frequently feels both deluded on my part and anxiety-inducing. Not sure what to do about that.
That’s all of them! I scored a 4 out of 8, and a 3 out of 4 on my most important items. I feel fairly good about that. Given how difficult this year has been in terms of my physical and mental health, I’m not sure how I could have done much better.
I’ll be creating a new list for 2019 within the next few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share it with you all. (You have been warned.) Thanks for your consistent feedback and help during our meetings. Being a part of a good writing group has probably made a bigger difference for me than all other factors combined, and I really appreciate what you’ve done for me.


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