Is it just me, or does it feel like I take stock a lot?
Between the blogoversary and New Year's and various Pagan holidays, it seems like I'm always setting goals, looking forward, looking back, evaluating, reevaluating....
I guess it's a useful exercise to keep looking at where I'm going and where I've been. It does get frustrating, though, when I see goals carried over from list to list, from year to year, with little or no progress on them. I'm sure I'm not the only person who does it. "Lose weight" and its corollaries ("get fit," "start exercising," "eat healthier food," etc.) are a perennial for me, as I'm sure they are for others. Financial resolutions/goals/what-have-you are ever-popular, too.
Jim Devitt posted a goal development checklist at Indies Unlimited about a week ago (between his own manic cookie baking and manic gift-wrapping, I guess) that puts a slightly different spin on the project. I finally had time to catch my breath the other day and write down my answers. Number 4 on his list -- three things you need to stop doing in 2014 -- seemed to be an eye-opener for many of those who commented on his post. It's not that it's difficult to list the things you need to quit doing; that's the easy part. The hard part is to actually quit doing them. One of my three things in this category is to quit reading books on marketing without actually following the advice. It's so easy to let those pearls of wisdom just slide past my eyes and then keep doing the same dumb things I've been doing all along. If I'm going to take the time to read the books, I ought to be taking notes, at least. We'll see how that goes. Tune in here again this time next year.
When it comes to writing and publication, my goals for 2014 look very similar to my 2013 goals. I want to finish Undertow and get it ready for publication around the spring equinox, and then I want to write Scorched Earth and get that out the door before the summer solstice. And then I need to figure out what to do in the back half of the year. I'm planning one more series in the Pipe Woman Chronicles universe -- another trilogy, probably, with a grown-up Sage as the main character -- although I don't know whether I'll be ready to start it this year. I may write another stand-alone novel instead. I've been thinking of trying my hand at magic realism. Or I may try Susanna Lakin's strategy and write a book in a hot-selling genre. I don't know about you, but pulling down $3,000 a month from one book sounds like decent money to me.
I would definitely like to tweak my yearly writing-and-publication schedule so that I'm not trying to sell a new release in the same month that I'm writing the first draft of another book. Last month was just too stressful for me. If it means I have to skip NaNoWriMo from here on out, so be it. I can do Camp NaNo in April instead. Or make my own NoWriMo in whatever month I choose, which is what I've been doing for one book a year anyway.
Overall, I'm still on the seven-year retirement plan, and publishing three novels a year seems to be a reasonable pace for me. If I keep that up, and assuming the story ideas keep flowing as they have so far, I could have another 18 novels out there by the time I turn 62. That would bring me to 26 published novels -- a decent body of work. And just think of all the time I'll have on my hands after I retire to write more!
Speaking of marketing, I'm taking Crosswind on tour from January 8th through the 17th. Here's the tour schedule if you'd like to follow along; I'll also post it on the "Tour Dates" tab. Plans are afoot for a giveaway featuring signed Crosswind paperbacks and a Navajo-made dream pillow. More to come, as they say....
These moments of New Year blogginess were brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.