Looking Back and Looking Forward

And here we are. As of writing this sentence, it’s quarter to eleven at night of 31 December, 2015. I thought I’d steal a few moments to think about 2015 as well as what I’d like to achieve in 2016. 

I’m doing this as part of my Big Dreams/Crazy Goals bloghop, which you’re also welcome to join. For more information, please click here, but I’m just going to launch into the post proper, since I’ve got quite a lot of ground to cover.

Looking back at 2015

At the end of 2014, I had been determined to have a better year in 2015, and I think that I’ve achieved that. Unfortunately, though, 2014 has been harder to shake off than one would think, which meant that a lot of things I set out to do in 2015 simply weren’t possible. 
That said, I’ve managed to get the following done this year: 
1) Shaken off the worst of the emotional effects wrought by 2014.
2) Published two books and a short story. 
3) Wrote 260k words. 
4) Edited for 200k hours. 
5) Found a new home. 
6) Sorted out our (my and my mom’s) business. (For the day-job.)
7) Read 50 books. 
This is, of course, nowhere near what I had wanted to do, but, given the lack of resources available to me for most of the year, I think those count as some major achievements. I’m proud of everything I’ve managed for the year so far. 
In the end, this is what my writing/editing year looked like for 2015. 

Goals for 2016

As you may recall, I set a big goal a few years ago, where I want to make $7500 per month from royalties in a year, and of the first five years I’d set as the deadline for this goal, we are now entering the third. 
This is really exciting and scary for me, because this is the year where everything I’ve set up for the past two years basically comes together, setting me up for a whole lot of publishing activities until end 2018. 
I don’t only have writing goals, though, so once again for this year, I’ll be splitting my goals up. This time my categories will be Writing (which actually includes all aspects to publishing books), Reading, Networking and Marketing (which includes Social Networks) and Life (which is pretty much everything that does not include the above activities.)
In actuality, I don’t necessarily prioritize everything in this order, but I do so for the purposes of this blog, since it focuses on writing. 
So, without further ado….

Writing: 

I’m just going to give you a visual. Writing, editing and publishing wise, this is what my ideal 2016 would look like: 
For those of you wondering, the colored each represent me doing something in the corresponding month. Light green is research or figuring out a concept, dark green is rough drafts, blue is prepping for the rewrite, turquoise is for rewrites. Purple and yellow are for edits and orange is for publishing. Reds are submissions. As you can see, I have eight projects lined up for publishing, although I might be able to work in a few more, depending on my year. The bottom two are for short story anthologies. 
As the year progresses, I do keep moving projects around in order to compensate for the curve balls life throws my way. The goal here is to see how close to this image I can keep my timeline as the year progresses. (Although, moving any blocks to the left means I’m going faster, so that’s even better.) 
No matter which way you look at it, though, this is a huge amount of work, which will require at least twice the amount of time and word-counts I managed this year. 
So. This year, I will have a recurring goal that I will be striving towards. 
As per my tradition, I’m upping the ante and making the goal a bit…. loony. 
I am aiming to write 60,000 words or edit for 60 hours EVERY MONTH, or some combination of that. 
To maintain my sanity, I just want to set a few rules and boundaries: 
1) Any combination of 60k words written or 60 hours of edits are permitted.
2) I am only counting words/hours toward my publishing activities. I.E. Blog posts and critiques for other writers don’t count toward the 60k/60 hour total. 
3) I am allowed to work on an average. Which means that I get a win as long as my totals add up to 720k words (with one edit hour = 1k words.) In short, this year will be NaNoWriMo on steroids for me. With one big exception: 
4) Adjustments can be made in months requiring a rest. In other words, if I feel like I’m not going to be able to chase 60k in any given month, I will scrap that goal for that month. The idea here is to up overall productivity to levels I believe I can maintain, but not at the cost of my health/lifestyle. 

Since my writing goals will be huge this year, I’m going to keep things a bit simpler when it comes to my other goals. Although I assume I’ll be setting more goals as I settle into a routine. Networking and marketing I’ll set on a month by month basis.

Reading: 

Read 75 books as per the Goodreads Challenge. 

Life: 

Eat healthily (I.E. the minimum refined carbs.) 
Pick up an active hobby such as a sport or dancing. 
GET BACK TO SINGING.
Finish one painting. 
Have a successful year at the day-job. (Whatever this might entail.) 
Still with me? Wow. Well done. Almost to the end. 

Goals for January: 

Writing: 

1) 60k (as explained above.) 
2) Finish the Wo6C3 rewrite. 
3) Submit “Turning Points” Short Story by 31 January. 
4) Finish Untethered Realms Anthology rough draft. 
5) Finish BvB1 print-out proofread and formatting. 
6) Revise ES1.
7) Rough draft BvB2. 
8) Prep DM1 rewrite.
9) Research CdW. 

Reading: 

Read six books.

Networking and Marketing: 

1) Set publishing date for BvB1.
2) Arrange blog tours, reviewers etc.
3) Get into a regular posting schedule for main social networks. 

Life: 

1) Fall into a regular schedule between work, writing etc as fast as possible. 
2) Commence refined carb cut-back. 
3) Start singing lessons. 
4) Start new dance/sporting activity. 

Wish for 2016

That’s it for now, but before I go, I just want to say thank you to everyone who’ve been with me on this journey so far, and to say welcome to all my new friends. I pray that God blesses and keeps every single one of you as well as your loved ones, and that 2016 will be such a great year for us that it defies belief. 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Recharging…

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I’m currently trying to stave-off a burn-out by resting a bit more than I’m usually writing.

It does, however, also prove to me how addicted I am to this whole writing thing. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I can hardly string two words together without it feeling like I’m pulling teeth. (Blog posts and the like are luckily not too bad.)

But can I stay away from writing? No. But that’s okay. I’m following some of the advice that a lot of you (thanks for those comments, by the way!) gave me, and I’m taking it as I feel. If I feel the urge to write, I write. If not, I’ll just crack open a book and read. (Which is fun too, and is in fact making me feel much better already.)

In the meantime, I’m already feeling a lot better.

How are you all doing?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

That’s right, after more than a year of not taking part, I thought it’s time to sign up again.

For those of you wondering what this bloghop is about:

On the first Wednesday of every month, a (very large) group of us writers get together to share our insecurities and encouragements with other writers.

If you’d like more information or if you want to join, please click here.

What could I be insecure about? you might ask.

Well. Lots.

At the moment, I’m struggling with exhaustion. I don’t mean this in a medical sense or anything like that (I don’t think), but ever since the rough year I had in 2014, I’ve been trying my best to stay positive, stay strong and keep moving forward.

For the most part, I have to say I’ve done that, and I’m incredibly proud about that fact. But half way through the month, I’ve signed a contract for a new job which, although full-time, has flexible hours depending on the amount of work I need to do to meet my objectives.

Which means that, for all intents and purposes, I should have a great year in 2016.

But almost as soon as I was able to take my first real breath that didn’t feel like I’d get sucked under at any second, the exhaustion hit. I guess I’ve been so busy being tough and strong or whatever that the moment I didn’t have to be anymore, my energy gave out.

So although I’m used to setting huge goals every month, I decided to give myself a little break until January. You know, to rest and recover.

My muse has other ideas. I keep feeling these urges to get back to writing, but every time I finally get to the point where I can sit down and write, that exhaustion is back. And that means I’m constantly swinging between not wanting to write and wanting to write, while fearing that forcing myself to write will just end up pushing me into a full blown writer’s burn out.

(If you haven’t experienced burn out, you’re lucky. But let’s just say it’s a six month long writer’s block on steroids.)

I honestly have no idea about what I should do to rest myself out enough to start writing again. Or even if I should disregard my exhaustion and write anyway.

And now it’s 9:15 pm and it’s probably a good idea to just turn in and sleep.

Sigh.

How are you doing? What do you do when you’re exhausted beyond belief? Do you still write, or do you recharge those batteries? If the latter, how?

Happy Book Birthday M Pax!

Hi everyone! Yesterday was another crazy one at work, which is why I’ve been a bit quiet lately. (But I will be stopping by to visit some blogs today.) In the meantime, I just wanted to give a shout-out to writing buddy and Untethered Realms Co-Conspirator, M Pax, whose new book is out today.

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.

While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.

The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.

Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Book 3 in the Rifter series.

Now available at:

AmazonUK / AUS / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / BR / MX / IN

Need to catch up? 
You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifter series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader. ENTER THE M PAX DIMENSION
About M Pax

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckon to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at mpaxauthor.com.