In a few days, it will be a whole new year—again. Each year goes by faster than the last, and that’s why I think it is supremely important to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and failures and then look forward to new or updated goals in the new year.
This week I’m looking back, and next week I’ll look ahead.
By the Words
- Met many, many incredible authors from around the world and developed close relationships with quite a few. It’s a true joy to share this journey together, to support and encourage one another and to lean on one another when we need to. Plus, I have the four most amazing critique partners any writer could ever dream of. Mea, Kelsey, Tauri and Devon, you ladies make me shine and give me the courage to continue. For that, I’m eternally grateful. It is a high honor to read each of your stories and to watch your processes. Each one of you is incredibly gifted, and I look forward to filling my shelves with all your books!
- Entered one short story competition and won 2nd place and a spot in The Crux Anthology.
- Became a Goodreads Author.
- Signed my first book and got to see this anthology on the shelves of my local library.
- Determined taglines to focus my “brand” or purpose as an author, a blogger and future Press owner.
- Decided the direction and goals of my Press.
- Started a monthly online book club via Facebook LIVE.
By the Numbers
- 1 novel, 1 novella, 10 short stories, 51 blog posts, 58 newsletters, 11 videos and countless revisions
- Followers: 1,980 Twitter, 163 Facebook, 345 Instagram, 207 friends/33 followers Goodreads, 69 Pinterest, 82 LinkedIn
- Freelance Fiasco: I won’t go into details, but I made the single worst business decision possible this year and hope to never repeat it. I’m nearing the end of it and pray for wisdom in the future to make wiser agreements.
- Family: I have not been the wife and mom I should be. Time and again, I have taken time from them to complete something else. Juggling all I do requires saying no to things; my goal is to choose more wisely in what I say no to—and what I say yes to!
- Feelings: Twice recently I have let responses affect me far more adversely than I ever should. Writers have to have thick skin. It is a necessity. This is something I have had for many years, thanks to my background in journalism; however, writing fiction is a whole other beast. Fiction is a writer’s heart and soul sliced out, refined and served raw. When these words are cut apart, they pierce far deeper. While these two experiences taught me a great deal, they primarily opened my eyes to the fact that I now need to develop a new skin. And, I will!
- Fear and worry: This year has been both a dream come true and one of the hardest I’ve ever had. I’ve battled fears and worries nearly constantly this year. They’ve run the gamut from finances to the future to whether I’m balancing my time properly to whether the words I’m releasing are the right ones. While I will always fret about something, I must learn not to let those worries consume me. After all, God has shown me more times than I can count that everything happens in his perfect timing. He knows my path to publication, and I simply need to trust in him.
- Marketing: Thanks in great part to my experience with the release of The Crux Anthology, I got to gently dip my toes into the wild ocean of book marketing. I’ve observed many incredible authors who I greatly admire through their 2018 book launches. Each of them have taught me invaluable lessons. I’m inspired by such creative and smart business people!
- Handling Bullies: Several times this year, I’ve witnessed fellow writers fall victim to cowardly bullies on social media. I have watched some handle it with true grace and class and others, not quite as much. It is inevitable that one of these sad people will one day set out to sink their fangs in me. I hope the lessons I’ve learned through my observations will help me respond rightly.
- Collaborating: In the coming year, I will be collaborating on at least two projects. This year has been about keeping my eyes open for opportunities like these, and I’m incredibly excited to learn more in 2019 and to share all the brilliant details with you!
- Thinking Before Posting: Adding to my list of observations, I’ve seen numerous examples of how NOT to Tweet or post or review. I’m sure you can think of a few, too!
Words of the Year
Two years ago I started claiming a Word of the Year, and it has become one of the best practices I could have. Here’s a recap of my 2017 and 2018 words and how they have helped me reach certain goals.
- 2017: FOCUS In fine-tuning my writing purpose, I found my initial starting point. Once I got that, every starting point that followed became easier to identify. I chose my focus and stuck to it, completing my first book—a narrative non-fiction.
- 2018: COMPLETION I did find myself floundering a bit again as I released my first large project and dabbled in a few different ones before reminding myself of a very important fact: a well-defined and successful starting point is worth less than a hill of beans if I never follow through to its completion. I completed initial drafts on a novel and novella and have followed through with the completion of multiple rounds of revisions on the novel. I’ve also completed and published six short stories, some of which you can read for free on my Tales of the Faerie Shepherds page.
I hope you’ll join me back here next week for my 2019 Word of the Year and some Intentions for the upcoming year.
What about you? Have you taken a moment to look back at 2018 and soak in the accomplishments, failures and lessons learned? I’d love to hear about it! I have many exciting plans for 2019 and would love to share them all with you. Please consider subscribing to my weekly email newsletter so you never miss a thing!