Before I launch into the goals for 2014, I think I need to reflect on 2013 and its successes and failures. 2013 was a year of highs and lows. The same day I signed my first publishing contract, I lost my job. Luckily I managed to find a new job within a few weeks, so it wasn’t a huge problem financially, but after over eight years in the one place, being told to leave hurt.
The job thing has changed again. That new job I found at the end of 2013 really didn't suit me at all and I wound up accepting a voluntary redundancy there when they restructured the management team. Luckily I got another job quickly and am now very happily (so far) employed by the government agency that funds and supports local film making.
But on the upside, I have a published book now! Or will on January 3rd. And that launches me into the first of my goals for 2014.
I will do whatever I can to make An Unstill Life a success. I don’t expect to make a fortune, of course, but the idea that my book will be available to readers is a thrilling one, and I want to make sure as many readers as possible discover Livvie’s story. I’m uncomfortable about promoting myself, so doing publicity for my novel will definitely take me outside my comfort zone.
Not sure how to measure this one. I've done a lot of work to push the book and it's on going, but I wouldn't exactly call it a success. I've sold few hundred copies, and while that's more than just my friends and family, it's not what I'd call a best-seller. But the reviews have been generally good, and I've had a couple of lovely emails from readers who loved the book, so I'm reasonably content. It's even been nominated for a couple of awards!
Last year I wrote a book called STUMPED. It’s YA, but deals with sex and disability in a way I’ve never seen in YA literature before. I love this book. It’s my favorite of all the titles I’ve written and I really want it out in the world. I stopped querying when I got the contract for An Unstill Life because my writing time was suddenly taken up with revisions and edits and copy edits. In 2014 I will resume querying this one and hopefully will find an agent brave enough to take me (and Ozzy) on.
Funny how things work out… I did query STUMPED some more, and I got a lot of interest. I even got an R & R request which I did and feel like the book is stronger for it, but it did not end up getting me an agent. Yet I am now agented, thanks to a contest and an older MS that I pitched because I felt like STUMPED had done the rounds a fews too many times. So I have achieved that goal over the year, just not in the way I thought it might happen. And my agent is currently reading STUMPED, which has me a little nervous given how different it is to The Sidewalk's Regrets which is what she signed me for.
I got 50K into a new book last year. It’s title-less right now, so I’m calling it Lana. It’s not the best thing I’ve written, but there are definitely some things I like about it. In 2014 I will finish this story, revise it and throw it into the hands of my critique group to figure out how to polish it up.
This book ended up being called Finding Lana Jones and I did finish it and I did start getting critiques on it. Somehow though, I lost the spark that started me writing it in the first place and found myself foundering around as I revised. So I trunked it and moved on. Maybe I'll come back to it another time and figure out what I was trying to do and say with the story because it's lost to me now.
While they sink their teeth into that one, I have a new story idea just itching to get out. It’s based on something that my new boss has been involved with over the past few months, and I think it could be very interesting, not to mention emotionally draining. It’s hard not to get too excited about new ideas, but I really want to finish Lana before I start this one.
I did write this story. It ended up being my NaNo project and the first draft is not quite finished. I hope to get this done before I go away in January so I cam come back after my yearly trip to the beach house and revise the huge mess I know it is.
My critique groups are the best thing that ever happened to me, and I plan to be far more active in them this year. With all the excitement and deadlines that rushed at me with my publishing contract, I don’t feel like I have been giving my CPs nearly the time they deserve. So even if it’s just one review a week, I’ll become more active in my groups again.
This happened sporadically. Some weeks I managed several reviews, others, none. But I'm still in there and I still value my CPs as much as I ever have.
I’m not quite sure how I managed it, but I read 165 published books last year. I did write less than I have in previous years, so I imagine that’s how I did it. This year I plan to finish two novels as a writer, so I’m only going to shoot for 150 books read. We shall see how that goes. My bus ride to work is shorter now, so my reading time is a little more limited than it has been…
Yup. Done. Not quite sure how, but I've read as much this year as last, and with two more days to go until the end of the year, I may even get closer to 170 this year.
On a personal level, I will continue my regular trips to the gym. Between them and the steep uphill walk to work each day, I figure I’m in the best shape of my life. But that doesn’t mean I get to be complacent. I could still stand to lose 5-10Kg…
I've stuck to my gym schedule for the most part, but I've lost no weight. With my new job being sedentary, I'm going to have to be way more conscious of food and exercise if I don't want to end up even huger by next Christmas!
Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll check back mid-year to track my progress, and then again as 2015 begins sneaking toward us all.
Happy New Year! And may you reach all your goals for 2014.
How have you done with your 2104 goals?