Posted in blogging

Checking In on Goals

With all the insanity that comes up when moving, I feel like my entire routine has been thrown out of the window. I haven’t managed to get much sorted out for June and realized when I made Monday’s post that I’d completely forgotten to prep any prompts for this month as well.

Since I need to get back into my routine I wanted to also take a moment to reassess my organization and where I am with my goals for the year. Admittedly, it’s not looking great, which is somewhat disappointing.

I started out the year with a self-set reading challenge of twenty-four new books. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing so great on that score. Although I’ve read around ten or eleven books, all but three have been rereads. While I could still try and rush through and finish all twenty-four by the end of the year, I don’t think that would be wise, so I’m instead opting to cut back down to a mere twelve new books.

I also wanted to publish at least two stories published this year. Crimson and Gold came out in January, and I have another project I’m looking to possibly start discussing and showing in July. For my publication goals, I’m pretty pleased with where things stand.

Also! Crimson and Gold is available through Kindle Unlimited and will also be free on July 4th and 5th.

Although I’m not meeting all of the goals I set for myself, I’m still really pleased with where things stand for right now. There’s plenty of time to wrap things up. Although I’m missing the prompts for June it’s given me a good chance to reorganize and sort out some of my older posts and plan ahead.

How are you feeling about your goals?

Posted in General

Looking at Projects

Halfway through January and I still don’t have a main project selected for the month. Part of that is because I’ve still been heavily focused on the launch for Crimson and Gold. Writing however, is not a ‘one and done’ type of thing. There’s always something else to do, be that creating new stories or editing older ones.

So, to figure out what I’m doing next, I took a look at my project list. I always have a plethora of projects and ideas, but having them written down and organized keeps me from adding to continuously to it.

It’s already a huge list with a total of fifty-two stories in various states. Some of these are in a need of a major overhaul and rework. Others are bare-bones skeletons that I haven’t looked at in a while. Two of them spun off into serials.

As there’s no actual order to the list, that was my first step. Of those fifty-two stories, fourteen are in a rough draft. Another seventeen are in a bare bones state of what is essentially, story chunks. One is technically in that story chunk state, but as that is part of rewriting the story, that’s at the top of my list, right below the two complete and published stories. One more is in the drafting state where I’m working on strengthening the story and word choice, but not quite ready to start considering how to share it with readers.

The remaining seventeen are the basis for stories. Things like short stories that have kept growing, or a detailed idea.

Because I have so many ideas that are in the earliest stages, I’m focusing on getting those out of the early stages for now.

How do you organize your projects?

Posted in General, writing

Stats and Tracking Progress

One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on as we roll over the start of 2020 is wrap-up posts, and that got me thinking. Although I do my monthly recaps, I’ve never really paid much attention to how much I’m writing throughout the year. I’m usually pretty good about keeping track of where I’m at and what I’m doing in my planner, but that doesn’t give me the option to review the year as a whole.

Out of curiosity, I’ve set up a tracker in Excel. I already keep track of my daily word count in my planner but I also wanted to keep track of where those words are being written. I already have project list set up to track what state each project is in and keep an eye on how large my WIP list is so I ended up adding a new page to that. Full Tracker

I don’t need to track much, mostly just the monthly totals. I’ll have to remember to update and add in the daily counts as I go. I’ve also included three categories of project: Completed, Started and Editing. I’ve also included rules for myself about what counts for each category. Although it’s basic, I’m happy. I can’t wait to see what it looks like at the end of the year.

How do you track your writing stats?

Posted in blogging, General

Setting Goals for 2020

It’s startling to realize we’re almost at the end of the year, and not just the year but the end of an entire decade. Looking back on 2019, it’s been a rough year in places, but other places have a much different story to tell.

To set up my goals for the next year, I’m taking a look back at what I accomplished this year, no matter how small.

2019 Recap

142 Posts here on the Written Vixen

Completed 1 project (Crimson and Gold) which will launch in January–exciting!

6 novellas in various stages.

My biggest struggle overall has been adapting to the massive changes in my schedule and finding a better balance on time.

Two of the places that took the biggest hit were my reading and my art. I’ve had a few months where I didn’t read any books, and the additional things on my schedule have made it hard to find time to work on any big art pieces consistently.

2020 Goals

Ideally next year I’d like to get two stories published. This should be easy as Crimson and Gold launches in January and I have plenty of material to polish up and shop around.

As a stretch goal, I again next year want to try and finish a complete novel.

I’m looking forward to 2020. Here’s to happy holidays and a brilliant next year.

Posted in General, writing

Setting Small Goals

I mentioned in my June Recap post that I was lucky enough to spend some time away from home in a sort of personal retreat. I enjoyed my time away and it was productive as well. Unfortunately I forgot until my last day that July was also Camp NaNoWriMo. That, combined with the fact I did get quite a bit done in just a couple of weeks got me to thinking about goals and how they can help or hinder reaching milestones.

One of the biggest things about setting a goal is that you have to be specific. Just saying ‘I want to write a book’ sounds great, but it’s vague. Books come in many different sizes and with a lot of different needs. Saying ‘I want to write a children’s book’ gets more specific, because now you’ve set your finish line. You know at the end of it, you’ll have a children’s book written. Saying ‘I want to write a children’s book by the end of the year’ is even better still, because now you’ve defined both what you’re working on and when you want it. The specifics make it easier to measure how well you’re progressing on that goal.

The big goal is where a lot of hang-ups happen. Regardless of the size of the book, they all take work. This might be a tiny children’s book, or an epic sci-fi tome. And that’s where the hindrance of a goal can come in. Having a vague or oversized goal makes the task seem daunting. You can prevent this however, by breaking it down into smaller goals.

Taking an example of the standard NaNoWriMo goal here: 50,000 words is a lot. It’s not something most people can write in a day, and there are a large number of people who can’t get that done in a month. It’s a massive goal, which is what makes the NaNo challenge great.

The bad news is, that it is a massive goal, and that makes tackling it seem unreasonable. Even knowing the daily goal is only 1,667 words, it still seems huge, which is where smaller goals and checkpoints come in handy. If you’re going weekly, that 50k finish line means you only need to write 12,500 words a week, over four weeks. To make 1,600 words a day, you need roughly 53 minutes of writing at a typing speed of 30 words per minute. 53 sounds a heck of lot smaller than 1,600 but it will get you there. If you only manage to write 5 days a week at exactly 1600 words, that’s still 8,000 words. The little goals add up.

Some goals however, can’t be broken down by the number, but might need you to break them down into steps. Perhaps you want to publish a book. Again, make sure you’re specific. Do you want to traditionally publish or self-publish? If you choose traditional, you may not be able to set a specific deadline for when it’s published—there is a lot of behind the scene works that can take years to set up. You can however, set smaller goals such as researching x number of agencies or publishing houses a week, sending a certain number of queries a month, or if you’d like to try pitch contests.

For self-publishing, there’s innumerable steps to the process. Editing, cover design, publishing options, marketing and pre-launch campaigns. By themselves, getting one or two things done a month may not seem like a huge step, but it will move you very quickly towards that deadline.

Whenever you come across a goal you want to set, ask yourself two questions.

  1. Am I being specific enough? A specific goal gives you structure to work from, which can guide you from one step to the next.
  2. Is this the smallest I can make this goal? Remember it’s far easier to meet and exceed a small goal than it is to struggle with an oversized one.