The New Year Brings. . .

I long ago gave up making New Year’s Resolutions. No matter how good my intentions, the resolutions were almost always so far out in left field they were unattainable. So, sooner rather than later, the resolutions were out the door. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still try to set realistic goals for the New Year and move toward reaching them and, judging by some of the posts I’ve seen on social media, I’m not the only one.

Looking at some of the “resolutions” by other writers, I find myself shaking my head. Almost every one of them is something along the lines of “I have to write more.” Well, duh. That is something we all need to do, myself included. However, I’ve learned the hard way–and on more than one occasion, that saying I need to put out a book every three months or less is often setting myself up for trouble. Every book seems to have its own writing schedule. Some require more research. Others don’t flow as quickly during the draft phase and some do. Beta readers may be slow in getting back to me. Life interferes. There are so many factors, not the least of which is that we all write at different speeds.

So here’s the thing. Yes, set a goal for the year but make it a realistic one, taking into consideration the other demands on your life. If you wrote one book this year, see if there are ways to carve out time to increase that to a book and a novella at the very least this year. Can you carve out more writing time by decreasing the time you spend gaming or on social media? How abut getting up half an hour earlier a couple of days a week, or maybe staying up half an hour later to write? There are ways.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of excuses and “explanations” for why you don’t have more time to write. And, yes, I include myself in that “you”.

Something else to look at is your bottom line. One of the writer’s groups I belong to had a number of folks posting their year-end earnings. I was reminded of when I first started off how much I loved writing and how much each sale meant to me. Some of them were ecstatic to have made in a year what I make in a week or two. It brought me up short and then I stepped back and thought about it. They were doing what they had always dreamed of doing. They were writing and people were buying their stories.

But there was something else included as well. They knew they could make more but they had to do something to do so. It wasn’t spend money on advertising or taking time away from writing spending hours on social media promoting that first title. It was to sit their butts down in their chairs and write. Each of them have jobs and families and other demands on their lives but they knew if they were going to be “writers”, they needed to keep writing. So they were setting up schedules to get at least one new title out this year, preferably in the first quarter to half of the year.

This joy of writing and accepting the challenge they were setting for themselves sat in stark contrast to some of the posts I’ve seen from established writers, indie and traditionally published. These posts are crying about the lack of monies earned. Several traditional publishers mourned their lack of sales from places like B&N, all the while dissing Amazon for taking away what had been their biggest market. They aren’t considering other factors, or even the number of sales they get from Amazon. They are so deep into Amazon Derangement Syndrome that they can’t see the proverbial forest for the trees. Some of these writers are mourning the loss of an industry.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the hopeful outlook of the new indie writers than the jaded traditionally published writers and editors who haven’t figured out how to adapt to new tech, new demands and new outlets. I think I’ll take my cue from those new indie authors and follow their lead.

In other words, they know the best way to make money from their writing is to write more.

That applies to all of us, no matter how many titles we have out there. Each new title not only brings in money from those who are already familiar with our work but, hopefully, new readers who will buy the new title and then go back and buy our back lists.

The key isn’t to keep watching the monies being made–or not made–on that one or two titles we have out there but to put out new material to keep the readers coming back. Sure, there is a time when you have to look at it and decide whether it is worth it whether you continue or not but, if you want to be a writer, you don’t give up if your first title didn’t make you a lot of money. You look at what you did to promote it. You look at what your reviews say. You look at how long it has been out without another title coming after it. Then you decide whether you want to write for an audience. If you do, you need to write.

I wish I could say there’s some magic formula that will make us best sellers. There isn’t. It’s hard work and it all starts with writing.

So, what are my goals for this year? That’s simple. I’m going to finish getting all my books out in print editions. My goal for that is Feb. 15th. By the end of this month, I’ll have the rebranded third book of the Stalker’s Moon series out. I have two books in rough drafts right now, the next Eerie Side of the Creek novel and the next Nocturnal Lives novel. I plan to get back to work on them next week. I have the final book in the Sword of the Gods trilogy outlined and would like to have it published by September. I need to close out that series. I have started outlining the next Honor & Duty book. I’d like to have it out by summer but I know life might interfere. There are a few other titles, shorter works, bouncing around in my head and I’m trying to sit on them because it takes me longer to write short than it does long. But, realistically, my goal is three novels this year. I’d like it to be four.

Then there are blurbs to review and rewrite and new covers to discuss and execute. It is a lot of work but it can and will be done–hopefully. However, to do so, I have to follow my own advice and put butt in chair and work.

I’m not going to ask for your New Year’s Resolutions. But I will ask what your goals are for this year. What do you want to accomplish in 2019?


Featured image by geralt under CCO Creative Commons license.


  1. Goal: Getting off my butt and getting my first book published (indie of course). I have been sitting on it for far too long and I need to get it finished and out there. Just a couple more tweaks to be done and it will be ready.
    Next, carve out time to write and look at how much wasted time I have kicking around for it. I think the new position will be stable enough for that even though it’s a real early start for the day. (Baker, and 5 am start times. Upside is that my work day is done by 1:30 pm…)
    Other than that, I just have to improve on what I need to do. Which means a couple of workshops and getting the butt in chair.

  2. Goal: write three books in addition to Shikari #5 (currently at 15K words). Because Day Job’s work load just doubled (more than doubled now that contest season has arrived), and needing to take time to learn a very new-to-me language. Look into getting the entire Colplatschki series into print – all need new covers.

    After that? It will be pure gravy.

  3. Investigate opportunities for a medium term apprenticeship relating to my non-fiction professional goals.

    Figure out how to deal with a problem that has come up, and changed the viability of a number of plans.

    I want to get some other things done, but all other possibilities are up in the air without some idea about the first two.

  4. Since New Year’s Resolution are broken and fail…
    I might as well come up with one that whose failure will be appreciated.
    I resolve to be an even bigger pain in the [REDACTED] in 2019.

    There. With any luck, it’s already failing miserably… or is that wonderfully?

      1. Oh, there are (so many) truly deserving.. targets… but I’ve found that the most hurt I can give them is to do no more than offer them a fresh shovel or additional rope.

        1. Now, now. Self-care is important. Don’t forget the popcorn and a folding chair for comfort while you point and laugh.

  5. I’m looking at my “to publish” list for 2019 . . . and seeing that most of them are at least three quarters written. I think I need to set a goal of _finishing_ stories _completely_ before they get set aside to cool off. I’m not adverse to a long wait before re-reading with a fresh mind. But they need to get finished, first. So . . . This year, I _plan_ to finish all first drafts.

    Oh, and be a bit more diligent about diet and exercise.

    1. This. I’m going to get scolded at my physical for my weight. As usual. I’m tempted to flex the way body-builders do and see if they get the hint about why I am not losing pounds, only inches.

      1. Yay for losing inches! That’s awesome 🙂

        At the last physical, the doc looked at me, and said, “Weightlifting? Well. Your bloodwork’s better, so we’re not going to talk about your weight. Just keep making better numbers, especially that cholesterol.”

        I think I’ll keep this doc.

  6. Goals for 2019:
    Finish 4 Stories. (Peter plans to finish and publish 4. Me, I’m focusing on finishing – that’s my greatest weakness.)
    Finish the outstanding 2018’s blurb-owed list, and make sure I get blurbs for Peter & Jim’s books done soon enough I’m not getting The Look over coffee and dinner.
    Deadlift my bodyweight. (Ideally, the bodyweight will also come down, making this easier to reach.)
    Get all books we’ve published so far in print
    Complete turnover of the pantry and can racks – use up everything that was in them on Jan 1 by Dec 31.
    Become 1 size smaller in jeans.
    Pay off last credit card balance, increase amount paid on mortgage principle by the amount I was paying on the credit card interest.
    Build a square-foot garden in backyard.

  7. I’m planning to get the next three short novels in my serial up as ebook and paperback, as well as a box set of the first three, and I have a goal to get my 2017 NaNo piece out by Memorial Day weekend. By the end of the year, I want to have finished the first draft of my epic fantasy sequel. On top of 2 serial chapters/week and the Young Master (now 8 months old), I’m not sure if that’s over ambitious or not ambitious enough.

    Oh. And I need to get back into yoga (because it’s one of the few exercise practices I’ll keep up with) and clean up my diet again. Which last will be easier as I get used to island life, I think. I hope.

  8. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions either. I tend to notice when I need to change how I do something because the current modus operandi isn’t working right. So I tweak it as soon as I have the resources to do so. Why wait?

    My plans for the year…

    Publish A Talisman Arcane in February 2019. Finish first draft of The Sovereign’s Labyrinth (Gael & Keir Book 2) by the end of April and send it off to my first reader. Write the first draft of Gael & Keir Book 3 between May and October 2019.

    Continue swimming 3 times a week and weight lifting twice a week.

    Make progress on some household decluttering.

    Do college visits in the spring with my two high school juniors.

  9. On the ‘getting things in print’ Yay! I have a 20ish friend who is interested in your Nocturnal series.

    Goals for myself: Finish 3 books. Specifically finishing the following 3 to the point of Beta Readers:
    Edge of the Knife – Epic Fantasy, might turn into a series, but is pretty good as a stand alone. Needs the beginning re-done from mistake winds up in (someone else’s) death to mistake winds up in kidnapping that has to be fixed which actually gets the ball rolling instead of ‘now what’. The muddle in the middle is now at least scattered scenes that can be connected and the end just need some polishing.

    The Rose and the Cross – Fantasy with a historic touch. My most complete, has several places it needs expanding where I obviously did the ‘skip and fill in later’. World Bible needs to be started, and political intrigue fleshed out a bit. Looks to be the first of a duology. Probably shorter than most of mine… probably.

    Bearskin – First of trilogy. Faerie Tale world (as if the title didn’t give it away.) Closest to a re-telling the series is going to do. This one’s mostly bare bones, but the core is there and now that I have figured out what the ‘sense’ of the story is this one should come along.

    Also: Finish the World Bible for my Pick Ups Sticks project. Start with the oldest of the series (most important) Then start integrating the other series into the world. Maybe add the books in this to the queue, one by one, as I get the world nailed down.

    If I meet/beat these goals, the second in Rose and Cross, and the other two in the Bearskin set (Secret, and The Silver Nightingale)

    Hopefully by putting names to things it’ll be an additional kick in the posterior.

  10. Learn to draw space ships. Ideally, by 3D modeling them then ray tracing renderings because I want something that can be 3D printed, too.

    I’ve never tried to model a space ship. I probably don’t know enough to do so, but it will be interesting research.

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