The world in 2016 has been a bit of a shit show(yes, I know I’m being generous here), but I’ve made massive leaps and strides in my writing career, and as much as I am concerned about where the world is headed from here(into fire and brimstone?) on a personal level, I’m extremely excited for the new year to begin. But first I’d like to take a moment to honour all the things I’ve accomplished this year, because acknowledging our past accomplishments is as important as creating goals for the future.
So here goes, my 2017 creative accomplishments:
1. Edited Good Bye & Submitted It
Spoiler Alert: I got the contract! Good Bye, a YA fantasy novella I’ve put many years of love into, is set to release in April 2017.
2. Edited Moonshadow’s Guardian & started working with a professional editor
I ended up only getting half of Moonshadow’s Guardian, one of my fantasy novels, edited professionally because I had an epiphany that requires somewhat major changes, but this was a big step for me and I’m confident I’ll be able to self publish Moonshadow’s Guardian in early 2018.
3. Drafted Moonshadow’s Guardian 2
Once upon a time I wrote a sequel to Moonshadow’s Guardian. It then got abandoned for several years. This year, I wrote a completely different sequel to Moonshadow’s Guardian, full of exciting things like civil war. It’s a pretty bare bones draft but I’m quite proud of the story, and I’ve got a bunch of ideas bouncing around for a third book.
4. Embarked on some co-writing projects
I can’t say anything about these other than that they exist and none of them are novels, which is exciting. I’ve learned a lot by experimenting with different forms.
5. Wrote a few short stories
One of them has even been edited multiple times and is currently sitting with beta readers for a second read through. I’m hoping to submit it to an anthology with a December 31st deadline, which at this point is rather ambitious, but doable.
6. Started a new but not new series
2016 has been full of creative epiphanies for me, including a big one about a book I had abandoned for several years. Which involved rewriting an entire mythology and deciding to write an entirely different series of books in the same world first. And probably a collection of short stories. Or three. It’s kind of a big, awesome world.
7. Contributed to an RPG
My first official publishing credit for short fiction came in this year, a setting for Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters. I had an incredible amount of fun writing this setting and I hope to write for more games next year.
2017 Creative Goals
In 2017 one big shift I want to make is to expand my creativity beyond writing. Writing will obviously continue to be my focus and career path, but I want to expand my horizons.
1. Edit Moonshadow’s Guardian into publishable shape & crowdfund publication
Most of the editing that needs to be done is around the final conflict, so I’m confident I can pull this off–and I’ve acquired an amazing team of beta readers who are going to help me do it. My goal is to get all the story edits done by October, run a Kickstarter in October to raise funds for copy editing and officially release the book in February 2018.
2. Rewrite Moonshadow’s Guardian 2 & get to beta readers
I’m hoping to release this book in 2019, so this is my other big editing goal for 2017. The first draft of this book was one of the most difficult I’ve ever written, but it resulted in one of my best drafts, and I can’t wait to see how my beta readers will react.
3. Write first book in the new series
This one I’ve already started, and I’m about a thousand words(and fifty pages of notes) into it. Right now the working title is Navelme’s Story, since the main character is named Navelme and titles always take me a really long time. I’d love to be able to publish this book in October or November 2018.
4. Write, edit, and submit six short stories
It might not sound like a lot, but this is one short story every two months on top of all my other projects. And these are entirely new short stories. A short story generally takes me a few days to write and a month to edit, so this gives me some breathing room and seems reasonable on top of my book projects.
5. Edit old short stories
There are also four short stories sitting on my hard drive that I’m hoping to edit and release as freebies for subscribers to my newsletter. Two of these are in the world of Moonshadow’s Guardian and two are in the world of my new series.
6. Finish at least one of my coworking projects
Obviously coworking projects take a back burner to my own personal career, but I’d like to continue working on them and finish at least one.
7. Make at least one prop per month
One of those coworking projects happens to be a script that we’re planning to film ourselves, and this is the perfect creative endeavor for me. I’m going to start with simple things and move on to more complicated projects as the year goes on.
8. Become more consistent with my newsletter & blog
As I mentioned, this year has been a bit of a shit show, and I’ve been mostly good about keeping the blog together but pretty awful at consistently releasing the newsletter. I’m planning to restructure this blog to focus on shorter posts so it’s easier to maintain.
How I chose these goals
There are dozens of things I want to do creatively. I have half a dozen other novels completely outside either series I mentioned that I’d love to rewrite someday, and there are dozens of other creative skills I’d love to learn. But I ask myself one question about every goal on my list: how will this impact my writing career?
My career as an author is only beginning. Now is the most important time to focus on big impact goals. This is why I’m focusing on books that are part of series–readers prefer series, especially in the fantasy genre. The projects I’ve chosen are also the ones I believe are closest to the possibility of publication. Yes, I’ve only just started the first draft of Navelme’s Story, but I’ve poured endless hours of love into this world and the characters, and I’m confident this first draft will be my best yet. Also, I edit much faster than I used to, so I believe it’s actually possible for me to get Navelme’s Story into publishable shape by the end of 2018.
How do you choose your goals? What are your goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments section below!