Friday, January 4, 2019

2019: It's Goal Time

Well, here we are. 2019. We're four days in and I already feel like we've been here for ages. But I guess that's not really a surprise, given how long last year felt. Hopefully, 2019 will be better than 2018 was — though, all things considered, 2018 was a pretty great year. And I did a reasonably good job meeting most of my goals . . . though not all of them.

2018 Reviewed!

  • As you may remember, last year, my main writing goal was to set myself a writing challenge of some kind every month so I would keep up a more consistent writing schedule. I'm happy to say that I largely succeeded with this, though there were a few months (especially towards the end of the month) when I basically just defaulted to a goal of 100 words per day, six days a week.
  • And that goal paid off! I wrote and edited a total of 183,132 words this year, up by about 54K words from last year! So, basically, I got an extra NaNoWriMo's worth of words in this year, which is pretty fabulous since I never actually did a full 50K NaNoWriMo (even though I participated in all three events).
  • I did not work on all the projects that I hoped to. I managed another few chapters of Destinies and Decisions, but in general, I'm setting aside the rewrite until later. (It's entirely possible that I'll rewrite the first three books, then restart the rewrite of book four, but we'll see.) As for Between Two Worlds, I didn't even touch it.
  • But I did finish Fight Song! And I wrote almost two dozen short fiction pieces of varying lengths! I didn't spread out the short stories as much as I intended to, but I'm not complaining.
  • I also published my first book, Blood in the Snowso, I mean, that's exciting. It also definitely wasn't in the plan for the year, but, hey. Plans change, and I think that was a change for the better. Though the release didn't go as smoothly as I hoped, everyone's been super supportive. (To everyone who's said nice things about my book: thank you! You get all the hugs.)
  • In 2018, according to my Goodreads Year in Books, I read a total of 109 books and 33,848 pages, with an average rating of 4.1 stars. That's pretty good, considering that I actually dropped my Goodreads reading challenge in 2018 from my usual 99 books to 77 books.
  • However, my C.S. Lewis reading challenge thing? Epic fail. I didn't even make it out of January before my new books overwhelmed my old books. Oh well. At least I enjoyed what I read.
  • I got a marketing and design internship! I actually still have it; it's just very, very part time! I have concluded that if you let me work from home on marketing stuff for the next ten years, I will probably be very, very happy.
  • I became secretary for the Honors org and so far am enjoying the position. I do need to send an email out soon for that, though.
  • I actually kept up with doing German on Duolingo the whole year! So now, at least in theory, I know more German than I did when I started. I don't think I could hold a solid conversation in German, but I could probably find my way around a German city and make myself understood in short exchanges.
  • I did not keep doing martial arts (mostly because the instructor left), but I did learn how to swing dance! Kinda. And then I stopped going this semester because classes didn't fit in my schedule and social swing is super boring when no one asks you to dance.
  • I reworked both my blogs and created a shiny new author site!
  • I finally found a D&D group! Without advertising for other players! (That said, I did respond to someone else advertising for players.) I am very happy with my group and my lovely paladin, and I can't wait to get back to it next semester.
So, that was my year — a good year, overall, if a busy one. As for 2019, then . . . well, that's another adventure. As usual, I'm setting some goals, though (again, as usual), they're more a general idea of what I want to accomplish this year than hard-and-fast I will do this in 2019 or die trying. I like to keep things flexible, after all.

2019 Goals!

  • Once again, I want to set myself a writing challenge every month. I mean, it worked out well last year, so why not keep it up?
    • That said, I'm going light in January because I pushed myself so hard the last two months. My goal is 300 words of writing, editing, or worldbuilding per day, 5 days a week. (That said, as long as I get some edits done on Mechanical Heart and make a little progress on Dust of Silver, I'll be happy.)
  • What projects am I hoping to work on this year? Great question!
    • Editing Mechanical Heart even more and submitting it to the Golden Braids collection. For those unaware, Golden Braids is the next Arista Challenge group release that Kendra's running. My hope is that I can publish Mechanical Heart with that instead of doing it all on my own. Of course, Kendra has to accept the story first for me to do that . . .
    • Writing more of Dust of Silver. I'll probably do this in conjunction with the Tattered Slippers Arista Challenge, though I entertain no illusions of having it written, edited, and ready to submit for that release. However, it is quite pleasant to work on retelling the same fairy tale with a lot of other writers, and Dust of Silver is primarily a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling.
    • Writing a new novella? Maybe? Speaking of the Tattered Slippers Arista Challenge, I need to figure out whether or not I'm going to write anything to submit to it. I caught a glimpse of a plot bunny the other evening, but only time will tell if it's worth chasing down or not. Right now, I'm just giving it time to grow while I work on other things.
    • Editing Once Upon a Dream? Maybe? I know that I want to publish Once Upon a Dream, a Sleeping Beauty retelling featuring magic, chemistry, and romance, at some point. It's already in pretty good shape, but it needs to be expanded in certain areas. I'd like to start doing that sooner rather than later.
    • Figuring out a rough publishing plan. At some point in the near future, I need to look at what I've written so far and what I plan to write in the future and determine how it all fits together — not in a hard-and-fast sense, but in a some-idea-of-where-I'm-probably-going sense. What do I want to release now, and what do I want to save for when I've established myself a little more? What am I self-publishing and what am I submitting to traditional publishers? If I submit something to a traditional or small press publisher, do they have any kind of dibs on future books? Are there any restrictions on crossovers between, say, traditionally and self-published books? I need to find the answers, and I need to do it sooner rather than later.
  • I'm setting my Goodreads reading challenge at 77 books again, even though I read so much last year. That seems safer than going for 99.
  • I'm also going to make another attempt at reading more old books, but I'm not aiming for anything so intense this time. My new goal is to read one book per month that was published before 1975. Or, at least, written before 1975, because all the new Tolkien books are a thing. (I don't know if they're a thing I'll actually get around to reading, but y'know, I'm leaving the possibility open.)
  • Continue to survive and do well in college. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll do this whether or not I make it an official goal or not, but y'know. I might as well say it.
  • Get another internship and/or continue the internship I have. I'm a tiny bit hesitant to try for a full-time desk-job internship like I had back in New York for this summer because of some other stuff I want to do. However, I do want to get more work experience and, ideally, continue to earn money. But I also love the internship I'm currently at, so I'm hoping I can keep working at it either part- or full-time, depending what else I'm doing.
  • Attend the RealmMakers writing conference. I was a little uncertain about whether or not to put this up here, but I've been telling so many people that I hope to go that I might as well say it on the blog. Is it the wisest financial decision? Not sure, especially since I just did some calculations and realized that it's going to cost a bit more than I anticipated. (I hoped that my Actual Writing Job paycheck would cover all the expenses with a bit left over. It won't. But it should cover most of the cost.) However, I think that the opportunities for networking with publishers and other authors and learning from more experienced authors will be worth the money. (And, if nothing else, I want to meet some of my writer friends in person.)
  • Keep practicing German and start learning another language. Since German is going to so well with Duolingo, I'm thinking of trying another language, one I don't have prior experience with. I'm still debating which one; suggestions are welcome. I've also been informally learning bits and pieces of ASL from some friends on my hall, and I intend to keep working on that. Depending on how time works out, I may try to learn it more formally through LifePrint or another site as well.
How was your 2018? What are your goals for 2019? Any suggestions for what language I should learn or what old books I should read? Also, if you've been reading my blog (or my old writing thread on the Underground) for a while, are there any of my stories that you're especially hoping I publish in the near future? Please tell me in the comments!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)    


  1. Yay for your progress with German! I'm absolutely sucking at keeping up with my French, even though Duolingo sends all those lovely reminders. ;P

    Did you ever feel too pressured by your writing goals in 2018? I'm tentative to set any writing goals for myself because I feel like I almost always freeze up from the pressure and don't even try to meet them. The only time I was successful was when I had to write 75 pages for intermediate creative writing fiction in college.

    1. Yeah. Honestly, I'm pretty sure that 90% of why I've stuck with it so well is that I really like having my streak and I don't want to break it. So if that doesn't motivate you, I can see how it would be difficult.

      Not really? But I tend to thrive when I have a specific goal to work towards. And I know the rhythms of my year pretty well, so I knew when I would need to set a lower goal versus a higher one. Plus, the point of my writing goals (outside of NaNoWriMo) is almost never to try to do something I don't know I can do. It's to motivate me to do what I know I CAN do if I just put in the effort. But, again, I tend to be motivated by goals and deadlines, and that doesn't work for everyone.

    2. I'm was usually good at meeting deadlines for school assignments and still am for work projects, but I think I freeze up when it comes to something I worry will constrain my creativity. I need to find another cafe to write at because that was giving me a goal of writing at least SOMETHING weekly, but Maman has been ridiculously crowded and loud when I've gone the last few times, which isn't conducive for working.

  2. Best of luck with all your goals! :)


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