2016 Midyear Goal Review

Goals for writers

Back at the beginning of the year my writing goals included:

  • Reading every day
  • Continuing with the Legend of Iski Flare novella series with episodes 2, 3 and 4 planned for release this year
  • The Raven Crown series books 1 and 2 planned for release this year. (Book 3 in 2017)
  • The Mark of Oldra (formerly known as Snow) will be released at the beginning of February
  • The Flow of Ink will continue to blog every week and produce a monthly newsletter. I am changing the posting day to Sunday.
  • Improve my marketing skills to boost readership of my books and blog
  • There will be some ideas generating for next year, including expansions on some of the larger works I’m putting out this year and a new series that has started bubbling away.

 

This year I set myself some pretty intensive writing goals.

That was because I thought that if I knuckled down I could produce a lot more quality writing than what I had been.

When I looked at my first quarter some things were a little behind but I was confident I could pick up.

When I made my plan for 2016 I thought I would spend at least 2 hours writing every day. This hasn’t always been the case and sometimes the two hours wasn’t enough to get done what I thought I could.

As of end of June, this is where I am at:

 

The Flow of Ink

I am managing to maintain my weekly blog post. I’m not always organised ahead of time, that is, I would like to schedule blocks of posts at a time. But I’m usually still finalising and finding pictures the morning they are posted. Although this is disappointing I am getting better and the posts are making the website by Sunday.

I am working on improving the website but given my tech abilities this is slow. That may be more to do with confidence as I’m finding by googling ideas for plugins it is easier than I think to do things. I have updated my book page so that it looks more uniform and professional, with nice buttons to link straight to the book page.

 

The Mark of Oldra

After years of work I finally published The Mark of Oldra (formerly known as Snow) my first full length novel, I am really happy with how it ended up.

I am currently working on a print copy which I think I will sell by print on demand and then if it works well, I will look at shopping it around the bookshops.

 

The Legend of Iski Flare

I was a little relaxed in the exact publishing dates for each episode of this series and I have tried to be a little more strict, although I had to push out Episode Two, Red Wolves, by a week.

Episode Three – Heartless is due for release in July and is on track. I am enjoying this book more than the previous and it is a little longer.

Episode Four – The Piper (working title) is in the planning stages and I hope to publish in November. It depends how other writing projects are going, this may be moved forward.

 

The Raven Crown Series

Initially I hoped to get two books out this year and the third early next year.

This has taken longer than I thought – mostly because there was some serious work involved in the editing and I wasn’t putting as much time into it as I should have been. The first edit showed up more holes but the overall story is solid and I’m reasonably pleased with it. I am currently working through the second edit.

I have commissioned a professional cover, which I should see in July/August. I was hoping to publish in August but to be sure that I am putting up a quality product that may need to be pushed out.

 

Social Media

I am still learning here. I’m getting better with Twitter but fear I’m only pushing my books sometimes and I feel the same about Facebook. I have started using Hootsuite to help schedule posts.

There were suggestions that I get into Pinterest – but I am only using this as a reference for ideas for my stories at this point.

I am working my way through a Facebook Advertising for Authors course at the moment in the hope of improving my marketing skills and increase my email list.

 

Reading

I am reading every night and very slowly working my way through the bedside pile, although I add to it all the time. I’m reviewing more and joined a review group. And despite the amount I have to read I keep buying more, and promising more reviews.

 

Additional Stories

My plan for additional short stories went out the window, completely flew away. As the year progressed I realised it was far more important to focus on the main stories/projects and not worry about short side stories for now. And the story that has been bubbling away in the background has starting bubbling a bit more furiously.

 

Overall I am reasonably pleased with how I’m going. I am more or less on track. Although there are times that I feel that it is a moving feast and my plans and goals change. But really it is only the little things, which project to focus on some days, or adjusting end dates. My main goal remains the same – to write and to one day write full time.

I’m trying not to stress about how many books I’m not selling and focus on producing good stories.

What Fiction bloggers can blog about

Blogging topics for fiction wirters

My aim is to post on my blog every week. Sometimes it is easy to come up with topics around what I’m doing, sometimes it isn’t.

I don’t think it is always that easy for fiction writers. We need to appeal not only to other writers but to our readers as well. I’m not sure that I have this right yet and each week is an experiment. Here are some things that I blog about or have thought of blogging about.

I like to share my processes, because I enjoy reading about other writer’s processes. I like to see how people do things differently or similarly and what I can learn from their experience. I hope that there might be other writers that could learn something new from me.

I like to share my learnings – what I have discovered along the way to improve my writing or my processes and again how that might help others.

Where my writing is at – partly because I am all about the story – I love it when my story is out there and ready to go and I hope you do too. And how that story grows and progresses over time.

Excerpts from stories – I haven’t really done this yet, I did share a short story for Easter based on Iski Flare and his travels. Developing a story takes time and I’m not sure if it is worth sharing a story that takes time away from my other writing projects.

I have an interest in immersive writing and so try to weave that into my learnings and processes. I also have an interest in time management and energy management but in terms of writing and fitting writing around a busy life. I’m sure I’m not the only writer trying to write around family and a day job.

Here are some ideas from others about what you can blog about:

 

What do you look for when you read a fiction writer’s blog?

 

Online Groups for Indie Authors

online groups for indie authorsWriting can be a lonely and isolating activity. Being able to maintain contact with like-minded people can be empowering.

I have joined several writing and writers groups on line (or at least on FB) which has been quite handy. Most of these are aimed at indie authors but I’m sure there would be some traditionally published among the numbers.

 

Benefits:

  • There is a range of people you can connect to in a relatively easy way.
  • Find group with similar interests
  • You don’t have to be close geographically
  • You don’t have to be free at the same time
  • You can choose what you respond to, particularly in a big group
  • And with direct messaging you can interact with members on an individual level

 

Cons:

  • Like any group you have to put time into it. And this can become a distraction to other tasks
  • Some in the group may demand more of you or the group than is appropriate
  • Some members are only there for their own validation and don’t contribute to the group

 

With the variety offered by being part of an online group you can choose what you would like to be a part of. I have joined several groups with Books Go Social – author group, review group, reading group. It depends what topics are being discussed as to where I would comment. Some people are across all groups, some only a member of one.

I have also joined some Facebook groups for some courses I have recently completed or joined. A recent comment in one of these groups was made about how we don’t all respond to every post but given the time just to read every post, it isn’t always possible, and as I stated above, you don’t have to get involved in conversations that don’t interest you or you don’t have anything to contribute to.

In one of the author groups people often ask for advice around different plugins or software. If I don’t use the software then I can’t comment and it would only block up the group if we all took the time to say we had nothing to add.

Make sure that you give as much as you take with any online group. Only ask for critiques or readers when you are willing to put the time in to do this for others.

 

What group would you like to be a part of ? Or what group might you like to start?

My Current Writing Plan

My Current Writing PlanAs we get close to the middle of the year I am looking at where my writing is at. I will share my mid-year goal review at the end of the month but in the mean time I wanted to share what I have been doing with my current planning.

Before this year started I mapped out what I would like to achieve and how I thought I would do that. This process included producing a schedule for each stage of every project so that I could work out what could overlap and maximise my working schedule.

This has changed as the year has progressed due to slippage. That is because some stages have taken longer than expected and some weeks I’m not spending the time I thought I would on each project.

As June started I looked at where I wanted to be, what I had completed on those main projects and what I could seriously achieve.

I picked one project and, using my time keeping notes, I determined how much time I would need for each stage. And then worked out, with all my other commitments what I could put in each day (I have to make the time, not hope it is there) and so determine how far I could get with each.

I printed out a blank calendar and, armed with a pencil, I mapped out what I could do each day toward each stage of the project. Then I went back, took the next project and did the same.

Amongst all of this I have a blog to maintain and a newsletter to produce, so I worked out how I could squeeze a little time in each day to draft those. I find it easier to just dot down notes for my topics for the month, then push out a rough draft, before I find a photo to go with it, and research appropriate links if needed, and smooth out the text. Sometimes in 15 minutes I can have the bare bones of two or three blog posts. And 15 minutes isn’t too hard to find.

So after all of this work – and a lot of pencil sharpening – I had a clear and achievable plan for June. This planning process does take time, but it makes life easier because each day I have a clear idea of what I need to do to continue to meet my writing goals and publishing schedule.

And it reminded me that I need to focus on what is important and ensure I make the time every day to reach my goals, not sit back and wait for time.