My 2023 Goals

It’s New Years Eve and a fresh new year is almost upon us so that means its time for me to set my goals for the year ahead. I’ve been doing this for a while now – setting my goals and then checking them against the reality at the end of the year. In 2022 I did really well, surprising myself by achieving 9 and of 10 goals and writing way more than I had planned to. 2022 seemed to be the year I let myself write multiple first draft manuscripts so that must mean 2023 will be the year I polish them all up one by one. That is exciting but won’t leave much time for fresh new writing! Anyway, here they are. Everything I hope to achieve in 2023.

  1. Start releasing The Day The Earth Turned series – As I plan to release each book with the season it occurs in, the first book Summer will be released in May or June 2023. Apart from one final read through, all four books are totally ready to go and have been edited and proofread and sent out to beta readers. I am currently waiting for covers from my designer and one of the first things I need to do in the New Year is plan my launch for this series. I really want to put the effort in and I plan to spend some money on advertising, set up ARC’s and put together a blog tour for book one. Let’s see what happens!
  2. Finish At Night They Played In The Road (working title, I still can’t quite decide) and send to editor – I think this is achievable. This is the book I am currently working on as it occurs next in The Boy With The Thorn In His Side universe. In 2022 I wrote the rough first draft of this spin-off book, where two characters I introduced in book 5 of The Boy series, got their own book. Writing this was a long slog as it currently stands at over 170,000 words but I enjoyed it immensely. So much, that by the time I got to the end I had another idea for another book set in this universe. Instead of starting the second draft of the spin-off, I couldn’t resist jumping straight into the new book idea, which was essentially a crossover book, using characters from several of my novels. It only took six weeks to write and was totally addictive! That then set me off on another tangent as Leon from The Mess Of Me appears in this crossover book, so I needed to finally finish The Mess Of Us in order to set up his part in the crossover book. Sorry if this is confusing! Anyway, as I have already said, 2022 was the year I wrote four books in first draft so 2023 is the year I have to get them all scrubbed up to release! I am nearly at the end of the second draft already, which has really been more of a read through to remind myself of what I’ve done. Draft three will commence immediately after and will involve more serious editing, revising and cutting the word count down! I am not sure this book will get released in 2023 but I at least plan to get it finished and sent to my editor!
  3. Publish Days End, the third book in the Fortune’s Well trilogy – Sim Sansford and I have already released the first two books in this mysterious YA trilogy (Hangman’s Revenge and Project Pandora) Book three has a cover and is pretty much ready to go. It is with our editor at the moment so at some point soon we will have her edits and feedback to work through and then we can plan a release!
  4. Keep adding to my new short story and poetry collection – It doesn’t have a name yet, but after publishing The Old Friend in 2022, I carried on writing poems and little bits of flash fiction and short stories, mainly in response to my monthly request for writing prompts on my Facebook page! I don’t think this will be ready for release for another year or so but I will just keep adding little bits to it when they come to me. I think this will be really good for me in 2023 as I won’t get much chance to write anything new with all the second drafts I have to dive into!
  5. Launch Chasing Driftwood Books – in 2021 the community interest company (Chasing Driftwood Writing Group) I run with Sim released an anthology called Stay Home – A Year of Writing Through Lockdown. A multitude of talented writers and bloggers, including people who attend our writing clubs and workshops contributed to the collection. We published the book under Chasing Driftwood Books and we also published the first two books in our co-written trilogy under the same name. Towards the end of 2022 we had a meeting where we laid out our plans for this company. Essentially, we plan to create an indie collective of like-minded authors of various genres. There are four of us so far but in 2023 we hope to launch it fully and encourage more to join. As indies, we have struggled to get sales and reviews and we know from talking to others that we are not alone. If we join up and help each other, we can achieve more. Our aim is to set up an indie publishing collective with a website, newsletter and social media pages, all aimed at lifting ourselves and our fellow authors up. I’ll obviously explain this in better detail when we are ready to go!
  6. Keep improving my vegetable plot and self-sufficiency in general – Always on the list because a garden is a project that will never be done! At the moment, my vegetable plot is a in a right state, covered in weeds and leaves and saturated with rainwater, but there is still plenty growing there! I can’t wait for warmer days to get out there and clean it up and get planting again. I need a new greenhouse or two and for Christmas I got plenty more seeds to plant. It keeps me going. I can’t express enough how soothing and therapeutic gardening in. It makes me so happy.
  7. Keep Up with dog training – I’ve never put this on my list before because training my dogs can be a bit sporadic over the year. Obviously I do a lot of training when they are puppies and teenagers and then when they’re a pretty good dog I tend to let it slip. At the moment, Ada is coming up 5 months and has completed a Life Skills course. She is so smart and picks things up so quickly, that I’ve built training into our daily routine on walks and at home. It’s so much fun and really improves the bond between us. Jesse enjoys scentwork and tracking and hoopers but I haven’t booked him into anything for a while, though we do bits and bobs at home to get him thinking. Tinks is a bit old and tired for it all but sometimes she joins in so I let her! I love my dogs so much. They make me so happy and the happier they are the happier I am.
  8. Get fitter and stronger – Last year I started getting into Pilates again after a very long break. I just follow some videos on YouTube and try to fit it in three times a week. This doesn’t always happen and life being what it is, I sometimes fall out of the habit and let a few weeks pass by before getting back into it again. So, this year I hope to keep trying to get fitter and stronger. I want my body to be strong as possible I head into middle-age.

Well that’s it because I can’t think of any more, which is probably a good thing! I’ll check back on these a year from now and see how I did! Are you setting any goals for 2023? Or just taking it as it comes? Please feel free to comment! And have a happy new year!!

My 2022 Goals

It’s time to set my goals for the year ahead! This is a little tradition for me now, with me setting out goals in January of each year and then analysing the reality of them each December. I set myself ten goals last year and achieved eight, so that’s going to be tough to beat! But here we go, my goals for the year ahead.

  1. Publish my new short story and poetry collection: The Old Friend and Other Stories and Poems. This book is ready to go! I am just waiting for the front cover to be finalised and once that’s done I will choose a date and organise a two month launch plan. Totally doable!
  2. Do a rewrite of The Day The Earth Turned Series. All four books are finished and at the same fourth draft stage. I am now going back to the start to rewrite them all, one by one. I have new chapters to add, some characters to develop further and I am planning to try changing the tense to present. I think this will give it the extra kick it needs, but we will see! This will be a time consuming goal but one I really must prioritise.
  3. Finalise book one of the Fortune’s Well series I’ve co-written with Sim Sansford. By finalise I mean finish our final edits, send to the proofreader, contact designer for a front cover, make the final, final edits and plan a launch.
  4. Continue to write chapters for the spin-off book to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series. The spin-off idea arrived a few years back and a year ago I couldn’t resist making notes for it, which soon evolved into chapters. I wrote these up a few months ago and continued writing up to chapter 22. I have to prioritise The Day The earth Turned and the Fortune’s Well series this year as they are both finished and ready to polish up and publish, but I always need to be writing something fresh and new too so this is the one I will work on when I can. It has a working title of At Night They Played In The Road.
  5. Continue to add to all my other book ideas. I need to add my zombie apocalypse idea to my upcoming books page. I have almost filled a notepad with longhand entries to this diary style book but I haven’t written any in a few weeks now. I will continue to carry it around and add to it when I feel the urge. There are two other writing projects I need to add to the upcoming books page. One is another YA series, this time with a supernatural theme and one is an adult family mystery. It will be many years before I get to either but I must continue to make notes when I get ideas!
  6. Be more active. During the lockdowns I was very active in my garden and just in general but whenever things went back to normal I fell back into the trap of being tired from work and not keeping up outdoor activities. I really want to get stronger and fitter again in 2022 so I aim to be outside as much as I can. I have even ordered a campfire tripod and dutch oven so we can try cooking outside more often. I just want to be as active and outdoorsy as I possibly can!
  7. Do better in the veg plot. I didn’t do too badly last year but every year I hope to improve so this has to go on the list again. I got a voucher for Xmas from my sister for plant plugs and have ordered a lovely selection to start me off on the right track. My mother-in-law also bought me a huge bag of vegetable and herb seeds, as well as wooden labels, bee bombs and bird food. I am so excited and can’t wait to get stuck into gardening again!
  8. Launch a second community writing project with Chasing Driftwood Writing Group. In 2021 we finally released our first anthology – Stay Home: A Year of Writing Through Lockdown. The anthology is a mixture of personal essays, short stories and poetry on the lockdown experience. Sales have been good and are helping to fund our next project – The World You Gave Us. We hope to collect essays, short stories and poetry from young writers only this time and eventually publish another anthology.
  9. Get better at marketing my books. Haha, this one is always up there! I will endeavour to try harder though! I have been getting better at blogging regularly and posting on social media. It’s my newsletter I need to get more consistent with and getting reviews!
  10. Be happy, don’t worry! I intend to be as happy as I can be. I aim to strive to always see the positive. I will try as hard as I can to leave the world better than I found it, be aware and informed, but not allow myself to become drenched in cynicism or dragged down by useless worrying. I must remind myself daily that I only have one short life and it’s up to me what I do with it. I must remind myself that worrying never achieves anything, that most people are good and the world is worth saving. I will continue to do whatever I can to give back to nature and do whatever I can to keep a smile on my face.

So, that’s it, my goals for the year ahead. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Let’s hope we see some positive changes, some hope, some kindness. Let’s hope things get better out there, not worse! Are you setting any goals for the year ahead? Feel free to comment and share! Thank you for following my blog and reading my posts. Its means a lot to me to know you are there. I wish all of you a very happy New Year!

My 2016 Writing Goals Vs The Reality

Towards the end of 2015 I listed my writing goals for 2016 on this blog. I didn’t really expect to achieve them all, but at the same time, they did feel achievable! I also listed them as a way to kick myself up the backside and keep track of what I wanted to get done this year. So as we draw to the end of 2016, (oh my God how fast did this year go??) how many did I manage?

  1. Finish the first draft of Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature (nearly there!!)

Yay! I did this one! This book nearly ready for release, but I’ve been waiting for some final feedback from a trusted beta reader and working on the first draft of A Song For Bill Robinson. Once this is done, I will be rushing back to dear Elliot to give his story a final going over or two and then deciding on a release date! (Plus I need to think about front covers and so on!)

2.Whilst letting that first draft breathe, do the final rewrite/edit of The Tree Of Rebels and submit to agents and publishers. I want to try the traditional route with this book, as I think it is a worth a go every now and then!

Well, as you may know, TheTree Of Rebels is still not ready despite being now two years in the making. A while ago I decided it needed another rewrite and possibly some further storylines introduced. But it has to wait until Elliot Pie is released before I get back to it, so this one is still not done. It is much improved though and I’m glad I’ve been patient with it.

3.Whilst waiting for responses, dive into second draft of Elliot Pie, which also means developing a Pinterest storyboard for it.

Yep, as mentioned above, second, third, fourth and so on drafts have happened for Elliot Pie, and I have started a Pinterest board for it too. Cool, can tick that one off!

4.If no success with trad publishing, then release The Tree of Rebels with my indie publisher,with my detailed promo plan in place!!

Well that indie publisher went out of business in February 2016 and I then published with Amazon for a while and am now with Pronoun. That threw a spanner into the works for a few months and set everything back a bit, so the detailed promo plan for The Tree Of Rebels will have to wait a bit longer to be set into motion!

5.Have a real life/in the flesh book launch in my local library (eek scary!)

Well, obviously as neither novel was ready for 2016 this goal was not achievable. However, I have recently made contact with my local library in a bid to foster links with them for this sort of thing. I’m holding a workshop there in March and will be talking to them about lots of other ideas too, so this goal is definitely one for 2017. I hope!

6.Have an online launch/promo etc (see point 4)

Again, neither novel was launched so couldn’t do an online launch either, but very much looking forward to this in 2017!

7.Finish putting together another short story collection, which will be partly shorts related to my novels, other shorts, and partly previous blog posts and musings

Aha! One I did achieve! I released Bird People in May 2016 and I’m really pleased with how it turned out

8.Plan a local author event! This will be under my Chasing Driftwood Writing Group banner, and will involve getting other local authors together for a meet/greet/signing and workshop extravaganza, all designed to put readers in touch with writers,, and spread the word locally about our books.

Yay, well sort of. I have a workshop booked for March which will be the first adult one I’ve put on, by myself, under my Chasing Driftwood Writing Group business. I did also take part in a Writers Day Event in October with Dorset Writers Network which was a brilliant opportunity for spreading the word and making connections. My workshop is about building an author platform and part of it will be unveiling my idea for a pop-up book shop to put on at any future events, the library and so on.

9.Enter competitions and submit to awards!!

I have entered two or three competitions this year I think? Always worth a go. Not submitted to any awards, though, which is worth looking into I think for 2017

10.Plot/plan the sequel to The Tree Of Rebels and add teaser chapters onto end of first book

Done. Most of the sequel is written or planned, but I did go off the idea and it fizzled out. When I do finally go over The Tree of Rebels again I will be deciding if I want to do the sequel or not, or just leave thinsg open incase I do another day.

11.Start the sequel to The Mess Of Me (if I finish Elliot Pie, or when I am having a breather between drafts)

Didn’t get time for this, as a lot of time was spent republishing books this year, and rewriting Elliot Pie and Tree Of Rebels, then a few months ago an old story started to plague me and turned into my current work-in-progress A Song For Bill Robinson. The sequel to The Mess Of Me is planned and half-written and will happen, one day, though!

12.Start writing the screenplay to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, which involves writing in extra scenes between the two books, so as to make a TV series. Well, why not dream big??

I started this! I also wrote a later episode which I intended to enter in a competition but I missed the deadline! Fully intend to keep working on this in 2017 as it was a whole lot of fun!

Results; seven out of twelve, not too bad!! I think writing this list at the start of 2016 was hugely helpful to me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to tick them all off, but they were all things I desperately wanted to achieve, so it made sense to me to list them like this so I’d have something to spur me on. I am going to write a new list for 2017 writing goals which will be next week’s blog post!

How about you? Do you write lists or make plans? What do you hope to achieve in 2017? Did 2016 go as planned or did you have things go wrong or veer in other directions, like I did? Please feel free to comment and share!