{January 2015 Newsletter} What I’m Working Towards in the New Year

Welcome to 2015!

Wow, it seems so strange to be saying that. It really doesn’t seem to be a new year, and yet, it is. It’s 2015 and I’m sitting here wondering where 2014 went and what did I accomplish last year. It doesn’t seem like I have much to show for a whole year of work, but I do, it’s just mostly behind the scenes work. 😀

Besides me who is happy for the new year? Who has already made plans for how they want the new year to be?

Me! Me! ME!

Working Notes, Writing Updates

When I was a child, my mom would get us all together on the last day of December to make New Year Resolutions. My dad would make sure that all our resolutions were set up as goals. The formula goes something like this: I will [action verb][task] by/at [deadline], i.e. I will write 300,000 words by December 20th, or I will walk 1 mile every day at 10am.

When I moved away from home I stopped doing the New Year Resolutions and did weekly goals instead. Then in 2013 I started Planning my Year Ahead (outside link) in November. But the first part of 2014 saw those weekly goals fall by the wayside, along with any yearly business goals I’d made, in some attempt to get everything on my plate done.

Somewhere I lost focus on what I wanted, and what I could realistically accomplish in a week, month, or year. I decided that 2015 will be about me getting back on track to what I want in life. So over the Christmas Holidays I listed all my dreams and goals along with the things I should do and could be doing to reach the goals and dreams I really want to accomplish.

Today’s post is a short list of my plans and goals for 2015, something to help me be accountable for what I want to have happen.

1. Read at the least 5 and at the most 10 novels, novellas, or short stories every month, but only on the Weekends.

Reading is an important part of a writer’s life and every writer should be reading (Check out the The Reading List to see what I’ve been read). As I started recording my reading habits this year, I decided to limit how many books I can read and when I’m allowed to read for two reasons.

  1. I love to read and if I limit the amount of books I’m allowed to read I don’t lose focus on what I should be doing for something more fun. This usually means that I’ll accomplish nothing productive in work, my home degrades into a mess, ranch work isn’t forgotten, and basic things like a shower or exercise that day is placed on hold so I can finish one more chapter. Plus side: reading gives my imagination all sorts of new idea sparks to work from when I return to writing. Minus side: I start to feel stressed because I’m now behind in my to-do lists, book writing, and client work.
  2. Once I start a book I will read it until I’m done. There is no “I’ll only read this for an hour” for me. If I try to read in the morning while I’m having breakfast I’m distracted for the rest of the day because I want to get back to that book. Reading at night is a no-no because I’ll stay up to finish the book, so I might not go to bed until 3am, and then having to wake up at 5am to start the day and get the kids off to school. There is not such thing as naps for me, so I won’t get to bed until 8pm that night. This means a grumpy mom all day because I’m tired and unable to focus on writing. It also means a grumpy hubby because he didn’t get to have his snuggle time during the night and feels neglected.

2. Be a healthier me by exercising and eating better.

This one made me laugh because I started it out as a “I want to lose 30 pounds and keep it off” goal. But as I started to write the reason behind it, I realized it has nothing to do with my weight or how much I want to lose, because I’ve never been the type of person whose cared about their weight or dieting. I’m still not. What this goal is about is returning to the healthier me I was before I had my girls and injured the arches of my feet. A strain that took three years to heal properly, and only in the last few months have I been able to walk without pain in my feet. So now it’s time to work on losing the added weight I gained so I’m healthier, but also change my eating habits. So no more candy for the sugar-alcoholic? Ummm, how about lessening the amount of sugar. 😀

3. Create 2 cover designs each month that isn’t for a client and learn new graphic design techniques for a better cover design.

Why am I doing this? Because one should always work on improving themselves and their business skills. I also realized this year when I debated dropping the cover design of business to focus on writing, that cover design isn’t so much as a business venture to pay the bills anymore, because if I wanted to do that I would charge $200-$600 for ebook and print covers instead of $60-$200. Cover design is more of a creative outlet that I need to do. Like writing and crocheting random things.

Umm, maybe I should open an Esty store for all the crochet items around the house. Maybe next year…

4. Publish 3 books and 6 short stories this year.

I like to have a word count goal for the year, and while I’m not devastated if I don’t reach it, I do my best. However, I’m only upping my yearly word count of 300,000 (which I was about 25,000 words shy of reaching this year) to 350,000 this year. Why only 50,000 words and not 100,000 like I planned? Well, I have a busy schedule with other responsibilities and I’ve decided to pay more attention to my writing rhythms.

This means breaking my year into two using my kids schedules. So I have my School Time Schedule (about 8 months out of the year ) and School Break Schedule (includes holidays and days off, about 4 months). During my School Break Schedule, I want to focus more on the planning of future books, editing, getting books ready for publication, and renewing my creativity. While my School Time Schedule is when I want to focus more on writing the books I have planned and those that need to be finished.

So that’s what I’ll be working toward in 2015, would you like to share your goals?

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Stephannie Beman's Signature