March 2017 In Review

Yay! Third In-Review post in a row. I’m on a roll!¬†ūüėÄ

Just so you know, I’m once more tweaking the layout of the post, so please bear with me as I work toward a format that I like.

My Life this Month…

Since it’s Winter here on the ranch, things are slow and both hubby and I are chomping at the bit to get working on the projects we have around here to finish. It becomes a nice bonding experience for our family and it gets us all our vitamin D. The first cow has finally calved. Yes!

Now that Winter is starting to wind down, I’m looking forward to returning to my twice a day walking routine. I really missed it. When I lived in town over 13 years ago, exercising outside was much easier during the Winter months. Walking in the country during the Winter is liable to hurt as the lane is slick and the meadow has snow drifts to my knees.

I’m still working on cutting back on the electronics and TV during the weekends for the family this month, but as long as the weather is crappy outside I don’t see my goal being very successful. However, with the more Spring-like days, the girls are spending more time outside playing then inside. Lately, their game of choice to outside has been four square, and they always seem to want mom and dad to come play. ūüėÄ

The girls are also back to working on the Fort they built with a friend two years ago. It’s becoming quite the project with them finding all sorts of objects that have been trashed over a half a century ago and dragging it back to their Fort. As I look at it, their helping clean up their environment and at a later date we can collect it all for recycling and the garbage, but for the time being they are free to use it.

Now on to my goals…


Finish Writing 5 Books in 2017

March has been a month of deep contemplation in regards to the¬†direction I want to take this writing hobby of mine, the type of books I want to write in the future, and how I want to handle some of the books I have already written. I’ve even started to¬†solidify some changes I decided upon. I want to make a more detail post on this later this month when I have a better idea of what I’ll be doing. I’m only mentioning it here because my plans pertain to my goal to “Finish 5 books in 2017.”

So, yes, I will be finishing at least 5 books this year, plus a ¬†few more if my plans work out the way I hope, but not in the way I planned to when I made the goal. I’m making good headway with this and I’m hoping ¬†to increase my writing output significantly with the¬†changes I will be implementing this month.


Write Everyday & Write 300,000
New Words in 2017

In January I figured that I would have to write nearly 30,000 words a month to reach my 300,000 new words in 2017 goal. Since my best output comes in the winter months before the kids are out of school and the ranch work begins, I have until May to create a good buffer. I had accumulated about 9,000 word buffer before the 1st of March and lost most of it before the end of March due to some bad writing days.

Days I wrote: 26
Days I didn’t write:¬†5

February’s Word Count for March:¬† 19,495 new words
Total Word Count for 2017:
 85,043 new words

Note: The 300,000 words doesn’t include words written for blog posts or web pages unless it was something creative. I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to keep track of my progress and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to do the same. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.


Take 1 writing related workshop in 2017

I know I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Well apparently I lied. Sorry. ūüė¶

Around the first of the month I ran across 5-Figure Author Challenge/ AuthorRemake eCourse¬†¬†and joined at a discounted price I couldn’t pass up. I’ve really wanted to learn more about platform building because basically I suck at it. Maybe this eCourse will help me become better at it, or at least less awkward.

I’m still going through the course information, but it felt really nice to cross off this goal off my list.


My Plans for Next Month…

I have five main focuses this month:

  1. Keep writing no matter what life throws at me. ūüėÄ
  2. Remember to make weekly goals and review them to get shit done!
  3. Solidify my plans for the series I’m working on and write that blog post explaining a few things.
  4. Watch for more calves to drop.
  5. Start walking again as the weather permits.

Wishing you all the best in April,

 

January 2017 in Review

Welcome to my first “In Review” Post! Personally, this is something that I usually do at the end of each week so I can stay on track with the goals I made, but I thought a weekly post about what was working, what wasn’t, and how I could improve on a goal would be too much.¬†Instead I’m going to do a monthly “In Review” posts, unless that gets too annoying and I decided to post this every 3 or 6 months.

Now, not all the goals I made this year were writing related but the ones I posted here in December were. My hope was that by publishing them and making monthly assessments on how I’m doing with them, I will rock these goals!

We’re about a¬†month into 2017 and this is how I’m doing so far:


My Writing

Writing at least 300,000 new words this year (doesn’t include words written for blog posts or website unless it was something creative):¬†I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to track my word count goal this year. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.

Total Word Count for January: 34,633
Total Word Count for 2017:
34,633

Finish writing 5 books this year (this doesn’t include editing or publishing them. That will come after I finish writing the entire series):

the_warlords_daughter_1_web the_scouts_captive_2_web the_lost_heir_3_web the_empty_throne_4_web the_rebel_queen_5_web

As of January 16, 2017 the first draft of¬†The Warlord’s Daughter (due February 1st)¬†is done. It came in at 97,149 words.¬†

I started The Scout’s Captive (due April 1st)¬†January 16, 2017. I have 51,102 words written so far.

The other books will be: The Lost Heir by June 1st (about 58,000 words written); The Empty Throne by September 1st (about 10,000 words written); The Rebel Queen by December 31st (about 10,000 words written).


Books I Read This Month

One of my goals is to read at least¬†50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books.¬†So far this year I’ve read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book. The last one was a short story that caught my eye.

    

  

Happy Reading y’all!


My Other 2017 Goals

Nurturing my creativity by spending more time doing fun things with my family because downtime is therapeutic for the creative brain: I’m doing better at¬†enforcing Family Time during the evenings and on weekends. I decided that I can always write after everyone heads to bed or get up earlier in the morning.¬†

Unplugging from the electronics on the weekends:¬†I’ve been inspired to write on the weekends for a few hours in the morning or at night. They are usually blog posts as they are the easiest to return too when I’m interrupted.

Be a better writer and develop my writing craft by¬†taking at least 1 writing craft related ecourse or workshop before the end of the year:¬†I haven’t even started this one because I’m afraid of a repeat of the last two seminars I attended online (going somewhere isn’t an option I’m even considering) because:

  1. When I spend money for the event like I did for the first one, I expect to gain some benefit from it and get what was promised me. Even though this seminar was aimed at helping writers promote and market their books, There were only 2 speakers in the whole lineup that had any advice for fiction writers and another 3 had advice that could be modified for fiction writers, but most of the speakers focused on marketing and promoting books for self-help writers who wanted speaking gigs. 
  2. If I sign up for it, I need to know that I can be there for the lectures. The second seminar that I signed up for started on a Thursday and went until Saturday. I had nothing going on that week and planned to watch them, either live or as a replay. It ended up being a busy weekend and I missed most of the seminar. I found out later that the link for the replays only lasted 24 hours so I didn’t get to see most of them. The only plus side for that seminar was that it was free and research for a series I plan to write in the future.

I really want to take a few classes that I’ve had my eye on for a few years now, but I’m afraid to do it because my schedule can go from empty to chaotic in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to start a class and then not have the time to work on the assignments or attend the lectures. If I’m going to take a class then I want benefit fully from it.

Writing and maintaining a work journal each writing day:¬†I started this in December last year after I started to read¬†Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath¬†by John Steinbeck. I combined this with how I was using my new planners and tried to keep it going through January but by week two of the new year I knew I needed to do something different. I’d start to write an entry, get distracted or interrupted, and never returned to the journal. So most my entries looked like this: Worked on fixing scene between… (can’t begin to tell you who) or I need to remember to… (not sure what, I can’t remember). ¬†I tweaked this goal a bit and tried it again. It’s working much better now but I’m not quite happy with it.

Be more disciplined in my writing by writing something (story, blog post, letter) every weekday but not feeling too upset if I don’t write something one day because sometimes daydreaming is working too:¬†I have 27 days where I wrote and 4 days where I wrote nothing. Most days I wrote something in my current story.

Create an inspiring work space by keeping my office area/desk de-cluttered¬†for better working and¬†creating a desktop slideshow of inspiring quotes and pictures for my computer: I figure this will be an on-going goal. Right now my desk/office area is mostly clean, except for the pile on the left side of my desk. I’m still looking for pictures or quotes that inspire me to add to my desktop slideshow.¬†

Work on my time management by using the planners¬†I created and bought, setting writing goals at the beginning of every month and reviewing them daily to see where I can make improvements, and sticking with the daily work routine that I created to mesh with my family’s schedules (to be tweaked as needed).: My plan for the planners failed two weeks into using them. They weren’t helping me manage my time, they were a time suck that took away from writing time. I downsized to one planner and decided that I would switch off to see what one I liked better. I started by taking all the goals I set for myself and breaking them down to actionable steps to make it easier to incorporate into my life.¬†

Be a healthy writer by keeping the daily exercise routine I started, making healthier meal choices, and drink more water.:¬†I could do better with this one. I substituted the time it takes to feed the cows and load the hay truck with my normal exercise. It’s the water situation that I need pay more attention to, which reminds me that I need a drink of water.

Okay, I’m back.

Maintaining my meditation and affirmation practice I started in 2016.:¬†I found that I love meditation and it was something that went really well with walking during the summer months. Now that it’s winter, I’m having trouble sitting still and my meditation practice fell by the way side. I tried a 30 Day Affirmation Challenge in January but I really hated the affirmations they choose. I want to create my own affirmations for February.¬†


So there you have it! All my 2017 writing related goals. ūüėÄ

I would love to hear about your goals for the new year if you’d like to share?

My Writing Goals for 2017

Usually, I’m not one for New Year Resolutions; mainly, because I don’t believe in waiting for the new year to make goals for change. When I have something I want to change in my life, I create a goal to accomplish it, regardless of the time of year. That said, this time around it just so happens that I had a few changes that I wanted to make and it happens to be the end of the year.

Now, not all the goals I made are writing related, but I decided to share some of the ones that were. Mostly because I’m hoping that by publishing them and then making monthly assessments on how I’m doing with them, I will accomplish them.

So without further ado, here are my writing related goals:

Nurture my Creativity by…

  1. Reading at least fifty fiction books this year. That is about 1 book per week.
  2. Spending more time doing fun things with my family and playing more with my daughters, because downtime is therapeutic for the creative brain.
  3. Unplugging from the electronics on the weekends, unless I’m inspired to write on my current writing-in-progress and I have the time to do it.

Be a better writer and develop my writing craft by…

  1. Reading at least 5 books on the writing craft this year. I know I have that many or more on my Kindle or in my bookshelf.
  2. Take at least 1 writing craft related ecourse or workshop before the end of the year.
  3. Writing and maintaining a work journal each writing day. This will help me track how I feel about my writing that day, what worked and didn’t work, where I left off and where I was headed for the next day, analyze what might help me in the future, and record good ideas and advice.

Be more disciplined in my writing by…

  1. Writing something every weekday, even if it’s a blog post or a letter¬†(this one could help me improve my handwriting which is a personal goal of mine).
  2. Not feeling too upset if I don’t write something one day because sometimes daydreaming is working too.
  3. Writing at least 300,000 new words this year. That’s about 1,100 words each week day. Totally doable!

Finish writing 5 books this year…

  1. The Warlord’s Daughter by February 1st (about 72,700 words written).
  2. The Scout’s Captive by April 1st (about 33,800 words written).
  3. The Lost Heir by June 1st (about 50,700 words written).
  4. The Empty Throne by September 1st (about 3,100 words written).
  5. The Rebel Queen by December 31st (about 9,500 words written).

Create an inspiring work space by…

  1. Creating a slide show of inspiring quotes and pictures for my laptop desktop.
  2. De-cluttering my office area and desk for better working.

Work on my time management by…

  1. Using the planners I created and bought. One planner is for tracking what I did that day and the other is for planning what I want to get done.
  2. Setting writing goals at the beginning of every month and reviewing them daily to see where I can make improvements.
  3. Sticking with the daily work routine that I created to mesh with my family’s schedules. To be tweaked as needed.

Be a healthy writer by…

  1. Keeping the daily exercise routine I started. Walking during good weather, and dance or yoga when it’s yucky outside.
  2. Taking the time to make healthier meal choices and drink more water, especially during my working hours.
  3. Maintaining my meditation and affirmation practice I started in 2016.

So there you have it! All my 2017 writing related goals. ūüėÄ

I would love to hear about your goals for the new year if you’d like to share?

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