Challenge,  On Writing

Step One: Getting Ready for the New Year…

Looking Back (for only a moment)…

Step one of planning ahead is to spend just a little time looking back at the past year, see how you did, how the actual production matched up to your goals last January.

Right now it is still a number of days before Christmas, but I want to get this step out of the way and really start working on the new year’s goals and focus. I want to turn my attention forward.

But first I have to look back for just a moment. I know, without even looking hard, that my year sucked by my standards. It started off with me dealing with an eye infection that had me pretty much blind for the first few months and ended up with a shoulder surgery and restricted movement the last few months.

About 650,000 consumable words by the time this year is done. By many writer’s standards, that is a great year. It is half of my normal year.

So going to need to reset and focus. I normally don’t need to do that much each year, but I think this year I had better. So that’s the topic of some coming blogs. How to reset and focus forward.

But first like I did, I suggest you look back, see how you did with your goals. Don’t tell anyone, just write it down for yourself and figure out what you did right if you hit your goals or wrong if you missed them.

And remember, don’t look at how much you missed a goal, but instead look at how much you got done. I managed about 650,000 words. That is called FAILING TO SUCCESS.

My failure point in one year is many writers entire careers. I understand that. But I have been doing this for a very long time and I hold myself to a higher standard.

So for 2024, I will I fix the focus and have even more fun with the writing.

Now ramping up to the next level. I’ll talk about ways to do that here. Stay tuned.


  • Kerridwen Mangala McNamara

    <3 <3 <3 this!

    I completely agree about keeping goals and progress as private info. I know a lot of people are inspired by "buddies" and "being held accountable" by others… and maybe that's useful for group projects
    … but for me, if it's a personal goal, and someone tries to do that to me I find that I dig my heels in and will refuse to have anything more to do with it.

    My goals are mine, and I get to define – or REdefine – them. (I love the idea of "Failing to Success "!!!)

    This was a low word count year for me as well. Some health stuff, too much traveling, iended up "adopting: my teens' model government team, and my father-in-law passed away.

    But I published 7 books (struggling to finish formatting the 8th and get it out). Publishing tool a lot more time (but it's time or money, and if one doesn't have the latter…) than I expected, but those books are real progress.

    I also tried local in-person marketing of my books (a book festival, 3 farmers markets, and a comic con) as an experiment and handed out close to 300 bookmarks to hesitant buyers. My goal this next several days is to try to see if these in-person events were worth the time and exhaustion… keeping in mind the "halo" effect and that follow-up sales on does may trickle in over the next several months (or years).

    I know I'm new and need a deeper backlist, so I'm trying to look at all of it as building towards the future…
    Big Qs will be where to put my energy and time- in- person sales, building a store in my website and finding/making good swag, figuring out audiobooks and/or graphic novels (there have been requests/suggestions), publishing more… or WIBBOW. (Would rather write…)

    Thank you for publishing this blog, Dean (and Kris, for yours)… I'm learning so much and always feel encouraged and inspired!