Category Archives: Goals

2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m crap at keeping them, but I do enjoy setting goals for the coming year each January. I find them super helpful staying focused and find the accountability which comes from sharing them publicly really helps as well. This year I’m a wee bit late on getting this blog post done, so it may be slightly less chatty than in years past, but without further ado, here are some of my work-related goals for the coming year (and health counts because you can’t work if you’re not at least a certain degree of healthy).

Health

  • Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
  • Run 5k
  • No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.

Editing / Publishing

  • Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
  • Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
  • Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
  • Publish B is for Broken and market it to the best of my ability
  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability
  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.
  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD
  • Open to submissions for Sirens

Writing

  • Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
    • The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.
  • Begin querying agents about Hollow
  • Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
  • Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
  • Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
    • This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo*
  • Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books
    • Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
    • Have at least 20% be non-fiction

Misc

  • Create a website at poiseandpen.com
  • Attend When Words Collide and Pure Spec
  • Blog at least once a week
  • When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.

Kobo

As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?

I’ll probably tweak this list as the year goes on, but for now I think it’s a very good jumping-off point 🙂

*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.

2014 Year in Blogging

Jetpack, one of the add-ons I use on my blog, compiled a ‘Year in Blogging’ thingy for me. I could have shared the whole thing here but meh, there was a lot of stuff on there no one but me would care about. There was, however, some bits I thought might be interesting to you as well.

Like this:

Posting Patterns

Actually, that may be a bad example LOL Could be I’m actually the person most likely to think this is cool… but c’mon, this is cool! It shows the days I posted blogs last year (the darker green dots are where I had more than one post that day). In 2014 I made 179 new posts. A pretty high percentage of them were guest blogs (more this year than in any year before) but still… that’s a lot of blogging for someone who is always complain/bragging about how busy she is LOL

This is where my visitors have come from:

From Where

102 countries! Holy freaking hell. That is so awesome 🙂 It looks like for most of those countries I only had one visitor*, but you know what? I’ll take it LOL

This is the thing I thought was pretty interesting. For two reasons. The first is because it’s fun to see which posts people want to read (looks like calls for submissions mostly… which I guess means most of my visitors are writers. No surprise there ;)). The other reason it’s interesting is because of what it says about comments.

Take a look:

MostViewed

#1 on that list, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a sorta review of Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name. When I tweeted a link to it, he retweeted it (*squee* Neil-freaking-Gaiman retweeted me!) so it’s not exactly a surprise that would be the most visited link on my blog last year. What did surprise me, was the fact no one commented. That got me thinking. I don’t get many comments on my posts just in general. At least, not *on* the blog itself LOL I get responses on Twitter and Facebook so I know people are reading and reacting to what I share but comments on the blogs are really rare with the exception of my B is for Brainstorming post, which has 50 comments on it (half of them are mine, I think LoL but still…).

I think the thing is I don’t tend to end my posts with anything that deliberately and specifically calls for replies from my readers. I plan to work on that for 2015.

I’m also going to try to be better about reciprocating visits to my blog. I’m not super awesome at that. No excuses. I’m just not. That is also on my ‘Work on that!’ list for 2015.

I’ll be making a ‘Goals for 2015’ post in the near future (next week, I think), so I’m pondering these sorts of things a lot this year. Have you already made your goals for next year? What are they? I have some ideas of what I want to set as goals for next year, but perhaps yours will help spark something in my brain.

Also, do you have a ‘Year in Blogging’ or even a ‘Year in Review’ blog post? Link me, I’d love to see it 🙂 For real. These are the kinds of numbers I like LOL

*And I happen to know the visitor from one of those countries got blocked on account of they were trying to hack my blog LOL But ya know… everything counts, right? LOL

2014 Goals. How’d I Do?

So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.

Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL

So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?

bold = success

tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂

~*~

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, Diet Dr Pepperbut steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*

~*~

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.

~*~

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Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…

This is the audience for the launch of Fae at WWC
Audience at Fae Launch at WWC

First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?

I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.

I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.

C.S. MacCath reading from her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014
C.S. MacCath reading her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.

We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.

I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.

A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists, end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.

Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.

Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂

I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂

~*~

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered MondaysMythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.

I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂

I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…

Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…

I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.

Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.

~*~

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Ocean At The End Of The LaneAccording to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:

~*~

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Photo stolen from Billie Milholland --> https://www.facebook.com/billie.milhollandSo… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.

Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)

~*~

And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.

On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.

I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂

To-Do List (Sorta)

Like most people I know, the past couple months have been pretty much a total blur for me. A blur of mostly good things, but still a blur. Not only does time move faster the closer and closer I get to my 40th birthday, but the amount of projects on my plate this autumn/winter was (frankly) obscene. Also mostly good, but an obscene number of them. One of the side effects of that was that I wasn’t writing. I was reading, editing, transcribing, formatting, organizing, shortlisting, etc. etc. but not writing.

Which, since I like to call and think of myself as a writer, was kind of a problem.

So last week I made a spontaneous decision to take this week off all of that and write. I even announced it on Facebook to make it all official-like. As you do.

That means this week I’m not reading Corvidae submissions, not editing stories for A is for Apocalypse, not looking at proofs for the December issue of Niteblade (though I’ll send them out to contributors when they come in LoL), not whatever-ing. I’m just writing.

But, me being me, I needed concrete goals or I’d spend the week meandering from thing to thing and not actually getting anything done.

Ta-da!

To Do

My primary goal for the week is actually the 10,000 words I need to write to be successful with my MicroWriMo goals but the To Do list is which projects, specifically, those words are going to come from*.

The ‘To Do’ section of this list is made up of the projects which have been in-progress for the longest time or, for whatever reason, are feeling like they are high-priority to me right now. The bonus/rewards are the more fun and/or less urgent things I’ve got on my radar. The way this system is going to work, each time I finish something on my “To Do” list I can either do another project on the To Do list (if I’m feeling uber productive) or I can choose something from the Bonus/Rewards section.

I am not crazy. I don’t expect to get this list done. I don’t expect to get even a quarter of this list done. I would really like to cross three things off the ‘To Do’ part. We’ll see if I can pull that off, but mostly it’s the 10k words that matters. And writing.

Anyway, at the end of the week I’ll post an update and we’ll see how I’ve done. Hopefully this public accountability will help keep me on track a bit 🙂

*Somewhat randomly, when I’m writing poetry while simultaneously dealing with a word count goal I count each poem I write as a minimum of 100 words because I find picking precisely the right words for a poem takes a lot more time and effort than the quantity of those words accounts for.

MicroWriMo

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

I am pretty freaking busy this November. Off the top of my head I will be:

  • Attending the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, DC
  • Attending Pure Spec in Edmonton
  • Editing the bulk of the stories for B is for Broken
  • Prepping the December issue of Niteblade
  • Doing the November Poem-a-Day challenge
  • Making final decisions for Scarecrow and Corvidae
  • Beginning edits on the stories in Scarecrow and Corvidae
  • Finishing revisions on Hollow and drafting a query letter for it (for agents)

annnnnd there’s probably about a million things I’ve forgotten.

That sort of looks (and rather feels like) a lame attempt at a humble brag “Look at all the stuff I’m doing!” but that’s actually not my intention.

The thing is, aside from the poem-a-day challenge, there’s not actually any writing on that list. As much as I love editing and going to conventions (and I really, really do) I have been so busy with that and revising various things that I haven’t written a word of new fiction in a couple months. That, to me, is completely unacceptable.

Especially in November, aka NaNoWriMo month.

However I’m not willing to commit to doing a full 50k words for NaNoWriMo either.

So I’ve decided to do MicroWriMo.

In November I’m going to write at least 10k words of fresh fiction. If somehow a miracle occurs and I end up with five times that much, well yay, but that’s not my goal. 10,000 new words. That’s my goal.

Wanna join me?

(I’ll be tracking my progress on the NaNoWriMo website, because why re-invent the wheel. My username over there is Midnyte.)

Goals for 2014

Each year, like so many other people, I see the changing of the calendar as the perfect time to look back over the past twelve months and set goals for the next ones. It’s super helpful to me and I look back at my goals over and over during the year, whenever I feel myself going off course… They help keep me focused on the things I want to do, motivated when depression decides to rear its ugly head, and give me things to celebrate when I achieve them. Also? Posting them publicly helps make me feel accountable to someone (that would be you lol) and serves as motivation for the thing that is my motivation. Whee!

Because these goals are so integral to my life, I set them in a lot of categories, not just writing. It seems like a lot, but it works for me.

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered Mondays

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Looking forward, with these goals to help me define the trail, I am really looking forward to 2014. I hope it builds on the momentum that developed in 2013 and just keeps getting better.

ETA: Some goals under Misc.

Looking Back at 2013

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishWhat a year. To say it’s been exponentially better than last year would be a huge understatement, but at the same time, it’s been far from perfect. It’s that time again when I look over my goals, see how well I did, celebrate the good things and figure out how to fail better at the others next year.

I’ll list my goals for 2013 below, bolding the ones I figure I accomplished and addressing each briefly. I don’t want to turn this into a novel-length blog post 😉

Health

  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.

Right. So I totally fell down on pretty much all my health goals (though I mostly managed to avoid Red Bull).  I’m not even sure what happened to tell the truth, I just never managed to get back into the habit of working out and watching what I ate. This needs to be my primary focus for next year though because if I’m unhealthy everything else falls apart too. I may need help remembering that over the coming months though, so I’ll have to figure out a way to address that when I set my goals for 2014.

School

  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.

I took Psychology 304 – Research Methods in Psychology (which is required for my degree) and passed it with a B+. A very irritating B+. I was point five percent away from an A. >_<

Editing/Publishing

  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists

Metastasis Cover FinalI sold the Metastasis anthology idea to Wolfsinger Publications and edited the hell out of that thing. I am *SO* freaking proud of this book. So proud, and my mother (who I dedicated my efforts to) would be as well. We’re still in the process of ‘promoting the hell out of it’ and our first statements haven’t come out so I’m not sure how sales are going yet. Fingers crossed though… and if they aren’t where we want them to be, well, I guess I’ll just have to put some more time in.

This year I did increase Niteblade’s readership, distribution and the number of file formats it is available in. We also held a super successful fundraiser (raising $604!) and even adopted a chimpanzee.

While I did check to see if there was interest in a NaNoLJers anthology, there didn’t seem to be. Maybe next year… And my sekkrit projekt kind of got left behind a bit this year, but maybe that’s something I can look to a little closer in 2014 as well because I sure wasn’t slacking when it came to editing projects this year.

In addition to Metastasis and Niteblade, I’m also working on an anthology with World Weaver Press. You may have heard of it, it’s this little thing I like to call Fae. And I also broke ground on the first of what is going to be a huge series of anthologies, A is for Apocalypse.

Writing

  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry

Tesseracts 17Well, you win some you lose some, right?

For example, I participated in The Whittaker Prize (well, this year’s incarnation was the Not-Whittaker Prize) but when it carried over into November, when I was trying to do All.The.Things including NaNoWriMo I decided to drop out for my own sanity. I was successful with NaNoWriMo however… but then I totally haven’t written another word on my novel (which needs about 30,000 more of them) since then. >_<

I did participate in Writo De Mayo where my primary goal was to transcribe a family history my grandmother had written and format it as a book to give to her. I did, and she loved it very much making the month’s worth of work well, well, worth the effort. (Alas, now she has edited the proof copy so guess what I’m doing in May 2014? LOL).

I also self-published Aphanasian Stories. Sales have been pretty lame (read: nearly non-existent) but I’m glad those stories are out there and available to an audience who might want them, if not today, perhaps tomorrow. Plus, the reviewers seem to like them, so that’s good for my ego 🙂

I’m looking at bundling some of my other previously published short stories to re-sell as ebooks but right now I don’t have enough which aren’t under contract that have common themes, so that’s something I’ll have to look at again next year.

As for the zombie poetry collection? It’s a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it before the end of the year, but I don’t want to rush through and create an inferior product. Because.

Under the writing umbrella for 2013 I’ve had a fantastic year. I’ve produced some stories I’m really, super proud of, and many of them have found homes with dream publishers. Highlights definitely include being published by Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, work forthcoming in Kzine, Mythic Delirium and the Trafficking in Magick anthology, poetry publications with Every Day Poets and especially the story I co-wrote with Jo for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.

Reading

  • Read at least 30 books

As of today I’ve read 47 published books. I’ve also been privileged enough to read one soon-to-be published book as a critiquer and a couple anthologies I may have mentioned above. I also read a crapload of short stories as submissions to Niteblade and those anthologies, so overall I think I crushed this goal 😉

A Month of LettersMisc

  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

I did well on these ones 🙂 Sadly I didn’t make it to WorldCon, we had some unexpected expenses that needed to be dealt with (stoopid money) and I kinda sucked at putting prompts up for NaNoLJers but other than that I rocked the goals in this area. My month of letters was a lot of fun and I still write to several of the people I met that month (in addition to the friends I’ve always written to — I’ve fallen behind on that, but working on catching up. Let’s blame a crazy autumn, okay?), I did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with a theme (Niteblade), ran the writing bingo at NaNoLJers and significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend playing World of Warcraft.

My social media retreats have gone very well, except for during the times when I’m in the midst of a promotion or such and need to pop on at least once a day because of that. I think next year I’m going to set a daily time limit for social media stuff rather than trying to avoid it completely for one week of the month. I think it will be better for consistency and also my sanity. Taking a break has definitely been good for my productivity though, and my state of mind. It’s really easy to get caught in a loop when every time something happens you think ‘I need to tweet this!’ Stepping away regularly definitely helped me shift my perspective and live a more balanced life. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

In the next little while I’ll look at my goals for 2014 and share those here, but in the meantime I think I’m going to bask a little bit in the glow of a year which, while it wasn’t perfect, was pretty damn good.

NaNoWriMo 2013 – Take Nine

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

This month I am participating in my ninth NaNoWriMo challenge (Username: Midnyte If you’re participating feel free to add me. Drop me a line & I’ll return the favour). I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo yearly since 2003 (though I skipped one year because I just wasn’t feeling it). This year I’m going to write a new first draft of a story you’ve been listening to me talk about writing since July of 2011 — Hollow Children. For November I’ve taken all my previous abortive drafts, scenes and papers and stuck them in a drawer and I’m going to leave them there until this draft is done. I’ll peek at them again when it comes time to revise but I don’t want to get hung up on comparing drafts and such until I’ve got all the words on the page.

My biggest obstacle as a writer is myself, getting out of my own way and putting words on the page. That’s where NaNoWriMo comes in handy because for me the most difficult part of writing (even 1,667 words a day) is sitting my ass down and doing it. During November and NaNoWriMo I feel extra accountable and that helps me get my butt in the chair. So I’ll be doing 50,000 words on this draft in November and then hopefully continuing on until the entire draft is done. I’m hoping for somewhere around 80-90k altogether.

In addition, because sanity is overrated, I’m also going to be doing the November Poem A Day Challenge. The PAD challenges at Writer’s Digest (in November and April) have also become sort of a tradition for me and are the source of most of the poetry I write in a year. One of my favourite parts is that I know my friend Beth will be doing them too, and even though we don’t compare notes every day or whatever, as the month goes on we do check in with each other to see how it’s going, and it’s nice to feel like you’re not alone. This year I’m working on a sekkrit collaborative project with someone (not Beth) and I’ll be using the theme of that as my theme for NovPAD. It should be super efficient (which my vulture brain loves) and fun. Win/win.

Oh, and did I mention the renovations? We’re having our yard dug up and weeping tile installed starting the middle of the month… so that’ll be… fun.

I’ve also decided to drop out of the ‘Not the Whittakers‘ challenge I was participating in. Historically speaking the Whittakers have provided me with the incentive and momentum to write some great short story first drafts but this year I’m not really feeling it and am seriously time-challenged. Still, I should be kept plenty busy and challenged even in their absence 😉

Between NaNoWriMo, NovPad 2013, reading for Fae, promoting Metastasis, readying the December issue of Niteblade and just, ya know, having a life, I think I’ll be kept pretty busy, but not quite as crazy as last month.

Accepted for Tesseracts 17!!!

tesseractToday is an emotional day for me. First of all, it should have been my Mom’s 56th birthday. I don’t think I need to dwell on how I feel about that in this post. I feel as you would imagine I do. Sad, angry, missing her… but, as difficult as it is to reconcile, today is also a very good day. Today I get to announce that my story, Bedtime Story, has been accepted for publication in Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast.

Having a piece accepted for a Tesseracts anthology has been on my writerly bucket list for forever, and now I get to cross that one off. Mission accomplished! I feel fantastic about that, proud, humbled, encouraged… I am inspired to write and create, to keep pushing forward.

Bedtime Story is a piece that I really struggled with too, so I can’t think of a story more appropriate to be my first foray into the world of Tesseracts. It was inspired in part by a dream, so it’s a little different, a little weird, a little off, but it was also one of the first stories I wrote where I felt I’d successfully shown just the right amount and let my readers fill in the rest for themselves. My mother would have loved it. And she’d have been incredibly happy for me and proud of me for reaching one of my goals I’d worked toward for so long.

Today, though there is no way I’m going to be able to avoid being sad and missing her, I’m going to try very hard to focus on the good parts of the day too. It’s what she would have wanted.


TESSERACTS 17: SPECULATING CANADA FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST

  • Introduction: What is a Tesseract? Colleen Anderson
  • Vermilion Wine: Claude Lalumière
  • Night Journey: West Coast: Eileen Kernaghan
  • The Wall: Rhea Rose
  • 2020 Vision: Lisa Smedman
  • Why Pete?: Timothy Reynolds
  • Bird Bones: Megan Fennell
  • Bedtime Story: Rhonda Parrish
  • Graveyard Shift: Holly Schofield
  • Path of Souls: Edward Willett
  • Sin A Squay: David Jón Fuller
  • Hereinafter Referred to as the Ghost: Mark Leslie
  • Anywhere: Alyxandra Harvey
  • Secret Recipes: Costi Gurgu
  • Star Severer: Ben Godby
  • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife: Dave Beynon
  • Graffiti Borealis: Lisa Poh
  • My Child Has Winter in His Bones: Dominik Parisien
  • Team Leader 2040: Catherine Austen
  • Sand Hill: Elise Moser
  • The Ripping: Vincent Grant Perkins
  • Unwilling to Turn Around: J.J. Steinfield
  • Pique Assiette: Catherine MacLeod
  • Leaving Cape Roseway: John Bell
  • Everybody Wins: Rachel Cooper
  • In the Bubble: William Meikle
  • Hermione and Me: Dwain Campbell
  • Blizzard Warning: Jason Barrett
  • M.E.L.: Dianne Homan
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter: Patricia Robertson
  • Afterword: Editing Anthologies Made Easy: Steve Vernon

Goals for 2013

W1S1 Year 3 GraphicEach year I like to set myself some concrete goals and share them publicly on my blog. Not only does this give me some sort of vision of what I want to accomplish over the year, it adds a feeling of accountability to help keep me motivated and on track. My goals for 2013 are:

Health

  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.

School

  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.

Editing/Publishing

  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists

Writing

  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry

Reading

  • Read at least 30 books

Misc

  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

Phew! I’m kinda exhausted even just looking at that list, exhausted and excited. I’ve set up some real challenges for myself, but if I manage to pull them off imagine how fantastic a year that will be!

*I know I’ve already accomplished this goal, but I hadn’t when I started mentally composing this list and since I achieved this goal in 2013 I’m still putting it on the list. This is not me putting things on here just so I can cross them off.

 

Looking Back at 2012

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishIt’s that time of year again, when I look back at the goals I set the year before and create new ones for the year to come. These are not resolutions, I was sorely tempted to begin and end my yearly goals in the middle of summer just to get away from the R word, but it turns out that my desire to be lazy outweighs my desire to be contrary 😉 So here we go, how did I do on reaching my 2012 goals?

For 2012 I wanted to address not just writing, but also editing and schoolwork so I broke my goals up into four categories: Health (because that affects every part of my life), School, Writing and Editing. My specific goals for 2012 were:

Health:

  • Continue to eat healthy. In my case that is a low-sodium pescatarian diet.

I’m going to call this one successful (hence the bolding ;)) though there is definitely room for debate. I eat when I’m emotional and it’s been an emotional freaking year, but overall, I’m pleased with how I’ve done, not least of all because this year I was able to recognize when I was eating for reasons other than hunger. It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction.

  • No drinking energy drinks

Um, I did pretty well with this at first, and I’m not drinking them now, but there was a period when my sister and niece were staying with us and also when my mom died that I used energy drinks as a crutch to get through the day without napping. Understandable, I think, but it means I didn’t reach this goal.

  • Remember soft drinks are a ‘sometimes food’ (Thanks Cookie Monster)

Erm… yeah. I started out strong on this one but as I write this blog there is a Diet Dr. Pepper sitting within reach on my desk so… yeah. Goal not accomplished.

  • Workout at least five times a week

This I was good at for most of the year. I was working out six days a week and was making Danica do it with me. We did some 30 Day Shred stuff, Couch to 5k (before I screwed up my ankle. Again) and were only a couple weeks away from completing the P90x Lean program when my Mom died. It sounds like an excuse, but when she died my world sort of tipped upside down and I am still struggling to get back into the workout habit. It will definitely be on the goal list for 2013. I’m calling this goal accomplished though because I did very well.

  • Lose 40lbs

Not even close. This has been SUPER frustrating for me because I felt like I was working really hard and the scale just wasn’t moving the way it was meant to. (I say that in the past tense because I sort of fell off the ‘working hard’ wagon in November and December.)

School: I think this year is going to be more writing and editing-centric so my school goal is optional, depending on time and stress.

  • Finish one, or, if I’m feeling super energetic, two more courses toward my degree

I didn’t do any courses toward my degree in 2012. I intend to change that up for 2013.

Writing:

  • Write the first draft of Consequence

Didn’t happen. I don’t have a great excuse as to why it didn’t happen, I just got distracted.

  • Participate in the monthly version of Write 1 Sub 1. I have a habit of writing ‘cast-off’ poetry for things like this when I become overwhelmed. That’s not acceptable here. Poetry only counts if it is in a complete and publishable form that I’m proud of. Same goes for stories.

Thank gawd for W1S1. Without it my writing productivity would have been even lower than it already was. I was successful in doing the monthly version of W1S1 and I look forward to doing a modified weekly version in 2013.

  • Figure out what to do with Shadows and my zombie poetry and get to work on doing it. This can mean looking for an agent, a publisher or any number of other things. I can’t be specific until I’ve made a decision

Done and done. Shadows has been shelved for the time being. I keep having ideas on how I can improve it and feeling the temptation to pull it out and revise it again but so far I’ve resisted. I think I need to move on for now. I’ll come back to Shadows someday, but not anytime soon. As for the zombie poetry, I’ve also figured out what I’m going to do with it… I just haven’t actually got it done yet. I will definitely be including that in my goals for 2013. The zombie poetry project is stalled temporarily while I wait on something I need from someone else, but soon… soon…

  • Either finish a first draft of Hollow Children or a transcription of Twixt

Hmm… I don’t know whether or to call this accomplished or not. Technically I didn’t do either of those things so I guess it’s not accomplished, however… instead of transcribing Twixt (I wrote the first draft long hand and so needed to type it up) I started doing the How to Revise Your Novel course using it as the project I was working on. What I discovered in the process of taking that course and doing the exercises was that Twixt, as it was written, was fatally flawed so I didn’t transcribe it. I didn’t begin working on a new draft either because it wasn’t until the end of November that I figured out what exactly I’d done wrong and how to fix it. Interestingly enough, that is also true of Hollow Children. I was hopelessly stalled on it until the end of November when I had an epiphany and figured out how to fix it. So there’s that…

  • Revise the whack of ‘mostly finished’ short stories sitting in my Dropbox and start looking for homes for them

I did manage to do this… and then I participated in the Whittaker Prize (see below) and added a bunch more ‘mostly finished’ short stories to my Dropbox to work on. Wheee!

  • NaNoWriMo is optional. So is NovPad.

I participated in NaNoWriMo and was successful despite restarting several times and switching projects three times. I attempted NovPad but was far less successful. The good thing about NovPad, as my friend Beth pointed out to me is that the prompts are always there. So I’ll keep working through them. Just like I did last year (see below). Ya know, it seems I’m not really very good at this NovPad thing LoL

  • Participate in the Whittaker Prize again this year, but in only one category, not both.

I participated in the short story section of the Whittaker Prize this year and ended up placing 10th overall with a final score, after six rounds, of 453. I… don’t know how that compares to how I’ve done in previous years but I feel really good about the work I produced for the Whittakers this year. In fact, one of my stories even tied for first on one of the rounds O_o That had never happened before LOL

  • Finish writing poems for all the 2011 Novpad prompts

Done. One of these years I may actually finish writing poems for all the NovPad prompts in November. One day…

Editing:

  • Implement the new payment system for Niteblade

Done. And best of all, it seems to be working. I haven’t finished all the totals for Niteblade’s sales for 2012 but I strongly suspect that when I do we’ll find that we had our best year yet. Yay!

  • Run a fundraiser and increase promotion in order to move out of the red

Done. We raised $108.78 to help pay our writers and artist.

  • Super Sekkrit Projekt w CJD (not Niteblade-related)

I’ve done what I can on this project and it’s now in other people’s hands. I’ve got my fingers crossed that something will come of it, but right now I have to wait and see.

Also? I blogged every week. Whoot!

You know, looking back, I’m actually super impressed with myself. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, but overall I did pretty damn good. Even without factoring in all the challenges I had to overcome (because really, though this year feels like it was exceptionally bad for that, every year comes with its own set of obstacles, right?). Maybe I’m getting better at this whole goal setting thing LOL

In addition to the goals I set for myself, 2012 had a few other highlights for me as well. A few, just off the top of my head are:

I am seriously looking forward to seeing what 2013 has to offer 🙂

ETA: Edited to reflect the fact I’ve only read the first book in The Song of Ice and Fire series.