Tag Archives: Goals

Setting Goals for 2019

At the start of each year I set goals for myself, then at the end of that year I look back at them and assess how well I’ve done at reaching those goals. In theory, throughout the year it helps me keep my magpie energy in check by showing me the things I ought to be focusing on and by sharing the goals publicly it gives me a sense of accountability as well.

Usually I mostly share my work related goals here, but in the spirit of ‘Work/life balance’ (what even IS that?) I’ve decided to put them all here. And make fewer of them, maybe? We’ll see… I’m going to start writing and you and I will find out together if I managed to cut back at all.

2019 Goals

Stuff:

  • Finish playing Divinity 2
    • I love this game but I keep taking loooooong breaks from it because reasons. Well, mostly because work reasons. I’d like to finish it so I can finally begin playing Dragon Age: Inquision in earnest… ya know, so I can maybe finish it before the next one comes out LOL
  • Get good at making chicken/chorizo gumbo
    • Like really good. I want to like, craft a master recipe for my ultimate chicken/chorizo gumbo. I’m starting by mastering stock. I’m not even joking. See? I can over-complicate anything. It’s a skill, really.
  • Have a successful ‘Depth Year’
    • Jo and I decided to have a ‘depth year‘ this year, which basically means we aren’t buying anything that isn’t consumable. There are a few additional exceptions — for example I’d really like to fix our broken-ass back fence so home maintenance things don’t count — but mostly we aren’t buying things. The idea is it will eliminate impulse buying, stop adding clutter to our home, save us some money and help us appreciate the things we already have.
  • Empty a box every month
    • We’ve spent the last couple years on a serious de-clutter and purge mission, and it’s gone very well. There are still little piles here and there, though, so Jo and I have each got a banker box in our offices and the goal of filling it with things we can get rid of and then actually getting rid of them. Every month. We’re both really good at putting things in the box, it’s the moving them from there to out of our house part that is going to be the most challenging.
  • Take a vacation
    • Every year I book the month of July off to vacation with my family, and every year I end up working… just less. This year I want the only work I even think about doing in July to be occasionally reading Swashbuckling Cats submissions. That’s it and that’s all.
  • Set up a Patreon
    • Related — sit down and schedule which promo dice I’m going to commission and when.
  • Establish and write down five and ten year goals
  • Create, schedule and effectively host the anthology book club on my Facebook group.
  • Take two walks a day
    • They don’t need to be long, but I need to get up from my desk at least twice a day for at least twenty minutes and go for a walk. Inside on the treadmill, outside running errands or catching Pokemon, it doesn’t matter. I just need to do it. The idea is that it will break up my day and also get my blood moving a wee bit.
    • Note to self: Don’t even begin to pretend these little jaunts can take the place of actual workouts. They are in addition to, not instead of.
  • Read 40 books
    • Books I begin in good faith but just can’t bring myself to finish totally count
  • Host another Giftmas Tour to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank

Releases:

  • Release Grimm, Grit and Gasoline
    • September.
    • I would like this anthology to have my best launch yet–beating all my other WWP anthology launch numbers. To pull that off I am going to need to come up with a great promo plan, and figure out how to give it an awesome launch outside of a convention setting.
  • Release F is for Fairy
    • May 7th
    • I want to feel good about this release, to feel as though I’ve given the book the time and attention that it deserves and not just sort of thrown it to the wolves. I will need to assess and set some concrete, measurable goals for this and record them in my records for the book.
  • Release Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles
    • August.
    • The timeline for this anthology is a bit shorter than usual but I want to make it work and give it a great launch, matching the success that we found with Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns
  • Release Shadows
    • Date TBD
    • Will be self-published and require production and promotion. This will need to be fitted in around other projects but I don’t want the results to feel like they’ve been fitted in around other projects.

Submission Periods:

  • Have a successful submission period for Swashbuckling Cats
    • Submissions for this one end July 31st. I would like to have a Table of Contents decided by the end of August.
  • Have a successful submission period for Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles
    • Submissions close on February 28th. I would like to have a Table of Contents by the end of March. This may be unreasonable, but that’s my goal.
  • Hear Me Roar
    • This anthology closes to submissions in September. I would like to have the Table of Contents decided by October.

Writing and Editing

  • Finish writing Eerie Edmonton
  • Complete edits on Hollow and hand those in to my publisher on time
  • Complete edits on Shadows
  • Edit the next book in E. C. Bell’s Marie Jenner series
  • Copyedit and assist in the promotion of The Last Dream of Her Mortal Soul by K. Bird Lincoln
  • Copyedit and assist in the promotion of Book #3 in the Place in Time series by Wendy Nikel
  • Outline the urban fantasy series I already have covers for
    • I don’t usually outline but for this project it just kinda feels right that I try it. So I’ll give it a whirl and we’ll see what happens.
  • Finish the NovPad poem a day project I started and failed to finish last year
  • Finish and begin querying Arcana

Deadlines:

  • Submit Eerie Edmonton on schedule
    • The manuscript is due on April 15th. I want the first draft done by my birthday (March 15th) so there’s time for polish before I hand it in
  • Submit Grimm, Grit and Gasoline on schedule
    • The manuscript is due on April 15th. I would actually like to have it handed in by the end of February in order to free up space in my brain and on my desk for other projects. This means getting my butt in gear with regard to edits.

Okay… so I know it doesn’t look like I did very well at the ‘cutting back’ thing, but honestly a lot of these points are almost repetitions. For example, having a good submission period for Earth, handing in Earth and launching Earth are all individual points up there, but they all add up to one thing — make a great anthology and share it with as many people as you can. So perhaps the format I’ve chosen this year makes it look like there’s more up there than there is.

And also, Future Self, in my defense, there were lots of things I thought about adding and then decided not to… so it’s not as much as it could have been? And I love my job. Surely there are worse things than being so excited you set a lot of goals for yourself?

It’ll be fun to look back at the end of the year and see how many of these I got to check off 🙂

Looking Back at My 2018 Goals

Because I have an awful lot of things on the go at any one time and generally lack focus in general, I set goals for myself each year to try and provide a sort of framework to work within. And then at the end of each year I look back over those goals and assess how well I did at achieving them.

It’s that time of year again…

Goals I feel I’ve accomplished will be in bold.

  • Write a book
    • I know this is super vague and that’s intentional. I have several ideas tumbling about in my mind and I haven’t settled on one yet.

Huh. I don’t know if I should bold this or not. I’m going to though… because I really turned up the amount of writing I was doing. Also, though I didn’t write a single book from start to finish I did write 20k ish words on a new book I sold to Dundurn Press (Eerie Edmonton) and wrote 50,000 words of a NaNoWriMo novel. I feel like that’s close enough to count.

  • Make at least one blog post a week

Uh… I don’t know if I did this, to be honest, but I don’t want to go back through my archives to count and see. If I didn’t actually write a post a week I definitely wrote more than 52 posts altogether and surely that’s good enough? Really, I question the judgement of Past Me in picking this as a goal because it’s definitely better to not blog on any given week than it is to blog about nothing, right?

Well, nailed the first half — I read over fifty books so far this year. I didn’t finish reading all the ones from my partial reading list, however. I guess that goal will get bumped to 2019 LOL

  • Increase the number of my books available in libraries
    • I wish I had a more concrete goal to go here, but I still need to figure out what my system is going to be (Am I going to focus on a specific book? If so, which one? Am I going to focus on a specific library location? Where? How much time am I going to dedicate to this?). As I figure out the details I will share them on this blog.

So technically this goal was achieved, but not through any effort on my part. Really what happened is D2D started distributing to Overdrive and a couple other places where libraries get books and a handful of libraries acquired some of my titles. I didn’t spend any time on this, though, which may be a thing for 2019 or may be a thing to put on a shelf for a wee bit longer. We’ll have to wait and see, I think.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage this. I planned to. I bought tickets, booked a hotel room, hell, I even had plane tickets, but I was just too sick to go. That’s twice in a row I’ve had to cancel. Both times were for good reasons, but, bleh…

However, I did participate in STARFest in St. Albert, Alberta and CoCoKon in Phoenix, Arizona this year and I hadn’t planned to do either of those things. So hopefully that will make up for the convention I had planned to attend but couldn’t.

Done and done. It was a good one this year. I felt like I had just the right amount of programming and a happy amount of social time too. Win/win!

  • Successfully participate in NovPAD
    • NovPAD is November Poem-A-Day. I haven’t successfully pulled this off in ages, and I miss it.

Narp. Sadly. I tried. I even picked a theme and bought a premade cover to use as inspiration and everything, but by the end of November I did not have thirty poems. I am still working on this though, I want to finish that chapbook and put it out… maybe 2019? Maybe 2020?

It was a busy year 🙂

  • Have a successful submissions window for Grimm, Grit and Gasoline
    • Have a Table of Contents decided by the end of the year.

Whoot! That TOC was tricksy, but I finalized it just this month. Edits will begin in January and then contracts which means I’ll probably be able to announce it in February or March 🙂

  • Continue in my role as Assistant Editor for World Weaver Press
    • At present this looks like it will include acquiring and/or editing at least three titles.

I edited some of these WWP titles in 2017 for a 2018 release. Some I edited in 2018 for a 2019 release. To be fair, the bulk of my work ends once edits are complete, but not all, so I’ve included all of the titles. I didn’t list those I copy edited though, so it seems balanced to me 😉

The Continuum by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2017 but released in 2018)

The Grandmother Paradox by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2018 for a 2018 release)

Book #3 in the Place in Time Series by Wendy Nikel (Edited in 2018 for a 2019 release)

Black Pearl Dreaming by K. Bird Lincoln (Edited in 2017 for a 2018 release)

Book #3 in the Portland Hafu Series by K. Bird Lincoln (Edited in 2018 for a 2019 release)

  • Edit the next book in E.C. Bell’s Marie Jenner series

Hearing Voices is out in the world and I’m ridiculously proud to say that I’m its editor. The previous book I edited in this series, Dying on Second, also won the Bony Blithe award this year. Of course, Eileen did all the work for that, but I get to brag about it a bit too 😉

  • Work on putting together TOC for [Top Sekkrit] anthology

So close to done on this. Close, but not quite.

  • Organise a Giftmas Blog Tour

Done and done. At the time of my writing this post we had exceeded our goal and still had several days to go. I am very proud 🙂

  • Increase my mailing list subscribers by 20%

I actually increased my numbers by significantly more than that — like closer to 30x at its peek. I used a couple builders to do that, however, so after the cycle of unsubscribers leaving and purging zombie members my subscriber numbers are much lower than that peek but those who are on the list really seem to want to be there. And even my current numbers are significantly higher than they were last year. About 9k at last count (because why am I being vague?)

  • Increase my BookBub followers by 20%

LoL Well, Past Me. It would be easier to know how I’d done in regard to this goal if I had written down my current number of BookBub followers somewhere memorable at the begining of the year. Alas, I did not. I wrote it down. I remember that much, but I can’t remember where… so I guess this one will have to remain a mystery. However… I think my ultimate goal was 1,000 BookBub followers (because that would open up tools to me) and I currently have just over 800. So probably this goal wasn’t nailed. Yet.

Not listed as goals but other things I accomplished this year include editing F is for Fairy (forthcoming), pitching and selling Eerie Edmonton to Dundurn Press and doing loads of research for it, sold an anthology about swashbuckling cats that was wholly conceived of on Twitter, and successfully completing NaNoWriMo.

I spent a good part of this year quite unwell so I was nervous about looking back at these goals but overall? I’m pretty pleased with how I did. I’d also set a fitness goal for myself that I totally failed to hit, but given how sick I was for over half of this year I’m going to cut myself a whole bunch of slack on that one.

Looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring!

2018 Goals (AKA: The Year of Hydra Slaying)

I generally have a lot of things on the go and what Jane Yolen described as a ‘Magpie energy’ that keeps me flitting from one shiny thing to another so one thing I like to do at the beginning of each year is to set some goals for myself. They provide a sort of framework where I can see all the projects I’ve taken on for the year, which provides some focus to help me zero in and get things done, while at the same time hopefully inspiring continued growth. I share them here on my blog so that I have a sense of accountability.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I really find that it helps 🙂

Last year was severely over-scheduled. This year is going to be all about rediscovering work/life balance and not spreading myself so thin. Given that I call my to-do list The Hydra (on account of the fact it is freaking huge and every time I cross something off it two more things seem to sprout up in its place) I’ve decided to dub this year ‘The Year of Hydra Slaying!’ because it sounds a wee bit more dramatic than ‘The Year of Finding Balance and Getting Shit Done’ :-p

My Goals for 2018

  • Write a book
    • I know this is super vague and that’s intentional. I have several ideas tumbling about in my mind and I haven’t settled on one yet.
  • Make at least one blog post a week
  • Read at least forty books, including the rest of the ones on my partial reading list from last year.
  • Increase the number of my books available in libraries
    • I wish I had a more concrete goal to go here, but I still need to figure out what my system is going to be (Am I going to focus on a specific book? If so, which one? Am I going to focus on a specific library location? Where? How much time am I going to dedicate to this?). As I figure out the details I will share them on this blog.
  • Attend the Creative Ink Festival
  • Attend When Words Collide
  • Successfully participate in NovPAD
    • NovPAD is November Poem-A-Day. I haven’t successfully pulled this off in ages, and I miss it.
  • Successfully release the following titles:
    • E is for Evil
    • Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns
    • Tesseracts Twenty-one: Nevertheless
    • Prairie Starport
    • The Other Side of the Door*
    • Magical Menageries Colouring Book*
    • Starry Night (exclusive for mailing list subscribers)
  • Have a successful submissions window for Grimm, Grit and Gasoline
    • Have a Table of Contents decided by the end of the year.
  • Continue in my role as Assistant Editor for World Weaver Press
    • At present this looks like it will include acquiring and/or editing at least three titles.
  • Edit the next book in E.C. Bell’s Marie Jenner books
  • Work on putting together TOC for [Top Sekkrit] anthology
  • Organise a Giftmas Blog Tour
  • Increase my mailing list subscribers by 20%
  • Increase my BookBub followers by 20%

(‘Success’ in regard to launches and submissions windows may sound subjective but I generally set concrete goals for myself when I create my launch plans or begin an open submissions period.)

I have a few other ‘Balance’ related goals as well, which include things like regular face-to-face meetings with friends and spending less time staring at screens, but because they don’t really connect directly to work I’m not going to post them here. But I do want to note I’m setting goals which are quality of life oriented in addition to my work-related ones 🙂 And because fitness counts as work-related because it relates to every-freaking-thing:

  • Create and maintain some sort of routine that encourages more consistent body movement (this may include going to the gym, exercising at home or some other sort of getting off my ass and moving)
    • Successfully run at least three 5k races
    • Continue to use swimming as meditation and do more of it

That’s a lot for someone who is trying to do less this year but a fair amount of the work for the book releases was done in 2017 so I’m optimistic that not only can I pull most of this off (honestly the fitness stuff always has huge question marks around it) but that I can stay sane while doing it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see 😉

 

*Free advance copies to people who donated $40 or more to the 2017 Giftmas Blog Tour

Looking Back at 2017

What. A. Year.

I recently described 2017 as me living my best life in the darkest timeline (I feel like I read that somewhere and stole it, but I can’t remember where and it’s really, really accurate). In many ways it’s been a terrible bear of a year, but in lots of ways it’s been pretty awesome, too. One way I like to track that sort of thing is by setting goals at the start of a year and looking back to see how I’ve done at the end of it. So let’s see how 2017 went compared to what I’d hoped from it:

My Goals for 2017

Bolded goals were accomplished.

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton — my Winterknight Towers book
    • I didn’t accomplish this because, to make a long story short, Winterknight Towers and I have parted ways.
  • Participate in the release and promotion of Dream Eater to the best of my ability
    • Done, and done!
  • Publish D is for Dinosaur in February
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
      • Sales aren’t where I wanted them to be, but they aren’t terrible and reviews are good so I’ll count this one as a win!
  • Have Equus ready for a summer publication
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
      • Yuppers! Done! We even had a Battle Royale to launch and promote this. It was fun, but plenty of work LOL
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #1] and hit all the publisher’s deadlines for it. (Announce in February?)
    • I’m pretty sure this Top Sekkrit Anthology was Tesseracts Twenty-one: Nevertheless which I co-edited with Greg Bechtel and handed in to the publisher this summer. I think they are announcing the Table of Contents next month!
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #2] and have it ready for a November publication date
    • This has to be referring to Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say which came out in November. It’s been incredibly well-received, the reviews are good, sales are good and, in fact, it set a new personal best for pre-order sales. So I’m stoked!
  • Have a successful open submissions period for Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns and hit all my deadlines for it
    • I definitely had a successful open submissions period and I’ve put together a fantastic Table of Contents. I’m not sure when we’ll be announcing that, soon, I expect. In the meantime I’m working hard on editing the stories so I can hand the manuscript in to the publisher on time.
  • Announce E is for REDACTED and hit all my deadlines for it for a 2018 release
    • E is for Evil has been announced and so far we’re hitting all the internal deadlines for it. Okay… there is one story I still have to edit, but I’m still going to call this one accomplished.
  • Take a vacation in July. For real.
    • I mean… more or less. I had a book come out in July but I scheduled everything I could ahead of time and spent as little time working as possible.
  • Promote Haunted Hospitals to the best of my ability upon its release.
    • Yup! This even included being interviewed by a local newspaper and appearing on the radio. All very nerve-wracking despite the fact I’m actually pretty good at talking about stuff 😉
  • Read 30 books that are not related to work, including those on my partial reading list.
    • According to Goodreads I read 57 books this year. Unfortunately only six of them were off my partial reading list. On the plus side, that leaves me with a great list to start reading from for 2018 LOL
  • Spend at least half a day a week away from the internet, writing.
    • LOL I mean, at least I’m eternally optimistic, right? LOL
  • Create and release the Magical Menageries colouring book
    • I have all the art for this, I just need to figure out how to put it together (it’s a bit different for art than for text) and make it happen. And I will. It just didn’t happen in 2017.

Phew!

In addition to hitting those goals I sold a novel to Tyche Books (Hollow, coming out in 2020!), an anthology series to World Weaver Press (starting with Grimm, Grit and Gasoline, submissions open in 2018!), acquired and edited Continuum by Wendy Nikel (coming January 23, 2017) for World Weaver Press and acquired its sequel The Grandmother Paradox, edited Dying on Second by E. C. Bell, helped raise almost $1,100 for the Edmonton Food Bank through this year’s Giftmas Blog Tour, won the In Places Between short story contest, spoke with the River Bottom Writers in Lethbridge, had a successful Equus launch at WWC, helped organize and participated in the local authors shindig at Variant Edition and remained, more or less sane (though I feel like I’m forgetting things on this list).

So, professionally speaking I’m going to call this year a win.

I’m looking forward to doing a wee bit less in 2018 LOL

2017 Goals

2017

It’s that time of year again. When I set goals in order to pretend that I have something resembling focus and not just magpie energy for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

My Goals for 2017

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton — my Winterknight Towers book
  • Participate in the release and promotion of Dream Eater to the best of my ability
  • Publish D is for Dinosaur in February
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
  • Have Equus ready for a summer publication
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #1] and hit all the publisher’s deadlines for it. (Announce in February?)
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #2] and have it ready for a November publication date
  • Have a successful open submissions period for Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns and hit all my deadlines for it
  • Announce E is for REDACTED and hit all my deadlines for it for a 2018 release
  • Take a vacation in July. For real.
  • Promote Haunted Hospitals to the best of my ability upon its release.
  • Read 30 books that are not related to work, including those on my partial reading list.
  • Spend at least half a day a week away from the internet, writing.
  • Create and release the Magical Menageries colouring book

I think that’s enough, don’t you? LOL

I have several other miscellaneous things that I’d like to do (acquire a book during WWP’s open submission period next month, participate in Advent Ghosts, participate in NovPad, do another charitable blog tour, self-publish Shadows…) but the stuff above, those are the things I feel a real need to do. The other things I’m being more flexible about. I’d like to do them, but I’ll be okay if they don’t happen.

Looking back at 2016

Each year I set goals for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

Today I’m looking back at what I wanted to do in 2016 and evaluating how that all turned out. Goals I’m counting as achieved are in bold 😉

My Goals for 2016

  • Speed up my blog/website

So, largely I dealt with this by changing webhosts so it kinda feels like a cheat — but it DID speed up the website significantly. For a while last year it was painful just to try and load a page but now, with the new hosting plan, things go smoothly. Definitely a quality of life upgrade LOL

The book has been written, turned in, edited and copyedited. It’s all done and waiting for release which will be coming August of 2017. I’m super excited to see it go out in the world and I’d work with mark again in a heartbeat 🙂

  • Announce D is for… anthology and prepare it for an early 2017 release

D is for Dinosaur has been officially announced, edited, formatted and all that fun stuff and it’s scheduled for a February 2017 release. In fact, you can actually enter to win a copy if you were so inclined 🙂 This anthology is kind of a monster (well over 100,000 words) and might be the strongest volume in the Alphabet Anthology series to date 🙂

  • Release C is for Chimera on April 19th
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the sales numbers for A is for Apocalypse (based on the first three months after release)

C is for Chimera was released, as planned, on April 19th. Though A is for Apocalypse continues to be the bestselling volume in the series, C is for Chimera‘s reviews are pretty damned good, so I’m not going to complain. I think maybe apocalypses are just more popular than chimeras are LOL

  • Release Sirens (July?)
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the earn out its advance within the first year. Bonus points if it’s in the first six months.

Sirens went out into the world to rave reviews. It didn’t earn out its advance in the first six months but it’s on track to have done so before the year is up.

  • Attend the ‘Despite Excuses’ writing retreat in California this July

Done. I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done but I got to hang out with some awesome people in a beautiful setting so I’m still going to call it a win.

  • Take August off. With the exception of attending When Words Collide… which is work but also isn’t :-p

I mean… I may have worked a wee bit in August, but not a whole lot. Really.

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton (My Winterknight Towers book), beginning in November and using NaNoWriMo as a springboard to get started

This didn’t happen. I did participate in NaNoWriMo but I didn’t have enough space in my brain to work on Deadmonton. I’m going to have to write this in 2017 though otherwise I’ll be running up against deadlines and I really don’t want this to be a last moment kind of thing.

  • Hire an editor for Shadows and prep it for release

Shadows is in the hands of an editor. I have no timeline for its release, but I’m progressing in the right direction, anyway LOL

  • Host a December blog tour to celebrate the holidays and benefit the food bank.

The Giftmas Blog Tour this year raised $521 for the Edmonton food bank, which is enough money to provide more than 1500 meals for hungry families. This was hugely important to me on a personal level and I am ridiculously proud of what we accomplished.

2016 was an emotionally difficult year for me (we lost my mother-in-law, our dog, some important celebrity voices and politics have been rough) but professionally it was good. I got a lot of things done, read a lot of books and lined up plenty of projects for 2017.

So there were plenty of bright spots in the darkness. I only had to look to see them.

Oh look, here’s one now!

 

Goals for 2016

Looking Ahead -- My goals for 2016Each year I set goals for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

Over the past couple years my goal lists have grown and grown becoming quite long and complicated. So, too, has my career when you count in the things I don’t talk about here (such as freelance work and ghostwriting). It was kind of beginning to feel overwhelming, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m going for so I think it’s time to simplify a wee bit. Thus…

My Goals for 2016

  • Speed up my blog/website
  • Write the Haunted Hospitals book with Mark Leslie.
    • I’ve begun working on this in February. My goal is to have the first draft of my contribution done by the end of April. I’ve never written anything like this before though, so I’m unsure how reasonable this goal is.
  • Announce D is for… anthology and prepare it for an early 2017 release
  • Release C is for Chimera on April 19th
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the sales numbers for A is for Apocalypse (based on the first three months after release)
  • Release Sirens (July?)
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the earn out its advance within the first year. Bonus points if it’s in the first six months.
  • Attend the ‘Despite Excuses’ writing retreat in California this July
  • Take August off. With the exception of attending When Words Collide… which is work but also isn’t :-p
  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton (My Winterknight Towers book), beginning in November and using NaNoWriMo as a springboard to get started
  • Hire an editor for Shadows and prep it for release
  • Host a December blog tour to celebrate the holidays and benefit the food bank.

I’ve also got several projects that are pending or in limbo right now including a brand new anthology series (Keep your fingers crossed for this one, especially!), three stand-alone anthologies I’d be co-editing (with three different people) and two collaborative poetry projects. I’ve deliberately built some empty spaces into my project calendar for the year to address these projects. Also, you just never know when I’m going to be distracted by something shiny and need to take a little detour for a while 😉

Looking Back at My 2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda ParrishEvery year I set goals for myself, and then at the end of that year I look back at them to see how I’ve done. It helps with my productivity and gives me at least the illusion of some sort of focus 🙂 Now is the time for me to look at my 2015 goals and see how I did to help me determine what my 2016 goals will be.

My 2015 Goals:

Goals in italics are ones I’m saying I accomplished 🙂

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.

Huh. Yeah. So… totally failed at those first two, but I think with some small exceptions I did pretty well at not working on weekends and evenings. It’s a thing I need to continue to focus on because I really want to have a bit of balance in my life, but I definitely did better in 2015 than 2014 so I’ll take it 🙂

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

I published B is for Broken (and it’s awesome) but I may have dropped the ball a bit in the marketing department. It has significantly fewer reviews than A is for Apocalypse and its sales numbers are also much lower. Part of the issue, I think, is that ‘Broken’ is a much more nebulous concept than ‘Apocalypse’ but some of it was definitely me. It’s been a learning experience though, especially in regard to choosing anthology subjects that are easier to market.

  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability

N/A

  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication

C is for Chimera is pretty spectacular. I’m going to reveal the cover and officially announce the release date here on my blog this Thursday. Meanwhile, I’ve already managed to garner a 1 star review for it on Goodreads despite the fact no one has read it but me. So that’s awesome. *sigh*

  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication

I have the authors lined up for D is for [TOP SEKKRIT] but haven’t progressed further on this title yet.

  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.

Yeah… I really should do this 😉

  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD

Making slow progress… but progress 🙂

  • Open to submissions for Sirens

I’m currently trying to turn my shortlist into a table of contents. There were about 200 submissions sent my way and even many of the ones I didn’t shortlist were really, really good. There are some very difficult choices in my near future.

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.

LOL Well, it looked good on paper.

  • 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

I read 46 books according to Goodreads, plus 13 which aren’t on Goodreads. And those 13 don’t count slush or books by friends I read to critique. So I really was successful even if Goodreads doesn’t know it 😉

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.

I’m still not awesome at this. I go to the blogs of people who visit and I read but very often I can’t think of anything intelligent to leave as a comment and ‘I was here, but now I’m gone…’ just doesn’t work for me, ya know?

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?

Success! Partly on account of a BookBub deal, but I’d beaten my one sale for $0.45 in royalties even before that. There is still plenty of room for improvement here, but there’s always going to be, isn’t there?

*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.

 

Overall I feel like I had a successful year. I did plenty of things that aren’t reflected on this list of goals and even managed to accomplish more than I failed at. On paper it wasn’t a spectacular year but my reality was pretty amazeballs 🙂

Women in Practical Armor

WomenInPracticalArmor

I have a story in this anthology!!!

Dudes.

I’m so excited I can barely speak in sentences, forget about paragraphs. So. To elaborate:

It’s an Aphanasian story featuring Bayne.

It’s my first pro-rate story.

I’m sharing a table of contents with amazing people.

It’s got that a-freaking-mazing cover.

And it’s edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.

!!!

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gabrielle before, and she’s awesome and I adore her. And Ed Freaking Greenwood?

Guys. C’mon. That’s just freaking nuts.

Playing D&D in the Forgotten Realms setting has consumed years of my life and Ed Freaking Greenwood read and liked my story.

I could just die.

In the meantime, while I flail and squee you should pop over to the Kickstarter, take a look at the perks and see if there’s anything there that tickles your fancy because I’m 1000% sure this anthology is gonna kick ass.

*flails*

ISSS 2015 Graduation Speech

This is my amazing husband.

He is my best friend, biggest supporter and I love him more than I could ever tell you (or, than you’d want to hear about, really).

He also teaches in the Biochemistry department here at the University of Alberta. Occasionally that means he’s asked to make speeches. This year he was invited to speak at the ISSS graduation ceremony and I liked his speech so much I asked him if I could post it here. He said yes 🙂

Jopa

ISSS 2015 Graduation Speech

by Dr. Jonathan C. Parrish

Good evening, graduates, family, and supporters. I’d like to start by thanking ISSS for inviting me to speak here again. Graduation speeches are daunting things, there are some fantastic and inspirational speeches out there to hold up as standards, from the “Always Wear Sunscreen” speech – never delivered, usually attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, actually written by Mary Schmich – to the “Make Good Art” speech by Neil Gaiman. If you have not heard either of them I encourage you to find them. If you want, you can imagine me saying them, that would be swell.

Last year I thought I’d provide some of the lessons I feel have been important, punctuated by stories that illustrated them, this year I wanted to try something a little more coherent. I debated how to approach it, and what to discuss, without feeling that my own advice was overinflated or invaluable as opposed to amusing with brief insights. As a sign of how serious I am taking it, I even wrote it down!

As I only have a few minutes, what I’d like to offer is some small portion of my own philosophy. I’d like to talk today about the big picture. The mountain. The goal. The end of the rainbow. What is the big picture? I can’t tell you, because we each have our own. Some of us love the avant garde, some of us are realists, some of us are firmly couched in classical themes. The picture changes from day to day. From week to week, from year to year. We change, we adapt, we get bored, we move on. Changing is not a de facto failure nor a success, it’s just change, and that’s ok.

Choose your own path, follow your own counsel. Is it ironic for me to suggest this to you? You bet! Be unreasonable. George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “the reasonable man adapts to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress is made by unreasonable men.”

Within reason, of course, and feel free to change pronouns as you wish. But ask yourself this – do you want to be the next someone else or the first you? Keeping the big picture in mind will help you choose when to adapt and when to be unreasonable. You only have a finite amount of time and energy, especially the former, and you may find that things you change are changed back by someone else.

Christine Miserando, who suffers from lupus, uses spoons as an analogy to how much energy she can spend in a day. She starts with a limited number of spoons; everything she does uses one up and that determines how much she can do in a day. It helps her explain why some days it’s enough for her to get out of bed and brush her teeth, but the idea can be expanded to everyone.

In my field, structural biology, we have an analogy related to lysozyme – the basic idea being that each scientist only has so many structures in them. Lysozyme is easy to grow and solve (which is why it was one of the first proteins to be crystallized) and this is why we use it as training for novice crystallographers. But there are those who say if you can only solve so many structures, don’t waste one of them on lysozyme. Put your energy, when you do have it, into things that get you closer to where you want to be. Or away from where you don’t want to be. Or somewhere else, if you’re not sure. And that means keeping your mind on the big picture, so you know which way is which. And be unreasonable when it’s called for.

The next thing I’d like to discuss is purity of motive. Purity of motive is something I can’t think of as anything but a good thing. It means not just doing the right thing but doing it for the right reasons. Sometimes, I tell my classes that there are two ways of beating the curve: study and work hard and bring up your own grades or confuse everyone else in order to bring theirs down. Purity of motive then informs this choice – focus on what the point of education is. What the big picture is. It’s not the curve, it’s not the grade, it’s (hopefully) understanding, learning, growing that is the goal.

As much as I’d like to reassure you about this, it doesn’t end, either – in my work I am expected to justify everything I do each year, to compete for limited resources, to beat the curve. There are things I could do just to add content, to check off boxes, tick off to-do items on my annual report. But that is not purity of motive. What did you do at work today? I ticked off a box. That’s not focusing on the big picture, that’s being reasonable. If you are doing things solely to meet someone else’s criteria, you’re not having as much fun. And if you’re not enjoying yourself, then you need to re-focus on the big picture and find the path that takes you closer to that fantastic work of art, that big picture, in your head.

Things happen, day by day, week by week, we get into a state where we feel like we are constantly putting out small fires that keep starting, and it’s all we can do to check off the items on our to-do list. It’s hard to focus on the big picture, let alone think about being unreasonable. But even on those tough days there may be a moment to think about where you are headed and how you could work toward that goal even as you are putting out all those tiny fires.

Because there are much bigger fires waiting – and when those ones are out you can tell stories about the great fires you helped to extinguish and the ones you helped to start. You are university graduates, you’ve been given lighter fluid and a fire extinguisher. It’s up to you, now, to choose how unreasonable you are going to be.

And so to you, class of 2015, I congratulate you and I wish you the best, biggest picture to work towards. Go out there and be the best, first you. Give ‘em hell.

 


Personally, I am paying especially close attention these days to make sure I’m doing something each day beyond putting out fires and checking off boxes. That’s the part of this speech which spoke to me the most. Some days I do better than others, but by keeping the images of the fires and the checkboxes in the back of my mind, I’m finding it easier to stay on the path toward the ‘big picture’ that represents my larger life 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.