Each year I like to set some goals for myself and an important part of that process is looking back at them afterward to see how well I did at actually reaching them. Last year I set my goals here and now is that ‘looking back’ part. I share this process publicly, in part, to add a note of accountability to the whole process.

This year’s goal achieving was hampered a little bit by the fact I actually forgot what some of my goals were. I usually put ‘Refresh your memory about what your goals are’ in my planner every couple months, but my world kind of turned upside down at times last year and I sometimes went months without even looking at my planner. Which is realllllly out of character for me. So even if that reminder *had* been in there, which I don’t think it was, I might not have seen it.

But. Enough excuses, let’s look at how I did.

The goals are copy/pasted below and the italics are my comments on them today.

#1 Work Goal:
This year I am working less. This is by design but it’s still jarring to me every time I look at the white board which organizes my life and see so much more empty space than before. My number one work-related goal is to resist the urge to fill up those spaces and remember I created them on purpose.

I did manage to work less last year than I have in years past. And it was actually a really good thing that I had planned this out ahead of time because if I’d been trying to put out five or six books last year there’s no way I could have pulled it off. It was a very emotionally difficult year and I can’t imagine trying to do more than I did. And sometimes what I did was ONLY focus on writing what I owed my patrons and nothing else.

With a Broken Wing: I want to finish writing and, ideally, edit and publish this book in 2023.

Welp. This didn’t happen LOL No excuses, thought, and I have it in my planner again with a new deadline.

Garryn: I want to write the first draft of my book about Garryn.

I had intended to write this as my NaNo novel for last year, but so far I haven’t had enough of the story coalesce in my mind for me to write it out. I thought I was going to be writing what was essentially his ‘backstory’ but just now as I was writing this blog post I realised maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m not supposed to write the story of what came before, maybe that is just meant to inform the story that comes next. Interesting. I will have to ponder this some more.

Patreon: I will continue to write at least two pieces of Patreon-exclusive content each month. And not just content, but content I am proud of. Bonus points if I make progress on the tarot-inspired project.

I did this. I wrote at least one Patreon exclusive thing that could either be a story or a poem and one Patreon exclusive poem every month. Sometimes more than that. I didn’t make any progress on the tarot-inspired project, that just wasn’t what was speaking to me, but I did write some stuff I’m really proud of. It feels pretty good, not gonna lie 🙂

Blindspots: This was released exclusively to my Patreon in 2022. Once it’s been exclusive there for a year I will release it widely.

I did this! It didn’t quite get the reception/sales that I’d hoped, but that’s some details that probably belong in the marketing section below LOL The important part for this bit is that I released the book widely into the world 🙂

Prairie Spirit(s): This was also released exclusively on Patreon in 2022. Once it’s been exclusive there for a year I will release it widely.

I didn’t do this. There was actually a really valid reason for it above and beyond ‘I just don’t have the spell slots for this right now’ but I don’t remember the details LOL You’ll just have to take my word for it, I guess. I think it had to do with the exclusivity of the poems on Patreon because some were reprinted in the collection? I don’t remember…

Women and the Sea: This anthology (which has a new title we haven’t announced yet) will be coming out this year. I want to give this beautiful book the launch it deserves. I have concrete sales goals written down offline, but primarily what I want is to feel like I have done everything I could to give it a good start in the world, and not flailed around dropping balls.

I am going to say I accomplished this. I didn’t hit any of my concrete sales goals (again, marketing, man) unfortunately, but I really do feel like I did what I could to give this book a good start in the world. And I’m continuing to follow-up on it actively in a way I haven’t really been able to do in the years when I’ve had 5 or 6 books come out, so thank you for planning less, Past Me. I really appreciate that.

Freelance: Limiting myself to one one freelance editing job every other month for this year. I really need to resist the urge to fill my calendar up with work and remember that just because I can do something does not mean I should.

I did a reasonably good job of limiting my freelance work last year. Unfortunately, I actually had to back out of editing one book I was looking forward to because I had too many things going on at the time… but also, points to me for actually backing out when I realised it was the responsible thing to do rather than just trying to get it done no matter what the cost would have been to my mental health.

Systems: Once upon a time I felt like I had a process, a system, I would follow when putting out books. And it used to be reasonably effective (in a small fish kind of way) and sell a few books. Over the past three years or so I’ve drifted away from that system and it’s fallen apart. Great big bits of it are probably completely obsolete now…

All this to say, I feel like I’ve totally forgotten how to sell books. Though I don’t want to make it a primary focus this year — I still want to spend more time creating than selling — I would like to begin to feel like I at least have a system in place again. So I’m going to test the process I used to use, find the holes and figure out how to patch them.

Dude. I still dunno how to sell books. I wrote up the system I used to use to sell books and I followed it pretty closely for both Blindspots and Saltwater Sorrows and I don’t think that either really benefitted from my efforts. So I guess I get partial credit for doing this — I’ve tried something concrete and it didn’t work, so now I guess step two is to move on and try something else. I have no idea what that will be, really… I mean, I have some little bread crumb ideas, maybe? But I dunno…

Patreon: I want to organise myself to begin submitting the content which was originally Patreon-exclusive to 3rd party publications (magazines and anthologies) once it is out of its exclusivity period. By the end of the year I would like to have every no-longer-exclusive Patreon story and poem I’ve written either reprinted elsewhere or on submission.

This is an ongoing thing but so far I’ve been pretty good about it. Even got a couple reprint sales so far 🙂

Edmonton Expo: Improve the ‘curb appeal’ of my table and surpass last year’s sales numbers.

Well, I think the table looked better this year, but sales were down some. Possibly because last year’s were artificially inflated by it having been the first Expo since the pandemic began? I’m not sure. We’ll try again in 2024 and see what happens lol

Game Design:

AVG: I am excited to continue doing my work with Archvillain Games. I don’t have a concrete goal associated with this beyond do the job, do it well and make sure it’s done on time.

I am most proud of the world-building work I did for AVG but none of it has been published yet for me to point to LOL Once it does you can bet I will be sharing it everywhere. I’m super pleased with it.

Other: I have other Dungeons and Dragons related plans — one-shot collaborations, solo projects and the like — but they are all kind of on hold until we find out what is going on with the OGL. Short version of a long story — Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast who own D&D, may be canceling the open gaming license that third party creators use to legally make content. If they do that I won’t be creating anything under their new license and will need to learn a new, different system to create content under. So. This ball is not in my court at the moment lol

I mean… there was no concrete goal here, so that’s not super helpful, Past Rhonda LOL My one-shot collab is still in process, though, which I mention because it’s the only specific project mentioned in that ‘goal’.

Non-Work Stuff:

  • Swim in the ocean (it’s been too damn long)

I went to the ocean, but I didn’t swim in it. There were reasons, but whatever. At least I saw it? LOL

  • Improve my mobility and background pain levels

I don’t feel like I made as much progress on this as I should have. But toward the end of the year I finally started going for physio again. So that’s a good thing.

  • Make our back deck the useable outdoor space I’ve imagined it could be

Here’s the thing… we have two back decks — the little one attached the back door and a slightly larger one in the backyard by the garage. I am not sure which one I was referring to with this LOL We did get a little bistro set for the one by the back door, though, and that might be what I was talking about?

  • “Prevail” against the garden in front of our living room

An effort was made. I planted stuff. It, rather mysteriously, died. I’m honestly quite confused about what happened. I’m going to have to see what comes up again in the spring before I can determine how successful I was with this LOL

  • Plant trees in the back yard

We planted a bunch of fruit trees in the back yard. Most of them are doing quite well, though our two Juliet cherries are not. I think that may have been a supply issue because they just never really grew at all after planting them and the other ones did. So. I’m calling this a victory.

  • Finish Jayde and Sheldon’s quilts

…in my defense, quilting just sorta fell off my radar this year. LOL

Apparently I didn’t set any concrete word count or book reading goals for last year? That seems a bit odd LOL I didn’t actually keep track of the books I read — even Goodreads was too much for me at some points — but I did track my words. I’m excited to share that I edited a total of 410,545 words last year and I wrote 278,354 words. Those newly written words included the 82,717 I wrote in the month of November.

Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all, even if I say so myself.

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