Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Month-End Update: June 2017

Earlier this month, I had lunch with a close friend. As we visited, she told me about her experience training a new employee at her work.

“She’s asking a lot of really great questions — ones that I never thought to ask,” my friend said. “It makes me wonder … when did I stop asking why?”

Her question made me think, have I stopped asking why with my author journey? The answer: sometimes, yes. I’ve always been an ambitious person, prone to pushing myself too hard and occasionally getting tunnel vision. Sometimes, I can fall victim to “fear of missing out” (FOMO), which convinces me to do things that don’t align with my goals. Likewise, when I set goals for myself, sometimes I feel like changing them — even if they no longer align with my larger aspirations — means failure.

This conversation with my friend occurred on the cusp of a cross-country move. It’s my second in two years (perks of having a husband in graduate school!), and they’ve both caused me to reevaluate myself. Like starting a new school year or getting a new wardrobe, this move is a chance for rebirth. I’ll be meeting new people, exploring a new city, and establishing a new routine — a totally fresh start.

The conversation also coincided with writing/editing my third novel. For some reason, Desertera #3 felt different. I felt more comfortable and confident in my writing ability, style, and system. The third book also marks a milestone for the series– at least, that’s what I’ve read from successful authors (“Three books is the first tipping point. Readers know you’re serious.”).

All this is to say that I’ve done some reevaluating about my personal self, my author self, and my goals. And you know what? I’m refreshed, realigned, and excited to get back to it!

As a first step, I redesigned my author website. While the previous template was effective, I felt like it lacked personality. This design is a little more me, but I’ve still got some work to do in the graphics department.

As a second step, I revised my New Year’s resolutions. I treat them more like short- and long-term goals than traditional resolutions, and some of them no longer reflected my aspirations for 2017.

Here’s my new list, complete with my regular updates:

Writing & Publishing

  1. Create 5 days per week — a little behind, due to bereavement leave and my move
  2. Write Desertera #3 — done!
  3. Edit Desertera #3 — in the proofreading stage!
  4. Publish Desertera #3 — planned for early August
  5. Write a second novel — totally possible, I can’t wait to start my next series idea!
  6. Edit a second novel — probably can’t publish it, but I should be able to start editing
  7. Start writing Desertera #4 — a long shot
  8. Make 2018 publishing schedule — I need to start thinking long term!

The BIG change: I’ve decided I don’t want to pursue a new nonfiction book at this time.

Business

  1. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press — on track
  2. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers — done!
  3. Create short story for Reader List — my July Camp NaNoWriMo goal!
  4. Blog 1x per week — reduced from 2x per week
  5. Maintain content marketing schedule — restructured and reduced
  6. Diversify existing products — pending research into new audiobook distributor
  7. Do 12 marketing promotions — changed to focus on book launch
  8. Read 52 books — hoping to catch up this summer!

The BIG change: reducing my content marketing efforts to focus on writing and publishing.

Personal

  1. Work on positivity — going really well!
  2. Exercise 3x per week — hahahaha, I need to get my shit together …
  3. Break a bad habit — starting a new routine to help today!
  4. Recoup savings account post-Yale — we’re pretty much there!
  5. Make post-Yale plan — done!
  6. Visit final NYC sites — done!
  7. Visit new state — planned for August!
  8. Visit new country — done! Oh, Canada!

No changes here … but obviously I still have some work to do!

Goals for July & Camp NaNoWriMo

  • Write a Desertera short story
  • Get Desertera #3 ready to publish
  • Start outlining new series
  • Rewrite my long author biography
  • Read and review (on Goodreads/Amazon) four books

How do you handle evolving goals? When is the last time you took stock of your aspirations and routines? Are you participating in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo? Share it all below!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

champagneWelcome back to another episode of “Kate’s ambition and optimism give her temporary insanity and delusions of invincibility.” With my first full year as a published author tucked away in the history books, I’m ready to push forward into 2017. The first step? Announcing my New Year’s Resolutions.

As I’ve said in years past, I love planning, organizing, and dreaming BIG. So, crafting my annual resolutions is one of my favorite things. In my 2016 Year-End Reflection, I talked about my theme for this year (Growth) and my 2017 motto: Always Be Creating. You’ll see both reflected here.

Why so many resolutions? Longtime readers will know that my husband and I have a masochistic FUN tradition of making one resolution for every year we’ve been alive. I’ve added in personalized difficulty levels, based on the likelihood that I’ll hit each goal.

E – Easy
C – Challenging
DD – Damn Difficult
LOL – Yeah … probably not happening

You might wonder why I include ‘LOL’ goals at all. Well, I’m a “shoot for the stars and still hit the moon” type of person. I know I might not have the time, money, and strength to accomplish all of my resolutions. But if I try for all and only make half, I’m still miles beyond where I started.

Without further ado, here are my 2017 New Year’s resolutions:

Writing & Publishing

1. Create (write, edit, outline, or research) 5 days a week (DD)
2. Write Desertera #3 (E)
3. Publish Desertera #3 (C)
4. Write Desertera #4 (DD)
5. Write separate fiction book (LOL)
6. Publish a second fiction book (LOL)
7. Write nonfiction book (DD)
8. Publish nonfiction book (LOL)

Business

9. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press (DD)
10. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers (E)
11. Create freebie for Reader List subscribers (DD)
12. Blog 2x per week (C)
13. Maintain social media schedule (DD)
14. Diversify existing products (audiobooks, box sets, etc.) (DD)
15. Do one marketing/promotion task per month (C)
16. Read 52 books (E)

Personal

17. Work on positivity (DD)
18. Exercise 3x per week (LOL)
19. Break a bad habit (DD)
20. Recoup savings account post-Yale (DD)
21. Make post-Yale plan (E)
22. Visit final NYC sites (E)
23. Visit new state (E)
24. Visit new country (DD)

As you can see, I have a lot to do this year! I’ll let you know how it goes with my monthly updates.

Share your resolutions in the comments so that I can cheer you on, too! Or, if you need a little help crafting your goals, check out this post on making attainable New Year’s resolutions. Just remember: do as I say, not as I do!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Recapping My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

Before the calendar officially rolls over into 2017, I want to share my progress on my 2016 New Year’s resolutions. While I surpassed my “realistic” goal of accomplishing half of my list, I still left seven resolutions unfinished. Some of these were conscious choices, others resulted from procrastination or neglect. However, each taught me valuable lessons that I’ll be carrying into 2017.

Writing

Writing with Thomas

1. Write five days a week (C, but based on past experience, LOL)

I had an epiphany this year – I don’t have to write every day. And, given my current situation in life, it’s almost impossible for me to write new material while editing/revising a completed manuscript. Next year, my goal will be to “create” five days a week (be it writing or editing). However, I did some form of creation for roughly half of the days in 2016, so that’s better than my past records.

2. Finish Desertera #2 (E)

3. Publish Desertera #2 (C)

4. Write Desertera #3 (DD)

At least I’ve started it!

5. Publish Desertera #3 (DD)

If I would have taken into account how much time my nonfiction projects would consume, I would have known this was unobtainable (aka LOL) for 2016.

6. Write a book for fun (LOL)

LOL indeed!

7. Write all nonfiction booklets (E)

8. Publish all nonfiction booklets (E)

9. Publish nonfiction compilation (C)

Business

Boxthorn Press Logo10. Publish two blog posts per week (C)

11. Read 50 books (C)

12. Make $1,000 from my author business (C, maybe DD)

13. Adhere to my marketing plan (C)

Started off strong, but petered out in the second half of the year. Takeaway: I need to refine my marketing goals and make a less time-consuming plan.

14. Send two email newsletters per month (C)

15. Update my author website/platform (revise each quarter) (E)

Personal

Family16. Keep Daniel and myself student loan free (DD)

17. Keep migraines to one per month (or less!) (DD) – Perhaps my best accomplishment of all!

18. Exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week (LOL)

We did really well for a few months … but not enough.

19. Record my three daily gratitudes (C)

Barely managed this. I think I’ll be letting go of journaling in 2017.

20. Visit a new state (E)

21. Go to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC (E)

We decided to wait on this one until our parents visit in the spring.

22. Visit home (summer) (C)

23. Visit home (Christmas) (E)

Final count: 16/23

I’ve kept this recap short and sweet, but if you want to a more in-depth reflection, check out this post. And yes! I am making resolutions for 2017 – you can read them here!


Did you accomplish all of your 2016 New Year’s resolutions? What did you learn from your successes and failures this year? Share in the comments!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

SPECIAL Month-End Update: June 2016

To mark the halfway point of 2016, I’ve got a special month-end update today. In the first part, I’ll do the usual June recap. Some highlights? Desertera #2 is finally with the line editor, and 100 Action & Adventure Writing Prompts (Fiction Ideas Vol. 6) is published AND FREE through tomorrow.

In the second part, I’ll be catching you (and myself!) up with my New Year’s Resolutions. My biggest accomplishment? *knock on wood* I’ve only had ONE major migraine attack this year! I never thought I’d hit that goal, and I’m incredibly thankful they’ve mostly subsided.

Before you dive into all the bullet points, I want to highlight three exciting July activities.

Brain to Books Generic Posts (1)First, today is Indie Pride Day! Check out this Book Blast hosted by Angela B. Chrysler to find some awesome independent authors and books (myself, included!).

Second, tomorrow I’ll be hosting the Fire & Lies Goodreads takeover. Head over at 3 P.M. Eastern U.S. time to chat science fiction and fantasy and enter to win a FREE ebook copy of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) – OR Desertera #2, if you’ve already read TCD.

Last, this month I’ll be unveiling the title of Desertera #2. Since I’ve put it off so long, I’ve decided to make an even bigger deal out of it and run a contest! Stay tuned for details (and chances to win advance review or signed copies of Desertera #2)!


June Update

Writing

  • Blog Posts Written — 7 (and one reblog)
  • Fiction Words Written — 0
  • # of Days I Wrote Fiction — 0
  • Nonfiction Prompts Written — 100 prompts (plus front/back matter material)
  • # of Days I Wrote Nonfiction — 7
  • Outlines Written — 0
  • Days Without Writing and/or Editing — 13

Editing/Revising

  • Drafts Revised — Content Edit of Desertera #2 (plus a quick second pass)
  • # of Days I Revised — 10

Reading

*Remember, I review every book I read on my Goodreads page.

Author Business Activities

Goals for July

I’ve got a few exciting things planned for July — I’d stay close if I were you!

  • Announce Desertera #2‘s title with a contest!
  • Complete all line editing for Desertera #2 (pending editor’s schedule)
  • Cover design for Desertera #2
  • Write and publish my next creative writing prompts booklet
  • An author interview on Kate Evans’s website
  • Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo
  • Participate in the Indie Pride Day Book Blast (today!)
  • Participate in the Fire & Lies Goodreads takeover (tomorrow!)

New Year’s Resolutions

So far, I’m on track to hit my goal of 50% of my resolutions. As a quick refresher — our family tradition is to make one resolution for each year of your age. Therefore, I try to shoot for the stars and at least hit the moon!

My difficult code: E (easy), C (challenging), DD (damn difficult), LOL (…yeah…)

WRITING

1. Write five days a week (C, but based on past experience, LOL) – If by “write,” I mean draft OR edit, then I think I’m on track.

2. Finish Desertera #2 (E)

3. Publish Desertera #2 (C) – On track!

4. Write Desertera #3 (DD) – On track!

5. Publish Desertera #3 (DD) – Not happening

6. Write a book for fun (LOL) – I repeat: LOL.

7. Write all nonfiction booklets (E) – On track!

8. Publish all nonfiction booklets (E) – On track!

9. Publish nonfiction compilation (C) – On track!

BUSINESS

10. Publish two blog posts per week (C) – On track!

11. Read 50 books (C) – Way ahead!!!

12. Make $1,000 from my author business (C, maybe DD) – Still possible with the upcoming book launch

13. Adhere to my marketing plan (C) – More or less, need to re-evaluate

14. Send two email newsletters per month (C) – Doing it!

15. Update my author website/platform (revise each quarter) (E) – Check!

PERSONAL

16. Keep Daniel and myself student loan free (DD) – WOOT!

17. Keep migraines to one per month (or less!) (DD) – DOUBLE WOOT!

18. Exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week (LOL) – Hahahaha.

19. Record my three daily gratitudes (C) – Yup!

20. Visit a new state (E) Rhode Island & Massachusetts

21. Go to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC (E) – Hopefully this fall

22. Visit home (summer) (C) – Tickets booked!

23. Visit home (Christmas) (E) – Tickets booked!


Who else has accomplishments to share from June? How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along? What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things, Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Updates

My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

I love making New Year’s resolutions. If I were to claim two nerdy, organizational hobbies, they would absolutely be making lists and setting goals. There is something so intrinsically satisfying about writing down meaningful objectives and then crossing them off, knowing that your life is incrementally better for it. Needless to say, I’m stoked it’s that time of year again.

In our household, we follow my husband’s New Year’s resolution tradition. His rule is that you make one resolution for every year you have been alive. Last year, I made 22 goals and accomplished 11 of them. While I do have a few regrets about how I managed my time, overall, I am fairly satisfied with what I accomplished. If you’d like a good chuckle (I certainly had one looking back), you can see my 2015 resolutions here.

Anyway, now on to 2016. Like last year, I’ve categorized my goals by the facet of my life to which they belong. However, for a bit of fun, I’ve also added new difficulty levels. E for easy, C for challenging, DD for damn difficult, and LOL for, well…you get the idea.

Here’s to hoping I can hit over half of these 23 bad boys.

WRITING

1. Write five days a week (C, but based on past experience, LOL)

2. Finish Desertera #2 (E)

3. Publish Desertera #2 (C)

4. Write Desertera #3 (DD)

5. Publish Desertera #3 (DD)

6. Write a book for fun (LOL)

7. Write all nonfiction booklets (E)

8. Publish all nonfiction booklets (E)

9. Publish nonfiction compilation (C)

BUSINESS

10. Publish two blog posts per week (C)

11. Read 50 books (C)

12. Make $1,000 from my author business (C, maybe DD)

13. Adhere to my marketing plan (C)

14. Send two email newsletters per month (C)

15. Update my author website/platform (revise each quarter) (E)

PERSONAL

16. Keep Daniel and myself student loan free (DD)

17. Keep migraines to one per month (or less!) (DD)

18. Exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week (LOL)

19. Record my three daily gratitudes (C)

20. Visit a new state (E)

21. Go to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC (E)

22. Visit home (summer) (C)

23. Visit home (Christmas) (E)

And that’s all, folks. Feel free to cheer me on in the comments (I need all the encouragement I can get!), or during my monthly updates, which I intend to keep posting. I’d also love to hear YOUR New Year’s resolutions and other goals. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few tips on crafting realistic, attainable New Year’s resolutions.

Most importantly…happy New Year!