Can you believe it? This decade ends today and tomorrow is the beginning of a new one! Even LilDude said his first decade is over and I’m like, when did you grow up all of a sudden?
Twelve new chapters. 365 new pages.
In my case, I’m splitting those twelve chapters into quarters which makes it more manageable for me. Short term goals for now as I start over in many ways. No resolutions. Just intentions.
Write. Prioritize. Be Present.
Write. I want to get back to writing again, for the pure love of storytelling, not to create a masterpiece but just to tell the story to anyone who wants to hear it. And while I’m at it, enjoy the process again.
Prioritize. This has to do with what I value in my life at the moment. My sons. LilDude’s growth into the young man he’s going to be. My brothers. My mother’s health. My time. My health.
Be Present. Enjoy the moment and stop worrying. Right now, LilDude is enjoying the $2 whoopie cushion I got him from the feed store and I have to remind myself to be present in the pure joy he gets from that small and farty thing. Being present also means knowing my limitations. What I can do with the time I really have and not over-commit myself because I’m too busy trying to do what everyone is doing instead of honoring myself and doing what I can do. Being present also means standing up for myself and not set myself aside for others’ comfort like I did with a friend this year.
Write. Prioritize. Be Present.
Yes. Yes. And yes.
12 new chapters. 365 new pages to fill with experiences and lessons and stories.
So it’s 2019 and I see my peers declare their resolutions for the coming year on the forums I frequent. I’m tempted to do that but since I never got around to take a look back at the year that was, I figured I might as well do that first.
This gif pretty much sums up 2018 for me:
That’s because I failed to hit 80% of my resolutions from last year that I listed here.
But that’s okay. After all, it’s done. The year is over and there’s no point beating myself up over forgetting every single one of those resolutions, to begin with, including the one about being grateful for five things each day. Reading it again now, I thought, wow, I wrote that?
Instead, I’m going to focus on what I accomplished in 2018.
First, I published three books under Liz: Breaking the Rules, The Replacement Fiance, and Friends with Benefits.
And that’s pretty much it.
After finding myself having a great year in 2017, I spent most of 2018 mired in self-doubt. It didn’t help that 2018 would prove to be a tough year for my author business when sales dipped below 50% starting May and I’d spend the next few months thinking maybe if I put more money in ads, it would help. Unfortunately, what used to work for me before didn’t work for me anymore, and the only thing that helped me get my sales back up again was publishing new books in the last quarter.
Still, the whole thing left me in a depression for most of the year. I was never happy because I wasn’t hitting the same numbers my author friends were hitting, whether it was the number of Facebook or Instagram followers, mailing list followers or earnings.
Fortunately, one of the good things that happened in 2018 was discovering Seth Godin’s This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See. While I’d been taught in the past year to put out minimum viable products (i.e. books that may not exactly be perfect out of the gate but are good enough) and iterate (fix them) as you go, Godin basically says do work you’re proud of. Care enough to give your readers the best product you can possibly make and earn their trust that way.
Instead of publishing minimum viable books once a month so readers don’t forget you or the Amazon algorithm starts working in your favor, produce your best work for that minimum viable audience, i.e. the minimum number of people who will buy what you make and tell their friends about it, the same people who’ll miss you if you don’t show up for some time. These are the people who found your work, loved it and want to see more of it. People who trust that you’ll give them only your best work.
Discovering This is Marketing quieted the monkey mind that kept telling me I should have been making the same five figures a month my peers were making or publishing the 12 books (one book a month) they were pushing out. Instead, it made me look at the three books I’d published under Liz and go, you know, these are three books I am very proud of… and I want to produce more work like that in 2019.
I also want to read more books in 2019. I’ve started with Poldark (Book 1 with Ross) by Winston Graham and the audiobook is amazing. No, I haven’t seen the TV series and have no plans to until after I finish listening to this book. The writing is just impeccable. Another book I just started reading is True Places by Sonja Yoerg and her writing is just luminous. Sometimes I find myself rereading passages because every line is so rich with meaning.
I’ve also started using bullet journals this month. That means writing down stuff and checking them off as I go. The digital versions just don’t do it for me. Writing something by hand just works on my brain differently and more effectively than typing it on my phone or tablet and checking it off.
I do have a full publishing calendar for 2019, including a plan to publish ten steamy shorts under certain holidays. Valentine’s is the first one up which means I have to come up with a story very soon.
This also means I need to limit my time on social media. Easier said than done but I have to do it if I want to write those 10 novellas this year AND three novels for my three series. Hopefully, that’s where keeping a bullet journal will come in handy. I’ve had to write up a Things to Do Daily just to keep track. Once each one is checked off, then it’s time to write.
Come to think of it, thanks to my bullet journal, I just paid two tickets today, one was a street sweeping ticket ($60 ouch!) when the Lil Dude was home sick and it completely slipped my mind to move my car into the driveway and the second is a Metro ticket ($25) for driving in the HOV lane without a permit. I blame that on Siri directing me to the HOV lane on our way to the California Science Museum and by the time I realized what was happening, it was too late.
Sheesh. I really miss old-fashioned Thomas Guides…
2018 will be here in two days and guess that means it’s time for those new year resolutions! So far, here are mine:
Write more. Just write, basically. I need to hit that goal of 3000 words a day and then edit later. Unless the muse strikes and then I write and edit and write some more. But that’s been a rare occurrence so I’ll just stick to writing it all down and editing later. Although I won’t beat myself up if I only write 1000 words a day or none at all. A writer is never not working. They’re plotting inside their heads. This includes my naughty pen.
Exercise more. I’m finally buying that exercise bike with the attached desk because it only took me six months to decide which one to order. I also have to wait until we take down the tree to set it up.
Stop comparing myself to other authors.
Find five things to be happy about each day.
Spend more time with friends even if it means walking with them five miles to the beach… and back. I’ll just have to recondition myself on that bike desk thingy.
Eat healthy. I miss the days when I became a vegetarian after reading Under The Skin by Michel Faber (the movie with ScarJo was loosely based on the book but you need to read the book to understand what the hell was going on in the movie). That lasted six months and I stopped because I was eating way too much rice and also buying processed meals from Trader Joes which were laden with sodium. This time, it will take planning and while I won’t eliminate meat entirely – I’ll stick to chicken for now – I’ll be incorporating more grains and legumes.
Pay more attention to what the kid needs outside of school-provided therapy. Behavioral therapy, most of all, so he’ll learn how to engage with his peers in a social setting.
Make more art. In fact, after hand drawing over fifty greeting cards for the holidays, I need to go back to digital art and make them into greeting cards.
Work towards that dream of moving to a bigger home. That means I gotta sell more books which means I gotta write more books.
Be happy. Don’t stress out too much, not even when you accidentally leave your kid still in the cart at Ikea’s cart escalator thingy… (don’t worry, this was years ago and he was fine).
Wow! What a year 2016 has been and here we are, it’s the first morning of 2017 and there’s so much to do! This time last year, I was filled with so much self-doubt I couldn’t write anything worth publishing. Even the stories I finished and were scheduled for publication didn’t make their deadlines because I was gripped with so much fear and anxiety.
But my fourth book, Everything She Ever Wanted, changed all that. Middle of the year, around May, something just clicked and got me writing again. And I didn’t stop until it was finished. I probably spammed my social feed with it but for the first time last year, I was very proud of something. I felt good about it, which was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. Even my Instagram feed reflected that happiness.
And then I wrote another story, Wild Card, and I felt really good about that, too. At 15K words, it’s short and one day I’ll probably expand it but for now, it feels complete. I’ve put it into Kindle Unlimited for now but will get it back out to wide distribution after the first three months. But if you’re on KU, do check it out. I think it’s a 45-minute read.
For the new year, my plan is pretty simple. Anything complicated and I’ll forget them all.
Write and publish more books. At least four, starting with Loving Riley, book 2 of the Celebrity series.
Implement everything I’ve learned about self-publishing, i.e. book promotions and marketing smart
Retire my massage practice for good this year and focus on writing.
Take my little guy on a vacation to New York and Washington D.C. Oh, and the hubby, too, of course! They both haven’t been to the East Coast yet.
While I do have publishing plans, I don’t have much when it comes to resolutions. Well, if I do, it will end up just like this: