Goals help me make sure that I'm staying on track throughout the year. It's sort of like a roadtrip from Illinois to South Carolina. It's a lot of miles, and takes a lot of time, but with milestones, I know I'm going to get there without time-wasting detours. If I didn't set writing goals, I may not accomplish what I want to in a year's time.
Okay, so here are the goals I set for 2017, along with my assessment of my progress:
Rebrand and update website: Done! and very pleased with the result. I love the beachy feel of my new website, and along with the new branding, I also changed technologies to something MUCH more user friendly and flexible. On the topic of rebranding, I feel like over the last few years I've really cemented my "brand" as a Christian fiction author who writes inspirational and heartwarming tales about families facing everyday challenges , drawing on God's help. They're set at the beach. As a result, this year I unpublished all my books that came before this strong brand took shape. There are probably some places you can find my earlier works, but I'm not actively selling or promoting them.
Modernize my newsletter and grow subscribers. Done with this one as well! In fact, I spent a lot of focus and energy on this goal, and I'm happy to say that my list of regular subscribers grew from 500 to over 6000! I'm settling into a monthly newsletter schedule where I try to present entertaining content that is quick to read, but provides insight into my writing, my books and my life. It still sort of hurts every time I get an "Unsubscribe" but truly, that's what I want. If people aren't enjoying the content, I want them to leave and make room for more true fans. In fact, if you want to join my newsletter, or you want someone you know to join, just sign up here!
Narrate my own audiobook. I did make solid progress on this goal, but only in the "preliminary preparation stages." Lesson Learned: it's hard to narrate an audiobook! But I'm still very interested in learning this skill. This year, I bought all the hardware and software to set up my recording studio in my walk-in closet. Recognizing that I needed a mentor or professional to help me learn, I reached out, and on the second try, found a professional "sound guy" who will be my Padwan through the art and science of narrating. I have a whole list of things I need to work on. Voice tone, accents, emotion, pace. And refining my studio itself so it doesn't echo. So, although I dedicated quite a bit of time to this goal this year, it's nowhere near complete. I will carry it forward to next year.
So ... looking ahead to 2018: what goals do I want to focus on?
Write Books 2 and 3 of Murrells Inlet Miracles. Unfortunately, due to dayjob responsibilities and the non-writing goals I outlined above, I was not as prolific this year as I have been the last few years. I only released ONE book: Sanctuary. I have big plans for my Murrells Inlet series, including at least 4 books so I need to get moving.
Write a novella for an exciting new multi-author anthology project. It's sort of secret right now, but I've agreed to join some dear author friends in an anthology that I'm really excited about! All the stories center around an object that possesses special powers. Each story takes place during a different part of history -- and my novella will really push me out of my comfort zone -- it takes place during World War II!! I'm so excited about writing this book, and participating in such an exciting group project! Stay tuned.
Narrate my own audiobook (Part Deux). Make some time this year to continue learning the art of storytelling and improve my narration skills AND learn enough of the technical side of narrating that my files that I send to my producer meet the technical requirements set out.