Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Forward Planning for 2017 #IWSG

It’s the first Wednesday of the month when all IWSGers post about their writing insecurities and/or offer encouragement to others. If the IWSG is new to you, please visit the IWSG Sign-up tab here. A big thank you to our December co-hosts: Jennifer Hawes, Jen Chandler, Nick Wilford, Juneta Key, JH Moncrieff, Diane Burton, and MJ Fifield!

We've made the IWSG Day more fun and interactive by asking a question each writer can answer, so here goes:

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Now on to today's post:

Forward Planning for 2017

It feels like only a few months have gone by since it was January, however, the reality is eleven months have swept by since the start of 2016.

This time of year is great for assessment—looking at what worked, didn't work, and charting a path forward.  Some of the questions I ask myself every December are:

What have I achieved this year?

I look at what I've published and list the books I plan to write the following year. My son tells me I take on too many projects and I ought to cut back. Sensibly though, I'd say 3-4 books is a good target for the average writer and more for those who are writing machines.

What things didn't I complete?

Inevitably, I have some carryovers because I'm an overachiever. These get first pick as it pertains to new mountains to climb, and keep me focused on where I'm going in the New Year.

What can I do differently on my writing journey in the coming year?

Life and work become overwhelming at times and scheduling too much can cause burnout. To avoid this, I look back at what did not get done and scale back or decide how I can achieve greater efficiency.

Did I create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals?

It's all well and good to throw a list of things together, but without a plan projects can and do go awry. It is the wise writer who plots the steps he/she will take and puts a time frame in place to achieve his/her goals.

What questions do you ask yourself at this time of year? Have you started planning your publication schedule for 2017? Any exciting plans or new direction on the horizon?

We have a special treat!
Audio book narrator Michael Burnette is graciously giving away five copies of his book - The Independent Author's Guide to Audiobook Production: A Professional Narrator's Secrets for Success on ACX.

This is perfect for authors who want to turn their books into audio.

See Rafflecopter for entries – open until December 13.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nicola said...

I think many of us can relate to your journey, Joy. I congratulate you on all your achievements so far! Super work. Thank you for the info on the audiobooks book :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I didn't complete anything for me, but hopefully that's next year's goal.

Pat Hatt said...

I completed what I completed. Basically how I look at it. Then on to next year.

The Cynical Sailor said...

This is the first year that I've thought about goal setting in relation to my writing. It feels a bit overwhelming, but probably a good thing to do so that I take it seriously. I like your mention of the SMART model - it's a really simple and powerful tool which folks find easy to use. Cheers - Ellen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I need SMART goals...

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm cringing a little when I look back. I didn't accomplish near as much this year as I expected. I need to be more realistic next year.

J.L. Campbell said...

Susan, I think I went overboard this year and got a lot of things done only through sheer willpower. I'm planning to be a bit more focused next year.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks, Nicola. We do need to have a map for where we're going on this journey.

Diane, I know you're doing a lot of work for others, hopefully, you do get some stuff done for you in 2017.

Well done, Pat. Happy planning!

Hi, Ellen. When we think about all the things we have to do as miniscule publishers, it can and does get overwhelming. Once you start planning though, it's easier and working SMART does help.

Alex, you do so well though. Whatever you have going works for you!

Michelle Wallace said...

I think this year was a great learning curve for me in terms of writing craft. I know that I still have a long way to go!
SMART goals - now that's really smart!

Bob/Sally said...

What did I accomplish this year? I threw insecurity to the wind and finally released a few stories for the masses to read. Much to my relief, the response has been positive. :)

Christine Rains said...

I need to get better time management and not let the cat dictate it! (He is currently on my lap making typing slow!) I'm an overachiever too, and it frustrates me, but I work harder when I set goals big.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great post. Concrete advice.
Mary at Play off the Page

Sandee said...

Love the SMART plan. You can apply that to everything in your life.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Stephen Tremp said...

Three or four projects is ambitious but common among writers. It's what we do and we love what we do. Best wishes for a healthy wealthy 2017!

Sandra Hoover said...

I definitely need a road map for getting where I want to go! Liking your SMART idea - something to think about. Congrats on your many accomplishments!

cleemckenzie said...

Carryovers are good. That gives you a head start on 2017!

Liesbet said...

Congratulations on a productive 2016! A goal of 3-4 books a year??? Mmmm... And I hope to get my first memoir finished in two years. :-) I do have other goals and achievements besides writing my book, though. Nevertheless, maybe I should focus and prioritize a bit better in 2017!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

You really are an overachiever. All power to you, my dear. I wish I could say that I have all these books to my credit. I writer mostly YA short story. And I, too, am working to complete a better draft of my memoir about attending college with five kids in tow. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for sharing about your journey, Didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked, but am looking ahead to next year!

Roland Clarke said...

Impressed at all your achievements, Joy. Feel that I must be well below avarage as I've brought out one in three years, although maybe I can claim the ones that I've finished. However, those continue to get crit comments so I never feel ready to get them out. Have plans to get at least one self-published in 2017, maybe two. IWSG boosts my confidence.

Toi Thomas said...

I love "SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals". I feel like to try to do this but don't always follow through. I'm also excited about a chance to win the giveaway. Been meaning to look into audio books.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Thank you for sharing your journal. Wishing you success in 2017!

Tyrean Martinson said...

SMART goals instead of crazy ones would definitely help. :) I love the way you gave those tips and explained the goal system.
Thank you!

Gerardine Baugh said...

I lost the last comment I hope I am not posting twice. :-)

You posted: "Did I create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals?"

I need to follow the SMART goals this coming year.

Great Blog post

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Michelle, Learning new stuff is great!

Well done, Bob.

Christine, I can so relate to setting big goals. Stressful, but rewarding.

Thanks, Mary. Hope it helps.

True that, Sandee.

Same to you, Stephen. I think we're mostly overachievers.

Thanks, Sandra. Planning and execution are everything.

So true, Lee. They keep me pushing.

Liesbet, it's good to outline those goals with a firm date in mind to achieve them.

Enjoy your holiday too, Victoria. Some of us just don't know when to quit. :)

Karen, there's always something to look forward to and something else to achieve.

Thanks, Roland. See, you do have a book out so you've done something. I love the IWSG group too. Great morale booster.

Toinette, I don't always follow through on my plans, but I try as hard as I can to make my goals. Yes, good idea to enter the givewawy.

Thanks, Cathrina. Wishing you success too!

Tyrean. Yep, SMART goals are the way to go.

Thanks, Gerardine! Hope you can make some plans and move on them.

J.Q. Rose said...

SMART goals--Great acronym, but "measurable" is where I'm lacking. I have the goals in mind and strive to get them done, but I don't follow up with measuring their performance. I'm tacking SMART goals on my bulletin board by the computer! Thanks.

Diane Burton said...

Setting measurable goals is great. A plan of action is better. I need to get working on mine. Since Hubs was in business, he asks me questions about the time I spend doing blog hops, etc. and what were the results. So I've made a spreadsheet and am doing follow ups on my promotions to see what works and what's time not spent wisely.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

diedre Knight said...

In retrospect, my goals weren't as tough to achieve as the things that got in the way. Time management seems to be my biggest hurdle and regrettably this last year writing is among the things that kept slipping from my grasp as I tried to tackle all at once. So, I'm not Superwoman. That's okay, I think, long as I hold onto my dreams.

Your achievements are indeed inspiring and I commend you!

Erika Beebe said...

Amen to the Smart goals. Otherwise, how do you hold yourself accountable? I admire your drive with 3-4 books in the next year. I hope To finish my edits on one, find an editor and start at least another full length manuscript and and a short story. Thank you so much for your great post :)

Juneta key said...

I complete a few short stories and nonfiction post but not my bigger project, over course 2016 is not over yet. Great post, enjoyed reading.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi JL...
You've had a terrific year! It's great to have a plan and even if you don't stick completely to it, at least it's guide....

I wing each year. Goals don't usually pan out for me. But I do hope to accomplish some writing this year. ALL the best!!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joy - well done ... and you will get there. Love the idea of the Audio-Book guide - such a helpful resource ... and that is the direction I'll go in ... cheers Hilary

Magic Love Crow said...

Congrats on a great year! 3-4 books is fantastic!

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for offering the giveaway! Looking forward to checking it out. :)