Like everyone else, 2020 was a year unlike any other. My word of the year was Flow, which could not have been more apt, as COVID-19 taught us all to “go with the flow,” more than ever before.
Some of my struggles:
- I worked harder at my day job that I ever have.
- I transitioned to full-time working from home.
- I hid from COVID-19 and worried about the future.
- I dealt with burnout in my day job.
But for a crazy year, it had some amazing moments:
- I signed with agent Amy Collins.
- Daughter of Destiny did extremely well in a book-to-movie contest.
- I finished the Minor biography.
- I took a big step in the future of my day job, even if it ends up not going anywhere.
- I started a new blog – I’ll be telling you all about it in the New Year.
- I re-did practically my whole house myself (with a little help from dad).
- I found my personal style/brand.
- According to Goodreads, I read about 85 books (my goal was 100), not including research, which would have put it closer to 200.
And how did I do on my 2020 goals?
- Finish chapter for non-fiction Arthurian book (due March 2020). Nailed it!
- Finish and sell/self publish Minor biography. It’s finished and Amy is doing her best to sell it.
- Work on WWII historical fiction book. Wow, this one came in under the wire. The main character started talking to me again maybe two weeks ago (after more than a year of silence) and I have not quite 10,000 words written.
- Help with human trafficking anthology. Wrote my short story for this, but the anthology never got off the ground. I don’t think it is going to. Hopefully I will be able to share the short story in another way someday. I’m really proud of it. It’s in a contest right now, so we’ll see what others think of it.
- Continue working with local League of Women Voters chapter on Centennial Committee. Did this and had SO MUCH fun working with these women, attending events and getting the word out.
- Speak locally about the August 2020 centennial of women getting the right to vote. I was honored to be asked to speak about both Virginia Minor and suffrage in the state of Missouri. One of my audiences was the Missouri Chapter of the League of Women Voters, which was amazing!
- Adjust to new role of assistant editor for Novelist’s Inc. member newsletter, NINK. This was the worst possible year to take on this role, but I made it. I have to admit, I’m glad that it is over. It is not a hard job, but it is tough to handle when my day job is constantly in crisis mode.
- If we end up with a female presidential candidate, promote the heck out of Madame Presidentess. (This is no reflection on my personal political choices. I will, however, use it to my advantage if it becomes a reality.) This didn’t come to pass.
- Side projects to be worked on when/if have the time: Hallmark book, devotional, musical based on Kill Hannah songs. I thought about them. Does that count?
- Option Madame Presidentess again as well as the Guinevere Trilogy. (I realize this is out of my control, but I can have it on here in an effort to think positively, right?) This did not come to pass, but Daughter of Destiny did very well and is now in a second contest, so who knows what the future will bring?
Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone for your support this past year and always. I couldn’t do what I do without you and some days knowing that you are out there cheering me on is what gets me though. I wish all of you a safe, healthy and happy end to 2020 and a wonderful 2021. I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts about the New Year!
I sat in my favorite local coffee shop the other day and tried to do a little planning for 2020 and it only kind of worked. I mean, I have a list of goals and to-dos, but I don’t have a clear-cut plan like I have in previous years. At first, this worried me, like the driven part of me was broken, but then I realized, it’s okay. In 2020, I’m just going to go with the flow. Which is why I chose flow as my 2020 word of the year.
I’ve pushed myself so hard for the last six years or so in order to build a career. Now I am at a point where I can reap the benefits and take opportunities as they come. Yes, I’ll still make things happen when I need to, but I don’t know that I need to be as intentional about it.
Looking Back at 2019 Goals
I did a fair amount of this in my post on nearly driving myself to burnout (which I am proud to say I am emerging from – I’m back to working on the Minor biography after a month of rest), but I wanted to specifically examine my goals for 2019. I’m shocked to see I did better than expected, especially for a year in which I didn’t publish anything.
- Finish the proposal for, successfully pitch and sell a book I’m co-writing with another author. We did our best to pitch this book, but were unable to get a contract for it due to circumstances outside of our control.
- Finish the proposal for, successfully pitch and sell another book on the suffrage movement (different angle from above) I’m working on. After the experience of the book mentioned above, I shelved this. But the good news is that I might be able to use it for my dissertation when I go back to school in a few years.
- Write both of these books by their deadlines (I’m hoping both will be traditionally published by August 2020). N/A
- Finish the biography I’m working on (not Rose, someone else) and sell it. I think I get half credit on this. Research took a lot longer than I expected because I found so much more material than I thought would be available. I have a proposal and sample chapter done and am still querying agents. I’m nearing a second finished chapter.
- Attend three conferences and have successful speaking engagements at the ones I’m booked at. – Woot! Did this and it was FABULOUS!
- Possibly work on either Isolde or the gothic fiction book I’m planning. I’ve thought about both, does that count?
- Keep up to date on the progress of Madame Presidentess as it makes its way toward becoming a TV show or movie. – Yeah, this was a disappointment, but I knew going in that it was unlikely to happen. But there is still hope for the future!
- Finish chapter for non-fiction Arthurian book (due March 2020).
- Finish and sell/self publish Minor biography.
- Work on WWII historical fiction book.
- Help with human trafficking anthology.
- Continue working with local League of Women Voters chapter on Centennial Committee.
- Speak locally about the August 2020 centennial of women getting the right to vote.
- Adjust to new role of assistant editor for Novelist’s Inc. member newsletter, NINK.
- If we end up with a female presidential candidate, promote the heck out of Madame Presidentess. (This is no reflection on my personal political choices. I will, however, use it to my advantage if it becomes a reality.)
- Side projects to be worked on when/if have the time: Hallmark book, devotional, musical based on Kill Hannah songs.
- Option Madame Presidentess again as well as the Guinevere Trilogy. (I realize this is out of my control, but I can have it on here in an effort to think positively, right?)
So, yeah, I think that is plenty for one year, especially in addition to my more personal, non-writing goals. I’m excited to be headed into the ’20s. Let’s hope those flapper dresses make a comeback and that these ’20s don’t have the economic depression the 1920s did!
I made a big decision the other day. I’m not sure when or where – it will depend on finances and what life has in store – but I’m going back to school to get my PhD in American History and Women’s Studies. My specialty will be the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. This will help me gain credibility in the non-fiction publishing world, as well as hopefully improve my fiction writing as well. What will I do with the degree? I would love to be a research professor (assuming I need a full-time job that isn’t writing).
What about you? What are your goals? Do you have a word of the year for 2020?