While sprucing up the site for the redesign, I realized that I missed my one-year blogging anniversary. I registered this domain and started the blog on January 21st, 2016.
It’s somewhat amazing to me that I’ve been doing this over a year now. According to the business plan and writing goals sheet I wrote up at the time, I was to have three books out by this point (more on that in a bit), with a fourth ready by June. Life has interfered with those plans a little, but I’m still very proud of how far I’ve come. This time last year I had just finished the first draft of Essential Magic, which was still called Training Etta. (I know. It’s a terrible title.) I hadn’t yet contacted my editor, and I was unhappy with the draft.
The first, best thing that happened after that was reading Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. I’ve gushed over this book on the blog before, but it really saved my bacon. I knew how to write a story thanks to the MFA program at Seton Hill, but I didn’t know how to write a romance until Romancing the Beat.
After that, I did the first major rewrite and felt it was at a good stage to hire an editor. Anna LaVoie of Literally Yours Editing then entered my life, and everything has gotten much better since.
Over the course of the last two and a half books (I say half because I’m still writing book three), Anna and I have gone through some trial and error over what works between us. Assuming I can actually sit down and write, I think we’ve found a good routine that will see us through the rest of the series and beyond.
On the publication front, I have made SO MANY mistakes. See my recent post on rebranding–it’s already becoming a headache, but was totally necessary. And, being an introvert with social anxiety, there are things I haven’t yet tried for marketing and growing my audience because of fear.
So in this second year, my goal is twofold. One, I will overcome some of my fears and start putting myself and my work out there for the world to see. I will be more proactive about contacting bloggers, reviewers, and potential readers.
Two, I will make more time to write. This needs to be sacred. One thing I have learned about myself is that I am not the kind of writer who can do well for long periods with only 30 minutes to write. Some people can produce vast quantities of work that way, writing when they can sneak in the time. I can’t. I’ve tried.
This isn’t really a goal, but I’m going to be more realistic this year about what I can reasonably accomplish. My original goal of four books published between June 2016 and June 2017 was unreasonable. I could maybe still make it if I pushed really hard and produced lower-quality work, but I don’t want to do that. You don’t want me to do that. My husband and kids definitely don’t want me to do that–they like seeing me every once in a while.
Here’s a sad, but realistic truth: Memories of Magic isn’t going to be ready until May at the earliest. I’ve got a laundry list of stress-inducing things happening in my life right now, and what little time I do have to work has been focused on my paid gigs. I wish that writing these books paid enough to live on, but at the moment I still haven’t broken even from my outlays for books one and two. So I’ve gotta pay the bills, and that includes writing for other people. In an ideal world, I’d be able to split my work day between work-for-pay and work-for-my-business, but in a world where I’m a mom with family obligations, that rarely happens. I’m getting it done, but very, very slowly.
So now I know what a year in my writing-life looks like. This year will probably be completely different, but as each year passes I’m learning more and more about my process, my abilities, and how to streamline certain necessary tasks to be more efficient overall in my business. I’m improving every day, and I promise to keep writing even when I stumble. I love creating worlds and characters and sharing them with you, my readers.
Here’s to many more books and anniversaries!