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2015 Wrap Up & First Quarter Goals for 2016

Happy New Year all my fellow writers!

With the end of 2015, I wanted to take a minute (or two) to discuss my plans for this year...

World domination!

But really, I'm going to go over the bigger goals I have for 2016 and what I'm planning on doing this quarter to achieve those!

Before I dive into that, let me first highlight some of the (writing) things that I've done in 2015.

  • I wrote 121,533 words on my debut novel! I had actually written more than that but ended up cutting several scenes. I still have around 30 scenes to write, so this bad boy is going to be a whopper!

  • I won Camp NaNoWriMo in July (50k words) and NaNoWriMo last November. I really think NaNo got the ball rolling for me on my writing career - I never knew I could write that much that fast. While I didn't keep all of the scenes I wrote during NaNo, I learned it's fully within my power to write fast while keep quality high.

  • I started this website. I've learned A LOT about blogging and (gasp) even some coding to help out with my posts and my site. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm definitely proud of what I've accomplished on this website. While it has already seen some changes in appearance, I plan to make some even bigger changes this year!

  • Can you say, Social Media? 6 months ago I vowed to break into social networks because for some strange reason, I hadn't. I was resistant to making an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, you name it. And I'm so so glad I finally took the plunge. I think Twitter is so much fun and I love how easy it is to connect with people. Since I didn't have a foundation to start with, I'm proud of how many followers I've gotten across all my platforms.

  • My YouTube channel is, next to my writing of course, what I'm most excited about from 2015. I've definitely learned a lot and figured out what I want my focus to be for this year. I had never edited a video before, so had a lot to learn. There were many frustrations (including a scare with my first video being deleted after editing) but I think it's been so exciting to see it grow (see below image). While my channel is still pretty small, I've seen an uptick in interest in my writing videos and I couldn't be happier! I ended 2015 with 30 subscribers and 652 total views on 16 videos. I'm really excited because in 2016 already I've had 8 new subscribers to my channel - I'll pee my pants if I can keep that up this year! I can't wait to see my stats at the end of 2016.

  • The friends I've made in this writing community deserves its own bullet point. While writing is such a solitary thing, I've had so much fun connecting with people who are also writing and learning the business along with me. I never thought there would be such a large community for us writers, and I'm so grateful to have found it!

  • My writing speed increased dramatically this year. I'm now able to reach up to 3500 WPH and average a solid 2800 WPH. I topped out at 2000 WPH until I tried dictation and I think that everyone should give it a try! Steven is wonderful and amazing and bought me an AT2020 for Christmas to increase my accuracy with Dragon.

  • Marketing. I learned so so much about marketing and made an entire plan for the year of my novel release. This starts with excerpts from my novel, so look out for those!

Some personal achievements I've made in 2015:

  • I got my first promotion at work (woohoo!), worked a ton of OT and am in the process of getting three separate certifications. All while writing almost 125k words on my WIP!

  • My boyfriend, Steven, and I started contributing money to a house fund. We're planning on purchasing in 2016, and I'm really proud of how responsible we've been in waiting and saving money for a down payment (it's also amazing how much you can save without really missing that extra money). I'm contributing 26% of my income to savings - who knew saving for the future could be so exciting! 6% of that will transfer to my loan payments at the end of March, once I've saved up my target amount for my novel's publication.

  • I've made some great progress on my loans as well. I'm currently on target to be debt free by 2019! Minus the mortgage payment we'll have by then of course :)

  • Steven and I traveled a lot this past year: one trip to Connecticut, four trips to visit my parents (5 hours away), three trips to his parents (5 hours in the other direction), two trips to Tallahassee, one trip to Alabama, and we spent a week in the Keys (Islamorada) for Steven's birthday this year. The poor pups had to locked away in jail for all of these (they have a pool, it's not really a jail).

  • I finally got back into reading. Engineering school distracted me for a long time from leisurely reading but I managed to read 33 books in 7 months (with the help of audiobooks).

  • Holiday decorations. This one definitely made me feel like I was succeeded in the adulting category. We've never put up decorations for Halloween and we actually put up Christmas lights on our house this year. Win!

Now that I've talked your ears eyes off with 2015, let me set some goals for 2016 followed by my goals for this quarter.

For 2016 I plan to:

  • Publish my novel. Simple, right? We'll see.

    • To do this I'll need to finish the first draft, send to beta-readers and my editor, and make edits in between all of those. I'll also need to get my cover art and interior designed.

  • Market the crap out of my novel so I have an awesome launch!

    • This will include excerpts from my novel, character profiles, and a cover reveal with lots of giveaways throughout the year!

For this quarter I plan to:

  • Finish my first draft. This was actually a goal from last quarter that I didn't quite finish. I added a lot of scenes at the end of last year that pushed this back.

  • Send my novel off to Beta-readers and get their feedback. I also plan to start those edits (but not necessarily finish, depending on the schedule of the betas).

  • Book an editor. I have a list of editors and need to settle on one. I plan on doing my own edits to my first few chapters and then sending those off for a sample edit before deciding. I need to get this done before the end of January.

  • Celebrate my birthday! January 8 baby! I share my birthday with Elvis and Stephen Hawking. Let's see if their success rubs off on me.

  • Continue to make YouTube videos every week followed by weekly posts on my website.

  • Edit all my previous thumbnails to match my new ones on YouTube.

  • Redesign my website. I recently won an awesome book/author branding giveaway from A.M. Ruggirello over at Eventide & Barley. I'm hoping we can redo my website this quarter, but of course that depends on her schedule!

  • Sell off my extra crap. I have a lot of stuff I've gathered up in this house and want to downsize a little bit. Sell/giveaway all the stuff I no longer need.

Whew! This is going to be one busy quarter. But I'm honestly so excited to see what's in store for me this year. I cannot wait to share my novel with everyone!

2016 is going to be one hell of a year for me :)

What are your plans for this year? Are you happy with what you've accomplished this past year?

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