goals

Quarterly Planning

Since December I’ve been using the HB90 quarterly planning method from Heart Breathings. I mentioned it here in January, but it’s helped my productivity more than anything else I’ve done.

This past quarter wasn’t perfect. There’s plenty that I didn’t accomplish, but that’s okay. Quarterly planning gives me a clean slate. I can analyze what happened last quarter and try to do better in the future.

Another cool thing about the HB90 method is creating outcome goals. For example, I want to boost reader engagement by X percent. Once I know those goals, I can decide on the projects and tasks that will help me achieve that goal. It’s great because having a plan for the quarter means starting a new month isn’t as stressful. Those outcome goals haven’t changed much. I’ll just create different projects to accomplish them.

For April, a few of the things I plan to do is…
– Finish my WIP
– Read at least 2 books
– Get back to journaling
– Plot my next novel

What are you hoping to achieve this month?

Until next time,

Sarah

Reading Challenges

Many moons ago, or at least that’s how it feels, I used to do reading challenges a lot. With a huge TBR list, there was something magical about seeing what topics were presented each month and digging through my books to see what fit where.

These days, I’ve basically followed what my Kindle suggests to me. That’s cool sometimes, but it doesn’t give me that same excitement as the reading challenges did before.

So, my reading goal for this year is at least 24 books, which might not be a lot compared to some people, but that would be four more books than I read last year.

This year, I’m following Roni Loren’s The Read Wide Challenge. There are plenty of books in many genres that I’ve had, so now I’ll a solid reason to actually finish them! Hooray.

Do you enjoy reading challenges? How many books are you hoping to read this year?

Until next week,

Sarah

CampNaNoWriMo Totals

Whew! It’s the first day of May, and I’m thrilled. I enjoy the beginning of each new month since they always feel fresh with possibilities.

Last month I did CampNaNoWriMo, and I set an ambitious goal of 60,000 words. I’m pleased to say that I reached my goal! Woohoo!

I ended April with 60,002 words. 43,601 of those were toward a novel I wrote The End on last night, and 16,401 of those words were on On Thin Ice, the second book in my Super Powered series.

For more stats, since I love them, this is my progress on my goal of writing 1,000 words a day.

84926 / 365000 words. 23% done!

This month, I’m switching gears a little and lightening my writing efforts a little to focus on editing what I wrote last month. I’m also hoping to read more this month.

How about you guys? What are your goals for May?

Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Reading Challenge

Here’s my list for Book Chick City’s Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance 2013 Reading Challenge. I’m so glad they combined my two favorite genres. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than last year and the year before! I’ll be updating this list each month as I complete new novels. Let me know if you’re participating as well!

To Be Read:

  1. On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
  2. Dark and Stormy Knights Anthology
  3. On the Prowl Anthology
  4. Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong
  5. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
  6. River Marked by Patricia Briggs
  7. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
  8. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  9. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton
  10. Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton
  11. Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
  12. Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King
  13. Stripped by Julie Leto
  14. Wynter’s Captive by Milly Taiden
  15. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig 
  16.    
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Completed (in order of read):
  1. Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein
  2. Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck
  3. Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Naughty New Years Blog Hop + Winner Announced

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all started it off naughtily! 😉 If so, let’s see if we can keep that vibe going all year.

Hmm… Naughty New Years… My naughty New Years resolution for 2013 is simple. I want to write a lot more sexy werewolves. Yum! I’m not setting myself up for failure with that one. *grin* My non-writing resolution is to read more this year. Yep, you guessed it, I’m looking for sexy werewolves. Know of any?

Skin Deep

Passions sizzle even between a feline and a wolf…

Angelique had no idea her black panther tattoo would force her to abandon the love of her life—Connor O’Reilly—but she’s determined to keep him safe no matter how much it hurts. Her tattoo doubles as her feline familiar: loving, protective, dangerous, and with a life of its own. It’s also her deepest secret and draws enemies who desire its power for themselves.

Connor has no idea why Angelique left him, but he’s determined to win her back. As a werewolf, he has secrets of his own. Now his alpha is ready to force him to pair with an ex-girlfriend he can’t stand unless he can find Angelique and claim her as his mate. But even as their secrets threaten to keep them apart, hidden enemies seek to destroy their chance at love forever.

So, how about you? What are your naughty resolutions for 2013?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, the grand prizes for the hop include a $100 gift card to EdenFantasys and a digital gift basket of 10 erotica books. All comments across the blog tour are entered. For more information on that, click here.

Writer Wednesday: Goals Part 2

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! I hope you’re having a great holiday season. I know I am.

Last week’s Writer Wednesday post discussed looking over 2011’s goals and seeing how you did with them. This week, we’ll continue with goals but focus on planning for 2012.

First of all, one thing I’ve learned is that I don’t do well with having like 16 goals on my list. I tend to only accomplish half of them, no matter what they are. Maybe I should’ve been more fierce about my goals, but I think more often than not that I just dump the kitchen sink onto the list and decide I’ll figure out what I’ll do. Not a great way to go about goal setting. *grins*

This year, I’m going to write down only what I really want to accomplish. If I accomplish more than what’s on the list, that’s awesome! But I think it’s important not to get sidetracked. Like I said last time, things may come up that we don’t expect, and if they do then adjust the goals and continue forward. For example, I’d had in mind that I would write, edit, and query a few novels this year, but I was accepted to Changeling Press and instead have been writing novellas.

So, how do we figure out what goals we should be working toward? That’s pretty simple. Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? Got that picture in your mind? Good! Now plot how you’ll be able to get there.

For example, if you want to be published, it’s important to learn your craft, write a book, find some good critique partners, do research about the publishing industry, write a query letter, and query agents (and/or editors). That’s not something you can accomplish in an afternoon, so then you’d break it down into steps.

  1. Read three books on writing.
  2. Finish a book by (insert date here) by writing X words a day.
  3. Join a writer’s organization (like RWA) and meet other writers to become critique partners with.

… and so on.

Here are a few links I’ve come across about goal setting. Enjoy!

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Goal Setting for the Writer by Theresa Meyers

Marrying Marketing and Writing Goals by Monica Valentinelli

From NaNo to Submission: a 90-Day Plan by Suzanne Johnson – True, this one doesn’t necessarily fit into goal setting, but I think it’s useful to see other people lay out their goals.

What are your goals for 2012?

Writer Wednesday: Goals Part 1

(Since it’s so close to Christmas, I’m cross posting this and Part 2 with Castles and Guns. :-))

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I know it might be hard to think of this, especially if you’ve still got some Christmas shopping to do *raises hand*, but the end of the year is almost upon us. One of the things I’ve begun thinking about as New Year’s Eve approaches is what I’ve done this year, how effective I was, and what I’d like to do next year. I’m getting a jump on my goal setting since one of the things I’ve learned about myself is I’m better with a plan.

I honestly think it’s important as a writer to have goals and to know where we’re heading. Sometimes you just might not end up where you’d planned, which has been the case with me. There are quite a few things on my 2011 Goals list that I didn’t accomplished, but then again, there are also several items not on there that I did. I could easily say that if I’d stuck with what I’d planned, I probably wouldn’t be where I am, but that discussion is for a different day.

So, what’s first? I’d suggest going over your 2011 goals list and see what you’ve written down. Where are you in comparison?

  • Look at where you are goal-wise today. Are you unpublished and finishing up your NaNoWriMo project or polishing a query letter? Published and working on a proposal for a new book? Right now, I’m an author on an upcoming deadline.
  • What’s something you have accomplished this year? Did you finish your first novel? Find a publisher? I’m published and slowly getting the hang of social networking! 🙂
  • What’s something you haven’t accomplished that you wish you had? For me, I didn’t read as much as I’d have liked to, and I ended up not working on a couple projects I was looking forward to.
Now that we’ve looked at that, we can start thinking about next year. What are we hungry to say we’ve completed in 2012?
What goals have you accomplished this year (or are on track to complete)?

Back on Track

I posted this yesterday at Castles & Guns.

I’ve had high hopes for the year, and so far things are going all right. Aside from the illness being tossed around like hot potatoes in my household. Argh!

Anyways, January began strong in my mind. I started writing a novella, editing a novel, and focusing on a healthier lifestyle. It began well, but I had a hard time working on editing and writing the novella. Fitness though, went great. Then stress hit hard at the end of January due to editing the novella for a submission deadline, family coming into town, etc. Things fell apart with what I was doing.

February basically was about stabilizing and dealing with my stress and family, as well as attended DigiCon at SavvyAuthors. Now it’s March. Part of me feels like the year is starting to get away from me. With the beginning of March, I decided to get things back under control. I’m back on track with working out and eating better, and I’m starting to get it together again with editing too. Although, I’d much rather be writing. *grins*

Anyways, the point of the blog is it’s a new month. If there are things in your life that aren’t going as well as you’d hoped, there’s time to get back on track. Don’t feel like the year is messed up just because two months have passed. There is still a lot of time in the year to make this one great.

I read an article recently about dividing the year up in quarters. January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December. I think that’s a great idea. The article said focus on smaller, specific goals and not trying to do something huge within those quarters. Want to write the first draft within April-June? Edit in July-September? Heck, even lose 10 lbs or read 5 books in a single quarter.

So how are you doing with your goals this year? Any that you’re getting back on track with?

So far, so good!

This year has started pretty well! I’m a decent way into the cyberpunk romance novella I’m writing (and loving), and well, I’ve started editing my post-apocalyptic paranormal romance novel. I know I need to buckle down with it if I want to get it edited by my hopeful due date. Also, my desk is somewhat clean, and I’ve already started figuring out what projects I’d like to accomplish throughout the rest of the year. Woo!

Pretty soon, I’ll be putting in an update with my webmistress so you’ll actually see new content on my website. What a shocker! lol That’s another good idea for this year, not leave my website so sad and not updated. I think that depends on the progress I make with getting published though. =)

Hope everyone else has had a great start of the year so far as well!

The Year in Review… and Looking forward to 2011

Happy New Year everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe that the year is almost over. So much has happened this year. I’ve made writer friends and critique buddies. Revised a few different WIPs. Read 26 books. Co-founded the awesome blog, Castles & Guns. And I wrote two books! I also finally delved fully into the world of querying agents. I’d queried in the past, but it hadn’t been anywhere close to the scale that I did in 2010. And okay, I haven’t found an agent yet, but I’m certain good things will be happening within the new year. So much awesome stuff has happened recently, things that have kind of been building blocks toward better and more.

Yes, years end brings optimism for a more successful upcoming year, but that’s great, especially when one acts and makes a plan to stick to what they want to accomplish in the new year. I’ve formed my New Years Resolutions more like goals and have tried to decide what I really want to achieve in the upcoming year. With my “goals list” for 2010, I wrote down quite a bit of stuff I didn’t get to. Maybe because I didn’t work as hard at the beginning of the year as I did at the end of it, but I also think I acted more like throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, and I decided later what I really wanted to pick out of it. The bad point is it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think I’m not getting much accomplished, even if I got a decent amount of stuff done.

Anyways, so what am I trying for in 2011? I’m going to read at least 24 books. I want to write and revise at least 3 novels, write and revise some novellas, query the novels and novellas that I write and revise, possibly attend a conference (I’m torn between it and a Caribbean family vacation cruise.), and keep up and get better with social networking.

So what are your goals?