Career Goals for the Established Author – a Work in Progress

Here’s a little tease of the cover of THE FIERY CROWN, sequel to THE ORCHID THRONE, and book two in the Forgotten Empires trilogy. The full cover will be revealed on Wednesday, October 16, at Tor.com. There will also be a sneak peek of the first chapter!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is the big career goal to which we currently aspire. Come on over to where I’m spilling mine. 

 

Leveling Up – What Does It Mean to You?

This week at the SFF Seven we’re talking about leveling up and what that means to us.

Actually, the topic is phrased as: People always say they want to take their writing to the next level. Well, what are the levels, as you see them?

It’s a really good question. Come on over for my answer.

 

Rejuvenation and Goal-Setting

The pattern of frost-filigreed wisteria vines is so lovely. The winter holidays are such a great season for rest and rejuvenation – and our weather in the high desert of New Mexico has obliged with lots of snow and freezing temperatures. All the better to keep me cozied indoors and focusing on both relaxing and giving my mind the room to mull thoughts for the coming year. A big part of that is going to be reducing back log and lists. Come on over for more. 

Fact-Checking Those Resolutions

1_7_14I’m over in the Darkest Cravings Author Cage today answering their Only the Brave questions. Also, Allison Pang blogged today about finding an easter egg I left for her in Rogue’s Possession. Pretty funny! (Okay – WE think it’s hysterical anyway.)

Last year, I did a post on Word Whores on a new way for me to set goals in the new year. I borrowed someone else’s idea and put my resolutions in sealed envelopes and did not reveal them until the end of the year. So here’s how they looked: 2013 goalsI sealed them up and didn’t open them until December 31. This is what they look like now.

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Very interesting experience to do it this way.

Most significant is that I didn’t remember what I put in them. This was part of the point of the exercise, to test how much I internalized my goals.  That is, would I stick to them without having them stare me in the face?

The answer: yes and no.

Also, REALLY depended on the category, which is illustrative right there. Of my three categories – weight/health, writing and financial – guess which I did the best on? (“Best” qualified as coming closest to achieving – I wasn’t 100% on any of them.)

Writing.

This doesn’t surprise me because it’s really my top priority. Interestingly, it was also the goal with the most points. Eight of them. They were (updated for what titles became, not what I thought they were then):

  1. Write Negotiation to submit to Tuck’s anthology
  2. Write Master of the Opera
  3. Write Five Golden Rings to submit to Carina anthology
  4. Turn in revision of Mark of the Tala
  5. Turn in revision of Rogue’s Possession
  6. Write Blood Currency #3
  7. Write Tears of the Rose
  8. Write Rogue’s Paradise

It’s notable that I kept these writing goals all within my direct control – something I’ve learned over time! So I didn’t include getting #1 & #2 accepted to those anthologies. They were, which was awesome, but my responsibility was to write the stories. Of all of these, I did not do #6. That was a conscious decision to pare that away for at least the time-being. Also, #8 got shifted at my publisher’s request because they wanted a different book first. Fair enough. I call this one a WIN.

Weight/Health

Okay, I didn’t make my goals, but I did pretty decently. Enough to pat myself on the back. I’d set a goal that required a 16-pound weight loss, including a 15% reduction in body fat. While I only went down by 11 pounds (damn those nearly-impossible-to-lose last five pounds!!), I did make a 14.8% reduction in body fat. Thank you new treadmill desk!

Of course, post-holidays, I’m a bit up from that but nowhere near where I was last year. I still want to hit that goal weight. PARTIAL WIN on that one.

Finances

*sigh*

Okay, so this one really wasn’t within my direct control and it shows. I had an ambitious goal for my writing income and fell significantly short. As in, I hit 38% of what I wanted to.

However.

I set that apart because I think it’s a big “however.

However, my writing income was over five times more than the previous year. I set a stretch goal – one that would let me at least reduce time at the day job – and, while I’m disappointed I didn’t reach it, I’m not sorry I set it. I suppose there’s a lesson in that. Reaching is part of it.

So, my overall assessment?

I liked this. It helped me focus myself on goals for the year, particularly for writing, and seeing where my head was this time last year gave me particularly good insights. Many of those writing goals were stretches and I’m really pleased with myself for hitting almost all – with excellent results. It’s also good to see how much I really did accomplish, where otherwise I might think I hadn’t. Like with the weight and money stuff. I tend to dwell on not being where I want to be yet, but now I see how far I came.

Which is important.