Running and Writing – The Finish Line

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
—John Bingham, running speaker and writer

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No matter how long or short the race or how well or poorly the runner performs, the finish line is always a welcome sight. Crossing the line is a triumph in itself, but once there, it’s time to do more than enjoy the refreshments. Here are a few things to check off the list:

  1. Celebrate the completion of another race.
  2. Congratulate the other runners on their success. (In long road races, you will often see the leaders cross the finish line and then jog back down to course encouraging the slower runners.)
  3. Analyze the results. Did you prepare and train well enough? Did your strategy work? Did you give it your all? The answer is often “no” to one or more of these, but that’s good fodder for #4:
  4. Plan for the next race. Write down your goals and schedule the next competition.
  5. Get to work.

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As we come to the finish line of 2022, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve done, what worked, what didn’t work, and start to plan for 2023.

I’ve mentioned here before that each year I create a list of goals that I tape to the back of my office door. I glance at them now and then throughout the year, and their mere presence seems to keep me from going too far off-track. I took my 2022 list down today and reviewed it. I’ve met most of the goals, some I missed completely, and several I changed during the year. Here are a few I’m celebrating:

  • Contributing a bi-weekly post to the Kill Zone Blog. I loved the challenge of coming up with something new every other week and interacting with all the folks who comment. I particularly enjoyed co-writing A Mystery of History with Dale Ivan Smith and working with BK Jackson, Debbie Burke, Priscilla Bettis, Becky Friedrichs, Patricia Bradley, and Robert Luedeman on the TKZ Handwriting Experiment.
  • It must have been Steve Hooley’s influence that inspired me to try my hand at a fantasy short story, The Clutter Busters, in the Collierville Christian Writers Anthology Stories from the Attic. (Since my story is the first in the anthology, you can read it by using the “Look Inside” link on Amazon.)
  • Created a Box Set of The Watch Mysteries, Books 1-3
  • Although I planned to begin the fourth book in the Watch Series of Mysteries in 2022, I changed that goal and instead worked on the first book of a new romantic suspense series, Lady Pilot-in-Command. I finished the first draft and sent it off to my editor a couple of weeks ago.
  • Continued my monthly Craft of Writing Blog series of interviews on my website. This year the blog featured authors of mystery, suspense, thriller, and fantasy novels. Most of the guests are regulars on TKZ, and their answers to the interview questions are enlightening.
  • Attended two writers’ conferences: Killer Nashville and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference.

Lest you think everything was sunshine and roses, here are a couple of notable misses:

  • Even though I submitted several times during the year, I was unable to get a Chirp deal for the audio version of Dead Man’s Watch.
  • I didn’t publish a novel in 2022. That wasn’t actually one of my written goals, but maybe it should have been:

Well, that’s a pretty good summary of my writing year. I’ve started jotting down my goals for 2023 (in handwriting, of course), combining realistic expectations with flights of fancy. Walking up to the starting line now …

So TKZers: Congratulations on completing another year of writing!

What are you celebrating as we come to the end of 2022?

What are your plans for 2023?

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The Watch Mysteries Boxset: Books 1-3 Kindle edition on sale now.


This entry was posted in #writing, #WritingCommunity, Writing and tagged , by Kay DiBianca. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kay DiBianca

Kay DiBianca is a former software developer and IT manager who retired to a life of mystery. She’s the award-winning author of The Watch Series of cozy mysteries. Her latest book, "Lacey's Star: A Lady Pilot-in-Command Novel," was released in October 2023. Kay is currently working on the first book in a middle-grade mystery series, "The Reen and Joanie Detective Agency." She's decided three series may be enough to keep her busy for a while. Connect with Kay on her website at

24 thoughts on “Running and Writing – The Finish Line

  1. Kay, congratulations on all of those accomplishments in 2022. And a big THANK YOU for the inspiration you have given us for 2023 (not to mention the last three weeks of December!). Have a great week!

    • Good morning, Joe! Thanks for the kind words. Participating in the TKZ community has been the highlight of my year. I had no idea that learning the craft of writing could be so much fun and result in so many new friends.

      Have a great week!

  2. Congratulations on the accomplishments of 2022!

    I haven’t yet laid out my plans for 2023. I still have one big goal I’m trying to finish for 2022–breaking through some road blocks & finishing roughly the last 30k words of the current story I’m on. I really, really, want to call the first draft done by Dec. 31st.

    For sure next year revising that manuscript will be on the list and it’s going to be an adventure. LOL! But beyond that, I’ve set no hard & fast goals as yet.

    Best to all TKZers as you finish out your 2022 writing goals & start prepping for next year!

    • Good morning, BK!

      Best of luck in finishing your first draft by the end of the year. That would be a major success! And it automatically gives you the goal for next year: REVISION. (I love that word.)

      Thanks for all your insightful comments on TKZ and for suggesting the handwriting experiment. I’m still writing the first draft of my TKZ posts in longhand.

  3. Kay, you’ve accomplished a lot to be proud of. Congratulations!

    What a charming short story. Would you please send the de-cluttering faeries over to work on my brain next?

    I celebrate another year of living the dream of fulltime writing, including bi-weekly posts at TKZ. The first draft of the 8th book in my series is on the home stretch.

    Connecting with readers continues to give me joy. I’ve met with a number of book clubs and done personal appearances which were great fun. Also several teaching gigs that keep me on my toes.

    Unmet goals: I didn’t get a box set done (way to go, Kay). I didn’t turn into a marketing whiz (not holding my breath either!). I didn’t declutter and organize my computer files (Kay, that’a another job for your faeries, please).

    Goals for 2023, finish book 8 and send it out into the world with a more effective launch. Increase sales. Declutter and organize my computer files–a perennial goal for the past several decades, sigh.

    • Good morning, Debbie!

      As usual, you hit the nail squarely on the head: “I celebrate another year of living the dream of fulltime writing, including bi-weekly posts at TKZ.” That pretty much sums up my feelings about 2022.

      And you’re on the 8th book in your series! Congratulations! That’s an amazing accomplishment. Tawny and Tillman are such great characters. I hope there’ll be many more stories.

      The box set was surprisingly easy to put together with Vellum. I had read somewhere that box sets were good for sales. We’ll see. I may write about it in a future post.

      I’m on the lookout for faeries to help me with marketing. Let me know if any come your way. 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Kay. That’s an impressive lists of accomplishments, and you didn’t mention your faithful output of twitter tweets. Thanks for mentioning me, but I bet you could have written that fantasy short story without anyone’s encouragement. I’m eager to read “The Clutter Busters.”

    My list is far shorter, but I am celebrating finishing book #6 in my Mad River Magic clean teen fantasy series, in spite of a hiatus for health issues and real estate emergencies. The book is out to betas (thanks Kay) and I met with the cover designer yesterday. Should publish in January.

    Plans for 2023: Write book #7 in my series, and get back into woodturning (Legacy Pens). And definitely, NO rentals to be refurbished for sale!!!

    • Good morning, Steve, and congratulations on completing Book #6 in the Mad River Magic Series! I’m in awe of all the TKZers who manage to release at least one book a year. It was an honor to beta read your new book.

      I like your plans for 2023. Sometimes what we don’t have on the list is as important as the things that are there. And I’m looking forward to that legacy pen.

      Have a great week.

  5. Congratulations, Kay on all you’ve accomplished this year! I really appreciate you sharing your goals. Applying a race runner’s assessment method to our writing goals is an excellent approach.

    Writing “The Mystery of History” with you was a highlight of my year. I had several other accomplishments–

    Gave two mini-workshops to the Coast chapter of Willamette Writers.

    Was one of the Guest of Honor at Or-ECon2, a virtual science fiction and fantasy convention.

    Wrote several guest posts here at KZB before becoming a regular in September (another true honor)

    I published a book, my short story collection Rules Concerning Earthlight, in print and ebook.

    Interestingly enough, none of these were goals at the start of 2022. The one goal I had for the year, “finish” my cozy mystery has not been met. I made considerable progress, especially after putting aside working on other fiction projects beginning in September. I’ve made a lot progress on the book, and I’m on track to have it published next spring.

    Today’s post has inspired me to write up more detailed, specific goals for 2023 and do quarterly checkins. Thanks to you, this week is off to a fine start! Hope yours is as well.

    • Good morning, Dale!

      That’s an impressive list of accomplishments, and I’m so happy you’re a regular at TKZ. I always look forward to the Words of Wisdom posts you write.

      You bring up a good point. Sometimes life interrupts and we just have to reassess and make changes to our plans. I’m looking forward to your first cozy. The cover is delightful.

      Just grabbed a copy of Rules Concerning Earthlight from Amazon and added it to my TBR list. I love the title.

  6. Good on you for having goals, something I’ve been remiss about. I just plod along. When I start a project, my goal is always to finish it, but 2022 (much like 2020 and 2021) has been a “let it fall in your lap and see if you want to cuddle it or throw it away” year. I published 2 novels, went to a conference, kept up my blog plus my commitment to TKZ, but those seem to fall into the ‘writing life routine’ category. I’m wrapping up my next Mapleton book, and I have a lightweight goal of hitting ‘the end’ before our daughter from Northern Ireland visits at the end of the month. I’ve set a personal deadline to have it ready for Left Coast Crime in March.
    Kay – setting a ‘goal’ of getting a BookBub or Chirp deal is more of a ‘dream’ because other than submitting over and over and over and over, you can’t control the outcome. I DID score a Chirp deal that starts next week, but I consider that more luck than “skill.”

    • Good morning, Terry. Reading through your accomplishments in 2022, it sounds like you do just fine without a written list! Publishing two novels in one year is not even on my *dream* list. Bravo!

      Yes, I have some things on my list that require luck to accomplish, but I had been successful in securing Bookbub Feature Deals on my novels and I got a Chirp deal on my first audiobook, so I figured the planets would align for me again. Still trying.

      • And trying is all you can do. You can set a “goal” of submitting once a month (or however often they let you) but beyond that, it’s out of your hands.
        (I did a post on creating box sets a while back … would be interested in your take, too.)

  7. Goals are what gets a dream walking. (Or in your case, Kay, running.)

    Had a good year, 3 releases. Goal is 3-4 next year, and a dozen short stories for Patreon.

    Same weekly word quota…6k…I’m a hamster on a wheel.

    • Good morning, Jim.

      “Goals are what gets a dream walking.” This is true for me.

      Three releases in 2022!! Multiple exclamation points!!! Plus short stories, TKZ posts, teaching. You are the gold standard we all aspire to.

      If I believed in tattoos, I’d have “6K words a week” inked on my forearm. Instead, I’ll add it to my goal list for 2023. (Much less painful and I can change it mid-year if something comes up. 🙂 )

  8. I’ve had a crazy busy year. I wrote three novels–two published, the second going on preorder today (yay!), and the third I’ll submit by the weekend–taught two courses on serial killers, held numerous book signings as well as Zoom events, blogged here and my site and Writers Helping Writers, with guest blogs in between, and flew to Georgia to film three episodes of a true crime series for DiscoveryID.

    As soon as I submit my newest psychological thriller, I’m taking time off to read, relax, and prep for the holidays (if I’m still alive by then. LOL) Any 2023 goals will have to wait until January. All I have thus far is the outline for Mayhem Series #7, which I’ll start writing after the new year.

  9. I knew it was Monday when I saw the title of the post and it was you posting. 🙂 Congrats on meeting your goals!
    I rarely write goals down unless you count my calendar that has two book-due dates on it. 🙂

    My unofficial goal for 2023 is to write two books–one 90–100K and one 55K.
    That, and what happens in life are about all I can handle.

    • Hi Patricia! You’re another person who can accomplish a lot without writing down the goals. (But putting the due dates on the calendar is even better.)

      I can see I’m going to have to change something about my process. Almost everybody here is turning out two or more books a year. Yikes! You all are phenomenal.

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