Wrapping It Up

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ― T.S. Eliot

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As we approach the end of another year, it’s time to look back on 2023, assess our performance, and make preparations for 2024. If you’re like me, you have a list of goals you set for 2023 that you’re reviewing to see how you did.

I had twenty-eight writing goals for 2023. It was an ambitious list (I tend to be overly optimistic about what I can accomplish) that included books I wanted to write and publish, audiobooks I wanted to have made, and the number of books I intended to read. I also set goals for blog posts, reviews, book sales, X (Twitter) posts and followers, conferences, and other categories.

I reviewed the list a couple of days ago. I accomplished some things (specifically 65% of my goals, depending on how you count them), but others will have to wait until 2024.

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Do you take time at the end of the year to reflect on the past and plan for the future? Here are a few suggestions I came across recently that may be helpful:

  1. Celebrate the accomplishments. Whatever progress was made in 2023 is worth a pat on the back. If you published a book, met your weekly word quota, got more Bookbub followers, or did anything else that moved the ball forward, take time to bask in the joy of your achievements. Chocolate is always a nice reward.
  2. Take a look at areas you want to improve in your writing and make a plan to tackle them in 2024.
  3. Acknowledge the people who helped you with your writing this year by sending them a thank-you note or donating to a charity in their honor.
  4. Decide on the number of words you want to write in 2024 and make a note of it. Tape the note to your desk.
  5. Choose a social media platform you want to concentrate on and decide how many posts you’ll make each week.
  6. Look over the writers’ conference schedules for 2024 and start making plans to attend one.
  7. Decide on promotions you want to run.
  8. Become a part of a blog community by commenting regularly.

Maybe most importantly, remember the words of the great runner Dean Karnazes, who ran a marathon in each of the 50 states in the U.S. on 50 consecutive days: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” It’s just as relevant to writing as it is to running.

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Since this is my last TKZ post for 2023, I want to express my gratitude to all of you for the insights, guidance, humor, and friendship I’ve enjoyed here during the past year. I wish you all a Happy Holiday season and best wishes for a productive and joyful writing year in 2024.

So TKZers: Did you achieve your goals in 2023? What accomplishments can you tell us about? What are your plans for 2024?

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22 thoughts on “Wrapping It Up

  1. 28 writing goals? You are ambitious! Congrats on achieving 65 percent of them. I made my big goal, but it was kind of disappointing. That’s okay because now I won’t wonder “what if?” On to next year’s goals!

    • Good morning, Priscilla! Congratulations on making your big goal.

      28 goals sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Many of them are small goals that I’d be doing anyway, like maintaining my website. But if it has anything to do with writing, I add it to the list.

  2. Goals? What goals? Although typically a goal-setting fiend, I did not do that in 2023. Between unsettling world issues and a personal health issue that greatly cut into available productive time, there was no bandwidth for setting goals.

    But here’s the kicker–despite that, I can celebrate 2023 with great accomplishment. While I’m “the cow’s tail” compared to my fellow TKZers in that I’ve just been ambling along with my writing and not publishing, this year, I’ve made the farthest progress I ever have. I close out December having completed a co-authored manuscript which I allowed to be pryed out of my hands and into the hands of beta readers. For me, that’s a huge deal (perfectionism did not win! For once!).

    Feedback should be in from all our betas before Christmas, & the plan is to review that feedback and make revisions before January 1 and the usual day job craziness resumes.

    Having used beta readers for the first time, I have learned in 2023 (and as I believe we discussed in a recent TKZ post), my preference from now on will be to use beta readers, and not go the critique group route. Not because I’ve had a bad crit group experience, but because it’s just so much more helpful when you have a beta who is reading your full manuscript and providing overall feedback, not piece-mealing it a chapter at a time over months and months.

    Will I set goals for 2024? Not as I have in times past. Still dealing with the health issue and the overriding goal for me in 2024 will be to NOT try to jam-pack every second of my life because I just physically can’t do it right now. Generally, the writing goal will be to publish the aforementioned manuscript in the first half of 2024 and write book 2. Sandwiched into that is a LOT of homework about learning the business side of writing. I’ll need all the energy I can get. LOL!

    So whether you all plan extensively for your 2024 goals or not, here’s hoping all our writing experiences will be very satisfying for the upcoming new year.

    • Wow, Brenda. Finishing that manuscript is a *huge* accomplishment Congratulations! Best wishes as it moves to publication. Sounds like you have your goals well defined for 2024.

      I agree with you about the value of beta readers. A mix of authors and non-authors is the best of all worlds.

      Knowing how to pace yourself is a sign of wisdom. Good for you. Have a great rest-of-the-year.

  3. A past critique group used to write down goals. At our end of the year meeting, we’d review our lists and see how many we’d accomplished. It was always heartening b/c I’d done more than I realized.

    For 2024:
    1. Create box sets of my series books;
    2. Get books up on Ingram. This task is a carryover from this past year. I’ve started several times and been thwarted by their annoying system.
    3. Write proposals for several classes and send them to confs where I’d like to teach.
    4. Finish book 9 in my series (about 150 pages in);
    5. Find a publisher/agent for a proposed nonfiction book, The Villain’s Journey.

    Last but not least is the perennial goal I never accomplish: more marketing.

    Thanks for another year of inspiring posts, Kay!

    • Good morning, Debbie. I think one of the benefits of a list of goals is the sense of accomplishment you get when you realize you’ve met some of them. If I don’t write them down, things are just a blur to me.

      Next year looks like it’s going to be a great one for you. Good timing since Ingram Spark no longer charges for putting books on their site. Although their interface is annoying, IMHO it doesn’t come close to the frustration of Apple Books. A true test of patience.

      Have a great year, my friend!

  4. Thanks for another timely and important post, Kay. I am always amazed at your drive and ambition, and your success! Congratulations on attaining 65% of your goals.

    I did achieve a few goals in 2023, specifically selling one more property and thus having one less “thing” in my life to compete with writing. Also, I’ve finally found a way to have time for both writing and pursuing another creative release – pen making. But, most of all, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can accept that I will not attain all my goals, but will still be satisfied with what I’ve done. I will still enjoy writing and publishing books, and will try harder to look for guidance and direction from the One who is in charge of everything.

    Happy Holidays, and thank you for your friendship and support!

    • Good morning, Steve! I am amazed at your creativity in multiple areas – both pen-making and writing. And you excel at both!

      You’re wise to acknowledge that all goals can’t be reached, but we can still try and be satisfied with our attempts.

      Have a wonderful rest-of-the-year and a great year in 2024.

  5. Congratulations on your success, Kay! 65% of 28 goals is fantastic.

    I reached my writing goals: Buy back my rights to the Mayhem Series and release three new titles. I’ve also spoken to a narrator about audio, though I plan to hold formal auditions in 2024. I need to finish loading the series to Ingram. I’ve got two out of eight up, but with my new Christmas gift (Atticus) the rest should be a breeze, as they format for Ingram. And I won an award I wasn’t expecting, which is nice. 😀 If I can finish drafting book nine by the new year, I’ll be pumped. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it may spill into January. And that’s okay, too.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    • Wow, Sue! You’ve had a remarkable year. Three new titles in 2023! You make the rest of us feel like slackers.

      Like I told Debbie, it’s a good time to be putting books onto Ingram Spark since they no longer charge.

      Congratulations on all your success in 2023. I can’t wait to see what you’re up to in 2024.

  6. Congratulations, Kay on reaching a majority of your goals. That’s quite an accomplishment!

    I met my two of my three major ones of publishing A Shush Before Dying and the prequel novella, “Farewell, My Cookie.” The third one, Book Drop Dead won’t be out until next year, so that goal has been extended.

    My marketing goal of building up my mystery reader group newsletter is well underway, thanks to that prequel novella.

    The biggest challenge is not trying for too many big goals at the same time.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    • Congratulations to you, Dale, on meeting those two major goals! (Btw, I love the titles of your books. 🙂 )

      You’re wise to see that we shouldn’t go for too many big goals all at the same time.

      Happy holidays to you and best wishes for s wonderful writing year in 2024.

  7. I do the next step.

    I don’t quit.

    That’s as much as I’ve ever been able to do – the health challenges are continuous, the brain fog endemic.

    Right now it’s STILL plotting the final structure for the third volume in my mainstream trilogy – and, as I always say, “I’m working on it!”

    Anything more than that is asking for trouble, and it’s been 23 years since I started the trilogy, but this is the best I can do, and I just do it. I admire those who can plan, who can do all the things I’d love to be able to do – but I don’t stress about it (stressing and angst waste time and energy).

    Two down, one to go – and then maybe I can get into the marketing better. Meanwhile, hand sell, accumulate reviews, improve where necessary – and don’t quit.

    I like the results, am going as fast as I can, love the process. ‘Twill serve.

    • Good afternoon Alicia! You have accomplished the most important goal of all — you didn’t quit. Tenacity may be the best talent we can aspire to.

      Best of luck with the third book in the trilogy. I can’t wait to hear about it when you finish it.

  8. I completed an anthology of short stories and it is in editing. I’m the editor.. That’s where the real work begins.

    Whew! A lot of work.
    Next year I hope to foist it off on an unsuspecting public. That’s about it for goals, aside from keeping this place going which is just about a full time job.

    I hope to be healthier next year but time will tell. 75 year old bodies are troublesome things.

    Goals? Get rid of my backlog of amp work before I tackle more, and get my Beezer running. Write some more stories, and better ones than this year.

    • Hi Robert. An anthology of short stories sounds like a big achievement. How many short stories are there in the book? You need to let us know when you “foist it off on an unsuspecting public.” We’ll all celebrate.

      Best wishes for a 2024 full of good health and lots of writing.

  9. Congratulations, Kay. You’ve had an impressive year. I finished my latest Angela Richman mystery, and I’m starting a new series. Hope to finish a short story by the end of this year. Next year, I want to improve my use of social media. Enjoyed your posts in 2023. Looking forward to reading you next year.

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