Monday, December 29, 2008

Pretty good year

Hey kids, it's time for that annual self-flaggelation ritual--the Goals Review!

On January 2 I posted my writing/personal goals for 2008. It was fun to look at them this morning, because I hadn't actually given them any thought since, er, February?

With that in mind, let's see how I did:

1. Rewrite The Reawakened (non-negotiable, since it's under contract)

Done! (see completed book for proof)

2. Write and rewrite Bad to the Bone (ditto)

Also done (see Amazon page for proof--sorry, no cover art yet. Believe me, I'm just as anxious as you are to see the final version)

3. Write six tie-in stories for Wicked Game

I wrote three: Monroe's, Spencer's, and Jim's. I plan to write Noah's this week and get it up some time in January, then post Regina's around the end of February and finally Shane's on April 5. Due to contractual deadlines, however, I might have to skip Noah's and/or Regina's and come back to them later in 2009.

4. Submit proposal for more vampire books

Almost there--the proposal is finished and just needs polishing. My editor is out until next week, though, so I'll probably just wait until then to send it in. Or send it Wednesday so I can say I did it in 2008.

5. Submit young adult fantasy proposal (completed Book 1 and series synopsis)

Done! My proposal consisted of just the first three chapters and a series synopsis, not a completed book.

6. Write and submit proposal for new adult novel/series

Um, no. No time or need for that, though a new idea has wriggled into my brain. Maybe I'll work on that in 2009 if deadlines allow. Or I could toss something together by Wednesday and send it to my agent, just to annoy her on vacation.

7. Fix screenplay ending and begin submitting it to contests again

Wow, really? I never even thought about this all year.

8. Design and build website and blog for Wicked Game's release

Done! It features playlists by each of the DJs, as well as links to buy WVMP merchandise. The vampires haven't done much blogging yet. Okay, any blogging.

I also made a Pandora station for each of the DJs, so you can hear more of the types of music they'd play.

9. Build MySpace pages for WVMP and characters

Done, with modifications. Ciara and Shane have MySpace pages, and I barely have time to keep them up as it is, so don't expect to see seven separate MySpaces in the future.

10. Attend 5 conferences/conventions/book festivals

Attended 6!

11. Sign stock at 100 bookstores

Not even close. Maybe 10-15. In the future, I'm not going to make this a priority--it takes too much time and gas to drive around to different bookstores. It's definitely worth it if I'm in the area and it's not out of my way, but I literally never had a free day (or several days) all year to just tool around Baltimore/DC signing books.

12. Do 10 non-conference appearances (signings, talks)

I did 12. Will probably cut back on these next year.

13. Do 25 online interviews/guest blogs

I did at least 27 interviews (some written, some podcasts/radio, and one television), 2 online chats, and 13 guest blogs.

This was insane. It stressed me out big time--part of me is still burned out from the constant self-exposure. More important, it interfered with my ability to meet my Bad to the Bone deadline. On balance, my editor was happy, because Wicked Game sold much more than they expected, and they think it was due to my full-court press online. But this year, I'm sorry to say, I might not be able to grant every interview request, due to actual writing commitments. I will consider every request, however, so don't hesitate to ask.

14. Read 50 books

I've read 48 so far, and am more than half finished with two others, so no prob.

15. Watch 50 movies

Nope. I hope to make it to 28, which will be twice as many as last year. We spent most of our Netflixes on TV shows (Deadwood, Rome, The Sopranos, Arrested Development), all of which were better than most films, so there's that.

16. Foster 5 dogs (not all at the same time)

Sigh...between deadlines and Meadow's back injury, this was not to be. Our last foster dog was Tommy. I hope to start fostering cats in 2009, but they stick around a lot longer, so my goal will probably be closer to 2.

17. Do my part to make sure my candidate becomes President

Sadly I could only give a small amount of money and none of my time. But I nagged my husband into volunteering, and he was really good at it! Also, I rooted very hard, and this time it worked.

18. Never be satisfied with "good enough."

I think, in the end, I accomplished this goal. At some of the interim deadlines for both books, I turned them in in a state that was as good as I could do at the time, but at the final stages (copyedits/AA's), I was really happy with the results.

For instance, I sent back copyedits for Bad to the Bone a week ago Friday, and it was the first time I really felt like it kicked as much ass as it could. It's amazing what a few tweaks here and there will do for the quality of the prose and therefore the story. I believe that the little details add up to a better reading experience, that no matter how explosive and exciting your storyline may be, it can always be enhanced by finding just the right word to describe it.

I guess I should start on my 2009 goals now. Sheesh, I haven't even started Item #1 on Monday's to-do list! I can't tell you what it is, because it has to do with a Supah Sekrit project I'll be spending January writing. Item #2 is polish the vampire proposal, and Item #3 is watch a movie about Bob Marley and brainstorm Noah's story.

Hey, maybe those should be my first three goals of 2009. Instant win!

Did you set goals for 2008? How many did you meet? (Note: this is not a contest.) What did you learn from them? Do you now doubt the sanity of your January 2008 self?

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Coulda sworn I commented yesterday when I popped by... guess not! Huh.

Congrats on a great year, Jeri. :)

My goals for 2008 were straightforward but kinda crazy: Write 2 novels, 180k. I wrote... 2 novels, ~250k.

Next year I'm only writing one book and spending more time on it, and editing this last one... at least, "goal" wise so I don't stress out on December 20th when I am 15k from the end of the second novel and the holidays eat my writing time.... >.>

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 12/30/2008 9:58 AM

Awesome, Jess! Go you!

That sounds good for next year. Progress comes in all forms, not just word count. This year I didn't even count how many words I've written, because when I did it the last two years I went crazy trying to achieve some mystical round number by Dec. 31.

After Jan 1 I'll tally it all up. :-)

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 12/30/2008 4:22 PM

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