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Scoring 2015 and Setting 2016 Goals

It's that time of year again - time to look back and reflect on all the promises I made myself and see how well I did with them.  (AKA, "Failure Time.")

Here's a rundown of the goals I set for this year (and taking into account my mid-year adjustments):

1) Finish writing "Bill Roman" for real by my 31st birthday (March 2, 2015).

Nope.  See my mid-year post - I'm pretty much giving up on this draft until I can clear my head and approach it with fresh eyes.

2) Revise "Co-Pay" multiple times and have a basically-final draft by June 30, 2015.

Done, although the basically-final draft was a couple months late.  No biggie.

3) Publish "Co-Pay" by October 1, 2015.

Close - it was published November 1, 2015.  Speaking of which, go buy my book, everyone:


4) Sell 100 copies of I Need a Job books by December 31, 2015.

...no, this did not happen.

So far, I have not only failed to sell books, I have failed spectacularly.  My understanding is that even the laziest, most cliched, most poorly-written drivel that's self-published usually ends up selling at least 100 units within a year or so simply by virtue of the fact that there's so many buyers out there.  Kinda like how the cheapest piece of crap direct-to-streaming movies still end up making a profit.

My lifetime book sales numbers are only around 50 right now.  I know the main reason for this is simply that people don't know the books exist, and the main reason for that is because I'm doing virtually nothing to promote them.  I've let myself down, and although I'm sure I have plenty of good excuses, it doesn't change the facts.

5) Write another novel by December 31, 2015.

Nope.  I was pretty far off pace for this goal by the middle of the year, anyway, but after a wretched couple of months' worth of writer's block, I ended up falling so far behind that this goal became laughable.  The good news is that I'm on track with my next book now, so it may be attainable in 2016.

This gives me a final score of 2 / 5, which is pretty bad.  I'll cut myself a little bit of slack since 2015 was a year where I had to adjust to being a new parent, and it's not like my day job is getting any easier.

I also think I'm setting my goals with the wrong attitude in mind.  The problem isn't that I'm being overly ambitious - ambition is fine, and setting my sights high is a good way to ensure that I'm trying for something worthwhile.  The problem is that I'm losing track of my long term goals.  What I want is to have a stable second career (and, hopefully some day my only career) as a writer.  I'm already doing that just by virtue of the fact that I'm writing, but if I can't do it in a sustainable and rewarding way, then I'll just end up burning out.  So my goals need to be more achievable benchmarks that will function as steps in the process rather than a bunch of finish lines.  I need to stop looking for opportunities to pat myself on the back and instead learn how to go farther.

So my goals for 2016 are going to be a little more modest.  I'm not interested in bragging - just figuring shit out.  Here goes:

1) Finish writing the first draft of my post-apocalyptic comedy book before 2016 is over.

The current draft is at 25,000 words and I have a solid outline to work with.  A full year should be plenty of time to get the first draft done, which will then set me up to revise it at the beginning of 2017 and get it ready for self-publication.

2) Revise and self-publish my comic heist thriller about gamers before 2016 is over.

The first draft of this one is already done, and since I took my time with the first draft instead of rushing through it like a dummy, it should be strong enough that I don't need to completely rewrite it.  Getting it on the market in 2016 will mean I'm keeping up a book-a-year pace, which should be sustainable in the long run.

3) Promote Bitter People Without Souls on a non-blog campaign.

I'm looking at Amazon's built-in promotion tools to start with, but as long as I'm doing some kind of marketing outside of my blog, I should be able to learn something new.  Even if I can't afford much, I'll be happy to know that I've tried and learned something from it.

4) Figure out a good daily routine that doesn't turn me into a shitty father.

This should probably be #1, since it kinda is the crux on which all the other goals hang.  The most important thing for me right now is figuring out how to make headway with my writing while dealing with an incredibly stressful and time consuming day job, plus two kids under 2.

Happy New Year - hope everybody else has a great 2016!

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