2021 Goals: Writing and Publishing

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

It would be easy to say, like I did last year, I will publish a novel by the end of the year. It was my goal the first three years of my career as an author, then I slipped, and 2020 was supposed to get me back on track.

And it did, sort of. I got that book done, but I’m already feeling a bit burned out again.

As a romance author, and an independent one at that, there’s a simple reality facing me, that if I want to build a following I need to publish faster. (I also need to get better at marketing myself, but that’s a separate issue.) But I also don’t want to compromise my determination not to put out a book until it’s ready, and it’s good. When I read a romance novel and it’s bad, I don’t usually give that author another chance–the market is simply too big to waste time on someone I didn’t like the first time. Obviously, I don’t want that to happen to me, as an author, which means I need to only publish solid works I’m proud of. (Then, if a reader doesn’t like my work, I know it’s their tastes not aligning with my style, and not that I half-assed a project and released it before it was ready.)

So my goal, tentatively, is still to try to get a book out by the end of the year. That book will likely be the sequel to Fifty-Five Days, because that’s the project I’m working on now. I have other, older projects in various stages of drafting and rewriting, but most of those have serious flaws that may make them difficult to salvage. Someday I might recycle some of their ideas into new works, but hard as it can be to let projects go, the ones in my trunk right now should probably stay there.

Where am I on the planned novel? At least 75% done with the first draft, and working slowly but steadily on it again since the year turned over. I’m opting for the moment not to track my word count–it’s done when I run out of story–and that’s helping ease the pressure I feel to do everything now now now. Ideally I’ll be done with this draft by the end of January, but I’m not setting myself a hard deadline at the moment.

But if this ends up not working out for whatever reason, I have a few other ideas:

  1. Take my old serial Grace and the Greek Warrior, do a little edit/rewrite/polish on it, and publish it formally as a novella. I’ve learned a lot since 2015 when I wrote it, but the story’s bones are just fine, so I could shine it up, make a pretty cover, and release it into the wild.
  2. On that note, not every project has to be a full-length novel. I could easily develop smaller ideas I have into novellas and get a few more titles to my name without the same level of slog as a novel. And I’ve already got four romance serials in progress that could get reshaped into a single story, with some fleshing out.
  3. When all else fails, there’s starting a new project for NaNoWriMo later in the year.

2021 may be a new year and in some ways a fresh start, but there’s still a lot going on to put added stress on my plate, so I’m striving to find balance between working hard at my day job, developing myself further as a writer, keeping the household running smoothly, and still having time for hobbies and the other fun things that make up the rest of my life. That’s the real goal this year, and writing is only one small part of it.

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