Take An Annual Inventory of Your Writing Accomplishments and Goals

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

I’ve had a rough past week. After being at my current job for a little over a year, I’ve heard whisperings that my performance is not quite up to speed yet. There are reasons for that beyond my control, and things I can definitely do to make the work better, so I’ve put a plan into place. I decided to try and focus on some of the things I HAVE accomplished this past year outside of that job to cheer myself up in the meantime.

Accomplished in 2018

• My short story, “The Name You’re Not Supposed to Call Women,” received an Honorable Mention in the Women’s National Book Association Annual Writers Contest. 

• I’ve written three new short stories (ranging from 500-4,000 words) and all three are currently under submission for various writing contests.

• I completed line editing on my first young adult novel, Between, and have submitted queries to six agents, with four rejections. 

• I’ve written numerous blog posts for WOW!, and interviewed more talented fiction and creative nonfiction writers than I can keep track of. 

• I also lost 18 pounds in 2018, and have managed to keep it off for the past eight months. Not writing related, but I’m proud of it.

Goals for 2019
  • Find an agent for my first young adult novel. I’m working on this, but need to move faster. I already got one rejection that I’m putting a star beside, because I can tell the agent is open to receiving another query from me in the future, so that’s positive.
  • Finish revising my second young adult novel. This is the novel I completed in 2014 NaNoWriMo, and I took a break the past few months on revising it. I’d like to get back to that and implement some changes I’ve decided on in my outline.
  • Break out of my introverted self a little more and go to more professional/writing/networking events. I joined a local writers' club recently so I could get a discount on a contest entry, now I just have to make some plans to attend a few meetings or workshops! These are affordable or free experiences so I have no excuse not to make that happen.
  • Try something creative in a different medium. I already know what this will be. I’ve never been good at the visual arts, but I love broadcasting. Our local public radio station is having a contest to find the next great podcast. There are some awesome prizes being offered (such as cold hard cash, mentoring by station producers, podcasters, etc., as well as software and assorted podcasting equipment). The final winner will get a development deal, and the chance to help produce the podcast. This is something I’ve been mulling over for a while now, so I will work on putting together a great pitch, including a requested audio clip. With all the hours I spend listening to podcasts, I’m sure I can come up with something interesting! The deadline is at the end of January.

Name some of your accomplishments for the past year. I'd also love to hear your goals moving forward!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also works as a marketing director for a nonprofit theatre company, where there's never any shortage of drama! Learn more at www.FinishedPages.com.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I would definitely listen to your podcast. Good luck!

Your submissions, your revising--you should definitely be proud.

My goal: finish this draft of my manuscript (a NaNo from 2016) and send it to an editor (Margo Dill) for a second try. Hopefully this draft is an improvement...

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo said...

Hi Renee,
Congratulations on your 2018 accomplishments! It's always taken me a long time to feel settled at a new job (luckily I've been at the same place for 15 years). Hopefully you can tune out the whispers and focus on how far you've come. I love reading your blog posts; you always put yourself out there. Good luck on those writing contests!
One accomplishment from 2018 for me was finishing a novel and then editing it. For next year, I want to try writing a book purely for fun in a genre I haven't written in before (cozy mystery).

Angela Mackintosh said...

Renee ~ You've accomplished a lot this year - congratulations! :) I'd LOVE to hear a podcast from you! I've been considering doing some kind of podcast as well, ever since my hubby got me a Yeti Blue microphone last Christmas. If you don't have a mic yet, I definitely recommend it. The sound is great.

Accomplishments this year: I wrote 18 essays in the four classes I took; I wrote a 50k rough draft of my memoir during NaNo; wrote a foreword that was pubbed in a Writer's Digest book; participated in webinars and created presentations; lots of WOW stuff, newsletters, etc. I noticed that I did not submit anything though and need to add that to the equation next year. I can't keep waiting for people to ask me to publish with them! I even turned down several invitations to publish on literary sites I admire. What is wrong with me?! I felt like I wasn't ready to put my work out there. That definitely needs to change in 2019.

I had to laugh at your bio...there's never any shortage of drama at the theatre company! Lol ;)

Margo Dill said...

Renee: I have no doubt that whatever is going on at work will work itself out. It's always hard to hear that things aren't going as well as we would like at our day job, but feedback will help you understand what you need to do AND probably you'll grow stronger and be better for it and yada yada yada. :) BTW, what awesome things you accomplished in 2018! You are well on your way, while also working and being a mom and wife and cooking for yourself (I see those Instagram posts!).

For me, I have almost (I'm so close) finished that women's fiction draft. I have created a marketing plan to republish myself my YA, and create a novella of some kind to go with it. I also redid my websites. I have had numerous clients for Editor 911. I worked for WOW! (which is my favorite!). I created a new marketing class. WOW! I love this exercise. Just when I think I haven't done anything...also, i can't wait to read Sioux's rewrite.

For 2019, I want to expand the marketing class idea and help even more authors realize marketing doesn't have to suck! I want to self-pub my YA. I want to finish my women's fiction and look for an agent. And of course, continue my work with WOW! and Editor 911.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Ps. Things will get better at work, Renee! I already sent you some personal messages at the accountability group on this, but just wanted to let you know I didn't graze over that part of the post. You are one of the hardest workers I know and kill it in everything you do. And you work fast! I'm always amazed by how clean your writing is and how clever your ideas are. Good luck with your goals in 2019--it's all about finishing! I love that you're stepping up the querying. :) Also, I'd love to know how you lost 18 pounds and kept it off. After the surgeries this year and not exercising, I need to lose 10-15 to be at my happy weight.

DeVonna R. Allison said...

My articles have been published regularly throughout the year which is a wonderful feeling. I had a book come out in which I am a featured writer and my award-winning book group has a collection of stories, essays and poetry coming out in Jan. of 2019. Plus, I was named an Honorable Mention in a Women On Writing contest! It's been a good year for me within my craft, which is especially satisfying since I've also experienced some health setbacks this year.

Check out my webpage: https://devonnaallison.weebly.com/

Merry Christmas, sisters and Write On!

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--Thanks for your faith in my future podcasting, etc., LOL! I need to work like the dickens to flesh out a good pitch. No pressure. You have come so far with your manuscript this year, all with a busy lifestyle rescuing and fostering pups, teaching full-time, etc. I know Margo will have a blast reading the second big draft.

Elizabeth--Thanks for the encouragement! I love that you finished writing and revising another novel--I loved reading "The Fourth Wall." And I love reading mysteries, but I am so bad at plotting that I am hesitant to try and write one! Good luck on your future writing endeavors for 2019.

Angela--The funny thing is, no one at my office would argue with my statement about the drama. Between all the actors, musicians, directors, stage managers, and stage parents we deal with it's a mess. It's the nature of the business. I have enough crazy stories to write a book at this point if I ever want to. At least no one minds if I break into song every now then there. It's kind of expected. You have written so much this year you could spend all of 2019 submitting and not have to write anything else, LOL. But I know you can't do that! I really hope you submit at least a portion of what you have because you are an amazing writer and have some amazing stories to tell! Oh, and I can talk all day about the weight loss. I think the biggest thing is that I have the Weight Watchers app on my phone and log in my food almost every single day. As you've probably noticed, I need accountability to reach my goals. And I can eat all the fruits and vegetables I want for zero points so I tend to reach more for those. I eat a lot more protein (omelette every day for breakfast, plain Greek yogurt with fruit or chocolate chips), try to limit bread or pasta to one meal per day, or mix zucchini noodles with pasta to make it less dense. I also eat a lot of mason jar salads or homemade soups for lunch. And I cut out sugar to the bare minimum, using stevia in my coffee, for example. I also work out five days a week but it's not anything fancy, just a two-mile walk or slow jog, and Jillian Michaels DVDS! That's how I get to listen to all my podcasts. Knock on wood, but I haven't had so much as a cold since I changed my eating habits, and my whole family got the flu in January! I had chronic strep throat, ear infections and random fevers before. It was crazy.

Margo--Yes, you've had some incredible accomplishments as well, all while taking care of Katie and working a day job! I'll have to check out your marketing class next year. I need all the help I can get. You sound like you have a great plan of action and lots of fun projects planned for 2019! My son told me all I post on my Instagram are pictures of food--but I told him there are some people that appreciate it and get ideas from it!

DeVonna--Thanks for adding to this great discussion! We should all be celebrating in this crazy time of year! You didn't let anything hold you back! Did you place in the flash fiction or creative nonfiction contest? They are both very competitive so you should be proud of that for sure. I look forward to visiting your site and learning more.

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