Friday, January 3, 2014

Goal Follow Up and New Goals Set

I took the time to look up my post that I wrote last year on the goals I wanted to accomplish in 2013. All I have to say is WOW! Things didn’t really go as planned but I think they went AWESOME! This was my list last year and my follow up:

To have my Dream Keeper Series contracted by a traditional publisher. Well I did. I received a contract by a traditional publisher and then turned it down opting to indie publish it. Probably the hardest decision I have made thus far in my writing career. Was it the wrong choice? Heck no! In fact, I couldn’t be happier with the way The Dream Keeper and The Dreamstone have done. They both have hit the bestseller list on Amazon and I have an audiobook! I am excited to get reviews, to talk with kids about the things they learned, and just darn happy to see my name on the spine of a real book. Goal met!

Finish the third book and prequel to the Dream Keeper Series, and finish one other full length book (not a picture book). This goal took a little turn. I have the first part of the book 3 of the Dream Keeper Chronicles done and I will be working on it soon. I did write more books. I wrote The Stone of Valhalla which will be released in March and The Witches of Roosevelt Elementary, which I have with an agent right now. I also did a collaboration picture book with my wife, ABC Adventures: Cooking with Kids, which will be out in Spring. So I finished 2 full length novels and a picture book. I’m adding The Dream Keeper books to my goals this year—after all it’s scheduled to come out this summer.

Be a full time writer/illustrator by the end of the year. This goal came with a twist. Last year I was diagnosed with crippling arthritis as a side effect of having Crohn’s disease. It put me on disability which then forced me to stay at home. I now work full-time as a writer and freelance illustrator and cover designer. So I am doing what I love. God just put a little spin on how I was to get there.

Write and illustrate four picture books, two in my ABC series, one in the Bean’s series, and one more fun and fantastic picture book. Obviously I didn’t remember how much effort picture books take to produce. This is an example of setting too BIG of a goal. I have one I finished in the ABC series and I wrote a new story I plan on doing the art for this year. I don't think I understood how much time marketing books takes.

Obtain more author clients for my freelance illustrating business. I am proud to say that I have been working my butt off on this goal. I started my own freelance illustrating and cover design business shortly after the start of the year and it has bloomed. I have over a dozen covers under my belt and a bunch more scheduled for this year. I am so happy to use my talents I have. It is truly my dream job. I’m always looking for more clients. They equal more opportunities for me to create magic.

Attend more than just one writers conference. Last year I attended THREE! Life the Universe and Everything, Write Here in Ephraim, and LDS Storymakers. I am also proud to say that I was a presenter/panelist at LTUE and WHIE, something I only dreamed would happen.

Be actively involved in my writers group. I said goodbye to my old writing group and started a new writer’s group with some members of the Authors’ Think Tank. I learned the value of having a great critique group. They have helped me improve so much as a writer.

Be able to be myself around other authors that intimidate the crap out of me because they are more successful. I’m still working on this but I have done better. It helped that when I went to my first conference last year people started to know who I was. It sure does help the inner critic to shut up when people come to you for advice.

Share my dreams with the world. I am continuing to do this. I have had my book read by people all over the world. I’ve received reviews from people all over the US and some from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and South America! I am spreading myself everywhere. I only hope I can reach even more this year!

I am glad I had this time to reflect on the goals I made. I have learned some things in reading this. One, I should have my goals written down in a place where I can see them all the time. I’d forgotten some and glad I accomplished them. Two, my goals should be obtainable. Setting a goal to have three novels plus four pictures books completed was not a very obtainable goal. I know that if you want a goal to be met you need to have it reachable. The last thing I learned was that I had a plan. It is important once you set a goal to create plan for executing it. If you don’t plan, you won’t achieve.

Okay. Here are my writing goals for 2014.
  • Indie Publish 4 books this year. I already have 3 scheduled so adding one more shouldn’t be too much work.
  • Get an agent. This is something I have worked on for years. I want to be a hybrid author, using both the traditional publishers and indie publishing.
  • Finish 2 picture books. I have 1 written—not illustrated. I plan to do one more. This is kind of a harder goal because the art can take a long time to complete, especially with the arthritis, but I will do it!
  • See my books once again on the bestseller list. To do this I need to first write a bestseller and then market it productively.
  • Set up more school visits. I plan on having at least one a month during the school year.
  • Present at more conferences. I already plan on presenting at two this year.
  • Help other writers achieve their dreams.
  • Write at least 2 more full length books this year.
Those are my goals. Now I need to go write a plan for how I am going to accomplish them. What else am I going to do? I am going to print my goals and post it up where I’ll see them all the time. What are your goals and your plans on accomplishing them?

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