2021: Stay True

Last year, I picked a simple theme to govern the months of 2020: Less is More. Did I know what we’d be facing? Nope. But my mindset of doing less served me well over the months we’ve spent in isolation.

This year, I’m picking an equally simple theme: Stay True.

One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.

Michell Obama

I spent a lot of energy last year, especially toward the end of summer, trying to pin down what I wanted with regards to my writing career. My goal this year is to not only stay true to what I want, but remember why I want it.

Looking Back

Let’s take a look at what I accomplished in 2020.

January

I picked up a WIP (Sundays with Oliver) I’d struggled with in the latter half of 2019 and finished it.

March

I wrote Let’s Connect—a story I planned to deliver to my newsletter subscribers as a serial. I was supposed to start writing The City without End, but the idea of a story that would separate well into installments had been niggling at me for over a year. Also, I wanted a break from novelling. So I outlined and wrote Let’s Connect.

The final edition of Let’s Connect did not resemble my outline. 😀 I actually wrote about twice as much and then dropped the first half as irrelevant. Dan agonizing over what to put in his profile wasn’t half as interesting as the dates he went on.

May

I started writing The City without End. I also created a Facebook reader group, Kelly’s Keepers. Let’s Connect was scheduled to start delivering toward the end of the month, and I wanted a place to connect with readers over the weekly installments.

June

Let’s Connect proved so popular, I booked a cover designer, wrote an epilogue chapter, and set a date for the published edition. My progress on City stalled.

July

I wrote another ten chapters of The City without End!

I realized Let’s Connect was going to need a sequel.

August

I finished agonizing over Sundays with Oliver and submitted it to Riptide Publishing with a series proposal.

I published Let’s Connect to Kindle Unlimited.

September

I signed contracts for all three books in a yet to be named series with Riptide. I also started writing Let’s Go Out, the sequel to Let’s Connect, with the plan to once again deliver the story as a serial to my newsletter subscribers and Facebook group members.

I finished writing The City without End—my one actual goal for the year.

October

I finished writing Let’s Go Out and started writing a super-secret time travel novella I planned to include in a multi-author promotion at the beginning of 2021. After four chapters, I realized I wanted more space for the story, which meant putting the project aside until I had the time.

November

My series with Riptide finally got a name: Hearts and Crafts.

Let’s Go Out started delivering to newsletter subscribers and my reader group.

December

I returned to The City without End with the intent of finishing my revisions and submitting the book.

Phew! What a year! For having only one goal—write The City without End—I certainly found a lot else to do.

Looking Forward

My plan for this year is simple:

  • Submit The City without End to my publisher
  • Write the epilogue to Let’s Go Out and publish the novella in February. (I already have a cover and it’s super cute.)
  • Write books two and three of Hearts and Crafts.
  • Retrieve the notes for my super-secret time travel story and decide between writing that and another science fiction project I have been fiddling with for years and would like to see happen before I die. The choice will come down to whether or not I want to write more romance, or try something new. I have no idea which direction I’ll go in!

We’ll also see Sundays with Oliver sometime this year. Riptide has yet to set a pub date. Once we have a handle on the edits, we’ll know more. Book 2 of the series might also pub much later in the year. We’ll have to see how well the writing goes!

I would also like to write another newsletter serial. I’ve really enjoyed putting them together and readers’ response to them. Maybe the time travel story?

Old Projects

Every time I write one of these plans, I mention Best in Show #2. I have no current plans to write this story, but it’s still on a vague list of projects I’d like to get to one day.

I’ve also mentioned a series called Out of the Spotlight a couple of times. It’s another contemporary project; one I have almost fully outlined. I keep pushing it back to write books that creep up on me and grab hold, not letting go until they’re done (Sundays with Oliver).

Much the same thing keeps happening with the science fiction project I mentioned above.

What it comes down to, I think, is trying to strike a balance between writing books my readers would like to see, maintaining my visibility as an author, and serving my own, personal muses. Given that my theme for this year is to stay true, perhaps 2021will be the year I finally take one of these projects seriously. Move it up and make it work.

We’ll see!

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