It's no secret I like to get things done. If I have a to-do list…
Every year between Christmas and the new year, I take an hour or two to review the year. I jot down what I accomplished professionally and if I met my goals or missed them. I also review my personal goals and think about any milestones that happened.
I’m assuming 2020 was a weird year for everyone on the planet. I know it was for me! But I was blessed in many ways, too. Life is like that.
I hope 2021 feels more normal. I miss the routine things that have been put on hold due to the pandemic.
I wrote 218,000+ words: 2 full Love Inspired novels, the first 3 chapters of another Love Inspired novel, a short novella, and a full length novel. This doesn’t include other writing I do such as this newsletter, blogs, etc…
I edited over 218,000 words. For every word I write, I read through it, revising and editing 4-5 times.
I plotted 9 novels. Most years I don’t plot 9 novels. Most years I plot 3, maybe 4. But this year was different. I don’t expect to do this again anytime soon!
I studied 6 marketing videos from an online conference. This is something I don’t usually make the time to do, but since the in-person writing conference I planned on attending went virtual, I decided to try a different online conference. I’m happy I did.
My writing investments were minimal this year. Thankfully, my laptop, printer, office furniture, and such are all working fine. I did invest in the Plottr software. I really like it. At $25/year, it’s worth it to me. I also bought a new mouse. Wild, I know.
I signed a six-book contract with Love Inspired. I am thankful for this EVERY day. I love writing for Harlequin Love Inspired. And I love writing Christian romances. And cowboys! I feel incredibly blessed to live my dream.
Both of my children graduated! Our son graduated from high school in May. It was a virtual graduation, and I am very thankful to our school district for making it as special as possible. Our daughter graduated from college in August. Again, virtual graduation. But we ordered takeout and had cakes for both kids.
I read 74 books: I always read a lot, but this year I challenged myself to read a novel for at least 20 minutes every weekday. I’m so glad I did. I read 45 novels, many by authors I’d never heard of. I tried different genres, too. I also read 29 nonfiction books. In years past, the ratio was opposite with me reading more nonfiction than fiction. I’m keeping my 20 minute fiction reading challenge this year!
I cleaned out my linen closet. I know this seems small, but it felt like a big win!
I completed reading the Bible chronologically in a year. This was the second year I read the entire Bible. I loved it. I scheduled my readings for weekdays only.
My weight stayed steady. As I write this, I’m about 1.5 pounds heavier than I was last year at this time. Since my weight fluctuates by 3-4 pounds at all times, I’m thrilled it’s basically what it was last year.
I made time once a week to take care of myself. Every Sunday afternoon I plan my week, make a meal plan for the next seven days, write a grocery list, give myself a mani-pedi and clean up my eyebrows. For me, planning and grooming are essentials.
Rejections. Before I was published, I assumed getting one contract was kind of like landing a job–you were on your way up! No more rejections! Yeah, no. I still get rejections. But I’m okay with it. It means I’m still pushing myself, still believing in myself. Not every book of mine resonates with editors. And not every idea is a winner.
0 for 4 on Woman’s World short romances: One of my goals for the past few years was to have my short romance stories regularly featured in Woman’s World magazine. I submitted 4 early this year, and zero were published. Since summer and fall were busy with graduations and books I was writing, I took a break from the short stories. I might start trying again this year. I might not. It depends on what else I have on my plate.
Implementing my marketing goals. I was in a marketing/social media rut this year. Don’t get me wrong, I promoted my books and posted to social media on a regular basis, but I had several goals I failed to implement. One was regularly posting videos on Instagram. Another was creating a theme for the year’s blog posts. I always have ideas–I don’t always have follow through.
My get out of the house every Thursday morning to brainstorm routine got tossed in March and never found its way back. Yeah, the pandemic. Enough said.
Fear. I lurched into anxiety-city for a while this spring. It’s terribly easy for me to slip into fearful mode. Like nothing will ever be good again. Thankfully, the Lord always reminds me through my Bible readings that I don’t need to fear. I just wish I had stronger faith at all times!
No graduation parties. I’m really bummed about this. It’s our tradition to throw a big graduation party when a kid graduates from high school. We decided not to risk it this year. This isn’t technically a fail, but it kind of feels like one.
Hidden clutter: I have stuff I don’t use on the top shelves in my kitchen. I have stuff in boxes in the basement. I need to go through it all and donate.
Neglecting my hobbies. I spent too much time in the evenings scrolling on my phone or sitting on the couch doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to decompress, but I was bored. I have hobbies. I just need to do them!
2020 was a DOOZY.
I hope you’ll take the time to review your year and jot down your wins. Honestly, just learning how to place an online grocery order and picking it up was a big win for me!
I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but we are resilient. We’ve learned some new coping skills and sharpened our old ones. Here’s to another year of wins and fails. Don’t worry–we’ve got this!
Off the top of your head, what was a win for you in 2020?
Thanks for joining me today!