2018 Goal Review: How did I stack up?

Totality of solar eclipse, yellow fire around the blackened Moon
The Coronal Fire at Totality

I set some pretty stout goals this year, and kept adding to the pile. All in all, I’m content with my progress, but I could have done a little better. A hundred things have changed between January and now, so this should be a pretty packed blog post.

I guess the best way to start this post will be to list my goals from earlier this year, which can also be found here.

  • 1/2 a million words
  • One story submission per month
  • One Friday Flash Fiction story submission per month
  • 3 novel releases
  • 3 new Operation Raindrop Books
  • Panel Discussion
  • Finish the pole barn at the property and clear some land

Not counting whatever is left in December, and this blog post, along with a bunch of days that I forgot to record on my spreadsheet, my word count for the year right now is weighing in at 449,213. That’s pretty darn close to 1/2 a million, especially considering the recent slack off on that front. It’s not the word count I wanted, but that’s still a pretty decent number considering.

I dropped off the short story bandwagon, and didn’t even get in a Christmas submission for FFF this year. It’s easy to feel bad about that, but it’s also hard to squeeze all of that in with the other stuff.

This year, I released Incorporated First Strike and Stone’s Shadow on kindle. Infection, Alien Agenda, and Invasion were released early in the year for the Operation Raindrop series, and to be honest, even though I have ideas for more novellas in the series, they provide a very nice rounded out “ending” for the initial premise. They also continue to get some kindle reads here and there, so I’ll continue with the story. Some people like it, and it’d be wrong to keep them lingering too long. One short on the novels, but the second Incorporated book still needs work, and I trashed my rewrite of the third to make room for NaNoInspo and NaNoWriMo.

The pole barn was obviously buttoned up a bit. These days I’m rather uncertain what “finished” actually means. It’s being used more than worked on at this point. My clearing ended up going fast when I dozed two acres before the house build. As for panel discussions, I may be looking at something in March, but if they don’t get back to me soon, I’m going to cancel. I can’t stand people that don’t reply to emails and then pop in at the last minute with negligent information. At this point, my “part time” day job has become a full-time endeavor. Guess that’s what I get for showing up to work on time.

So that’s it. Didn’t make all my marks, and things change, but I think I definitely had a productive year.

The Other Stuff that Keeps Coming Up

This year was crazy. I stopped freelancing to get a steady but small paycheck, using it to have an apartment near my property where I could get out of the woods and clean up when needed. Keeping myself in the area is important if I want to make any progress out here. I don’t really live there, but slept there much of the year, and with all the extra hours at work (originally I wanted 3 days per week, hopefully they hire some more people soon that are dependable) it’s come in handy as a base of operations.

I swapped providers for my blog, and started two new websites. Gecko Print Publishing now has a website, and as I write this, I realize that I haven’t sent any of my book emails out in quite a while. I also set up a site for NaNoInspo, though it’s basically just a landing page at the moment. I have a few projects for GPP that have been put on hold. I’m trying to get my foot in the door for some steady markets that will bring in a more regular income. If I can build it up the way I wish to, I’ll even be able to take on freelancers, but it’s a lot of work, and my free books page is about to get killed by Amazon, so I need to find a work-around for that. NaNoInspo was my big project this year. We brought in 39 participants from five continents, and 20 of them finished their NaNo books. Two of them wrote over 100,000 words in November! So we’re pretty stoked about that, and planning to do it again next year. I’ll keep you posted. Anyway, internet stuff takes a long time, and the nano party about killed me. Just got the bill for mailing books out to Canada and the UK. Phew. Need to build up some funds before I do that again.

As you all know, I decided to skip the trailer idea and simply build a small house in the woods. I dozed my property, and over the last three months, I’ve gone from design on paper, to a finished, insulated shell with a woodstove. I’m writing this article from that little house right now. It’s 384 square feet with a short cathedral ceiling. I have off-grid power installed as a battery bank that supplies my house panel. A generator is providing charging right now, but hopefully I’ll have a small solar array installed next year sometime. I already have the MMPT purchased, so it’s just a matter of panels and framing. The house itself is insulated, and I should be roughing in a tub/shower this weekend (I hope) and doing the final prep for the kitchen fixtures and such. Still have some electric to run as well. Then I can start on drywall. I’ve spend over 30 full work days (around 240 man hours) on this project, and while not everything is perfect, it’s perfect for me at the moment. I’m working on some lingering issues, but stoked about ditching the apartment in the spring. At that point, food will be most of my bills, and I plan on having some kind of successful garden this year. No promises yet though.

Next Year

I haven’t set any official goals yet, but I do have a direction that I want to go. I’m getting away from the word count metric, and I’ll be focusing on the stories I already have. Incorporated Heartland has the green light, so I’m going ahead with that, and it should be published next year. I have so many novels in early draft that it’s time to withdraw from writing new stuff and focus on tweaking those. That’s my plan.

By the end of this year, I would also like to be living full-time at my property, and I also plan on having some barn cats to keep me company. With any luck, I’ll have some chickens out here as well.

I’ll try to put up another post soon with my official goals for the new year, but no promises. I’ve been busier than a guinea in a field full of ticks lately, and that’s not going to slow down anytime soon.

By the way. Thanks so much for reading my blog. Love having you here. If you’re reading this, you have permission or email me anytime (ask about my mailing list if you’ve been wondering why the blog count dropped, my best stuff goes there these days), leave a comment, ask a question, whatever. Thanks a ton for your support and continued interest.

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Author: spottedgeckgo

Writer. Making my living on my pen, and working to turn a raw chunk of land into a future homestead.

3 thoughts

  1. That’s such a great round up of the year. You accomplished so much, Marty. I’ve decided this is the year that I finish editing my horror novel and have it ready to submit by the end of the year. I know, that’s nothing to the goal you had for 2018, but it’s a big deal for me. I’ve been sitting on this novel for years. I’ve been working on it here and there, but it’s been a big project. I have over 14,000 words I need to cut before it’s done too. Which sounds like a lot, and it is, but I’ve already cut 6,000 words since my first draft, so another 14,000 should be feasible.
    So many projects have come my way this past year. At the beginning of last year, I had participated in one open mic, so to think by the end of the year that I’d be running a poetry open mic really blows my mind. And I think I might be helping a local coffee shop start one, so then I’ll have two a month that I’m working.
    I’m trying to carve out some time each week to read blog posts again. I tried signing up for your email list, we’ll see if it works. It was mad at me for trying to use an email address that’s not associated with my WordPress account, and said it would be sending notices to my WordPress email. I hate that because I don’t get notifications for those emails, but we’ll see how it goes.
    Here’s hoping that you have a successful 2019!

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