A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking Back at 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017

I’m not going to dwell on any of the negatives of 2016, but I do want to reflect on what went right, and what I want to improve in planning out my goals for next year.

Generally, I don’t make new year resolutions but I am a big believer in setting goals. These goals can be simple ones like finishing a rough draft of a new book outline in thirty days, or more expansive goals that require several years to accomplish, like becoming proficient in Photoshop (of course every time Adobe upgrades their software I feel like I’m starting over!)

For me, it helps to begin my plans for the next year by reviewing my goals for 2016: Finish book three of Gulf Coast Rescue series (not quite—still several thousand words short of that one); outline book four in the series (check, got that one done); create a writing schedule (yep, while I missed writing every day as planned, I certainly put in more consistent writing than the year before, so I’ll count that in the plus column); update my web site (oh boy, missed that one!); and learn more about social media (attended RWA workshops and online courses so I’ll give myself a plus but deduct points for lack of implementation!); attend several writing conferences (check: RWA National in San Diego, CA, Writer’s Police Academy in Green Bay, WI, and new for me was the NINC conference in St. Pete, FL).

Okay, not bad, but I see things I want to improve in 2017. So here are my goals for next year:
  • Write every day (yes, a repeat, but I’m not giving up on this one—I’m also including writing longhand, not just on my computer since that helps me write past blocks or play the “what if” game with plot changes).
  • Publish book three of my Gulf Coast Rescue series.
  • Complete the first draft of book four of my Gulf Coast Rescue series (I’m hoping to actually finish it in 2017, but I’ll leave that for my mid-year update).
  • Learn something new every week (I consider myself a life-long learner, but I want to become more rigorous and actually schedule my online training courses. If you’re not familiar with you might want to check them out—things like Photoshop, creating web pages, using social media, formatting e-books, and marketing are all available in short video segments you can view anytime you want. Available with monthly or annual subscriptions too).

  • Hit the road more. Hubby and I bought a small toy-hauler (for our motorcycles) with living quarters (when we evacuated from hurricane Matthew) and I want to travel and experience new places and people next year!
  • Attend several writing conferences (RWA National Conference in Orlando, FL and probably NINC and the Police Academy in Green Bay, WI—new for 2017: attend regional conferences, not just national ones).
  • Break my goals into monthly, weekly, and daily goals for better results. And make them SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound).
  • Revise and update throughout the year!
Okay, those are my goals for 2017. Not all inclusive, but it gets me started on the right foot for a productive year. So what goals or accomplishments do you want to achieve next year? What did you accomplish in 2016?


Anne Marie Becker said...

Those look like great goals for 2017. I'm still contemplating mine, but it's definitely been on my mind with the start of a new year fast approaching. 2016 was a year of upheaval, and I feel like my head is spinning, so I'm not sure yet what 2017 will bring, but I know my goal list will only include SMART goals, and things I have control over, such as getting fit and how much writing time I'll expect of myself.

Marcelle Dubé said...

You are so brave, Sharon. Not only did you set goals for yourself, you announced them publicly! :-) I never set goals--I always feel like that's setting myself up for disappointment. But my life is undergoing a major shift and I think it's time. I need to give it more thought, but my immediate goals are to finish two novels in my two series, and do more marketing.

Here's to a productive and happy new year. Cheers!

jean harrington said...

I'm impressed, Sharon, that's quite a list you have there. Good for you! Stick to what you can without going nuts and bag the rest. We're only human, right? Also, your comment on a goal for 2017 is to write in longhand as it will help get you past blocks and give you freedom to make changes more easily. I've always written my books in longhand first--it's so immediate. Nothing between me and the thought. Read somewhere that Elmore Leonard wrote all his novels that way. Maybe that's why Hollywood picked up his books for filming. (Love those leaps of logic!) Anyway, have a great year.

Sharon Calvin said...

I've been setting goals for almost 20 years--for me, it's the only way to achieve things. Committing myself on paper has tremendous power, making them time bound also keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.

I don't know why I seem to forget to write longhand! Every story I write begins with a handwritten outline, character study, and "what if" scenarios. I guess I feel that once I actually begin writing on the computer, I should stay there, LOL! Nope, going to revert to paper sooner and more often in 2017!

I hope we all have a wonderful and productive 2017!

Sandy Parks said...
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