Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Goals, and 2014 Wrap-Up

Photo: WANA Commons
Last week I wrote about how landing a publishing deal will not make my list of 2015 writing and reading goals. (Though I will welcome that to happen!)

I find it really helpful to list not only what I want to do this next year, but the accomplishments from last year.

So, here's a wrap up from 2014 and what I plan to do for 2015. I hope you share your own goals in the comments, or leave a link to your blog. Thanks!

2014 Goals:

  1. Finish revisions on Contemporary YA #1. Submit to agent > sub to publishers
  2. Complete subsequent drafts of 2013 NaNoWriMo Contemporary YA #2
  3. Possibly revise a Historical YA novel
  4. Develop a new novel idea and/or participate in NaNoWriMo 2014
  5. Expand freelance writing to pop culture websites (something I did previously but the site folded)
Update: Both contemporary YA manuscripts were completed, though both required rewrites, which prevented me from revisiting the historical YA. Rewriting is still writing, so I was busy! 

I did manage to draft a brand new manuscript for NaNoWriMo. Yay!

I did not expand freelance writing to pop culture websites BUT 2015 has that on the horizon!

  1. Develop/maintain new blog content: TV reviews, blog challenges. Potentially focus some posts on writing advice or the query process
  2. Write a guest post 
  3. Feature guest post
  4. Host a book launch or cover reveal
  5. Contribute to a group blog (if anyone has leads, please let me know!)
  6. Read through slush/coach/assist with a pitch contest on a writing blog
Update: I participated in several book launches and cover reveals, mainly for writers affiliated with RWA or YARWA in some capacity, to share the love. 

I did not end up doing guest posts, and have not done specific writing advice regularly; that has been mostly occasional. I still have an interest in a group blog, so keeping my eyes open.

One big thing I did was #6: I joined Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars as a mentor! Through that contest, I read through 50+ queries and first pages submitted to me. I gave feedback on all of them, though that was not required. Then, I chose two writers to help prepare their query and first pages for an agent round. I learned SO MUCH. I probably--no, definitely--learned more than I could have ever passed on. I feel really fortunate to have been a part of that experience and to work with the wonderful writers who reached out to me, Also, all the fellow mentors have been great to keep chatting with on a private Facebook group.

Professional (writing):
  1. Attend a workshop (planning for: Chicago North Spring Fling, April 2014)
  2. Develop a workshop/skills/experience for a future presentation
  3. Take on a leadership role within RWA (currently Historian, assisting w/ auction gift basket, judge for annual contest)
  4. Read 2-4 new writing craft books
  5. Sign up for 2-4 RWA monthly courses through YARWA/Pro/main site of RWA
  6. Golden Heart finalist?? (Hey, it could happen!)
Update: For my conference, I attended Spring Fling, pitched to an editor, and put together a kick-ass Supernatural themed gift basket for the charity auction. 

While I organized query information for a critique session with my RWA chapter, I have not gone so far as to develop a full workshop. Though I have checked off #3 there--along with being historian and on the program planning committee of my local RWA, I volunteered for YARWA's board, the online YA chapter. We're planning the Day of YA for the national convention in NYC--it's going to be awesome!

I read more than 2 crafting books, and I took an online course through Margie Lawson's writing coaching, and through YARWA (which has some fantastic options for CHEAP! Link here). 

I did not final in the Golden Heart, which is really not so much a goal as a wish. But! I finaled in Georgia RWA's Maggie Award, which is considered a noteworthy contest, and I won first place for YA in the Heart of Denver Molly Awards, plus a second place win in Indiana RWA's Golden Opportunity (and lost to the GH winner from 2014, so good company). These contest wins really boosted my confidence as it's peer recognition and fuel to keep striving for that publishing dream.

I also planned a writing retreat with my critique group--a weekend up north to focus on our projects. It was so fun, and we are tentatively looking to plan something again this year.

  1. Goodreads challenge set at 50 books
  2. Read at least 2 classics
Update: I upped the challenge to 60 books and read 63. If unpublished manuscripts and contest entries counted, I'd be over 100! 


Here's what's in store for 2015:

  1. Finish rewrite of contemporary YA from Nano 2013.
  2. Edit and develop Nano 2014 manuscript.
  3. Potentially revisit historical YA MS, and/or develop new idea
  4. On the freelance front: starting tomorrow, I'll be posting a joint chat-review of Downton Abbey season 5 over at pop culture site The Stake. Please go visit their site and follow on twitter!
  1. Keep an active blog.
  2. Continue to host book tours and cover reveals.
  3. Feature a guest post.
  4. Potentially find a group blog to contribute to.
Professional (writing):
  1. Expand YARWA's online presence through my VP Communications role.
  2. Attend local RWA chapter retreat craft workshop feat. agent and author Donald Maass (March)
  3. Plan & attend Day of YA at RWA Nationals in New York City (July)
  4. Attend and network at Lady Jane Reading Salon (Naperville, every other month). Also network and attend author signings at Anderson's Bookshop.
  5. Attend a Chicago North RWA meeting.
  6. Submit to contests with editor final judges, including the Golden Heart.

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Stephanie has read 1 book toward her goal of 50 books.
  1. Goodreads goals set at 50 books. 
  2. I spent 2014 reading more outside of YA. I'd like to return to YA for a bit to get caught up on new and recent releases.
  3. Read more books from my Bradford Lit agency mates.
So that's it! If you've read this far, thank you! Please share any goals you have for the coming year or link to your blog.


  1. Good for you to reflect on how you did on the goals for last year--it is a great way to help you move forward!

  2. best of luck with your goals for the year.


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