Good-Bye 2016 – Goals (and a Year) in Review


Hey everyone; it’s been a while, hasn’t it? As is my custom, any kind of organization and keeping up with things goes right out the window somewhere around mid-November and continues on through to the end of the year. One of these years I’m going to get a handle on that, but not this year.

2016 was a very up-and-down kind of year. There was lots of good, plenty of bad, a fair share of stress and frustration, and all of the celebrities died. Like, seriously…what the hell?

(And on a related note, man…I still can’t believe that Princess Leia is gone!)

So I thought I’d take a moment on this lovely New Year’s Day to quickly go through my goals from 2016 and see where I landed on them overall. Strap in and join me as I wave good-bye to 2016 and kick it in the ass on the way out. ^_~

1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps a day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

As is the norm with most health-related goals, this one was all over the map throughout 2016. I had excellent months filled with many 10k-step days, and many months that were the exact opposite of that. Sometimes I did an excellent job of giving myself my 15 minutes (or more!) per day, and other times I went weeks without even realizing that I wasn’t doing it. Lack of focus was my biggest fault, oftentimes simply not paying enough attention to realize what I was or wasn’t doing.

There were so specific good moments of 2016 concerning health, however. For one thing I discovered that my B-12 levels have been through the floor (literally about as low as they could be unless I was dead), and adding the supplement to my diet seems to have made some big differences. I’ve been feeling much more awake and alert that I have in a long time, I’ve been losing (a reasonable amount of) weight without even trying, and I’ve overall just felt a ton healthier.

In addition to that, I discovered that a medication I’ve been taking hasn’t been doing me any favors because of a resulting hormonal imbalance. I won’t get into that one because it’s a bit more of the personal nature, but the point is that changing that medication up has made a big difference in a number of ways, and the results get two thumbs up from me.

And lastly – and this one is going to sound odd to some of you – I got laid off, and I’ve been significantly less stressed out since. I know that sounds completely backwards, but in my line of work being laid off sometimes is part of the system, and I’d been waiting for a lay-off from this particular job for quite a while. Being free of that particular site, and that particular work camp, feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’ve finally been able to relax a bit for the first time in a long time.

Goal Conclusion: I mostly failed the specifics of the goal, but all in all I do think that my health – both physical and mental – was much better at the end of 2016 than it was at the beginning.

2. Build readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting fun and different YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

First off, we all know that the “blog posts” part of this goal went to heck about halfway through the year because I decided to more-or-less stop blogging in order to focus more on actual writing. So we’ll just set that one aside as it doesn’t really apply anymore.

For “shooting fun and different YouTube videos” I can give a thumbs up, although I also have to give much of the credit to my husband, who has put a huge amount of effort into the channel, making it better in a huge number of ways. I started the year just hitting 1000 subscribers, and thanks in a great part to Jason’s input and joining in to the actual videos, we ended off the year with just over 3100 subscribers. That’s a hell of an increase, and I hope we’ll continue to grow with that kind of fervor.

The self-promotion bit is the “up-and-down” winner for this goal. The YouTube channel and it’s associated social media has definitely grown by leaps and bounds, but as I mentioned, most of that is thanks to Jason. And the “readership” bit – relating, of course, to getting people to read my book – continues to fail rather quite amazingly. I did take the jump in 2016 to getting an actual professional cover created for the book, and for about a month it seemed to help, but that success was extremely short-lived. I’ve returned to few-to-no books being sold month-by-month, and to be honest I haven’t really learned much about what to do about it in the past year. I am definitely aware of the fact that I do very, very little self-promotion when it comes to the book, but I am also acutely aware of the fact that the available avenues for self-promotion become extremely tiresome and annoying very quickly, and I don’t want to put people off. Something must be done, I just haven’t figured out what yet.

3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

I purposely left this goal vague this year, because I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into any specific numbers – that has done me no good in the past. So how did my vague writing goal work out?

I can tell you that with the NaNoWriMo words that I failed to report to you in November, I hit a grand total of 191058 words which, unfortunately, is about 25,000 words less than I wrote in 2015. That, I have to admit, is a kick in the pants, but it’s also a bit understanding considering I spent the majority of the calendar year at my aforementioned extremely tiring and time-consuming job, combined with the fact that there’s been a lot more going on with the channel since last Spring. So I suppose I’ll give myself a bit of a pass on that one, although I won’t go so far as to claim that I’m not disappointed.

As for the “novel from start to finish” bit; the success or failure of that one depends on how you look at it. Technically I did not accomplish this task, in the sense of completing an actual novel-length manuscript, and part of the problem is that I allowed myself to get distracted again, and instead of focusing on one manuscript I once again branched off until I was writing 3-4 different stories at any given time. That said, I did complete one manuscript that had been about a quarter complete when the year started (only the first draft though, so don’t get too excited!), plus I wrote the first quarter-or-so of a new zombie novel that I’m excited about, and I also wrote and published an erotic novelette which is, surprisingly, getting occasional page reads on Kindle Unlimited. So yay for that!

All total, what I can say for 2016 and the goals I had set for myself during it is that I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m also not horribly disappointed. I didn’t accomplish a great deal of what I had set out to, but there were good points as well, and I believe that I am now in a good place to set my foot firmly down upon the beginning of 2017.

So, speaking of 2017, do I have any goals for the coming year? Why of course! But you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to hear about them because this post has been drawn out enough as it is. ^_~ Cheers everyone! I hope 2016 treated you well, and if not I hope you’re able to give it a swift kick in it’s behind and move toward 2017 with your head held high. Happy New Year! ❤

2015 in Review and Goals for 2016

Well, look at that; the calendars have changed, a New Year has rolled over, and some of us were out WAY past our bedtimes last night…

What? The little one? No, you fools, I meant me!

So it’s 2016, which means that it’s time to sit back, relax, reflect on the past year, and re-evaluate for the coming one.

Last year at this time I made three very broadly-termed goals:

1. Take care of myself more.
2. Continue to build my readership/viewership.
3. Write. Write a lot.

If I were to put a label on my success or failure of those three goals for the year of 2015, I would say, “moderately acceptable”.

Let’s start with the first goal: Take care of myself more. I think that, when looked at as individual moments, this goal could be considered something of a success. I did a lot of different things in an attempt to take better care of myself…I ate better, went for runs, took long, relaxing baths, learned how to meditate, and unashamedly enjoyed quiet nights of nothing but Doctor Who, among other things. The problem is that each of these steps forward often stood alone and was accompanied by several steps back. For instance, during the times when I was eating better I wasn’t exercising, and when I was exercising I wasn’t finding time to enjoy my shows, and when I was enjoying my shows I was getting less sleep, and so on and so on.

For that reason, this year I want to continue on with the idea of this goal, but be a little more specific. I’m going to continue to take care of myself in general, but specifically I’m going to do so via two mini-goals: I’m going to walk 10,000 steps per day (counted by my FitBit) even if that means I have to run on the spot at the end of the day in order to hit that number, and I’m going to take at least 15 minutes every day to do something fun and relaxing, whether that’s coloring, or a video game, or listening to music with a face mask on, or whatever.

Those two things, every day, that’s goal number one.

Moving on to the second goal from last year: Continue to build my readership/viewership. That was a very broad goal, based on gaining YouTube followers, blog readers, novel readers, and so on, and I have to say that in general this goal was something of a failure. I definitely gained a lot of YouTube followers this year, but that seems to have been by virtue of my videos themselves, because I did little to nothing to actually advertise them. Marketing myself as a novelist is something I basically didn’t do at all because of a combination of both laziness and the fact that marketing yourself is more difficult and time consuming than it sounds. And the blog…well I hardly even need to talk about the blog because you can just look at WordPress’s end of year review of it. According to those stats, my five most popular posts of 2015 were ones that I wrote in 2014, 2013, and even 2012. That’s a bit ridiculous, if you ask me; it means that no one was coming to my blog this past year for blog posts that I wrote this past year.

I’m not really entirely sure how I should go about fixing these problems, but I have a few ideas, including continuing on with ideas that I came up with at the end of the year concerning the blog. I share a lot of subscription box reviews on this blog these days, but what I need to be doing is more actual writing, so I’m definitely going to continue on with Memoir Mondays and Flash Fiction Fridays, and I’m going to try to spend more time talking about fun stuff on my blog, like the shows, games, and books I’m into, what’s going on in life as the parent of a toddler, any fun stuff I’ve been doing lately, and so on. Finally, I’m going to try to share more of what I’m actually working with on the writing front, rather than simply talking about it all the time. Similarly, I’m hoping to do some more fun, different stuff on the YouTube channel in the future, and if I’ve got any energy left at all I’ll try my very hardest to continue to promote my poor book (pst…there’s a link right there in the sidebar!).

So, more fun and various stuff on the blog, new and different videos on YouTube, and more self-promotion boils down goal number two.

And finally we have the last goal from last year: Write. Write a lot. Last year I decided to be very, very vague with my writing goal because in previous years I’d set numerical goals and spectacularly failed to get anywhere near them. In 2015 I finished up the year with approximately 226,000 words, which is significantly less than I wrote in 2013 and only about 1000 more words than I wrote in 2014. I was vague specifically so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed in whatever the results were to be, but I have to admit that I’m still pretty disappointed because when I look at my projects folders it doesn’t seem like I’ve really got anything to show for the words that I did write, especially considering that most of those words were blog posts, not fiction. So this year I’m not going back to a numerical goal, but I am going to be a bit more specific. I’m going to write. I’m going to write a lot. And somewhere amid all that writing, I am going to write an entire novel. Not necessarily within National Novel Writing Month (although it would certainly be nice to win again for a change), but sometime over the next twelve months. A little more specifically, I plan to both begin and finish Book Two of The Other World. Book One only has a chapter or two to go before I send it out to my beta-reader, so I want to have the first draft of Book Two written this year. And if I’m feeling really ambitious, maybe I’ll even write Book Three as well. 🙂

Write a lot, including beginning and finishing an entire novel. Goal number three is born.

And I’m going to stick to three goals because three seems like a nice number, a reasonable number. Throw too many things in there and you just stress yourself out, right? Right.

So there you have it…my three goals for 2016 are as follows:

1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps a day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

2. Build readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting fun and different YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

I think those goals are attainable, don’t you? It’s going to take time, effort, and a better attitude than I normally have, but I think my day-planner and I can figure something out. 🙂

So how about you guys? How was your 2015? What are your plans for 2016? Do you have any major goals? Any little ones? How did you spend New Years Eve? Are you possibly feeling a little hungover today? XD Please share! And Happy New Year! ❤