Looking through time: 2015 and 2016

Telescope cartoon

The year 2015 is coming to an end. And what a year it was!

There was much turmoil and change in the self-publishing industry; many success stories too. The rest of the world is in various stages of upheaval, and tragedy as well as victory are sprinkled all over the planet.

Even though I’m touched (to not say horrified and sometimes thrilled) by what our society is going through as a whole, I can’t help but see that we’re just one species, on one little planet, spinning through a galaxy full of mystery and even greater tragedies and victories we have no knowledge of. It makes me feel both hopeful and excited, and utterly insignificant. Which pretty much sums up my experience of life.

As to my writing? I began self-publishing this year, with no expectations of greatness or instant success, and no illusions about the amount of work necessary to be an independent fiction author. I knew it was a learning experience and treated it as such. I felt about it much as I do about all else in my life: excited but pragmatic; hopeful but guarded; knowing it will change me as a person, but I will still remain—in the grand scheme of things—utterly insignificant.

And you know what? This dual attitude is a great thing.

Insignificance bears a sort of freedom that allows you to be bold, to take risks and live out your passions. It’s a “dance as if no one’s looking” approach. It’s an exhilarating feeling of adventure and self-discovery.

While being pragmatic and approaching self-publishing as a business, as a craft that needs to be constantly honed, offers a stable foundation—a firm ground on which you can do your crazy monkey dance without breaking an ankle.

This ying-yang sort of mindset is just the right thing for me. It’s like, ‘Let’s plan things rationally first’ then ‘Weee! Look at me go!’ 🙂

– 2015 –

What I did

I published my first science fiction novel, The Deep Link, in June 2015, and the sequel, The Prime Rift, in December. And readers seem to love my aliens, which makes me a very proud… alien-mama? *grin*

I did my first podcast interview on the Resolute Writer podcast, even though I had really big insecurities about my undefinable accent.

I ran my first free promo with KDP in August. I had over 1’000 downloads in 3 days, and hit #4 in Space Opera & Alien Invasion. I didn’t get the expected handful of good/bad reviews afterwards, though, which was a bit puzzling.

I joined KBoards — the best forum I’ve ever been on. I absolutely love that place and the awesome, inspiring indies I met there. *waves excitedly*

But what I’m most proud of by far is the fact that I was able to plan, draft and revise The Prime Rift in 3 months!

That’s a huge increase in productivity for me, since The Deep Link took me 3 years to wrap up; almost 5, if you take my baby-break into consideration. Sure, that was my first novel and came with a steep learning curve. I knew I’d get faster eventually, but making it happen was an amazing experience!

What I learned

I learned a great deal about productivity, and what works best for me when it comes to writing projects. And I sharpened my anti-perfectionism skills tremendously this year.

This is what I learned and what I wholeheartedly stand behind:

  • It’s super important to find the right mindset for you, that allows you to be both creative and organized;
  • When you really want something, you have to prioritize it over everything else and make it your TOP goal;
  • Until you reach that goal, everything else is a distraction;
  • Ruthlessly kill all self-sabotaging thoughts and/or behaviors that hold you down;
  • Have a consistent writing routine that you fiercely protect and respect;
  • Look for inspiration in people who have already reached your goal, preferably multiple times; *waves at KBoarders again*
  • Every writer is different; find the process that works for you — and then fine-tune the heck out of it with each project.

In a nutshell, 2015 taught me to roll up my sleeves and get working if I mean business. It also reminded me that work can absolutely be its own reward, if you enjoy it. And,

Your biggest competition is your past self, and as long as you’re improving, your efforts are worth it.

– 2016 –

My battle plan

My initial plan for 2015 was simply “publish The Deep Link.” Nothing more.

This time, however, I have an actual project calendar, a writing schedule, all the resources I need, and I’m bursting with excitement to get going!

In 2016, I will:

  • End the Ascendancy Trilogy with a BANG!
  • Write and publish a bonus novella to accompany the trilogy. I’ll probably make this a prequel set during the Raids on Maza, but I’ve not decided yet;
  • Plan a new science fiction series that will combine all the awesome things I love about sci-fi: aliens, weapons, a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, and plenty of action;
  • Write the first two novels in that series. Possibly start the third.

I plan to go about publishing that new series a bit differently (i.e. a lot more professionally). I’ll keep you posted on my tactics and progress, and what I learn along the way.

What I’m excited about

I’m excited about writing the last novel in the Ascendancy Trilogy. I’ve already outlined it and if all goes well, it will be awesome! Then, of course, I can’t wait to start the new series.

I’m also super excited about learning how to make my own covers for that series. Yup, you read that right.

Mostly, indies are told to buy professional covers unless they have “professional grade skills” in design and typography. I’ve not taken any “professional” course in those, but I’m fairly certain I have what it takes to learn this art/craft and begin making my own covers. I won’t say more at this point, because until I can show you some results, all I say may just as well be bull. So I can’t wait to give it a public go (instead of just in the privacy of my computer) and see what you guys think. Please sharpen your critical eye. 😉

I also look forward to write a novella. It’ll be my first story of that length, and I’m quite curious how my mind will wrap around it.

2016 will bring many new chances for me to learn and grow, and I’m very glad to share them with you guys!

Here’s to constant GROWTH!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

And what about you guys? Did you have a good year?

What’s your top priority for 2016? What are you looking forward to the most?

9 Replies to “Looking through time: 2015 and 2016”

  1. Thanks for sharing a sensible, do-able agenda! IME having a plan is essential but, much as I love my computer (most of the time—lol), I always begin a book or the day with a list written down in a notebook. As I accomplish each chore, I strike it out. Fab feeling of satisfaction, for sure! A digital to-do list just doesn’t carry the same sense of accomplishment. At least for me.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! I used to have a notebook with me at all times, and I still drool and get starry-eyed in the stationery section. But I use the computer nowadays almost exclusively. It allows me to tinker and move things around, that’s the main reason, I think. 🙂

      I don’t really have to do lists, though. I make plans for bigger projects, like a novel, and break it down to daily goals, but those are non-negotiable and everything else gets done whenever it gets done. So my daily to do list would only have “write 3K today” on it. The rest doesn’t deserve a place, and stuff like “feed your kid” doesn’t belong on a to do list anyway, IMHO. 😀

      Have a wonderful start to the new year, Ruth! Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  2. I see you have your perspectives in check. With two books in one year, well, you’re quite the author. Amazing job. I’m going to strive to let loose my handlings and finish my sci-fi “book” soon enough. I’m glad I found this site.

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  3. Great piece although it makes me feel soooo disorganised! Ha ha. I really need to get myself sorted and get a game plan down, this has really given me inspiration to do that. At the moment I feel like I’m ‘half doing’ everything, jumping from one thing to another and not really getting anything done at all. Best of luck in 2016!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Danielle! I bet everyone feels like there’s tons of room for improvement around New Year’s Eve. 🙂

      Keep your head up and your eyes on the prize, so to speak, and I’m sure you’ll make progress in getting more organized. Good luck!

      Like

  4. nice uplifting post. Last year I wrote 2 books then just stopped working on them, ( they need editing) just to overwhelmed with depression to do much of anything. The darkness of knowing blinds me.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel!

      Depression & its ugly cousins (anxiety, insecurity, lack of energy) sure can kick you to the ground. I’m no stranger to that.

      I wish you patience and plenty of self-acceptance to pull through. You WILL pull through. You’re one of the strongest people I’ve met online.

      HUGS, Veronica

      Like

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