Mid-Year Check in! (aka, I am so behind!)

Hello my lovelies! I hope the first six months of 2022 have been treating you mostly well. It's been a roller coaster over here and I had to let go of a few personal goals, aka passing on a job opportunity, because in the end, taking a $25k pay cut and moving to a more expensive living area wasn't in the cards. And that hurt.


Gif of Captain Seahawk and Glimmer saying "Adventure"

But! I have continued to make steady progress on my writing goals even if I'm not quite where I wanted to be there either. I've played with quarterly planning in the past, but this year, I attacked it with earnestness. My first quarter theme was Chasing Adventure and my second quarter theme was Finding Balance. I didn't do a blog post for the second quarter, but you can read all about my Quarter 1 intentions and struggles with with my Kaban board here: Chasing Adventure!


I have to report that my shift to my Quarter 2 Kaban board went much smoother! Now that I have the corkboard and the pins, it was just a matter of writing things up and sticking them in. But, in the end, I didn't find as much balance in my Q2 as I'd been hoping for.

Gif of Stitch in a nightgown and collapsing in exhaustion

Here's where I think I went wrong. I was in the process of a revision for Harpy Girls and at this stage I was waiting on other people to provide feedback. So that threw me off a bit because other people's schedules are not in my control. I also went on vacation where I envisioned having so much time to write! But in the end, I didn't get as much time (people actually like to do things on vacation? I know, it's weird. I just want to be left alone to drink yummy drinks and do nothing but write). I also continued to underestimate the emotional toll of being in the classroom. This year was supposed to be better and my friends, it was not. Not only do we have Covid and high absentee rates, but teaching my 9th graders was closer to teaching 6th graders because of the social emotional learning deficit. Not to mention the general attacks on teachers as being the worst people in the world. Apparently we're all hell-bent on indoctrinating kids and destroying society... But the end result was that when I got home from from school, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and being creative just wasn't in the cards. So, in the end, I over planned AGAIN for what I thought I could get through.


My Q2 board on April 1st and June 30th:


For my Q3, I plan on trying to set even FEWER goals and my theme is: Radical Recalibration! I don't know if it'll work. And honestly, several of my goals I'm just going to keep rolling over from previous quarters. I'm also thinking that maybe for 2023 I might need to do thirds instead of quarters. I feel like I'm only just getting going at the end of 3 months, so maybe for me, I need to set things up in 4 month increments and have 3 periods all together. I also need to continue to adjust my goals to make sure they are things *I* control and actively influence.

gif of a character from The Office saying "New Plan"

Writing:


So, by this point in the year, I had hoped to be querying Harpy Girls, have a completed zero draft of Pony Death Gods, and a plan of attack for rewriting SAMM for the adult fantasy market. And, well, I’ve accomplished NONE of those things. I have finished a rather involved rewrite of Harpy Girls based on some outstanding feedback. And that’s it. Aside from having batted around ideas for both PDG and SAMM, I haven’t done any actual writing for them. And that’s okay (I’ve had to say this to myself a lot these past weeks). Harpy Girls is out with beta readers. I should be getting feedback by the end of July and barring any major changes, my goal is to send out my queries in the end of August and beginning of September.


I finished my rewrite and subsequent read through for continuity/grammar errors at the beginning of June and I took the rest of the month off from writing. I had a small twinge of guilt, but there was nothing pushing me to write, so I accepted that I needed that time to just chill and let my creative well replenish. Camp NaNo started July 1st and I made my goal to draft 50k of ~something~. My two options are Harpy Girls II and Pony Death Gods. I can even work on both if that’s what my heart desires. My main goal is to just draft without worrying about anything else. As for my plans for SAMM, they will continue to simmer on the back burner. Reimagining it for the adult market is going to be intensive because I’m thinking minimum of three books and I want to make sure I have a comprehensive plan in place for character and plot arcs to fit that. And SAMM isn’t going anywhere, so it can just continue to chill.


Which means that my Q3 goals for writing are just to draft 50k of ~something~ and to finalize Harpy Girls and get it out into agent’s inboxes. Two very lowkey, quiet goals.


Social:

Meme of Boromir saying "One does not simply have a personal brand like mine"

My overall goals for growing my social presence continue to stay where they are. I’ve found the most success here both quarters. I’m trying to be mindful of what I’m good at and at not overdoing it and getting burned out. My schedule of posting to Instagram on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday has been going well and I added in Sunday specifically for Sunday Snippets because it’s been fun. I’ve gotten a bit behind on getting good book photos, but I think I’ll manage to catch up in July. I was also trying to do more reels, but in the end, they just aren’t my strength. So if I get a good idea or manage one, then I do it, but I’m not going to be as intentional with them going forward. Overall, I’m happy with how my Instagram is working out and that it’s a clearly curated space for me as an author and reader.


I had a bit of trouble keeping up with my blog in May and in June, but still managed to get posts up. My goal continues to be two posts a month and I’m hoping to actually (**finally**) get ahead of it in July and August. I’d like to be able to have my blogs drafted out two to three months in advance so all I have to do is finalize them and post them. Readership has been up and down (*waves enthusiastically* thank you for reading!!!) and varies depending on the topic. I’m not overly worried about it—all I can do is keep blogging and having fun being all rambly and sharing weird tangents with y’all. In the end, very few changes here as I seem to have this area pretty well sorted.


Other:


GIF of Home Simpson saying "Hmm, your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter."

My Other category has been woefully neglected throughout the year. And I’m okay with that. It was always intended as a “if I have time stretch goal” type of thing. And, as I’ve noted, there hasn’t been as much time as I’d hoped. I did consider taking it off completely and just having two focus areas, but in the end, I’m continuing to keep it because NOT getting it done hasn’t had any ill effects on my mental desire to cross all the things off my to-do list. It’s staying as a way to focus me if I need some outside project to work on. I got about ½ of my tasks done on the Newsletter front and will continue to work on those. I’m still hoping to have my first newsletter go out in the fall, but if it gets pushed to the new year, I’m 100% okay with that.


I’d also like to create and manage a Patreon. I have some ideas for the content I want to include and my goal is to have that launch in the spring of 2023, so I’m doing the planning now. Also, if there is anything you would love to see from me in particular regarding a Patreon, let me know! So in this category, I have very very very few tasks overall.


Behold, the official Quarter 3 Kaban Board:

My Q3 Kaban board with writing, social, and newsletter categories and post it notes for individual tasks

I have to say, I find this entire process very satisfying. I love being able to move tasks from the needs done to the finished area. I do wish my sticky notes actually worked though because the push pins are effective, but they require both hands and a bit of coordination to move about and I can’t film one of those cool videos where I move all my sticky notes from one place to another and play it in high speed. (I know, weird thing to gripe about, but here we are!)


I’m excited to move into Q3 and see if my planning is better. This whole process is one that require constant adjustment and flexibility, especially this year as I find my way forward and decide what method works best for me and gain a better idea of what I am and am not capable of getting done in a 3 month time period!


How do you plan? I’d love to see your ideas and methods or helpful hints in the comments! Or just cheer me on (I love being cheered on!) We’re halfway through 2022 folx! Let’s make the rest of the year as good as we can and control the things we can control!


Amenophus and I wish you Happy writing this quarter!!

pic of a white cat laying on his side

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