At the start of the year, I set out ten goals. But back then, we had no idea what 2020 had in store for us, did we? With everything that’s happened since, I was trepidacious about finding out how I’d done. But you know what? I’ve not only done well, I’ve smashed many of my goals for the first six months of the year! I couldn’t be happier. Here’s my round-up of January to June…
1 – Write a schedule.
I did this, and up until April, I followed it to a tee. Then in April, I rescheduled, and am trying to remember to check what I should be doing every week. Because when I check my schedule and take action, I get things done. 2020 so far has proved that. Win! One point.
2 – Write four books.
So far, I’ve published two novels – Before You Say I Do and One Golden Summer. Plus, I’ve written a lockdown novella which I plan to release in August, called Try Me Again. I am still on track to write four novels, but I’m currently weighing up whether or not to follow through with publishing them all this year. Publishing three novels and one novella would still be a solid output for the year, and it would mean pushing the fourth novel back to January 2021. The more I think about it, the more I might do this. But I’m still thinking. However, this goal so far is a win! Two published novels! One point.
3 – Invest in my backlist
New books are tickety-boo, but backlist is where a good chunk of my income is made. Therefore, if I want to be a better publisher, I need to take care of my backlist. Makes sense, right? This year, I planned to release boxsets of my London Romance series, Books 4-6 and Books 1-6. I also wanted to re-cover my All I Want series in its entirety: six books and three boxsets. Reader, I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ve done ALL of this. I know. I’m patting my back as I type. Total win! One point. Doing well, aren’t we?
4 – Sink into story
This goal was a little vague, I’m not gonna lie. Here is an excerpt from the original blog: ‘When I walk down the street, people are going to shout, “Hey, there goes the story lady!”‘ Uh-huh. Not quite sure what I was on when I wrote this. I’m guessing what I meant was that I wanted to watch more TV & films, read more books, do a course or two. I’ve been doing this. Plus, I have bought a story course, now I just need to do it. Vague semi-win. Half a point.
5 – Invest in audiobooks
This goal is on track, as I’m getting all my new output done as I launch. Made In London came out in February; A Taste Of Love came out in March. I sold the audio rights to Before You Say I Do, so that will be out in October; and One Golden Summer is being recorded soon. By the end of the year, my audio catalogue will be significantly boosted. Solid win. One point.
6 – Re-learn advertising
Learning ads isn’t cool. I’m a cool kid. That’s my excuse. However, learning ads might also transform the way I run my business. Plus, it would get my books out to more readers. That would be very cool. I need to learn ads. It’s back on the schedule for 2020, and will probably be impacted by my decision for goal number two. This goal is an un-win. Sad face. No point for me.
7 – Plan time off
I did this! I had four trips and three conferences planned in 2020, ranging from five to ten days each. I wanted to sip a pina colada. Take a walk in the rain. Make love at midnight. That sort of thing. But then, you know what happened. All my plans went up in smoke. However, I haven’t taken time off in lieu of my failed holidays. I need to do that. I can do better. Half a point.
8 – Do some translations
Just as the UK wants to head out of Europe, I want to run in, waving my books in the air. 2020 has been my year of translations – at least, signing the contracts for them. Nothing To Lose, A Taste Of Love & Before You Say I Do are all going to be out in German by the end of 2021, which is wunderbar! However, I’ve also signed a contract with a Brazilian publisher for Before You Say I Do to be translated into Portuguese. I’d love to sell the rights for French and Italian translations, too. It’s something I plan on looking into this year and next. But this goal – huge win! One point.
9 – Look after my body better
2020 has been the year I got professional help for my body. I hired a physio, which has helped to stretch and pummel my muscles into doing what I want them to. Plus, I bought a new keyboard, monitor and chair to help with my posture. I’m still a work in progress, but ergonomically, I’m 100 per cent better. I also wanted to lose weight, but that hasn’t happened. However, I haven’t gained any either, plus I’ve kept up my HiiT routine throughout lockdown. It’s a semi-win so far. Half a point.
10 – Be kinder to myself
Here’s what I said at the start of the year: ‘There’s only one of me, and I want to have a great life around my writing, too. This year, I plan to clear weekends to spend time with my wife, friends & family. To celebrate my wins. To remember this is my dream job and not take it all too seriously. If I miss a deadline, so be it. It happens. Writing is not a mater of life or death.’
Have I achieved this goal? Yes and no. The first half of 2020 has been a lot of work. I’ve got oodles of stuff done, but it’s taken its toll. I feel like I need a holiday! I need to be kinder to myself in the second half of the year, and take time off. This year, I have celebrated the wins, and I’ve spent a ton of time with my wife in lockdown. That’s been great. 2020 has taught me I have a terrific life and a wonderful, loving relationship. I couldn’t be more grateful. Semi-win. Half a point.
Final scores on the doors! Seven out of a possible ten points, which is a great start! For the rest of the year, I need to learn ads, do my course, get fitter, take time off and be kinder to myself. I have great faith I can achieve this. Here’s to the rest of 2020 being better for the whole world. I hope it improves for you, too.