“2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.”

-Notes to myself on beginning a painting, by Richard Diebenkorn

Good morning compadres, it’s the second day of the year.

Yesterday was somewhat sedentary but we did still manage to vacuum the house, put away the Christmas tree, and pack away 99% of her 18 month and younger clothes. I relied heavily on premade stuff for meals (nuggets, gyoza, pizza and salad) but what is a vacation without unhealthy meals?

I also ordered Good Eggs everything for Carter’s birthday–a Moroccan chicken and couscous meal kit, chocolate strawberry organic cake, and some spicy giardiniera (plus some pre-cooked frozen chicken halves) for myself. Once upon a time I would have embraced a birthday as an opportunity to express my love by making everything from scratch and fiddling with plating and hand-picking flowers but I spent a good ten minutes patting myself on the back last night for figuring out his birthday arrangements in advance and having it all delivered to our doorstep and my general wifely excellence. No fuss, no muss.

Now, the big thing: Side Venture. I’ve been avoiding this a bit because I haven’t been as productive as I wanted to be over the break due to the sinus bug, perioding, and toddler-wrangling. But, I’ve run out of excuses now (having updated my expenses spreadsheet and all that jazz) and must begin again. It’s a quirk of human nature that we avoid painful things by making it more painful by ignoring it…but some sprints today will cure that little issue.

Summing up financially: $4835 made, $4045 spent.

Not all of this is SF; some of it is romance (esp. w/r/t profit). Much of the spending, especially towards the end of the year, has to do with prep for 2018’s books. I went on a wee bit of a spending spree on covers and ads-booking in order to avoid having to pay quarterly taxes in the new year, moreover. Nonetheless, I am in the black.

I was close, *so close* to the $5k goal I set at the beginning of the year. I suppose if I was being generous to myself and rounded it off, I hit the goal, but I also did not publish/write as much as I planned to and I think it’s worth being forthright with myself about that. 2017 was not a total failure, and not a total success–a definite mixed bag.

As cliched as it may sound, I *did* learn a lot through success and failure, and attracted a small group of dedicated readers for which I feel very grateful. I get itchy now if I go too many days without writing. I feel more confident about my technique and strategies. I embraced the sprint, and the outline.

2018 soft goals and objectives
1. Improve ads knowledge, especially of Facebook ads and AMS
2. Boost writing speed, wordcount production

2018 hard goals
1. Earn $10k total
2. Grow mailing list to 2500 people
3. Attempt rapid release schedule in summer with anthology project

2018’s tentative schedule:
Jan: publish book 3, write book 1 in anthology project
Feb: finish book 1, get it edited; start book 2
Mar: finish book 2, get it edited
Apr: start book 3
May: finish book 3, get it edited
June: book 1 published in anthology; write book 4 in old series
July: book 2 publish; finish book 4 in old series *or* standalone novel [depending on response to anthology project]
July-Aug: book 3 publish
Sept: finish book 4/standalone, have it edited, publish it
Oct: book 1 publish; start Kindle Scout campaign for standalone (30 days)
Nov: publish standalone (assuming I don’t get picked, which is the most likely scenario)
Dec: take a goddamn break.

4 novels is not *that* much more than 2 in the Indie world, so in an ideal world I’ll make time to write one more and do both the standalone and book 4, but that’s going to be a reach goal thanks to the wee one. I can count on the anthology project to force me to produce on schedule since I’m accountable to 7 other authors. I might really need a big break after 4, though. I’m only human, and there may be a pregnancy in the offing sometime this year (who knows when and how that affects the schedule?).

$10k seems really unlikely but it feels like the right hard goal at the same time.

Well, onwards.