2017 was a year unlike any other. For a lot of people, it was scary, stressful, and a struggle to get through. But that’s not all it was.
I may not have ended my year with a signed agent, but I definitely made some forward progress.
I queried 31 agents, attended 2 writing conventions (including my 1st trip to Europe!), finished my second novel, wrote a third novel, and revised my first novel twice, (then edited it twice, cause you kinda got to after revising). I even got an R&R (Revise and resubmit) request from one agent!
Between Balticon and WorldCon: Helsinki, I hit 29 panels, 6 workshops, 2 presentations, 2 book launches, and 2 autograph signings. (Despite mostly having to queue up an hour before each Worldcon panel!) Plus, I met up with/made 3, no, 4 new writing friends in person. 🙂 And that doesn’t include the dozens of new friends I chat with weekly.
That all sounds pretty impressive! But, let’s look at the numbers.
My Writing Goals Last Year
I made sure to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound) goals.
By January 12th of last year, I was already starting to slip. But I didn’t give up.
Here are my admittedly mediocre results.
☑ Edit my first novel with editor
☑ Finish rough draft of my second novel [minimum 5k a week until done] – Knocked this out quickly!
☒ Edit my second novel [minimum 50 pages a week] — Nope. Didn’t touch it.
☒ Send my second novel to beta readers — Nope.
☒ Write a short story —HaHaHa. Well, did this in October and December, instead.
☑ Attend Balticon
☒ Revise my second novel [Notecards, rip to shreds, rebuild] — Nope
☑ Attend some-other con – Like WORLDCON!
☑ Plan my third novel – I did!
☑ NaNoWriMo my third novel [writing 50-75k words] – I finished the rough draft at just over 51k.
☑ Revise my first novel or my second novel as needed
☑ Keep querying? or R&R if requested? – Had FEEDBACK from a reject letter about my opening chapter, with what I believe was a R&R, so I worked on that.
■ Post 1 book review on Amazon/GoodReads – Fell short. Overall, I reviewed 5.5 books (the last review didn’t go up until this year) and ranked 25 books.
■ Submit 3 Queries for both my first novel and picture book- Fell short. Overall though, I queried 31 agents, which was only 5 short of my target. If you ignore that I’m combining totals from both books’s queries…
Top Lifetime Post
Posted towards the end of 2016, this post only had 53 views that year, but it became a sleeper hit and is now the main reason people who aren’t already following me find my blog. In 2017, it had 1,092 views!
In fact, I submitted an edited version of that blog post to the “Insecure Writers Group” for their essay anthology and it was selected! Becoming the first essay in the anthology and my first published work. (Free on Kindle!)
My Top 10 Posts of 2017
- PitchWars is Coming! #PimpMyBio
- Top 10 Tricks For a Better Query Letter
- Confession: I’ve Been Struggling
- How To Handle Rejection Letters
- Morgan’s LASIK adventure
- Writing Diversity
- The #1 Reason I Won’t Let You Read My Manuscript
- When Your Rough Draft Is Really Rough
- 3 Things That Make a Great 1st Line
- A Message To My Fellow PitchWars Hopefuls
My Top 3 Posts of 2016
My Top 3 Posts of 2015
Social Media Stats
I like stats and tracking progress, so here are my numbers for 2017. I tried to be both engaged and engaging, but outside of Facebook, I may have been more of a creator than a consumer of content.
First off, I worked on getting more followers for my twitter and FB Page. Then, I started my own Youtube channel! Between all my social media accounts, I added 3,099 followers, with over 2/3rds being twitter followers.
The FB groups I run are where most of my engagement is, though. So, if I want more of my followers on twitter to even see my posts, I should probably post there, and actually reply/retweet people’s posts a little more regularly.
This year I continued to keep my streak of blogging at least once a week. Once I started the vlog, I added to it at a weekly rate as well. My Goodreads stats are a bit deceptive as I added a bunch of books I’d read in years gone past when I created my account last year.
Some thoughts: I don’t see me posting here on the blog more often unless it’s quotes or images, but I should post to Instagram at least once a week. And if I’m going to use Pinterest, it would make sense to make mood boards for all my Works-In-Progress. Both for myself, my beta-readers, and my future fans! 😉
Account Break Down
- WordPress – I started this blog in April of 2015.
- Of my 81 posts, 21 of those were video versions of the weekly post. I think I’m going to combine these from now on.
- Altogether, this blog had 7,778 views, 5,211 visitors, 912 likes, and 210 comments.
- Twitter – MorganHzlwood – I joined in March of 2016
- Tumblr – MorganHazelwood – I joined in June of 2016
- In 2017, I posted 213 times. I counted. No clue how many posts prior.
- Instagram – MorganHazelwood – I joined in 2015
- Pinterest – MorganHazelwoo – I joined in 2015
- Facebook Pages – MorganHazelwoodPage – I joined in 2015
- Facebook – MorganSHazelwood – I joined in 2013.
- Google+ – Morgan S Hazelwood – I joined in 2013
- Stats! 28 likes and 2 comments. I counted.
- GoodReads – Morgan Hazelwood – I joined in January 2016
- My bookshelf holds 287 books (up 23 from last year, including 8 to-be-read)
- I did 3 reviews and 27 ratings last year, for a total of 7 reviews and 279 ratings.
I didn’t do as much as I’d hoped.
Some of that was external. People who are reading your work out of the kindness of their hearts and working around their own schedules aren’t necessarily going to adhere to your schedule. (Speaking of… I’ve been sitting on a 2 chapter critique since OCTOBER. Bad Morgan!)
Some of the was consequences of decisions.
- I had LASIK in May, which impacted the amount of time I could read/etc.
- In the fall/early winter, I applied for and got a new job. That required prep time, reviewing computer languages I hadn’t played with in 6 years, and some stress.
- I’m running 2 Facebook PitchWars support groups and administering another SFF writer’s group. That takes time, energy, and spoons.
- I’ve scheduled social time with friends Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. Add in my blog post writing and uploading Wednesday nights and full weekend social schedule and I’m simply not making my writing a priority. Most of the social stuff is low key, not more than dinner and TV time, but it’s still a major time chunk. I love my friends and family, but I might have to talk with them about changing this schedule.
And some of it was clear, outright laziness. Binge watching the West Wing and cheesy Christmas Movies. Spending hours staring at facebook…
I DID do a lot of writing, more revising on my first novel than anticipated, started a vlog, critiqued novels for friends and family, and read an average of more than 2 novels/novella’s a month. I queried my first novel on average more than twice a month and my Picture Book 4 times.
I may have fallen short, but you know what Les Brown says about that?
How well did you do on your goals?
Had you given up on them in January, did you rock the BLEEP out of them, or did you do okay but think you might do better with concrete, SMART goals?