2018 was a year unlike any other. Some parts were stressful, some parts were lazy, and some parts? Some parts were productive.
As with 2017, I may not have ended my year with a signed agent, but I didn’t just sit around.
I queried 9 agents, attended 2 writing conventions (including my 1st time as a panelist!), wrote my fourth novel, several short stories, 31 poems, and revised my first novel twice, including that R&R from 2017 (that turned into a rejection).
Between Balticon and WorldFantasyCon, I hit 21 panels, (plus the one I was on), attended 3 different writing groups, joined 3 groups (although not all the same ones), hit a local writer’s workshop, and even picked up the mic at a poetry jam night.
This year, I did a lot more interacting in person, versus all the virtual interaction I’ve done in the past, but I love comparing numbers, so let’s look at them.
My Writing Goals Last Year
I made sure to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound) goals.
- Query novel #1 at least 3 times every other week until I get an agent
- unless I’m revising it
- Let’s hear it for caveats. The only way this possibly qualified.
- Move forward with my picture book
- revise at least one of my shelved rough drafts
- Write something NEW during NaNoWriMo
- half credit if I rewrite something old
- Keep blogging and decide if vlogging is worth it
- Try to use social media better
- more one-liners on tumbler
- more consistent posts on twitter
- instagram at least 1x a week
- Read an average of 2 books a month,
- rank them on GoodReads
- Bonus Points – review them!
And give myself a pass if I get nothing done in March (likely moving) or December (recovering from NaNo + holiday/family obligations).
The move was longer than expected, but December was as predicted. Things outside this list I achieved though?
- Joining Write By The Rails and The Broad Universe
- Reading my poem (written about my nerves waiting for query feedback) at a poetry night
- Being on my 1st panel
- Writing a poem a day for October
- Writing 1 short story for querying and tossing 3 short snippets up on Reddit
Top Lifetime Post
My sleeper hit from 2016 had 1,145 views before this year, was published in a book of writing essays here, and now it’s up to 1,945! Beating viewings this year alone of my next most popular post by a factor of FOUR!
This year, I started 2 new features on my blog, and participated in a blog hop. None of these items proved very popular, but I hope their following will grow and plan to keep doing them. My features are, of course, my Query Corner — where I rewrite queries with authors preparing to enter the query trenches, and my Author Spotlight — to help promote friends works. I’m no longer hustling for entries, but will share them when I have content for them. (If you’d like to participate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Top 10 Posts of 2018
- When you Ask For Someone To Read Your First Chapter
- Agents and Editors Share–Pitches They’re Sick Of!
- So You’ve Decided To Write A Novel – Here are 7 Tips to Get Started
- When Querying A Novel: Hope Can be The Scariest Thing
- A Starter’s Guide For Fiction Writers Trying To “Establish A Social Media Presence” Part 1
- PitchWars? Not For Me, This Year
- Why You Should Consider An Agent If You’re Hoping To Publish Traditionally
- 3 Things To Consider Before “Fixing” Your Writing
- A Starter’s Guide For Fiction Writers Trying To “Establish A Social Media Presence” Part 2
- Tips On Writing Characters With Agency
My Top 5 YouTube Videos! of 2018
- How To Create a New Mythology
- 10 Questions To Ask Your Beta Readers
- Tips For Writing Characters With Agency
- What Lies Beneath: Adding Subtext To Your Story
- Agents & Editors Share: Pitches They’re Sick Of (and one’s they’d love to see more of)
My Top 3 Posts of 2017
- PitchWars is Coming! #PimpMyBio
- Top 10 Tricks For a Better Query Letter
- Confession: I’ve Been Struggling
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 2018. I tried to be both engaged and engaging, while still invested in upping my content creation in all mediums.
First off, I worked on getting more followers for my Youtube channel and Instagram. I was sporadic in my Pinterest and Reddit usage. Having hit the Twitter follow limit, I can only add people as people add me.
Between all my social media accounts, I added 2,721 followers, about 300 shy of last year’s additions. As always, Twitter was the bulk of the adds, but percentage-wise, my Youtube channel was 1st, with 73% growth, Instagram and Tumblr followers more than doubled, and even WordPress was up around 43%.
This year I maintained my streak of blogging at least once a week and kept up with the vlogging. My Goodreads stats are books added to my library, the last 2 years are the books I’ve read. (My FB page wouldn’t give my year stats and stopped letting my scroll in mid-2016, so, those stats are incomplete, but I can compare to last year.)
Based on my plans from last year, I averaged posting to Instagram twice a week, so doubled my goal. And I did start using Pinterest, even if it was horribly inconsistent.
Account Break Down
- WordPress – I started this blog in April of 2015.
- Here are my stats as compared to last year are as follows… I have to admit, I’m liking the improved engagement!
- 8,759(+981) views
- 5658(+447) visitors
- 107 posts
- 1406 (+494) likes
- 587 (+377) comments
- Twitter – MorganHzlwood – I joined in March of 2016.
- I could be more engaged. I should try at least once a week to go through and read a couple of my lists back a few days. Mostly, I just post and respond to my notifications. It’s a good way to avoid the drama that it can be prone to.
- Tumblr – MorganHazelwood – I joined in June of 2016
- With the new regulations, I’m not sure if Tumblr will still be kicking this time next year, but I’m still trying to stay active with the writeblr community. And I’ve gotten better at reblogging content and using their queue feature. I’d be pretty solid on use if I queued up stuff for 20 minutes once a week.
- Instagram – MorganHazelwood – I joined in 2015.
- Confession: I was about 50 followers shy of 1k last week, but there was a BookBlogger and Writer community group follow event that I joined. And I *think* I saw a prototype for making groups or lists on here, which would be awesome for clearing some of the clutter.
- Pinterest – MorganHazelwoo – I joined in 2015.
- I’ve stepped up my usage, but only sporadically. I should keep up with this a bit more. Definitely should make a mood board for my MG novel.
- Facebook Pages – MorganHazelwoodPage – I joined in 2015.
- FB often shows my posts to fewer than 10% of my followers. It’s annoying, but I’m not paying. I’ll just keep reposting on my personal page as well.
- Facebook – MorganSHazelwood – I joined in 2013.
- Most of my new followers were new members of the PitchWars support groups and people I met in person at actual events.
- Google+ – Morgan S Hazelwood – I joined in 2013
- Stats! 37 (+9) likes and 2 comments. I counted. This is supposed to die this year, though.
- GoodReads – Morgan Hazelwood – I joined in January 2016
- I read 26 books this year, beating my target of 2 books a month!
- I rated all of them and reviewed 3 of them.
- Reddit – Morgan Hazelwood – I joined in January of 2017.
- I actually started using reddit this year, and now my karma is 406!
- I had 19 posts, 3 of them were short stories, and 1 was that poem I read for the open mic night.
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. My paying job got very busy for the second half of the year, really ramping up in the 4th quarter.
Some of the issues were the consequences of decisions.
- I bought a house in April and moved in May.
- I’m still running 2 Facebook PitchWars support groups and administering another SFF writer’s group. That takes time, energy, and spoons.
- I decided to do my best to keep up with at least 5 different types of social media.
- I really like 9 hours of sleep a night, even if 7 is more standard.
- I still have 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…
One could argue that I’ve been de-prioritizing my writing over my networking this year, but… honestly? I’m a bit burnt out and I’m going to be gentle on myself.
I DID do a lot of writing, more revising on my first novel than anticipated, grew my vlog, critiqued novels for friends and family, and read an average of more than 2 novels/novella’s a month.
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?