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2012 hits and misses

As_janus_rostrum_okretu_ciachNo matter what plans might have fallen by the wayside in 2012, I can’t be too disappointed since it’s the year I became a published author. Hard to beat that.

Well, except by becoming a published romantic suspense author with a fat advance, awesome covers, a multi-book deal, and a gazillion sales. 😉

Hey, I need something to strive for in 2013, right?

I’m not much on resolutions, and my goals tend to morph a little as the year goes on, but I like to start the new year by evaluating the previous year’s performance and set goals for the next 12 months. It’s become a tradition for me to share with you how I did, what I learned, and my plans going forward.

2012 was an abysmal failure from a fiction writing standpoint. But professionally speaking it was a great year in other ways. I got the contract for and wrote Scrivener For Dummies, and it released in August. What a whirlwind!

So here’s my look back, and forward.

2012 Stats

I wrote 113,384 total words, not including blog posts (regardless of purpose/site). June and July were busy spent on revisions and attending conference, so I have hours there, but no words.


I worked 768 hours, not including blogging (except promotional blogs), reading/answering email, networking on Twitter or Facebook, reading craft blogs, or volunteer hours for my writing chapters. I count hours for long stretches of research or craft reading, but not the little snippets I sometimes take here and there.



– Completed and polished a manuscript, though it wasn’t the one that I’d anticipated. Not that I’m complaining. 😉

– Taught two Scrivener courses for both Mac and Windows, and moved to running them myself.

– Researched, tested, and paid for new online class platform.

– Attended RWA National Conference and my local chapter retreat.

– Read several craft and research books.

– Blogged weekly.


– No completed fiction manuscripts. I got one about half finished, another about half edited, and a new one outlined.

– I didn’t come close to my word count or revision goals.

– No NaNoWriMo three-peat this year.

Goals for 2013

In an effort to focus on putting in the time instead of just words, I’m changing things up a little. I’ll talk next week in more detail about what I’m doing to make these goals more likely to happen.

– 60-90 minutes of writing or revisions every non-holiday weekday. Striving for at least 1000 words during writing sessions.

– Teach two Scrivener online classes for both Mac and Windows on new WizIQ platform.

– Check/respond to email, Facebook, Twitter, or other blogs after morning writing is done, but by 9:30am.

– Set more boundaries between my personal and professional life by limiting my “work” (writing, business emails, chapter volunteer duties) to weekday hours as much as possible.

– Continue to blog weekly.

So that’s how I did and what I’m looking forward to. How was 2012 for you? What plans do you have for 2013?

Image credit: By Ultima Thule, 1927 (Ultima Thule, 1927) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Audra


    Hi Gwen, wonderful goals met and set. Keeping track of your hours spent on various tasks surrounding the actual writing is a real eye opener. I love your graphs : ) They put life in perspective. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2013. I’ll be watching for info on your class for Schrivener for Windows. I bought the program…and your book…but I think an actual workshop on it would be helpful, too.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Audra! For those days/weeks/months when I don’t have any words to show, it really helps to be able to see that I’ve been working. It also helps me see where I’m slacking. 😉

      Thanks for buying the book. I hope you’re finding it helpful. The February classes are open for registration now. Just click on the Scrivener Classes link at the top of the screen for more info. Good luck with your own goals for 2013!

  2. Reply

    Hi Gwen! Not too shabby of a year for you! Congrats on the Dummies book. I must admit, since I bought it, I’ve only read a little since my wife and I have been moving. Next week, though!

    You didn’t say in your 2013 goals that you were going to finish your romantic suspense novel. How come?

  3. Reply

    Thanks, Rich! And good catch. I should have put down my manuscript goals. I’m actually planning to finish two. Now it’s out there. I have to do it! 😉

    Hope the move went well. That’s a chore I’m quite familiar with. I like new places, but the unpacking, not so much. Happy New Year!

  4. Reply

    I’ll admit when you first included craft blogs as part of your work time, I was uncertain what knitting, crocheting, and the like had to do with your books. Then it occurred to me you meant the craft of writing. 😛

    I truly enjoyed taking the Scrivener class with you last year, and I wish you the best with your fiction writing this year.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Erin! Actually, craft blogs are those I *don’t* include in my hours, but yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve gotten so used to the terms “craft books” and “craft blogs” referring to writing craft that I don’t think about it anymore. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the class. Good luck with your own writing this year!

  5. Reply

    Wow. Great plans for 2013 plus a review of last year’s accomplishments. Man, you put me to shame. Check out my list (last post in my blog). I feel pretty good about it, though it might be a bit on the ambitious side. One of my highlights of last year was getting my very own signed copy of Scrivener for Dummies 🙂 Love that book.

    Congrats on having a great 2012. I’m positive 2013 will be even bigger and better than last year. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for you over the coming months.

    • Reply

      You’re too sweet, Dave (re: the book). I almost always fall flat on some of my goals, but then I meet others I hadn’t even considered. It helps me to have a destination to strive for, but flexibility is key.

      I think of it like a road trip where you don’t have to get there by a certain date, and detours along the way for interesting sights make it more fun. When I’m under deadline again someday, I’ll skip the scenic pullouts. 😉

  6. Reply

    Incredible statistics! I’m starting to turn green, but won’t. Next month I’m taking your Scrivener class and I’m hoping it will improve my productivity. In fact three out of five people in my writing critique group are taking your class.

    I’m trying to do a post IE blog every two weeks. I want to see how that works, and every time I turn around my publicist says, “oh, can you write an article about xxx for next week.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that I am asked and then I can do it. But it seems to be cutting into my writing the next book time.

    However, Gwen, you have inspired me and tomorrow I’m starting my 2013 word count per day calculator!

    Barbara Lazar

    author of Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai, Headline Publishing, 2012

    • Reply

      Ha, Barbara, don’t turn green! 😉 Everyone has their own pace. I’ll bet if you kept track of your time, you might find you’re doing more than you think. But those unexpected requests can really get in the way of writing. You’ll notice that I didn’t get any significant fiction work done last year. Lost all the momentum I had going after finaling in the Golden Heart. I’m hoping to change that for 2013.

      I’m glad the class date will work for you this time, and it’ll be nice for you to have others to work through it with. Good luck getting back on track and writing the next book!

  7. Peggy Vincent


    Gwen, I’m going to be having rather drastic orthopedic surgery soon. I don’t have an OR date yet, nor do I know exactly what they will be doing or what my recovery will be like. It’ll be my 7th joint replacement/revision on knees/hips in 6 years, so I have experience and know I’ll be on narcotics for several weeks afterwards. How is this likely to impact my taking your course? Do you think I should wait till you offer it again in the (hopefully) near future? Peggy Vincent

    • Reply

      Yikes, Peggy! I’m sorry you have to keep going through that. As far as class goes, I guess it depends on how much energy you think you’ll have when class starts next month. Each lesson is about 30-60 minutes and there are about five each week for four weeks, so catching up could take a while. That said, I keep the class open an extra two weeks for questions because people often fall behind or want help with their own projects.

      My next class will be in September. Just email me to let me know what you want to do. Good luck with your surgery!

  8. Reply

    Gwen, your hit helped me hit! Your blog introduced me to Scrivener and because of it I finally completed a NaNoWriMo and finished with a workable first draft! Scrivener has also enabled me to edit sanely. Your book is always at my elbow and I gotta say, I am glad you did all you did in 2012 because you really did a lot for me! I can’t be the only one, so thanks and Karma gotta give you that next goal this year!

      • Reply

        If 2013, isn’t a good year, I have only myself and fate to blame! I certainly have the tools to get a lot accomplished! Here’s wishing great results for all that elbow grease!

        -Did you recommend Debra Dixon’s father’s book: When you are the Only Cop in Town? If so, double thanks for that recommendation too! 😀

        • Reply

          Cristine: You have the right attitude. That counts for a lot. I didn’t recommend that book–though I think someone mentioned it on a blog post I did on Kiss & Thrill–but I’ve heard good things.

  9. Reply

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

    • Reply

      Oh no, Arjun. I hate when that happens. I’ve started copying my longer comments before publishing them for just that reason. So frustrating. Anyway, thanks for trying again, and for letting me know you like my site!

  10. Reply

    Hi Gwen
    I’m in your Sept Scrivener class and popped over here after Lesson 11 to learn more about tracking productivity. I do something similar to what you do each year minus the word count which I now plan to add. I’d like to know how or what software you use to create the graphs in this post. They are terrific and since I’m highly visual, I think they would be useful and effective in terms of motivation and validation.

    • Reply

      Patricia: I used Apple Numbers to create the graphs, but you can do the same thing in Microsoft Excel.

      To answer your question below, while I think all writing has value, I don’t count blog words because I’m trying to motivate myself to work on my fiction. I do count the blog post hours because they’re still “work hours”–especially now that I have a book and classes to promote.

      Thanks for checking out my site! 🙂

  11. Reply

    A second thought: Why don’t you count blog post words. It feels like shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to productivity. But I’m sure you have a good reason.

  12. Pingback: My 2013 hits and misses | Gwen Hernandez

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