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Completion and progress

The Celtic triskelion symbol (at right) represents completion and progress, and a sense of advancement. A fitting metaphor for reviewing the past year and looking toward the next one, I think.

There’s something to be said for accountability. Writing down how much I spend, eat, or write makes me more likely to stick to my goals.

In 2010, I only tracked my word count, but that didn’t tell the whole story. Some months I had almost no words, but I’d still been working hard. So for 2011, I tracked all of the hours that I deemed directly contributed toward publication or making money: revising, researching, reading craft books, preparing query letters and contest entries, taking workshops, and teaching Scrivener classes.

Because you wouldn’t expect anything less, here’s a snapshot of my productivity for 2011.

  • Total (net) words written: 173,617 (14,468 words/month average)
  • Total writing/revising hours worked: 377.25 (31.5 hours/month average)
  • Total hours worked on all writing-related activities: 736.25 (61 hours/month average)

Words by Month - 2011

(Note: Word counts are net. During NaNo my manuscript contained 50,200+ words.)

Hours per Month (blue=writing/revs, red=total) - 2011

May and August have a low writing/total ratio because I was teaching classes. June was similar because of the RWA conference.

What’s not included is the time I spent on writing-related activities that don’t directly contribute to more words, better writing, or making money in some way: blogging, tweeting, checking my Facebook author page, reading/answering emails, volunteering for RWA groups/events, and Citizens Police Academy classes.


  • Golden Heart final, The Sandy Contest win, Between the Sheets Contest 2nd place
  • Attended RWA National Conference and pitched to an agent and editor, both of whom requested
  • Received eight full requests and four partial requests
  • Received four rejections with specific feedback, including one request for my next project
  • Won NaNoWriMo
  • Proposed and taught two Scrivener online classes, and figured out how to host the class myself in 2012


  • Only met hours-worked goals in four of 12 months
  • Didn’t meet manuscript completion goals

Plans for 2012:

  • 1500 words/day, 5 days/week when writing
  • Two hours of revisions/day, 5 days/week when revising
  • Complete and polish current manuscript, and one additional MS
  • Stay off email, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs until writing/revising goals met
  • Teach two Scrivener online classes
  • Attend RWA National Conference and WRW Retreat
  • Win NaNoWriMo
How did you do in 2011? Are you going to make any changes in how you work? What are your plans for 2012?

Photo credit:

Channeling Janus

Janus on a Roman coin (by dreamsdarkly at /albums/ae141/dreamsdarkly /The%20Ancient%20World /Janus2.jpg)

In ancient Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings, and time. He’s also the namesake for the month of January. So it seemed fitting to use him to represent the post where I look back over 2010 and forward into 2011.

Last January, I mapped out my writing plan and goals for the year. Some ended up being downright laughable, especially in a year where I was moving and doing a lot of traveling. Write and polish three manuscripts comes to mind. I revised and polished one, and wrote another.

My goal to write 1000 words per day, six days a week was not too tough when I was writing, but made me feel like a complete failure when I was in revision mode. This year, I'm going to track hours spent on writing tasks, not just word count.

My writing productivity measured by words per month looked like this in 2010. (Yes, I’m a total geek about tracking and graphing.)

Revisions, moving, and traipsing around Europe last summer, put a damper on my word counts.

While I can’t directly control whether I’ll land an agent or sign a publication contract, I can control the actions that make those things more likely. And based on last year’s experience, I’ve set goals that force me to stretch, but aren’t so unrealistic that I’ll be tempted to give up half way through.

Plan for 2011

  • Spend three hours on writing, revisions, plotting/brainstorming, or research at least five days per week
  • Post a blog entry three days/week, generally Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
  • Query ten agents for each completed MS
  • Write two single title manuscripts, and get at least one fully polished
  • Complete lesson plan for Scrivener course and set up delivery method, offering at least twice
  • Enter one MS in the Daphne and Golden Heart contests
  • Attend RWA National conference in NYC, and pitch to at least one agent or editor

So, what’s your plan for the new year? Whatever your goals, I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you!