2021 – The Writing Goals

Okay, I’m a tad late with this – after all, it is almost the end of January – but to be honest, it’s taken me some time to reset from 2020 and clarify what I want to do in 2021.

2020 wasn’t all bad – if you haven’t caught up, I posted my annual closing ceremony here

Like everyone else we had travel plans canceled and were separated from family – thanks to Queensland border closures I haven’t been able to see family since March – but living in regional Queensland felt a little like living in a bubble and given we couldn’t take a proper holiday, we made the most of short breaks within our state. All things considered, we did okay.

My day job was busy, and I’d taken on the presidency of Romance Writers of Australia and I committed to some freelance horoscope writing. I also published two books: I Want You Back and Careful What You Wish For

I finished editing Escape To Curlew Cottage and had the cover for Wish You Were Here redesigned to fit with that.

While it might have looked as though I was keeping my head above water, below the surface I was paddling madly. For much of the year, it felt as though I was going from one crisis or decision point to the next. Reactive rather than proactive. I certainly don’t feel as though I did any of it as well as I could have.

Take the two books I published, for example. Have you heard of them? Probably not given that I did absolutely no marketing or promotion for either. 

In the case of I Want You Back, even though I’d completely finished the book at the end of 2017 and, just quietly, love it, I’d been waiting to finish Careful What You Wish For in order to release both together as they do take place in the same time period. 

Careful What You Wish For was completed in 2019, and I began making plans to launch both in March 2020. So why didn’t I? It just didn’t feel right. 

Originally I delayed because both books are set (at least partially) in Melbourne and it didn’t feel appropriate to be releasing these during the lockdown. Plus, Careful What You Wish For is partly set in Hong Kong, but the Hong Kong that I explored extensively while up there for work between 2008-2010. That Hong Kong changed markedly in 2020. Further, Tiff, my leading lady, lives in Melbourne and travels extensively for work; and my male protagonist is a travel journalist. In 2020? Melbourne?

The fact is both of these books deserved a better start in life than the one I gave them, and I finished 2020 further away from my goal of being a successful full-time author.

Perhaps it was covid, perhaps it was all the other commitments I’d taken on, but the other thing to suffer in 2020 was my creativity. It was as if my imaginary world, the one that I can’t remember ever not being in my head, was gone. It was all suddenly, well, grey and practical. There were no new words, only a rewriting of previously written ones. It wasn’t until November and NaNoWriMo when I deliberately put my writing first and didn’t even attempt to keep up with my other commitments that the colour and the words began to come back. I hadn’t realised how little like me I’d been feeling until I began to feel like me again.

This year I’ve let go some more. I’ve stepped back from my role at RWA and I’ve made the decision to close my astrology website and will not be doing any more astrology freelance writing.

I’m concentrating on living my Instagram tag: author~baker~sunrise chaser.

Which brings me to this year’s writing goals.

Writing and Publishing

  1. Finish 3 books:
  • Complete It’s In The Stars – Alice Delaney’s story and the final in my Melbourne Girls chicklit series
  • Complete The House By The Lake – the sequel to Wish You Were Here and Happy Ever After, set in Queenstown
  • Write something completely new – either Ainsley St James’ story (from Careful What You Wish For) or Tallis’ story (from Escape To Curlew Cottage

2. Publish 2 books:

  • Escape To Curlew Cottage. The pre-order is up and set to publish on March 12.
  • It’s In the Stars

Sales and Marketing

  1. Triple my 2020 sales. This might sound a lot, but I did no marketing at all in 2020 and my sales figures reflected that.

2. Build my email list and send a newsletter out every single month.

Behind this dual goal are other objectives – finish the ad courses I’ve started and finish writing the lead magnet for my email list.

Blogging and Content

I’ve looked to my Instagram tag for direction here:

  1. My author website: Joannetracey.com

Blog weekly –what I’m reading, what I’m writing, publishing progress

2. My foodie website: Brookfordkitchendiaries.com

A companion site to the Brookford series of books, BKR is all about baking and books:

  • The baking inspired by my books or baking that’s inspiring my writing
  • The baking inspired by books I’m reading. The first of these was posted the other day – a bake inspired by Wuthering Heights
  • The baking inspired by other writers. Keep your eye out for a new monthly series where I talk to other writers – both authors and bloggers – who bake.

3. And Anyways – the rambles of a hungry writer

My weekly wrap-ups, travel posts, and other wordy rambles. 

Checking in…

I’ll tune in monthly for health checks against these goals, but other than that I really want to just let the flow thing happen and follow my imagination a tad more.

What about you? Are you setting writing goals this year or, indeed reading goals? Are you a writer who bakes and would like to be featured in my new series? If so, please message me…