Nicole J Simms/ December 31, 2020/ Blog/ 0 comments

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Q4 and 2020 Writing and Reading Goals Review

Wow, 2020 is nearly over. I can’t believe how fast the year has gone. Well, with a new year heading our way, it’s time to review my Q4 and 2020 writing and reading goals.

2020 has been a strange year for us all, thanks to Covid-19 making an unwanted visit to the whole world. And not only that, the bleed on the brain I had in 2019 caused me to have nerve pain, which decided to get worse this year. So, yeah, not a great year. But it hasn’t been all bad. Thanks to Covid-19, I got to have so many new experiences.

The pandemic pushed many events online, and that included writing events. But that meant I was able to attend events I wouldn’t have been able to attend such as the Writers’ HQ online writers’ retreats, the 2020 Evergreen Writing Oasis Virtual Writing Retreat, Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Escape the Plot Forest Summit.

There were also many webinars that discussed all parts of the writing process from developing ideas to marketing. Reedsy had plenty of webinars during 2020, and my notebook is mostly filled up of their events.

I also joined new writing-related groups: Heart Breathings Word Sprints Challenge is one of them. I enjoy being part of this group. Not only is there writing sprints and monthly virtual writing retreats to motivate you to write, but there is also plenty of support from the other members.

I didn’t just join events, though, I did manage to achieve some of my goals for the year. And I decided to become a hybrid author with 2021 being the start of the indie side of my writing career, but I’ll talk more about that in my next post. For now, let’s see how I did with my 2020 goals.

Q4 Goals Review

Let’s start with my Q4 goals.

Here are my Q4 goals and how I did:

Finish writing my second standalone novel

I’m happy to say that I did achieve this goal. I did waste time at the beginning of the year—I used not having planned the novel as my excuse for not writing. But, when I decided to shelve the psychological horror book, I knew I needed to quickly write its replacement, so I wouldn’t have to spend another five years getting a novel submission ready.

So, I chose 1st September as my starting date, I planned as much as I could, and I started writing on that date. I hadn’t finished planning, but I didn’t want to delay writing again, so I planned while I wrote. And I finished my novel at the end of October.

Plan Nancy McCluff series and world

I half completed this goal. I did plan the entire series, and I have a rough idea of all the books in the series. I have 15 books in this series so far, but I may reduce this when I return to this project. However, I didn’t finish worldbuilding, or should I say village building.

Plan and write Nancy McCluff Book 1

This is another half-completed goal. I wrote just over 50,000 words of this novel for NaNoWriMo, and I was plotting and writing at the same time. But when December arrived, I decided to stop working on this book because this isn’t the series I want to publish first.

Plan and write Nancy McCluff Book 2

I didn’t complete this due to the reason above.

Edit flash fiction collection

I started editing, but I didn’t finish. I also decided to publish a Christmas horror flash fiction collection, Merry Dreadmas, so this book took up my editing time.

Complete my Goodreads reading challenge

Well, not only did I achieve my goal of reading 25 books in 2020, but I also surpassed the goal—I read 36 books this year.

Read the books on my paranormal cosy mystery series reading list

I started reading the books on this list, but because I want my first published series to be an urban fantasy, I started reading indie urban fantasy books instead. Oh, and I started reading Sarra Cannon’s Shadow Demons Saga series, which are so addictive—I’m currently fighting the urge to read book six in the series after I finish the Agatha Raisin book.

Create The Book of Drabbles audiobook

I didn’t do this. I did an audiobook for Merry Dreadmas instead, but at least I now know how to create an audiobook.

Ok, so that was Q4. It didn’t go to plan, but I am proud of myself for publishing my second e-book and creating my first audiobook.

Now let’s look at all my goals for 2020.

2020 Writing Goals Review

Finish editing 1st standalone novel and start submitting

I didn’t achieve this goal because I decided to shelve the project. While I wanted the book to be a psychological horror, it works better as a psychological thriller. I do see myself writing psychological thrillers, but I don’t want my first traditionally published book to be a thriller—I want it to be a horror. Therefore, I’m going to be working on my second standalone novel and preparing it for submission.

Plan and write 2nd standalone novel

I did this, see Q4 goals.

Edit and publish flash fiction collection

I didn’t do this, see Q4 goals.

Plan new supernatural horror series and write novel 1

I didn’t complete this goal. I originally wanted to traditionally publish a series, but I found out that series and traditionally publishing don’t necessarily work out. So, I am going to self-publish my series. However, this series idea isn’t the one I will be working on first.

Study playwriting and screenwriting

The closest I got to achieving this goal is listening to podcasts about screenwriting, but that’s it. I did buy two screenwriting books: Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need and the Teach Yourself Screenwriting Course. But I didn’t start studying because I found Reedsy Learning and started doing those writing courses instead.

Edit and finalise 4,000-7,500-word short story

I didn’t do this, but I did write, edit and publish a flash fiction collection that was approximately 5,400 words.

Write a novelette or novella

Nope, didn’t do this.

Edit and submit one flash fiction or short story when I’m on a novel-editing break

No, didn’t do this either.

Upload a flash fiction on my website once a month

I did this for the first eight months of the year, but I found it too much to complete a story a month, which was probably due to lack of motivation.

Write a screenplay for a movie adaption of a novel/short story

Ha! No chance.

Listen to one crime/paranormal/writing-related podcast per week

Yes, I did this one. In fact, I sometimes listen to more than one podcast a week. So, I’ll give myself two green ticks for this one.

Write an original radio play/screenplay/play

No, I didn’t do this. I was being overambitious with my goals this year.

Write one poem a month

Yay! I did do this.

Okay, now on to my reading goals.

2020 Reading Goals

Complete my Goodreads challenge – read 25 books

Yes, I completed this goal; see Q4 goals.

Complete my Dead Good Book’s ‘Books Guaranteed to Scare’ reading list

I couldn’t finish this goal because I couldn’t find all the books in the library, but I did read about six of the books.

Complete my indie author reading list

I didn’t read from a reading list, but I did read many books by indie authors this year. And I even found some new favourite authors, Sarra Cannon being one of them.

Read one short story a month

I started well with this goal, but when October arrived, I decided to join this goal with the screenplay goal. And I did manage to read a screenplay or short story a month.

Read one poem a week

Yeah, I did this one.

Read one screenplay/play/radio play a month

See the ‘short story a month’ goal.

Read selected books from Goodread’s Choice Awards 2019 Best Horror, Fantasy and Mystery/Thriller books opening round nominees

I started this reading list but didn’t finish it because I moved on to other reading lists.

Complete my fantasy author reading list

I didn’t read this reading list because I decided to read paranormal mysteries and urban fantasy books by indie authors.

As you can see, I didn’t do too well with my goals this year. I also changed my mind a lot—the curse of being indecisive—but it wasn’t a complete failure, and I know which direction I want to go in my writing career.

I didn’t have time to work on playwriting and screenwriting, but it’s still my dream to become a screenwriter and playwright, so I will do this one day. However, I will take things slower instead of expecting to learn how to write a screenplay and then write two screenplays or stage plays in one year. It’s time for me to create more realistic goals.

So, that’s it. This is how I did with my 2020 goals. How did you do with your 2020 goals? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay safe, and Happy New Year, folks!

Don’t forget, if you want email alerts of my latest posts, then please subscribe. And you can follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads or like my Facebook page.

You can also join my Facebook groups: Setting Self-Doubt on Fire Squad, which is for writers; and The Nicole J. Simms Squad, which is for readers who enjoy my stories and want a sneak peek into what I’m working on before anyone else.

Also, I’ve also created a Nicole J Simms YouTube channel. On my channel, I will be sharing videos of my performances, trips, writing group adventures and my stories.

And, you can also download my e-books Merry Dreadmas and The Book of Drabbles for FREE, so check them out.

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