Last year I did my first annual report. Steve Kaye, the hummingbird photographer who I met on my writing train trip in 2015, inspired me in so many ways. But it wasn’t until I got home and pursued his blog that I found this gem. Every year he does an annual report documenting his progress as a photographer. I loved this idea. Something to break down what I did over the year, show the progress I made, see what worked and what didn’t. This is valuable information when figuring out how to tackle the next year. And it’s also going to be great thing to look back on. Here’s my second Annual Report tracking my progress as a writer. This year one of my goals was writing everyday. I’m hoping I see an impact!
Number of books published: 1
My picture book, Kiko the Hawaiian Wave, was published by Be There Bedtimes stories on September 7th, 2016! To date I have done four different events and a surf shop chain, SouthCoast Surf, picked up the book to keep in stock! I’m excited this book out in the world but the months leading up to the publication of this book were very hard. It took a lot out of me and I’m hoping to find better ways to manage this in the future.
Number of books on submission: 1 Number of books sold: 0
This is okay. I’m not going to sell a book every year and that is okay. (This is my mantra) My biggest goal is to sell my first young adult book and I hoped this would happen this year, but not yet. I am excited about next year though. I’m incredible proud of what will be on submission.
Number of awards won: 2!
I won the SCBWI Sue Alexander Service and Encouragement award for my volunteer work as Kite Tale Editor. I also won the SCBWI Work in Progress award for my young adult novel I have been revising all year. I am deeply honored for both!
Number of days I worked on revising my young adult magical realism novel: 142
This year was all about revision so tracking words written was pretty much impossible to do. Instead I tracked the number of days I revised my novel. The hard work paid off. I went through three rounds of revision in 2016 and finished it in December!
Number of picture book words I wrote this year: 0
I am moving away from writing picture books. I love them. I’m not saying I will never write another again, but they are not where I want my focus right now. Longer form stories are what really capture my heart and passion and that is where I concentrated my work this year.
Number of chapter book words written (so far): 298
So this was a complete accident. I didn’t intend on writing anything other then my novels, fiction-wise, this year, but this story snuck up on me. At this point in time I’m just writing this for me. And boy is that freeing. It’s about a granddaughter and her grandpa and that’s all I’m revealing for now….
Number of short stories written: 1 (total of 2884 words)
I wrote a fairy tale that was published in a zine Francesca Lia Block curated and edited. Bucket list item complete! This story has become the premise for the next novel I’ll be writing. I’m really excited about it.
Numbers of days I researched and/or did pre-work for my next novel: 80
This is the story based on the fairy tale I wrote. It’s historical fantasy/alternate history. I knew this would be the next story I’d write because I think about it constantly. It requires a lot of research, which I’m finding fun and also a little overwhelming. I’m taking it one step at a time.
Number of days spent writing and editing The New Hollywood goals guidebook: 10
I am part of a fantastic women’s group called The New Hollywood. I am the co-author of a goal guidebook/planner the group uses and this year it will be made available to the public! I’m beyond proud of this. I am a tad obsessed with organization so anything to do with planners taps into my endorphins.
Blog posts written: 13
I started a new blog series this year called “The Organized Writer.” After a few friends asking me how I organize my ideas, drafts, time etc. I decided to write some blog posts about it. As I mentioned before organizing is my jam. I love it. I’ve loved sharing what I do to organize my writing life and hearing what other do as well. If there are any topics you would be interested in hearing about, let me me know!
Number of free writing days: 63
One of my goals this year was writing everyday. I needed to instill the habit and make it a part of my daily life no matter how busy I was. But there were days I knew I wouldn’t have a couple hours to devote to a novel writing session or researching. On these days I would give myself a half hour or so to free writing: Stream of consciousness writing, journaling, writing letters to friends and family. I enjoyed these sessions a lot. They were not just filler. I found after a free writing day, my novel writing sessions were very productive.
Number of author visits: 7
Author visits are some of my favorite things I get to do because I write for children. I gave a presentation to my daughter Frankie’s third grade class. I did skype visit with first graders in Hawaii. I visited with wonderful second graders in a Pasadena school. I launched my book, Kiko the Hawaiian Wave, at a fabulous store in Sierra Madre called Belle’s nest where I did a workshop on dreaming big. I signed in the Chicago suburbs over Thanksgiving at Just a Bookstore and was part of an author festival at the Pasadena Public Library. I also am involved with a wonderful organization called Read to a child. My visits to their schools warm my heart so much. Reading and stories connect people in such deep ways.
Number of Instagram posts: 290
My goal this year was to up my Instagram game! This was fun. Instagram has a great book community and I found a fantastic facebook group devoted to Instagram for Authors where we share what we’ve learned and where we can support each other. Starting in April I started posting everyday and taking the time to create good content for my feed that has a purpose. I’m a writer and I love reading. Boom. That’s what you get when you see my page. (And pie. Lots of pie.) My branding became a lot more clear. This year I nearly doubled my followers, but I’d like to do better then that in 2017.
Books read: 45
I upped my reading game this year! Yes! I intend on surpassing this next year as well. One of my goals is by the end of the year to have read every book that is on my to-read shelf as of January 1 this year and If I haven’t read it by then I need to give the book away. I only want to read what I really want to read. Life is too short.
Writing trips/conventions: 5
This year I went to: SCBWI Los Angeles Writer’s day, Splendid Mola one day writing retreat (I need to do this again!) WonderCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and the SCBWI Summer Conference. These trips fill my inspiration well.
Writing classes/mentorship: 2
I took a one-day workshop with Francesca Lia Block about writing fairy tales. If you live in LA, I highly recommend taking one of her classes. For those writers that don’t live here, she does online classes as well! Francesca also mentored me and critiqued my entire manuscript that I revised this year. The notes she gave me were invaluable. It absolutely took my story to the next level.
Number of anxiety attacks: ??
Yes this year was not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact it was pretty difficult at times. Between world events and personal relationships, my day job and writing schedule, my anxiety has made itself known and demands to be dealt with. And I will. I need to take care of myself more. I will make sure I do that.
What 2016 has taught me?
I know how to work hard. I need to stay on that train, but I also need to make sure I’m not wasting energy on things I don’t really care about, I need to focus on what I REALLY want.
I need to work closely with my agents on getting my young adult novel into the right editor’s hands
I need to take care of myself.
And I need to let myself follow the joy. Go where it feels joyful, in my writing, in my life and build the life I want. It is all within my power.