I've never liked the idea of making New Year's resolutions. Like most people, my good intentions lose strength and focus after a few days, and then I just end up feeling guilty for failing to follow through. If I made any resolution at all in the last few years, it was "I will not make any resolutions!" But this year, coming off a two-month hiatus dedicated to mending broken bones, I felt a need to do something to shake my productivity back into gear.
At about the same time, I converted my Yahoo home page to their latest format and found that it had a prominent "To Do" block above the calendar. It was always the first thing I saw when I turned on the computer. So I decided to give it a try. I didn't list all the little appointments I had in my desk calendar. There were too many of them and most of them were supremely unimportant.
Instead, I used it to list my major publishing goals for the year. There were four of them. First came a campaign to reclaim the electronic rights for my first book, followed by a complete rewrite and re-format of A Scratch with the Rebels in preparation for publishing a second edition of the e-book. I set a due date of the end of February.
Second was an effort to find out how to go about putting out an audio version of Beyond All Price. Under that heading were a couple of bullet points about auditioning narrators, choosing the best one, and getting the cover redesigned to fit the square forma of an audio book. The deadline there was April.
Third was finishing the first draft of Damned Yankee. I was feeling real pressure there, because I had left the story hanging when I went into the hospital on Halloween and had failed to look a it for the whole two months. I had lost the momentum, and also the clear road map of where the story was going. It just sat in a computer file, rather like a dead fish. I gave myself until June to finish that one.
And finally, just to round out the year, I projected starting to work on an audio version of The Road to Frogmore.
Last night I looked at my "To Do" list and was shocked to see how far I had come. A Scratch with the Rebels is finished -- claimed, recovered, rewritten, and reformatted -- and available on Kindle and all of the Smashwords channels. I have a narrator for Beyond All Price, and we are in the production phase. My work is done until early March when she finishes the recording and sends it to me for checking. And yesterday I sent my editor the completed manuscript for Damned Yankee.(YAY)
Does that suggest that keeping a list of goals really works? Maybe so! But my list is looking pretty empty. It must be time to come up with some new ideas.