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Reflecting on 2023 and Setting Goals for 2024

A Year in Review: 2023

As the year winds down, it's time to reflect on the whirlwind that was 2023. At least, it's what everyone does. For me, this year has truly highlighted the strength and impact of storytelling and the enduring nature of creative expression. Publishing "Machinocracy," my collection of short stories, marked a deeper journey into the world of fiction where I explored contemporary themes that echo in today's society.

This year, I wrote over a million words in various works, including two books in my transgressive romance trilogy, a standalone romance novel, and a science fiction novel about AI and robots.

My story "Control.exe," published in Punk Noir Magazine, was a particular highlight, exploring the darker facets of science fiction and surrealism. Furthermore, writing an introduction for "These Americans Book Two" by Aaron Paul Schaut was an enriching experience that allowed me to engage with diverse literary voices. Also, I had the chance to interview numerous authors who inspired me, and through this writing journey and collaborations, I found friends.

So the highlights of my writing journey in 2023 are:

  • The importance of exploring diverse themes in fiction

  • The value of consistent and prolific writing

  • The benefit of engaging with other authors

  • The significance of balancing creative pursuits with other professional commitments

  • Published a short story collection, "Control.exe" and the introduction for "These Americans Book Two."

  • Developed connections, inspirations and friendships through interviewing authors.

Looking Ahead: 2024 Goals

As we step into 2024, my focus is sharply set on bringing my solo novels and at least the first two books of my trilogy to the forefront. The coming year is all about publication and reaching new heights in my writing career. I'm particularly excited about writing three projects: a coming-of-age novel that intertwines with "These Americans Book Two," a sequel to my sci-fi robot novel set in a future without of humans, and completing the final book of my trilogy.

Collaboration is also on the horizon with a planned short stories collections with Sebastian Vice from Outcast Press if we both can overcome procrastination, and a personal project focusing on womanhood and breaking societal norms (if I ever have the guts to finish it). However, I'm open to the natural ebb and flow of creativity, understanding that plans might evolve as the year progresses.

Beyond Writing

2024 is not just about writing. I aim to enhance my online presence, refine my website and social media, and offer more focused and data-driven content on my blog. This shift will include insights into the journeys of successful contemporary authors, using both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Scaling back on certain services like self-publishing and marketing for authors will allow me to concentrate more on my writing and my full-time job. Instead, I'll focus on providing book trailer and cover designs, alongside limited mentorship opportunities.

On a personal note, my objectives extend to finding a literary agent, indulging in more reading, maintaining a consistent writing schedule, and prioritizing physical fitness. Additionally, completing my PhD and publishing academic papers are significant milestones I'm eager to achieve.

One NOTE: Goals Over Plans

Ah, the New Year! A time when we all, armed with the unshakable belief that THIS year will be different, set those resolutions. We're fueled by a burst of January enthusiasm, convinced we'll hit the gym daily, write our magnum opus, and unleash a flurry of creativity. But alas, as the New Year's confetti settles, so does our gusto. Before we know it, the siren song of procrastination lures us into its lair. And there we are, at year's end, wondering how our iron-clad plans morphed into a mirage, a repeated tale of good intentions gone awry!

We will feel depressed.

We will judge ourselves.

We will compare ourselves with those who managed to stick to what they've planned.

Now here's what I've learned last years and I'm gonna share with you:

I've come to realize that goals hold more significance than rigid plans. While plans are structured and often inflexible, goals provide direction and motivation, allowing for adaptability and growth. They are beacons in our journey, guiding us through the unpredictability of life. This approach aligns with psychological theories that emphasize the significance of having a guiding purpose, while also recognizing the need for resilience and the ability to adjust to changing circumstances. Here's how I do it:

  1. Setting goals without detailed planning involves focusing on the end objectives rather than the step-by-step process to achieve them.

  2. You identify your desired outcomes or achievements and keep them in mind as your guiding stars.

This approach allows for flexibility and adaptability, as you navigate towards these goals, making decisions and taking actions based on current situations, opportunities, and insights, rather than following a predetermined plan. This method can be especially effective in environments or situations where change is frequent and unpredictability is high.

What do you need?

  • Goal Description: Example: "Write a short story each month."

  • Why It Matters: Example: "To improve my storytelling skills."

  • First Step: Example: "Outline the first story's plot."

  • Regular Check-ins: Example: "Review every Sunday evening."

  • Flexibility Clause: Example: "If a story takes longer, focus on quality over quantity."

  • Support System: Example: "Join a writer’s group for feedback and motivation."

  • Reward System: Example: "Treat myself to a favorite coffee or book for each completed story."

I created a free template for goal setting that you can get it here. It has 3 colors to print or use on your device and a user guide.

Conclusion: Your Path, Your Pace

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to life and creativity. Whether you're an aspiring writer or an established author, what matters is having a goal, not necessarily a detailed plan. As we step into 2024, let's focus on setting meaningful goals and be open to where they might lead us. Here's to a year of growth, creativity, and achieving our dreams! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance ;)

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