My 2017 Annual Review and 2018 Goals (with Plans for Meeting Them)

Each year I complete a personal annual review, but this year I’m adapting it into a format to accompany my monthly reviews and sharing it with you.

I’d like 2018 to be a year of visible accomplishments. To me, that means finishing things: completing my novel revision, writing the remainder of this year’s NaNoWriMo project, and catching up on home improvement projects. In other aspects of my life, I’d like to have visible progress to point to, something I can show (or count) that I’ve accomplished some things I’d like to. The three words I’ve chosen to guide me this year are enough, practice, and finish.

Creatively Productive

writing at the tea shop

My creative focus for this year was revising my work-in-progress novel, The Second Rebellion. I felt a little burnout and decided to inject a little play into my work by participating in Inktober and writing a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast during NaNoWriMo.

See my comprehensive creative annual review, covering both my writing and illustration.

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Monthly Review: December 2017

December is a reflective month for me, between doing a personal annual review and a creative annual review. It’s also a month of recovery, after the intensity of November’s NaNoWriMo challenge.

Last month’s review.

Creatively Productive — doing pretty well

  • After years of putting it off, I finally created a Society6 shop and uploaded six designs! One thing I get to cross off the creative bucket list ;) Five were adapted from previous work, and I created one new illustration.
  • I re-read the draft of my Beauty and the Beast retelling that I wrote during NaNoWriMo. It’s worth finishing, phew! And I think the scene cards are working — I didn’t find any scenes that obviously needed to be removed.
  • I started re-reading the draft of my work-in-progress novel. I spent a lot of time over the spring reworking the first quarter, and I think that work paid off.
  • I did two outlining sessions and one actual writing session, where I wrote 2800 words over 5 pomodoros :)
  • I completed a creative annual review for my writing and graphic design productivity, work and practice. I evaluated how I did in 2017, and set goals for 2018.

Creative Work I want to Accomplish In January

  • Finish re-reading WIP novel draft
  • Write more of Beauty and the Beast first draft
    • Write scenes I’ve already created scene cards for
    • Prepare additional scene cards, and finish preparing the ones I’ve started
    • Goal = finish writing Act 2

process goals for Creative Work In January

I’m going to try following the creative process goals outlined in my 2017 creative annual review:

  • Complete 7 Pomodoros a week
  • Continue attending group writing sessions, and re-start solo writing sessions
  • Draw one day a week

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2017 Creative Annual Review and 2018 Creative Goals and Work Plan

Each year, I complete a creative annual review to assess what I accomplished, evaluate the techniques and tools that I used, and think ahead to the next year’s creative goals. My creative review process focuses on my writing and graphic design / illustration, with an emphasis on the creative work I do outside of my day job.

My Creative Productivity in 2017

What creative work I Made in 2017

Illustration for short story “Amber: Liquid, Whispering”

My 2017 Productivity by the Numbers (from RescueTime)

  • 277 hours writing
    • 61 hours during NaNoWriMo
    • 24 hours of hard-copy edits
    • 12 hours of hard-copy outlining
  • 52 hours design + drawing + photoshop
  • 1.25 hours / day on creative work
    • Goal was 1.5 hours / day (or 10.5 hours / week) — met goal 115 times

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Monthly Review: November 2017

November is always a wild month for me, because for the last seven years I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I found Chris Baily’s thoughts on “tilting” this month apropos — purposefully choosing to over-commit to one aspect of your life for a short time to complete a project.

Last month’s review.

Creatively Productive — doing great

I “won” NaNoWriMo on November 24, and met my goal of 60k for the month.

  • Number of words written: 60,441
  • Active writing time: 61 hours
  • Time at writing sessions: 94 hours 30 minutes
  • Number of writing sessions (public and by myself): 50
  • Number of write-ins attended (official and informal): 18
  • Number of Pomodoro writing sessions: 41

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Monthly Review: October 2017

I spent most of the month sick, so October was kind of a bummer of a month. I participated in Inktober, so I spent a lot of time drawing instead of writing in October. This review completed for Oct 1-27.

Last month’s review.

Play — B

Character design for little mermaid with ink and digital color

  • I took part in Inktober, and although I didn’t draw every day, I drew a lot more than I would have otherwise – including several character designs for my Little Mermaid retelling!
  • We traveled to Iowa for a friend’s medieval / fantasy wedding, and killing time visited a steamboat museum on the Mississippi, which was surprisingly interesting
  • I only read three new books for fun this month – but loved Circuits & Slippers, an anthology of fairy tales retold with a sci-fi twist
  • Spectacular maple specimen at Kubota Garden

    We visited Kubota Garden in Seattle for the first time – the fall color of the maple gardens was beautiful! The garden was a fantastic example of creating beautiful plantings with foliage textures and colors – amazing combination of large trees with smaller trees and shrubs.

After taking the first six months of the year off of Twitter, I’m deeper in than ever before – I spent 17 hours and 30 minutes on Twitter this month :/ I might need to log out of all my devices again. I’m torn because I do get a lot of enjoyment out of Twitter, but it’s also a destination for mindless scrolling that can easily turn into an hour. My need for some mindless time and inability to focus on the long-form storytelling that I usually prefer (novels) might be because I was sick, or might be a sign that I need a break. Hopefully the former because November is NaNoWriMo…

Next month will be a little tricky to make sure I get some play time in, because I’ll be so busy with NaNoWriMo, which in one sense is play but in another is a whole ton of work. I’ll be hosting a weekly writing session at my house for my writing group, which should be fun.

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