Looking Ahead to 2021

What a year. The less said about 2020, the better, am I right? As always, I’m naively optimistic about the year ahead, to the point where everything that was crappy about 2020 will immediately become a thing of the past on 1 January and the future is bright with rainbows and sunshine and all the things that make me happy. Likely? Probably not. But we can always hope, right?

Janus, Roman god of doorways | Adolphe Giraldon, Wikimedia Commons

And so, with hope in my heart and an attitude of kindness towards myself and everyone else who dropped all the goals they had set for 2020 and just focussed on getting through the year physically, emotionally and mentally intact, let’s have a look at how I did with the writerly goals I had planned for myself before the shit hit the fan.

Complete and publish Series 1 of the Mythical Menagerie Series

Done! Myth Hunter was published in early June 2020, a few weeks before my birthday so I can pat myself on the back and say I published a novel in my 40th year, heheheh. It hasn’t been a runaway success, which is never what I expected in any event, especially since I made the choice not to make use of paid advertising until at least Book 2 is available. I’m okay with that. I’m in this for the long haul and I know I won’t be quitting the day job anytime soon.

Write and edit 3 installments of Series 2 of the Mythical Menagerie Series

Almost. I’ve written two installments, and edited most of the first installment and have a good idea of what should happen in at least the 3rd and 4th installments as well. Most importantly, I figured out how my writing process works and have fallen in love with writing again. I’m confident that I can quickly draft the rest of the second series and then focus on whipping it into shape, the part I love the most.

Continue writing a monthly flash fiction piece for my email subscribers

Done! Okay, I missed one month when I really just wasn’t up to it, but 11/12 counts as a win in my book.

Compile a flash fiction collection novel

Done! A Spark of Reverie was sent out earlier this month as a gift to my newsletter subscribers, and it’s currently on pre-order to be unleashed upon the world on 6 January 2021. I’m quite pleased with it and although, again, I don’t expect to get rich from it, I hope those people who do read it will enjoy my very short short stories.

Write bi-monthly blog posts for my author blog

Nope. I started of well at the beginning of the year, and then slacked a bit as I focussed on getting Myth Hunter completed and ready for publishing, and then Covid-19 happened. Although being locked down in my house seemed like a wonderful thing at the start, it soon started playing havoc with my mental health and I just ran out of things I wanted to blog about. I don’t really feel bad about it. I enjoy blogging, and I’ll get back into it when the time is right.

Write bi-monthly blog posts for my travel blog

Nope. As above, I did well for a while writing a few posts about our trip to Slovenia and Croatia in 2019 (a trip I still need to finish documenting!), but we were supposed to visit Ireland in 2020 and when the entire travel industry took a nosedive, even living vicariously through fond memories just seemed like a bummer. Hopefully things will return to some semblance of normal in the new year.

Read 1 non-fiction book per month

Done! The rationale behind this goal was that I get much of my inspiration from intriguing bits of real-world mythology or history. I also feel that reading non-fiction is good for the brain. Fiction is great for escapism, but non-fiction is how I learn (which is one of my core values). Although very little of what I read this year sparked ideas, this is a goal I can see myself sticking to for years to come.

All in all, I think I did pretty well with my primary goals for the year. But when it comes to my secondary goals… not so much…

Complete the first draft of a fantasy novel

Hahaha, that was ambitious, wasn’t it? So no, that didn’t happen, but I have at least plotted and attempted to write two standalone novellas, so there’s that at least.

Engage more and grow my following on Facebook

Meh. My 77 followers have grown to 100, so… progress? I’ll keep trying.

Engage more and grow my following on Instagram

Meh. Instagram followers are fickle. At one point I crossed the 200-followers milestone, but now it hovers around 198, give or gain one or two people a day. It’s a slight improvement on last year’s 165 followers though. I’ll get there eventually.

Create some content for my YouTube channel

Nope, nope, nope. I mean most days I’m not even looking respectable enough to turn the camera on for a Zoom meeting, let alone for a YouTube video. But in all seriousness, I doubt anything will happen here unless I can figure out a way to provide value to readers, and I’m not about to try and compete with the million and one booktubers or authortubers out there already, so that’s unlikely to happen.

What else did I accomplish this year?

  • I completed a Udemy course on Writing Mastery.
  • I completed a Udemy course on Tiny Little Videos.
  • I created a book trailer for Myth Hunter.
  • I created a high-level plot for the entire Mythical Menagerie Series 2.
  • I attempted NaNoWriMo again – and didn’t win, but made good progress.
  • I read 68 books.

So all in all, not the most productive year, but also not too bad. I published a novel!!! I think I should give myself some credit for that at least. A lifelong dream has been fulfilled, and it’s only just the beginning of my creative journey!

Here are my primary writerly plans for 2021:

  • Complete and edit the rest of the Mythical Menagerie Series 2
  • Write and publish at least 1 standalone short story / novella
  • Create at least 1 product for my (super-secret) PIP project
  • Continue writing a monthly flash fiction piece
  • Read 12 non-fiction books

And if time and energy allows, here are my secondary goals:

  • Grow my email (380), Facebook (100) and Instagram (198) following
  • Continue blogging on my author website
  • Continue blogging on my travel website (as long as I have something to write about)

My goals for 2021 are fewer than normal, but I’m writing this at the end of a global pandemic year and I’m tired and desperately in need of some quality R&R time. I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver. If there’s one thing 2020 has taught me is to celebrate the small wins, so that’s my motto for the new year: celebrate what you can, and make up for the rest when you’re able to.

May 2021 be a better year for us all.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? Did you achieve any of your 2020 goals?

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