Happy New Year, everyone!
This rollover to a new year has been a little unusual for my family, because we are also in the middle of packing up for a big move. Lord willing, we move to Tallahassee this weekend to start a new season of our lives (and a new adventure). Amid all the moving chaos, I'm not quite feeling the usual, peaceful "fresh slate" of the new year -- but I am still so very grateful for everything that 2023 brought, and looking forward to what's to come in 2024!
I always love doing an end-of-year recap post -- it's a great way to celebrate what's been accomplished and acknowledge growth (which in the slow day-by-day moments, can often go unnoticed!). And it's also a great opportunity to set some goals for the new year!
Today's post will do BOTH of those things.
But first... Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of my writing! I truly appreciate all of you!
Now, to the 2023 recap for my writing business, and my 2024 goals...
2023 Writing Recap
In 2023, I...
Wrote and published the last 40 episodes of Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight, completing that serial on Kindle Vella (and in PirateCat)
had a short story I sold ("Cheer Hawks and a Side of Murder") published in the Murderbirds anthology (published in April 2023)
Wrote bonus content, edited, formatted, and released the full serial as Books 1-3 of The Leyward Stones (Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight; LeyGuards, FaeSpells, and Other Things That Breach the Veil; Fae Curses, Dark Kings, and Other Things That Must Fall) in e-book, paperback, and hardcover on various book retailers.
Wrote the last 9 episodes of my Ghost Trouble serial (formerly known as "The Spinner Story" due to how I plotted it), and completed posting it on Kindle Vella and PirateCat.
Began editing/formatting Ghost Trouble for release as a book (not yet released).
Launched a second Leyward Stones serial (Fate Rising) on Kindle Vella and PirateCat and wrote 50 episodes (40 of which were published in 2023).
Had posts go viral on my Facebook page 3 times (!), reached 3,243 followers on my Facebook page, and reached 598 followers on Instagram.
Created 6 new YouTube videos and 13 YouTube shorts, and reached 191 YouTube subscribers.
Wrote 17 blog posts on C. Crawford Writing website.
Between MJ and myself, we added 147 new story chapters/episodes of new reading content into the PirateCat Publishing portal, across 13 distinct books/stories.
Wrote 40 additional blog posts on the PirateCat Publishing website (including the 12 mid-month update posts).
Built out the "Worldpedia" inside PirateCat for the Leyward Stones story universe.
Sent 21 C. Crawford Writing email newsletters.
Sent 5 PirateCat Publishing email newsletters.
Posted 52 Patreon "Monday Update" posts.
Did freelance editing work, formatting, copywriting work, and/or writing/publication coaching for 4 different clients (some one-time projects, some ongoing), plus ongoing writing tutoring for one student.
Started writing a new YA romcom/mystery to go in the Secret Messages Sweet YA Romance Series (the I'm Not a Stalker series)
Resumed work on a partially written YA fantasy (Torn Fate)
Started planning a YA paranormal detective/paranormal mystery series
Wrote a few poems
Had a total of 8,074 episodes read on my Kindle Vella stories (3,829 of which were paid unlocks)
It would be almost impossible to calculate total word count for everything I've written fresh this year, but I do like to track my output of new fiction words each year, to see how I'm growing in my craft and keeping up the practice with fresh fiction words on the page.
So, I did a quick calculation of the FRESH words I wrote in each of my fiction stories for 2023:
Ghost Trouble: 15,063
Leyward Stones, books 1-3 content (the final episodes written for the serial, plus the bonus scenes written for the book versions): 91,581
Fate Rising (new episodes only; some episodes were written in previous years and only had to be edited/updated--word counts for those are not included here): 22,917
First-draft chapters of new YA romcom/mystery: 12,008
TOTAL FRESH WORDS OF FICTION WRITTEN IN 2023: 141,569
All of this while also homeschooling our 4 kids and working part-time (as Director of a class program until May 2023, and then as Community Manager for the Home Education Foundation after that).
Sometimes, I get really discouraged that my sales aren't where I'd like them to be, but when I tally up all the growth I actually experienced for 2023, I just feel incredibly BLESSED.
I am so, so grateful for the ability I had to write so much, despite everything else I had going on (which is in large part to the efforts of my husband to make sure I get that writing time!)...
And I am also so very grateful for the opportunity I've had this year to put more of my writing out there and to connect with readers. Those connections don't always show up in sales, but they matter to me. I'm literally living my childhood dream of not only writing fiction, but having readers who follow me, read what I put out there, and engage with it.
Thank you all SO MUCH for being here, for loving my books and stories and characters as much as I do, and for all the support and engagement you give on ALL my platforms. I couldn't do this without you!
Now, for my 2024 goals...
Writing Goals for 2024
My primary goal and mantra for 2024 is: BALANCE. I know I am going to have a lot going on (not the least of which is the massive change involved in this upcoming move to Tallahassee), and I want to be sure I'm present for my family and in the other areas of my life, while also continuing to write fiction and put my stories and other content out in to the world.
I will probably (almost assuredly) add to this list as the year progresses, but here at the start of 2024, these are my concrete writing goals:
1. Produce more instruction-based content.
I've received requests for online/video versions of the Novel Writing classes I used to teach, as well as requests for instructional content related to indie publishing, Kindle Vella, writing novels, writing serials, and more. In 2024, I hope to make concrete progress on getting some purchasable video courses and resource guides set up on my website for some of these things, as well as a lot of FREE content providing tips, information, and guidance offered through my blog and YouTube channel.
2. Finish Fate Rising
The Fate Rising serial for Leyward Stones has a LOT of content still to come, but I hope to finish this story arc (which will comprise essentially the rest of the Leyward Stones series) in 2024. I plan to continue posting weekly episodes on Vella and PirateCat until the serial version is completed, and then to break that serial into books and release them in e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats as I did with Books 1-3 of The Leyward Stones series.
3. Publish Ghost Trouble in e-book and paperback formats
This serial is completed, but it needs to be edited/updated and then formatted for book release. I hope to have it ready for release sometime in the Spring of 2024.
4. Continue to grow my social media presence through regular content on my Facebook and Instagram pages and my YouTube channel
I have some cool ideas for content for some of these platforms, if I'm able to find the time, but at the least I plan to continue with semi-regular posts on these platforms as I have been.
5. Finish writing Torn Fate and decide how to release it
This book is one I'd started writing several years ago, then set aside, but I dusted it off to work on again near the end of 2023. I am not yet sure if I want to release this one as a serial like I've done for the Leyward Stones storylines, or if I'd prefer to write it and release it in its entirety as a book once its done, without a serial version first. Either way, I want to finish the completed book this year and get it out into the world.
6. Replan and write the next Secret Messages Sweet YA Romance book
As I mentioned above, I'd started writing what will be the next book in the I'm Not a Stalker series (which was rebranded last year as the Secret Messages Sweet YA Romance series, to make room for more books at reader request!). However, I wrestled some with the start of that book, then realized why it wasn't feeling right to me--and have since decided to replot/replan it with the new vision and start over with it. Thankfully, I was only a few chapters in, so it's not a lot of extra work, and I feel much better about the new plan for the book. I hope to get a complete first draft written in 2024, at the very least! If I'm able, I'll try to actually complete it and release it this year. I may post it as a serial on Kindle Vella then release it as a book, or I may just release it as a book--I haven't decided, yet.
7. Writing the sequel to The Extraordinary Extraterrestrial Love Lives of Doppelgangers
My co-author M.J. Padgett and I have been working on this one for a while, and have a partial manuscript, but writing more of this second (and final) book in this duology is on our official to-do list for 2024. Co-writing comes with its own logistical challenges, so I don't have a definite timeline for its completion--but it is in the works!
8. Work on my YA mystery/detective series, and perhaps some other series ideas I have on the table
I'll give more info on these as the time comes!
9. Co-write another nonfiction memoir
The contract for this one is in the works, but it's looking like there will be a sequel to The Other Side of the Law. Work on this project could begin as early as February!
10. Do more in-person events to promote my writing.
For 2023, I did no in-person promotion for my books or writing. Everything I did was entirely online. The logistics (and cost!) of in-person events are pretty difficult with parenting, homeschooling, and just general life... but for 2024, I want to make more of an effort to put myself and my writing out there, to network more IRL rather than just online, and to attempt some in-person marketing events as I'm able.
11. As few deadlines as possible
If you notice the above, not many of these things have concrete deadlines. This is because I want (and need!) the flexibility of being able to shift priorities as needed to ensure I'm able to be present for my family, and also to maintain and improve my own health (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) and to shift my workload as needed to keep that balance.
These are a lot of big goals for 2024 -- but I have a whole year to work on them!
Some of these may shift or change as the year goes on... As I said, my mantra for this year is BALANCE, so I need to be adaptable! But I'm also hopeful and feeling a lot of peace about this year, especially about the built-in flexibility, which will allow me to work toward my bigger goals without straining my health or burning myself out.
Again, thank you all so much for being here, and for supporting me and my writing, year after year. Your presence, steady support, and enthusiasm for my writing
makes such a big difference.
THANK YOU, and Happy New Year!