At the start of the new year, I enjoy reviewing the list of goals I hoped to accomplish in the previous year, just to check in with myself and see if my intentions are on track. Did I accomplish my 2022 goals? Did I fall short anywhere? Did I exceed at anything?
2022 Goal #1: Enter writing contests
It can be hard to put yourself and your work out there for judgement, but it can be very beneficial. Many writing contests give judge feedback that can make you a stronger writer. Reward makes you put your best efforts into writing, editing, and even cover design.
When I started this goal, I thought I’d enter a few local contests for short stories or poems. But other than the few I’ve written from writing prompts and posted on this blog, I don’t write short stories or poems often. I explored those forms early on in creative writing courses. But it’s important to know where your innate talent lies. I encourage all writers and readers to explore all different kinds of mediums or genres. But when it came down to my comfort level at having my work judged, I knew I should submit the work that I felt really shined. I wanted to know if, objectively, my novels are good compared to others like it.
To this end, I entered my second Lucy Vaughn Mystery novel, Christmas in Cave Creek, in the Fall BookFest Awards and won an Honorable Mention in the Women’s Mystery category. Not bad, I think, for my first book contest as an indie author, especially because in these awards, new authors and indie authors compete against experienced and traditionally published authors. This win is affirming and also gives me something to level up in 2023!
2022 Goal #2: Become more involved with the Idaho Writers Guild
I rejoined the organization last year and in August agreed to take a temporary volunteer position managing their social media through the end of the year. Knowing that I often have difficulty keeping up with my own social media needs, I took on this challenge to create better habits. I figured that when others are counting on me and there are posting deadlines, I would be forced to create a habit that will transfer to my own life and writing. I was very diligent about posting on their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter while serving in my volunteer role, but was 4 months long enough to develop a habit? That is something that remains to be seen this year.
2022 Goal #3: Increase blog readership and post more frequently
As I’ve established, I did not utilize 2022 to increase my social media and blog posting quantity from the previous year. However, I did make some great strides toward providing new and interesting features for my readers.
In 2022 I launched a new page on my blog called Lucky Lucy’s Sweepstakes for Literature Lovers. Named after Lucy Vaughn, the unique protagonist from my novels who also happens to be a sweepstakes hobby enthusiast, I update the page with book-related sweepstakes and giveaways. Previous postings have included books, gift cards, e-readers, trips, and amazing prize bundles – all free to enter!
You may have also noticed a recent revamp to the website aesthetic. I wanted graphics and a layout that better captured the feel of the Lucy Vaughn Mystery Series.
Do you follow my author page on Facebook? If not, you are missing some great content! In 2022 I shared original stories, funny memes, events for readers and writers, and writing contests. The page was also a platform to inform and educate my followers on issues affecting readers and writers like book banning, little free libraries, news and controversies, and the interesting things happening in the writing and publishing industries. I hope posts about influential authors who left us this year, thoughts on the craft of writing, and particularly challenges for underrepresented authors, helped enhance your experience and give you deeper issues to ponder. Please visit me here to join the conversation!
2022 Goal #4: Keep up a good writing habit
As in past years, I signed up to participate in the IdaPost pen pal program offered by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, with writing prompts created by the current Idaho Writer in Residence. I recently completed my story for the first prompt which you can find here, and today I received the second prompt in the mail, continuing to ponder it prior to putting words on paper.
2022: Beyond my 2022 goal list
In the fall, I taught Sweepstaking Fun & Free through the Boise Community Education program which offers supplemental training and personal enrichment opportunities to adults. My series character Lucy Vaughn has a complicated relationship with luck yet can’t resist the temptation to enter sweepstakes for free prizes. Like her, I also enjoy entering giveaways in my spare time and love the opportunity to share my knowledge on the subject with others. The next class date is February 23 and registration begins tomorrow.
All creatives know that inspiration strikes at the least expected times, and a new book idea outside of the Lucy series also came to me in 2022. I would love to spend more time researching, developing, and outlining it this year and see where it takes me. I’ll keep you posted!
2022: Unfinished goals
I really wanted to publish my Lucy Vaughn universe spin-off book, The Ballad of Buddy, last year. The draft had already been written and submitted for edits, but due to unforeseen personal circumstances, I had to postpone the final edits and thus publication. But Buddy’s incredible story is coming!
On the bright side for those that need to catch up with the ongoing story, the first two books came out in paperback this year (formerly offered only in Kindle) and are available at Amazon, B&N online, and my very supportive local library.
Another sidelined goal for 2022 was using National Novel Writing Month in November to complete a third Lucy Vaughn Mystery book. By the close of 2021, I had written 23,000 words toward a rough draft, but events in 2022 diverted my attention. Finishing that draft is now a 2023 goal along with the publication of The Ballad of Buddy.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. I’m excited to see what this year will bring!