Year in review: Successes and failures in 2013

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 At 1:17 PM

This post is extremely belated, which in itself demonstrates how unfocused I've been since NaNoWriMo ended.  Better late than never, though, right?

At the beginning of the year, I set a handful of goals and tracked them on this blog -- on a weekly basis -- throughout most of the year.  Thanks to that, I have a pretty clear picture on what goals for the year I succeeded at, and what I failed to accomplish.  As a refresher, here were my goals for 2013.  Most were writing related, but not all:

1. Finish and revise my two Ruby Ransome novels
2. Overhaul my website and blogs
3. Get to a couple other writing projects I've had on my to-do list
4. Read 7 classics (5 rolled over from a failed reading list of 2012)
5. Ride each of my two horses 3 times a week

Tracking my progress on my goals throughout the year taught me a lot.  First of all, I tracked it weekly, and I found that in many ways I needed that weekly reminder of what I needed to work on.  When I stopped doing the weekly posts in November, my plans for the year pretty much fell apart, even though I still had two months left.  Granted, one of those months was NaNoWriMo (meaning no time for anything except for writing and write-ins), and the other was well into the holiday season (not to mention I lost an entire week to being sick), but still.

Tracking my goals weekly meant that I was more successful than I likely would have been otherwise, but I still didn't accomplish everything I wanted -- and the things that got left by the wayside made me rethink my priorities again.  Here's the rundown of how I fared:

1. Finish and revise my two Ruby Ransome novels:

I got considerably through revisions on the first of my Ruby Ransome novels, but then stopped when I got a bit burnt out.  Revisions are much harder and take much longer than I had ever expected when I wrote down that goal, especially when you are overhauling sections of the novel.  I took a break to write something else during NaNoWriMo, but hopefully I will be back at work on Ruby Ransome soon.  This goal will therefore get rolled over into 2014's goals.


2. Overhaul my website and blogs:

I never actually got around to this, which is too bad because at this point my website is really rather outdated.  Not only is my portfolio really old, but also, I want my new website to show my shift in focus over the last couple of years.  I'm now focusing on my fiction as much as, if not more than, my freelancing, and my website should reflect that.

3. Get to a couple other writing projects:

I never got around to this either, and in retrospect it really isn't as important as I thought it was when I made the goals.  I have a couple of niche ebooks I'd like to write at some point, but when I have a limited amount of writing time and so many other things I want to write, it just doesn't seem like this should be one of my goals.  It's still a goal of mine, I just don't think it should be one of my top priorities.

4. Books to read in 2013:

I am disappointed with myself on this count, because as a lit major I really should have been able to get through 7 measly classics.  Granted, two of them were quite long, but I didn't even get through the first long one.  I am currently about two-thirds of the way through Les Miz.  I do intend to continue my reading list in 2014, though I might think about replacing a couple of the titles on the list, rather than adding more as I did last year.

5. Ride my horses 3 times a week:

I don't know how many weeks I actually managed to pull this off, but it wasn't as much as it should have been.  Luckily V., the girl I nanny for, did a partial lease first on Panama, and then on Rondo, which did help me a little in ensuring both horses got time under saddle.  This is, however, a priority that won't go away.  I need to be better about balancing time spent with my horses with the other things in my life -- writing, work, friends, etc. -- and so this goal will carry over into 2014 as well.

All in all, it wasn't the best turnout in 2013, but tracking my progress on my goals did help keep me focused and teach me some things about priorities.  I think I might continue tracking my goals in 2014, but on a monthly basis instead of weekly.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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