Today's first order of business is to note that I, like most of Britain, watched the BBC's SHERLOCK last night and adored it to the point where I'm going to have to exercise iron-clad control to hold myself back from some serious fanfic writing. O. M. G. I'm sure a lot of people have far more intelligent comments to make about it, but all I can say is that the exquisite beauty of this episode made my heart ache. It's definitely for the over sixteens, but if that's you and you haven't seen it yet, make sure you do and soon (and if not, maybe plead with your parents because just watching it will probably boost your IQ by a few points and make you do better in your exams. Honestly).
And now onto the non-squeeing part of the programme!
Following the tradition we started last year, I'm going to share some goals that I'd like to aim for in 2012, and then when 2013 cycles around I can present myself for your congratulations, or your pointing/jeering/mocking etc.
- As I mentioned in my last post, in 2011 I had a slight problem with over-working myself. I didn't end up passing out or being rushed to the hospital with heart pains or any of those other melodramatic symptoms that TV characters who over-work always get, but more often than not I'd be in my Writing Cave when eight or nine in the evening rolled around, and I'd end up shoving a microwave meal in and collapsing on the sofa - and then doing the same the next day too. I saw less of friends and family, made less time for healthy outdoor activities and new experiences and reading, and generally turned into a Writing Hermit to match my Cave. So this year, I'd like to prove to myself that I can do my job WITHOUT being a hermit. In 2012, I'd like to stick to a reasonable writing schedule of no more than eight hours of work six days a week, making time for other important stuff as well.
- The last year has been an amazing one for this blog in every respect. My follower numbers nearly doubled, my unique visitor numbers quadrupled, and I wrote some posts that not only make me feel rather proud in terms of the discussion they generated, but which also brought in astonishing numbers of readers (The original Mary Sue post has had nearly 12,000 hits to date - for realz). Apart from a few early experiments, I've never really gone in for the traditional, accepted methods of driving traffic. I don't usually require people to follow the blog to enter giveaways, I don't take part in memes or post awards. I just write the best stuff I can come up with and try to interact with my readers in a way that shows how much I love and appreciate you - and somehow it's paid off. It's humbling and heartwarming. In 2012, I'd like to carry on posting here three times a week every week (with a few holiday/hiatuses as required) and growing my blog readership through sincerity and the pursuit of excellence.
- I suppose this next one's fairly predictable, because I didn't manage to get to it in quite the way I wanted last year - instead of writing two completely new books, I ended up writing one new book and completely revising and revamping a book that I'd written the year before. However, it's a bit more urgent now. In order to meet the publishing schedule that's been worked out for me over the next several years, I really do need to write a book and a half in 2012. And if I'm going for a book and a half, why not go the whole hog? So: In 2012, I'd like to finally manage to write two books in twelve months.
- Last year I made my final goal about promoting Shadows, but this year I'm going for something a bit less fun (and probably less interesting for you - sorry!). I've just had my first full year as a full-time writer, and it's made me acutely aware that my skills as an accountant are horribly lacking. You may wonder what one thing has to do with the other. Well, as a self-employed person, I have to keep records of all my earnings and expenditures, keep receipts, and complete my own tax returns. It's been hard enough up until now, when the largest part of my income was a non-taxable grant. The coming year is going to bring me more income from my writing, which is great, but it's also going to bring me concern over voluntary VAT registration. U.S. tax payer numbers, and pay coding notices. It's vital that I stop dithering and start to really keep on top of my records. Frankly, it makes my stomach churn. In 2012, I'd like to seek out professional help with book-keeping and learn how to run myself as a proper business so that I can stop panicking about this issue all the time.