Writing Goals: 2015 First Quarter Check-In

Setting goals, tracking your progress, and adapting when necessary are all important parts of running a business. So it doesn't matter if you're a freelance writer, an author trying to sell books, or a blogger trying to make money from your blogs. Goals are vital to your success.

Now that we're in April, it's a good time to check in on any goals you might have set at the beginning of the year. Personally I do a mini check-in privately each month, and then I do a larger quarterly check-in where I'll make bigger changes to my goals and strategies if anything has changed. And, as usual, I'm going to share this quarter's progress update with you.

Here's how 2015 is turning out so far.

Progress Towards Current Goals

  • I hoped to finish the first draft of my first horror novel in January. I didn't make that deadline, but I did finish the draft. I'm thrilled to have that project off my plate for a while. I'll pick it up again for revisions after I finish revising another manuscript I'm working on now.
  • While this wasn't a public goal because I didn't think I had any chance of sticking to it, I've managed to post five posts per week here at All Freelance Writing every week so far this year. Well, every week except for this week. But I'm catching up on them over the weekend, so I'll still be on target by the time Monday comes around.
  • I launched QuickMystery.com -- a blog featuring rough mystery stories under one of my pen names. It currently features flash fiction, but it will eventually feature some longer short stories too. This blog is one part platform piece and one part personal outlet so I have somewhere I can explore new ideas, with a weekly posting commitment that I hope will keep me on track.
  • I completed the content audit of my small business blog. There's still a lot of work to do though, and I imagine it will take me most of the year to get everything where I want it. Now that I know what I want to do with all of the existing content, I need to work on it -- deleting outdated content that can't be updated, updating other posts, taking care of post formatting issues in some of the oldest posts, etc.
  • I've been working on a brand-specific site for one of the e-book series I promote here. While the e-books will still be featured here, I'm moving them back to their own site (where they started) because they get lost in the mix a bit now that this site has grown so much.
  • Along those lines I have the next e-book in that series written. It needs some minor revisions and editing, and then I'll release it as soon as the new site launches.
  • As of March, I've also been squeezing in much more reading. It's not that I wasn't reading much before, but most of what I read regularly was nonfiction. I'm trying to spend more time reading fiction again, starting with a mystery binge.

I've been surprised by how much progress I've made in the first quarter. But that doesn't mean everything has worked out according to plan. For example, I had two blogs that I planned to update once per month. And I failed miserably at that. I wrote posts for February, but due to a server maintenance issue they didn't automatically post when they were scheduled. And I didn't catch it until I went in to add the next ones. So instead I held off and I'm going to resume monthly posting for both of them starting this week.

Moving Forward

Here are some of the things I'll be working on during the second quarter to keep me on track for my start-of-the-year goals, as well as a few new ones.

  • I hope to post at least one mystery on the new flash fiction blog every week.
  • I'd like to get back on track with the two other blogs that need monthly posts.
  • I want to stick to the five posts per week schedule here at All Freelance Writing.
  • I'll put a lot of time into revising my first mystery novel. The first revision is practically a tear-down (original killer being written out of the story, murder weapon is changing, and a lot of pacing issues to fix). Figuring out what wasn't working has me feeling much more enthusiastic about this project though. Second drafts are the absolute worst for me, so I'm hoping to keep that enthusiasm up over the next few months.
  • I plan to release a new freebie on my business writing site.
  • It's time to re-evaluate my 5-year publishing plan again to account for any changes to the previous quarter's list.
  • I finished setting up a new site recently for an experimental project. I want to have the copy written by mid-April for its official launch (which I won't go into detail about here until the experiment is finished and I have something to report).
  • I need to get the site up for another experimental project some time this quarter. The earlier, the better.
  • I want to finish the Query-Free Freelancer branded site and get the next e-book in that series released.

That certainly isn't all I'll be working on. But these are the areas where I'd like to see the most progress this quarter.

What about you? Are you making decent progress towards the goals you set for yourself this year? Have those goals changed in any way? Tell me about your progress and plans to stay on track this quarter by leaving a comment below.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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