Looking Back on 2015

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It all passed in a whirl… image by gummy231 

 

I recall with-ahem-fondness my previous “New Year’s Resolution” type post from January 1, 2015. Of the things I wanted to accomplish, I actually did get some of it done, like the new covers! Some of the other stuff, like the print books, alas, got punted again to 2016. I also wanted to hit Pulp Speed 1, and I’m kind of upset that I don’t appear to have nearly the speed necessary to achieve it.

While separating out blog posts a bit earlier this month (mostly dumping duplicated blog posts on my website), I realized there was a pattern to the ambitions I had, and they all seemed to be centered around events like NaNoWriMo and moving and illnesses… In other words, I keep letting life get in the way. And much of that was due to bad habits I had last year that I have started rectifying already.

One of those bad habits was not setting aside some time when no one else was around in order to write. I have corrected this by waking up earlier in the morning on days I have to go to the day job, and I get a LOT more writing done this way. The trouble was that I didn’t start doing that early enough in 2015 to meet my yearly goal. I was trying to do my writing at night, after exhausting myself at the day job, and I just ended up having to almost entirely rewrite The Explorer’s Son. I absolutely do not want that happening again!

I think the problem made itself much more apparent once I moved out of the old apartment in May (where I’d been living for 8 years before that). There, I had noisy neighbors and basically lived in a sick building. I developed migraines while living there, and I blame the presence of mold for them. Mind you, I still get headaches even in my new place, but they are not nearly as frequent, and my neighbors for the most part are just better people. I think this place is more conducive to a writing career.

Speaking of careers, I did manage to make some strides with my graphic design skills. Last year, I was embedding images from Getty, and this year I’m creating my own, using Canva if I’m trying to get something quick up and using GIMP for a lot of the rest of it. I’ve completely reconstructed my book covers using GIMP, a program called Inkscape, and a program called Blender. They are all free alternatives to the much more expensive Photoshop, Illustrator, and Maya. They are not easy to use, but it is rewarding to finally have enough confidence to make up images of my own for my blogs, website, and social media as well as for my books.

I also developed a workflow for creating really nice looking epub files, at last! Some of you might recall my earlier series of posts about Sigil, and then it might have seemed like I abandoned the program (also free and open source software), but that would not be the case! I’m using Sigil in conjunction with Scrivener and Kindle Previewer and Calibre to help make really lovely eBooks.

I am now working on a workflow for creating print books. Alas, this meant I had to restart my Office 365 membership but I have to say, Word can make up a really great pdf without the blank pages I was getting from directly compiling with Scrivener. And actually, I would probably need to submit a Word document if I was going to have Draft2Digital handle my print books with CreateSpace. All in the coming year!

Another thing in the coming year: my new blog. Yes, you read it here (unless you are on the IndiePubClub forum) first! I have created a new WordPress blog called The Author Social Media Deep Dive. It’s a new blog that will journal my social media building efforts. Some of my platforms are great (like Google+) and some suck (like Facebook) and some are just flat out unnecessary (like Periscope). Why did I start the new blog? Well, I wanted to keep this blog from becoming swamped with too much.

Because, you see, I’m rapidly expanding this blog as well. You must have noticed that I have changed the theme again. I trashed some old posts, and completely refiled the others into categories. I will be adding more categories and blogging about all the aspects of indie publishing and writing here on this blog. I already have an Author’s Corner, Technical Issues of Publishing, and Book News (where I have all my self-promotion stuff). I know that many of the people who subscribe to this blog are fellow authors, and I know which posts have been of the most value and interest to you. So I want to bring more of that to you in 2016. I’ve done a few things right and I want to tell you about what I did. I also did a TON of things wrong and I want to warn you about them as well. I’m failing my way to success!

My website is where the fun, Steampunky stuff is going to go. I will be blogging there FAR less frequently. The site’s most important page is where my books are listed. This blog is already established and I don’t want to lose readers by making everyone go over there unless it becomes absolutely necessary (like if WordPress dot come closes down or something).

What about you? Have you noticed patterns that held you back in 2015? Can you pinpoint ways to work around those patterns so they don’t repeat themselves in 2016?

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