Looking Forward (by Looking Back)

Happy New Year! I have the honor of writing the first post of 2017. It’s a daunting responsibility, but this week’s topic is to discuss how this year will be different (my suggestion). Since I’m preparing a presentation on goal-setting for my writers group, I’ve actually been thinking this for awhile. One personal difference will be due to the natural progression of time: this summer, I’ll officially join the ranks of senior citizens when I get my social security card.

On the writing front, I want to step up my output this year, and I want to improve the way I market my books. I’m at a point in my life when I can dedicate more time to this – barring unexpected roadblocks – so I think I need to implement a plan for both.

A task like this needs a theme song. I don’t often listen to country music, but Slim Dusty recorded a song called “Looking Forward, Looking Back” that works. Here are a few verses that caught my attention:

Looking forward, looking back
I’ve come a long way down the track
Got a long way left to go
Making songs from what I know 

There are strange days
Full of change on the way
But we’ll be fine, unlike some
I’ll be leaning forward to see what’s coming.

So in order to effectively create a plan for 2017, I need to look back and see what worked – and what didn’t work – in 2016. Here’s a partial list:

  1. I finished one novella and one short story (much less than previous years).
  2. I participated in several online promotional events: Facebook events, blog hops, guest blog appearances (mixed results – December was good, because I put more effort into them)
  3. I attended one book signing in Chicago (dismal results – no sales, but met several well-known romance authors)
  4. I organized an online promotional event (Facebook page hop) that was different from previous events I’ve done (feedback was good!)
  5. I read 50 books, mostly by people I know (both in person and online)
  6. I lost 20 pounds

Looking at that list, it’s much easier to create my to-do list for 2017:

  1. Finish at least two novellas (three have been started, and two are half done).
  2. Participate in at least 10 online promotional events, but spread them out through the year.
  3. Attend at least one book signing, but closer to home. Go prepared with promo materials (people asked for bookmarks, even though many admitted to not reading print books!)
  4. Learn from the feedback on last year’s online events to organize awesome opportunities for authors.
  5. Read another 50 books (one a week is doable for most of the year!)
  6. Lose another 20 pounds (okay, I’ll be happy with 10 more!)

So now that I know what I want to do, I need to break these goals down into manageable chunks, and put those tasks on my calendar. January is going to be busy, because one of those novellas has a deadline that I need to meet. Another song on my playlist that motivates me is “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules:

I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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10 Responses to Looking Forward (by Looking Back)

  1. jeff7salter says:

    First of all, congratulations on reading 50 books and losing 20 lbs.
    Other than that, with a few modifications, I could easily borrow your list for my own purposes for 2017.
    Well, you know what I mean.
    I certainly want to improve my fiction output — which will mean spending LESS time on my FB posts, Tweets, and other networking.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’m not sure that the social media connection is bad – after all, the networking is how people find out about you, and find out whether or not they like you (and hopefully will in turn like your books). But I do tend to read “related articles” that waste my time, so I agree that more judicious social media time is good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        true — a certain amount of networking is not only important, but fulfilling.
        However, I’m afraid I have been through spells when I’ve let it consume WAY too much of my potentially productive time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Social media, esp FB, has kept me sane, (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). I will have to think hard on what this year brings, which should be a number of changes, some necessitated by circumstances which are changing in my life.
    I congratulate you on your personal accomplishments of 2016, and I hope 2017 brings everything you desire.


  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    Good post, Patty. Best wishes to you in the New Year and here’s to meeting our goals!


  4. I saw a reading challenge the other day on Facebook and I wondered if you would participate. I am sure you will meet your goal if books read this year.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I don’t know about a Facebook reading challenge. I just do the annual one at Goodreads. I’ve already finished reading my first one of 2017 – it’s a Christmas anthology!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The one I saw had things like read a book from your childhood. A book you read in school. A classic. A title published this year an other things like that. I decided to give it a go. And may even use my free weeks to talk about it.


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