It’s the start of a new year once again, and that means it’s time to lay out some 2024 goals.
Last year was a big year for me. I got married in the spring, went on a honeymoon, switched jobs, and published five stories in five months.
I’m almost always ambitious at the start of a new year. This year, I need to be careful not to make my 2024 goals too lofty. There are some big life changes heading my way …
Welcome to Baby P!
I’m expecting a baby in March! That means a lot of things, which is a really mixed bag. One, I’m super excited. Two, I’m scared!
I’m also taking parental leave, which means I will not be at the day job for a whole 12 months. That’s an incredibly long time for me not to be employed. I’ve been working, at least part time, almost constantly since I was 15 years old.
So, on the one hand, I’m suddenly having the biggest time-suck taken off my hands. On the other, I’m having a baby—which is a different kind of investment.
Can You Get Any Writing Done with a Baby?
I think the answer here is it really depends on a) the baby, and b) the parent.
I have a few friends who got a lot of writing done, especially in their baby’s first three months. Babies at that age can actually spend over 80 percent of their time sleeping. Plus, they’re not super mobile—they can’t even roll over independently yet—so you don’t really need to worry that they’re going to take off like lightning.
Once Baby gets to be a bit more mobile, that changes. They spend less time sleeping as they age. They become more independent and mobile—and often intent on escaping.
Of course, you can also have the opposite. Some parents end up with babies that are just wide-eyed all the time, who sleep in fits and starts, or who have colic. Add in feeding, changing diapers, and interacting with baby, and it’s a full-time job—one that’s even more demanding that the standard 40-hour workweek.
Parental temperament also plays into things. Some parents are super anxious, so they’re not able to detach, even when baby is asleep. Others struggle to get enough sleep, and yet others deal with mental health issues like postpartum depression.
Given all those factors, the question isn’t so much “can you write with a baby?”
The question is whether I can write with my baby. And I’m only going to be able to answer that once Baby is here.
I’ll have to see exactly what “kind” of baby I get and what “kind” of parent I am.
Setting 2024 Goals for Writing and Publishing
Nonetheless, I still want to set some goals for myself. Thus, I’m still making this blog post. Later in the year, I can check in to see how I’m doing. Maybe I’ll surprise everyone and totally exceed these goals. Or maybe it will be the usual song and dance: “Life got in the way.”
So, here are my goals:
• Publish 4 novels
• Start a serial
That’s a short list of goals for 2024, but it’s actually a lot of work. Four novels in a year is no easy feat.
The good news is I’m two manuscripts deep into this goal already. I have an old draft of Flirting with the Zodiac Book 8 that I’m revamping now. I also have a first draft of the second book in the Mythos Island series. The next two books, if all goes to plan, are Zodiac Book 7 and the third Mythos Island book.
As for starting a serial, I have a few I’ve already started in on. I just need to get enough chapters ahead
Stretch Goals for 2024
My stretch goals for the year would include getting a couple of shorts and/or novellas out, as well as getting a few drafts for 2025 ready. That will depend entirely on Baby. If I was just taking a year to write and I didn’t get this stuff done? I’d say throw rocks at me or chain me to my keyboard or something. As it stands, I’m going to be at the mercy of another (little) person that I’m responsible for keeping alive.
So, if something has to give, it’s absolutely going to be the writing. I’m still aiming to do as much as possible. It’s just a question of what is actually possible.
Reading Goals for 2024
I also want to keep up my recreational reading, if at all possible. To that end, I’m keeping my goal the same as my 2023 reading goal. That was three books per month, or 36 books total. If I can get more than that? Amazing. But this is not something I’m going to sweat over.
Who knows though? Maybe I’ll find a way to plow through a lot of reading during some long, sleepless nights …
My 2024 Marketing Goals
This is a field you probably don’t care about, in the sense that it’s about the business side of my books. Yet marketing in the age of social media largely means stuff like putting up pull quotes from books, my monthly newsletter, and posting the occasional bird pic from my nature hikes.
I don’t see a reason for that to change, other than it does take time to put marketing material together. Can I juggle doing that plus writing, plus editing, plus keeping house and making sure a small person stays alive? It’s a really good question, and once again, this is not something I’m going to lose sleep over. If I can keep up with the marketing I’ve been doing, then I’ll be pleased as punch.
Still, the best goals are measurable, and “just keep doing what you were doing” isn’t necessarily measurable. So, here are some very concrete goals:
◦ Keep publishing a blog post once per week
◦ Make sure the monthly marketing newsletter gets out
◦ Expand to at least 1 new platform, like TikTok
◦ Try my hand at coordinated, themed campaigns
◦ Try to do some more for readers, like contests and giveaways
Those are, again, lofty goals for someone who is expecting their first kid. If push comes to shove, the marketing is going by the wayside. Everything else comes first. So if my socials go radio silent for a while, you’ll know what happened.
What Else Do I Want to Accomplish in 2024?
The only other thing I want to put down here is actually not a very good goal, because it’s hard to quantify. I want to be more generous. I want to be generous with my time and other resources, to deliver more for my readers. That’s a really tough thing for me to do, because I usually operate in a “scarcity” mindset. I don’t have enough time, money, energy, whatever else.
Being generous requires me to up-end that way of thinking. All I can do is try. If nothing else, I think it’s something to strive for, even if I can’t achieve it.
That’s really it. I can maybe think of a few things I’d like to do, but as I said, I don’t want to be overly ambitious. My biggest goal for 2024, I think, needs to be delivering a healthy baby, and then keeping both Baby and myself as happy and healthy as possible.
Out of everything I listed, that’s actually the biggest goal and the hardest one. While most of us scrape by every day, and for many of us, the tasks of living are relatively easy, it’s actually super tough to survive—and even harder to thrive.
With luck, by keeping my 2024 goals somewhat tamed, I’ll be able to achieve them—and think about making 2025 an even bigger and better year. In the meantime, though, we’ll see what the next 12 months holds. One thing seems really clear to me from the outset. There are going to be a lot of exciting new experiences, which I hope to make the most of.