Friday, December 28, 2018

Jake's 2018 Achievements


Small break in the synopsis series this week to look at my 2018 summary. It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like the year flew by too fast, and you got nothing done.

I certainly felt that way until I looked back through my bujo and marked off all the important milestones I reached in 2018. Looking back on this year, I can see it was actually a huge and fantastic year, and I am very proud of all the things I have achieved:


- Came out as transgender
- Fell pregnant with first child
- Wrote 600k+
- Read 27 books (Not counting Aurealis)
- Edited 650+ pages
- Changed Legal Name to Jake Corvus
- New personal best: 10, 500 words in a single day
- Paid off house mortgage in full
- Brought a new car (Suzuki Vitara)
- Judged Aurealis Awards (Fantasy Novel Category)
- Launched my newsletter and new Website
- Taken on new role as President of Vision Writers
- Found new medication that decreased my migraines by 3/4.
- Finished 10 first drafts.

Books I Read In 2018:

- The Cruel Prince – Holly Black
Enjoyed this immensely. It didn't really kick off for me until about half way through, but then it really kicked off. And what a title.

- Happiness By Design – Paul Dolan
            I highly recommend this for anyone who likes psychology, sociology or who wants to be happy.

- Your First 1000 Copies – Tim Grahl
            Lots of good information and got me fired up about self promotion.

- In Other Lands – Sarah Rees Brennan
            Subversive and just plain awesome attack on YA genre fiction. Read it.

- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Ruben
            Ruben shares her experiences as she implements a 12 months 'be happier' plan in her life. A lot of useful insights, if a little self centered.

- The One Thing – Gary Keller
            I really enjoyed this book, but I don't like to bring it up, because inevitably someone who hasn't read it will say its stupid based on their incorrect understanding of the premise. If you want to be really awesome, read it. Don't listen to the people self-righteously bitching about it.

- Sick House – Jeff Strand
            I honestly hate Jeff Stand books. I buy them and read them and hate every moment of it, then buy more. He's fantastic at narrative traction, terrible at plot, characters, and everything else. I plan to buy more of his books and then bitch about how bad they are next year.

- Three Moments of An Explosion – China Mieville
            You either 'get' China Mieville or you don't. If you are going to read his stuff, start with 'Looking for Jake'. If you love it, go nuts with the rest of his novels. If you don't, just move on with your life. Personally, I idolise him with a passion that borders on blasphemy.

- 7 Steps to Wealth – John Fitzgerald
            Not as good as 'The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape', but if you have read The Barefoot Investor and are still hungry for more, this is pretty good. I like books on personal finance.

- Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
            A great example of working with tropes. Townsend uses tropes and clich├ęs as a form of literary shorthand to skip the 'boring bits' and focus on the more interesting parts. I enjoyed it as a learning/stylistic tool. The descriptions and language were gorgeous.

- Strangers to Superfans – David Gaughran
            Fantastic book for authors on self-promotion. Recommended.

- Gentleman's Guide To Vice and Virtue – MacKenzi Lee
            I wanted to love this, but the main character is so insufferably self-centred and selfish, I couldn't get into it. If you want to read a teen gay romance about a narcissist, this one is for you.

- The Death Collector – Jack Kerley
            Thriller novel that reveals more about the author's sexual fetishes than he probably intended. Every single woman in this book was described as looking EXACTLY THE SAME. I think I counted eight different tall red-heads by the end of the book. Come on, bro.

- The Kept Woman – Karin Slaughter
            I love all the Will Trend books. If you want to read Karin Slaughter, start with Triptych. Don't read the Grant Gounty books, Jeffery is human garbage.

- Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myth and Magic – F.T Lukes
            Worst title for a YA this year. Could never remember it, so I never recommended it to anyone. Pretty cute gay romance. Main character is a bit self-centred and oblivious, but I could get past it.

- The One Page Marketing Plan – Allan Dib
            Good book on marketing and self-promotion for authors. Recommended.

- The One Hour Content Plan – Meera Kothand
            Good book on generating content for your blog and newsletter. Recommended.

- Your First 100 Repeat Customers – Meera Kothand
            Almost identical content to Allan Dib's One Page Marketing plan. I prefer Dib's.

- Simplify – Joshua Becker
            Short and pointless guide to simplifying your life. Don't bother.

- Making Websites Win – Karl Blanks
            This beast is DENSE and targeted at big companies, not authors. However, if you enjoy this sort of thing, and are good at extrapolating, then I still recommend it. I learned a lot.

- Fence 1-12 – C.S Pacat
            Queer sports comic series. The first few are significantly better than the later editions. I will be using the first four to demonstrate various writing skills for many years to come. However, you can see where time pressures started to affect the quality of the story and art.

- Coffee Boy – Austin Chant
            Sweet transman/man office romance. I really liked it. If you like queer romance, you will also probably like it.

- Write and Grow Rich – Alinka Ruthowska
            A collection of interviews with best-selling authors, talking about how they became successful, what their biggest mistake was and what make the biggest impact on their career. Most of these authors are nonfiction, not fiction. I found it quite reassuring, since different people had different methods.

- Help! My Facebook Ads Suck – Micheal Cooper
            Good book on marketing and self-promotion on facebook for authors. Recommended.

- Barefoot Investor for Families – Scott Pape
            A must if you have kids or grandkids.

- Friday Black – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
            Excellent collection of speculative fiction short stories. Highly recommend. Several of these stories still haunt me and I think about them regularly.

ROLL ON 2019

Obviously next year my biggest goal is having a healthy baby in February and looking after him. However, being a new, single dad hasn't prevented me from writing a pretty extensive list of goals I am hoping to achieve.

Primary Goals For 2019:

- Have a baby.
- Get back to my pre-pregnancy goal weight.
- Build house #2.
- Complete 2 solo first drafts.
- Have two new books edited and ready to pitch/sell.
- Build my newsletter to 500 subscribers.

I also have another 9 'optional' goals to work on. Overly ambitious? Always. To be honest, even though I have had an insanely productive year in 2018, I don't think I achieved any of my goals. This was because they were tied to specific projects—which I had to put aside for other things—and weight loss, and, unsurprisingly, at 8 months pregnant, I can't maintain my pre-pregnancy goal weight. In fact, I am about ten kilograms heavier, which is honestly not that bad.

I don't know how having a baby is going to affect my time, just that it will, and that I will need to reorganise my days around Esteban and his requirements. I know there is going to be a learning curve, but I am as prepared as I can be.

Roll on 2019!

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