The Best Laid Plans Half Way Through The Year

View from Three Sixty Restaurant in St. Louis
I'm a little nervous posting this. Yesterday I had on my schedule to write out a schedule (yes, really) for the rest of the year. Which led me to defining specific goals for the second half of 2016. I tend to aim high each January with the idea that it's rare to exceed a goal. But I don't share my goals, as I'm not committing to achieving every single one unless everything works out perfectly and there are no surprises. (Surprisingly, I've never had a year like that.)

But mid-year is different. It's about priorities for the rest of the year, and a little beyond. Part of me feels like sharing them, with a timeline no less, is tempting fate. We all know the saying about the best laid plans. The part of me that struggled on and off with anxiety for many years swears by that saying. While anxiety rarely takes over anymore, it's like a broken bone that's long since healed. Every now and then–in a certain type of weather or after a wrong step–it reminds me that it was once very seriously broken and could break again.

View from Cindy's in Chicago

The other, healthier part of me knows that a career as an author and publisher means prioritizing writing and publishing. I already prioritize the part-time work I do as a lawyer and adjunct professor because other people are depending on my efforts to advance their careers and businesses. But my shift to devoting the bulk of my time to writing and publishing only works if I set realistic deadlines. Ones that account for the ups and downs I can anticipate (a larger than usual class size, an unexpected court ruling requiring an appeal at an already busy time, a family or friend or personal emergency). If everything goes far more smoothly than expected, I can always move up the schedule. But I no longer am willing to move it back.

So, here it is, my half-year check in/schedule/goal list. The Cliff's Notes version is the release date for the fourth and final book in The Awakening series, The Illumination, is May 15, 2017. If you'd like to know what else I have in the works feel free to read the details.

8/12/16:  1st Draft of The Illumination finished
8/12/16:  List of 10 topics for blog posts about Writing as a Second Career finished
8/19/16:  First 25,000 words of Illumination and outline revised to send to story editor
8/26/16:  First 5 posts of WSC blog finished, start posting one each Sunday night
9/2/16:  Next 5 posts of WSC blog finished
9/9/16:  Finish Outline of The Worried Man (working title of first book in a new legal thriller/mystery series)
9/16/16:  Next 5 posts of WSC blog finished
9/23/16:  Revision of Worried Man Outline finished
10/28/16:  Send revised Illumination manuscript (based on editor's comments & my post-break review) to Beta Readers
11/4/16:  Next 5 posts of WSC blog finished
12/23/16:  First draft of Worried Man finished
1/20/17:  Revision of Illumination based on beta readers' comments finished.
(work on Worried Man while taking break from Illumination)
2/23/17:  Final revisions to Illumination finished
(take a week off)
2/27-28/17:  Proofread and polish Illumination (minor edits only + corrections)
3/1/17:  Send Illumination to proofreaders
3/17/17:  My last proofread; add edits from others
(do not read Illumination for at least 5 days)
3/28-29/17:  Final check, all proofreading finished, manuscript finalized
3/30/17:  Manuscript to 52novels (for ebook conversion) and CreateSpace (for print publication)
(work on Worried Man revisions, blog posts, proofread ebook files, galleys)
5/15/17:  Publication date for Illumination

Oh, I almost forgot. Why the photos? Most of the action in The Illumination will be in Chicago and St. Louis, so I've given you bird's eye views of both. Which I think is appropriate for goal setting. If you'd like to keep up to date with new releases and be notified when The Illumination is available for pre-order or purchase, please join my email list.

How has your year gone? Any half-year goals or plans you'd like to share in the comment section?