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Susanne Winter Posts

2017 in review and goals for 2018

I tried to look back at the year, and went through all my notebooks to find my goals, especially my writing goals, for 2017.

Seems I never quite committed to anything.

Now I’m always on the fence about goal-setting. I hate not reaching them but if I don’t set any I can’t see if I failed or succeeded.

I did find something I wrote on ravelry on December 8th 2016, though:

My plan is to use December to plan the third in the trilogy (wrote the first draft of the second in November), then I want to revise the second, and then we’ll see.

I definitely want to revise all three of them into something publishable. I hope I can get there eventually.

And while it did take me a little longer to plan that novel (it always does, I need to plan differently – or write faster) that is pretty much what I did. I wrote the first draft of the third novel, revised the second, and then got sort of stuck.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the person who is reading novel one. I gave it to her at the end of August, and it seems she has been busy.

Right now I am in the middle of finishing this year’s NaNoWriMo-novel, the first in a series of paranormal mysteries. So far I’m liking it but it’s slow going. There was some health stuff, and other projects, and so I haven’t spent a lot of time on it. I’m pretty sure I can finish the rough draft until the end of the year, though.

My hopes for 2017 had been to finish and publish the trilogy. That didn’t happen. So I am making goals for 2018 this time. Here they are:

  1. Get all four novels in progress finished, and as publication-ready as they can be.
  2. Overhaul all three websites (personal blog, writer blog, teaching website).
  3. Save enough money to publish at least one book.
  4. Find a critique partner.
  5. Find beta readers.
Now that I’m looking at those goals I can already see a potential problem in there. When I wrote „save enough money to publish at least one book“ in my mind that was the same as actually publishing it. But there are more steps involved, aren’t there? Finding and editor or two, having cover art made and a cover (I’m guessing but that’s probably about ten more steps in itself), formating the whole thing, uploading and such.
I am also not quite sure about the beta readers. But I should try it. Anybody volunteering?
I do have high hopes for next year but then I’m such an optimist. I always have high hopes for everything. So I’m raising my glass to the next year a bit early, and am hoping that I’ll actually manage to put the work in so that this can happen.



NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 27: Win!

Wow. Writing my 1,800 words today was astonishingly hard. But I did it, 600 words in the morning, and the rest in the afternoon. So for now I rest on my laurels

NaNo 2017 Winner Badge


This has been the hardest NaNoWriMo ever for many reasons. First I was sick, and there were endless health troubles with my mother and mother-in-law, and there was the furniture-building for my son’s room, and health stuff galore, and not to forget the chucking of the novel after a few days, and the start of another.


But I did it. And you can too. Or come near, or not so near but at least you will have written something.

I will get back to semi-regular updates, I think. For now I will take a day or two off, I am rather exhausted at the moment. I will go to bed real early tonight, and my husband and I already had a celebratory glass of champagne.

After my short break I will sit down and plan out a bit more of my NaNo-novel. And I hope to finish it all the way in December.

I will keep you updated. Thanks for reading and joining in my journey.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 26

Well, that went well, all in all. I almost finished but in the end I was just too tired in the evening.

It was particularly hard to write because I was so full of self-doubt that I wanted to throw the towel completely. After the days before when I had enjoyed my story, and the writing, a single comment by someone regarding something else I had written seemed enough to give up completely.

I didn’t, though. I gave myself permission to write crap, sat down with my timer and wrote.

All afternoon, with breaks, and then I made pizza pane, and watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then I wrote some more, and then I went to bed and wrote some more.

My goal was 10,000 words, and that’s what I got. 10,949 to be exact for a total of 48,259.

I tried finishing the 50K because that was my next goal, finish NaNo on Sunday evening but I just couldn’t do it. My wrists had started being sore at around 8,000 words, and I had a headache, and I was so tired that my eyes started crossing so I stopped.

But, and that’s really important. Even though in the beginning of that day every word felt like I had to shove it on the page with force, even though writing felt like the last thing I wanted to do, and I hated every second of it, only half an hour later or though I was back in love again.

And I’m pretty sure I will manage the 50,000 words until the end of today. Maybe even before breakfast, we’ll see.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 25

Yeah. There you can see that motivation alone is not enough.

It’s not that I had a bad day, it was rather mixed. I knew that aiming for 8,000 words was somewhat ambtious, but I didn’t think I’d end up with a mere 3,500. Boo.

I knew that I wouldn’t have time to write in the morning but I secretly hoped that I would be able to sneak in a thousand words or so. Of course this was the day that I lounged in bed until the ungodly hour of 7.30, and didn’t even manage to meditate before the rest of the family got up.

My 11K run went really well but then lunch was extremely late by our standards. And I hadn’t planned for calling a friend on the phone for her birthday. I should have, though, because that friend is important.

I only started writing at 4 pm, and then had trouble getting into the story. I did write a bit of the „main character at the mercy of the murderer“-scene, though. This is something new I’m trying. I’ve always strictly written from beginning to end, and this time when I’m stuck I just continue writing the end. And then I get a better sense of where to move the story next. That might mean heavy revision on the end but I don’t mind. I’m mostly pantsing this anyways which will mean quite a bit of editing.

So now it’s an hour until bedtime. I still have 4,500 words to write today which is highly unlikely. I don’t want to go to bed way too late.

I can still put an hour in and make some more progress.

And I’m still detemined to reach 50K until the end of the month.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 24

Yesterday was so busy that I didn’t even manage to write my daily post before wifi was turned off.

But I did manage the 2,000 words I wanted, in fact I even wrote 1,776 more, and am now past 30,000. Which is pretty good.

I worked all aftenroon, and I cleaned the house, and I made pizza from scratch, and I watched somet TV with my son, so I’m rather happy with how that went.

Tomorrow is the day that I will attempt to write 10,000 words plus run 11 kilometers. Not at the sam time, though. That would be truly impressive.

That plan is to do some writing in the early morning, then the running, then lunch, and then a lot of writing. I already told my son that I’m too busy this weekend to cut his hair.

10,000 words would be extremely awesome, I’ve never written that much in a day. I remember back in 2006 when I had one day where I wrote 5,000 words and afterwards I felt like my head would implode. I’m comparing that to yesterday where I wrote 5,000 words and felt like I had worked hard but could easily have written a bit more.

I’m really excited about this. Which is a bit silly.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 23

I am so stoked today that I’m posting early.

I had a hard look at my chances to „win“ NaNo this year yesterday, and as I might have told you it was not looking good. I was at around 22,000 words with a bad track record of wasting precious writing time (like I did yesterday), and these days not only are my days quite full, I’m also developing a habit of falling asleep while typing around 8.30 pm.

November lasts until next Thursday, and looking at my calendar I found that it would be highly unlikely I’d write anything on Monday and Tuesday. And while the 3,800 words per day that I would have needed to make it sounded doable if strenuous on paper I was barely eeking out 2,000 per day. Which is still a good number of written words, it is just not enough this year for me.

So I thought. There were 27,000 words left to write. If I could write 5,000 today, Saturday and Sunday, that would still leave 12,000 words for three days. Which is a bit too much. I thought about giving up. I always do. I mean, this isn’t really about winning or losing, this is about writing a novel all the way through the end and having fun in November. And 50K will not be enough to finish this novel anyway.

Also in the past writing the 50K mostly left me so burned out that I wouldn’t write a single word for the rest of the year. I definitely don’t want that.


I have „won“ NaNo every single year that I have attempted it.

So I made a plan.

It is a bit nuts but then that was to be expected.

The plan is to write 5,000 words (or more) today, 2,000 (or more) tomorrow, and 10,000 each on Saturday and Sunday.

If I don’t manage the 10,000 I will still have a few more days to make up for it.

So the first test was to attempt 5K today.

I only worked for half an hour so even with general household chores and running and such that left a good chunk of time for writing. So I don’t usually manage to make use of those stretches of time but today would be different. I was very determined.

So I got out my pomodoro timer app, and I started writing. Looks like I can usually write about 1,100 words in 25 minutes.

So not only did I get over the halfway mark today, I also wrote 5,102 words. Ha!

I’m mightily pleased.

The plan is still pretty nuts, though. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 22

Today’s unused stretches of potential writing time:

5.30 am – 6.30 am: woke up unable to fall asleep again; had left my computer in the kitchen and read a book instead of writing

7.30 am – 8.30 am: wrote a blog post for my other blog, read a book (I’m reading an ARC of „Amber Fang 2“ by Arthur Slade and it’s really good), looked at the internet

10.00 am – 10.30 am: sat at the kitchen table and crocheted while my son was having breakfast

12.30 am – 1.00 pm: kept my husband company while he cooked

1.30 pm – 3.00 pm: more reading, got a package ready for mailing, freaked out about something work-related without reason, more internet

6.45 pm – 7.45 pm: more reading, waiting for my husband to have dinner (turned out he already had eaten), more internet


Total word count so far: 102 words written in three minutes just before my husband showed up for breakfast.

I have now put a beer in the freezer. I have to write until it’s cold enough to drink.

Two hours until bedtime. Will I manage to write 3,400 more words until then?

Stay tuned.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 21


Today I wrote 3,604 words. I am now at 21,557. (And no, the NaNo widget in the sidebar does not show the right wordcount. I actually fiddled with it for half an hour or so, and didn’t get it to work, sorry.)

I woke up at 5, started writing at 5.30, and wrote ten minutes here and ten minutes there all throughout the day. I didn’t really feel like it but then that’s part of the deal. I can tell when I’m feeling fatigued while writing because there’s a lot of talk about cake then. I might have to edit some of that out later.

The other thing I managed was I installed a thingy where you can subscribe to my mailing list. I definitely won’t spam anyone, and I won’t send you a ton of emails, just in case that you’re interested in hearing about my books coming out or similar stuff you can sign up.

The whole setup is still pretty basic – well, I set it up in a short work break today, no fancy design – but at least there is a setup.

So I’d love it if you would sign up for that, of course.

Funny how the whole NaNo-thing looks a little more doable, only because I managed to not fall more behind once.

As I said – I am an optimist.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 20

I wrote every chance I got but I had a pretty busy day. I’m also writing this the morning after because I thought writing the novel was more important than writing the blog post.

All in all I only wrote 1,503 words yesterday. About 900 of them I wrote throughout the day every chance I got, and the rest at night after dinner. I was so tired that I almost fell asleep while typing yet again, so I called it a night at 9 pm, and went to sleep. I did wake up at 5 and wrote a little more since then.

I hope that today I’m a little less busy and there will be more time to write. It’s also getting clear that whatever health issue is making me all tired all the time is seriously messing with my writing. And doesn’t mesh with me trying to write 50,000 words in 20 days.

I am pretty happy with what I’m writing, though, so that’s something.

NaNoWriMo Day 19 – More Furniture

So yesterday I only manged about 1,000 words. I was sure I would make up for it today.

Today I had one of those days.

First I got myself a new video game. Yes, I know that’s dumb.

Every time I sat down for write someone was coming into the room I was sitting in and wanted to talk to me.

I spent all afternoon finishing our son’s room. The good news is that the furniture is all done now. We only need to move all his things into it. It looks really nice with all that new furniture, and the new floor, and the freshly painted walls.

Ninety more minutes until bedtime. I can totally do 3,000 words until then, can I?