July 2023 Reflection

Well, July is over. We’re officially, inarguably, into the late half of 2023. Shocking, right? It’s time to take a look at what I managed to get done in July and make plans for moving forward in August. 

Let’s talk goals.

If you’ve been following along with the blog then you already know that for 2023 I’ve left myself a big BLANK page of year long goals. The idea was to add to it as things took my focus and watch the page fill. I’m LOVING this strategy. What was a blank page on January 1 is now looking beautifully full. However, I’ve managed to accomplish EVERYTHING I put on the little checklists for each of the projects I planned to work on in 2023. In fact, ⅔ of them are already available for purchase and the last one is available for preorder. So … successful! 

Side Note: There is actually ONE BOX LEFT but it’s the release box on the Hitman Project (real title: How to Schedule a Death) and that will get checked on September 9th!

Page from my progress journal showing the checklists for the things you have to consider when publishing a book (three times since there's three projects). All in my terrible handwriting.

Really, that means I did accomplish a LOT in 2023 so far. But I don’t plan to do nothing for the rest of the year. I just have to figure out what will take my focus (and decide if I’m NaNoWriMo-ing in November). 

In addition to my large blank page for goals for the year, I also have monthly ones. These are where I can break things down a little more for myself. I had a goal to finish the final proofread of the Hitman project, which I did without any glitches. Honestly, my editor for this project was amazing so mostly this was making sure the computer used the same font for all punctuation (authors, you get me on this, right?) and fixing spacing glitches. I THINK (fingers crossed) we fixed the heading spacing problem ARC readers were having on ebooks and the “minutes to the end of a chapter” thing should be fixed as well. In other words, good to go on How to Schedule a Death!

Then I had 5 sessions with my idea journal. These are the cute little pink bubbles you see floating on the page. I knew I needed to focus in on something new going forward in 2023 and I needed to see what ideas were speaking to me. 

5 Idea Journal sessions later … I was staring at the Apocalypse Project outline AGAIN. 

Boy, does this idea have a rocky history with me. I’ve written this outline no less than 4 times. I have the basics down (yes, all of them). But where to start the story, if I use dual POV, how much of the twist to reveal and when … those are all tripping me up. So I keep coming back to it and moving things. I have a lot of chapters written but cut and paste has been my friend. 

As you can see on the bottom of July’s progress page, I spent some time writing on this one too. I wrote a few more scenes that I think are missing regardless of the order things go in. I still haven’t fully settled on how I’m telling this one, I just added more scenes to move around later. I keep saying I’m going to give up on this project and it keeps pulling me back in. This book is going to torture me to come out. 

Terrible handwritten page from my progress journal showing the proof of all the things I just said

Overall, about 295 words per day written (which is actually my best month yet in 2023) and 27 more chapters edited/revised (some of those were Hitman, some were Apocalypse chapters). 

Then there’s the reading goals. July was pretty good to me on that front, I think. 

A graphic of a bookshelf showing the covers of the 11 books I read in July with star ratings. Escape by James Patterson (2 star), Only Survivors by Megan Miranda (4 star), Spin a Black Yarn by Josh Malerman (4 star), Magician King by Lev Grossman (2 star), Bound by Honey by Jamie Dalton (4 star), Misery by Stephen King (5 star), Where We Converge by AE Bross (4 star), Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (4 star), I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (4 star), The Innocent One by Lisa Ballantyne (3 star), and The Terminal List by Jack Carr (3 star)

I added another 11 books to the log this month, putting my 2023 total to 81. This breaks down to about 129 pages per day, which is good because I like to be over 100. The oldest book I read this month was published in 1987 (two months in a row of reading something from the 80s actually) and the newest was an advanced reader copy of a title releasing in 2023. So we’re approximately 58% of the way through 2023 (sorry) and I’ve read 77% of my goal … not bad. 

Terribly hand drawn little book images totaling 81 with the heading READ 104 BOOKS

The quick breakdowns of things people often ask …

  • 1 Young Adult
  • 10 Adult
  • 4 Mystery/Thriller
  • 2 Horror
  • 3 Fantasy
  • 1 Paranormal
  • 1 Contemporary Fiction
  • 2 Independently Published (that’s 18%)
  • 3 ebooks
  • 6 audiobooks
  • 1 paperback
  • 2 hardcovers 

Yes, I’m aware that doesn’t add up to 8 books … one book I happened to have both the hardcover AND the audiobook from the library in order to get it finished quickly. 

No books received a 1 star. 2 books were 2-star (problematic), 2 were 3-star (more niche than wide appeal), 6 were 4-star (GREAT books if you read that genre) and 1 5-star (crosses genres). 

Image from my progress journal in which my terrible handwriting shows the 11 books I read and their star ratings.
Sorry for the squishy nature of this one. Apparently having a HUGE reading month on an already busy page is a bad idea. Don’t worry, this journal is almost full and the new one is BLANK paper!

So, in conclusion:

  • Finished formatting and all work on How to Schedule a Death 
  • Opened up How to Schedule a Death for preorders right here on this site
  • Read and reviewed 11 more books
  • Wrote in the idea journal
  • Took another look at the Apocalypse project and wrote a few more scenes
  • Had my most productive writing month (by word count) of 2023

Moving into August I’m hoping to carve out more time for writing, keep up the progress on reading, and maybe make some final decisions about that darn Apocalypse Project. Wish me luck!

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