A New Year, a Polar Vortex, and ROW80


Happy New Year!  The start of 2014 is the perfect time to re-assess one’s goals, evaluate what worked well in 2013, and figure out what happens next. Throw in a polar vortex, which is socking most of the U.S. in a deep freeze that hasn’t been seen in two decades, and there’s even more opportunity to stay at home and roll up our sleeves.

Image from NOAA satellite, 1.6.2014, via NASA.gov
I think I see Florida in there somewhere…image from NOAA satellite, 1.6.2014, via NASA.gov


2013 was the year I threw my hat in the indie publishing ring, with the publication of my first two mysteries in the Concordia Wells series: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits.

A new cover for D&U! Both covers done by Melinda VanLone.
A new cover for D&U! Both covers done by Melinda VanLone.

But there’s still more work to be done – can’t leave Concordia pining for her next adventure!  So I’ve decided to start the year by participating in the ROW80 challenge.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, ROW80 stands for “A Round of Words in 80 Days.”  It’s made up of fellow writers who support and cheer each other on over an 80-day period, as we post our progress on our measurable goals each week.

So let’s get to it!

My goals over the next 80 days:

  • Promote my new book, Unseemly Pursuits, through two means: 1) a blog tour of guest postings on other websites, and 2) requesting book reviews
  •  Revise my first draft of Unseemly Secrets.

I haven’t looked at it since finishing the draft in late October (too busy getting Unseemly Pursuits revised and published).  However, I know I’ll be dealing with a hot mess once I dare to open the Scrivener file.  We’re talking plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, people.

  •  Get more involved socially on the internet and better connect with the online community.  This will involve several steps: 1) breathing life into my dormant blog, which had been languishing from neglect until a couple of months ago; 2) visiting more websites each week, commenting, and tweeting the links; and 3) posting more regularly on Social In, an e-zine that’s published in three dozen cities. I’m going to start with once a month, with a short-term goal of bi-weekly and a long-term goal of weekly.

**I have some personal goals in addition to the professional ones – you know, eating healthier (cookies are my weakness) and exercising, but I’ll just report on the writing-related ones.  😉

Okay, let’s make all of this more quantifiable!

ROW80Measurable weekly goals (in no particular order):

1. Post twice per week on my blog: a ROW80 check-in on Sundays (I only intend to check-in once per week, although I know other ROW-ers do Sundays AND Wednesdays), and an original post mid-week.  During my blog tour, my total weekly count will actually be three times per week, as I’m scheduled to guest post twice a week through the beginning of March.

2. Send out five new email requests per week to book reviewers who have indicated they are available and interested in reviewing books in my genre (mystery).  I don’t want to spam anybody!  And if you all have suggestions about reviewers to contact, I’d sure appreciate it!

3. Visit, comment on, and tweet posts from ten bloggers each week.

4. Write and publish three SocialIn posts during this 80-day period.

5.  Exclusively dedicate four hours each weekday (probably in 2-hour increments) to writing the second draft of Unseemly Secrets.  No Facebook, email, or TweetDeck tabs open!  Be strong, Kathy. 😉


That should do it…wish me luck!


What are your goals for 2014?  What changes will you be making in your routine to make them happen?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,



4 people like this post.

17 thoughts on “A New Year, a Polar Vortex, and ROW80”

  1. Camille LaGuireCamille LaGuire

    I often do hybrid posts for ROW80 – a real post and a quick goals tally at the bottom or top. I post a lot of different kinds of content, though, so if I combine the two, I tend to post things I think would be of interest to writers on those days.

    Glad to see you join ROW80. It’s a great effort because it’s so flexible, and it’s ongoing… so you can actually use it to suit your needs.

  2. PatriciaPatricia

    I started reading the first Concordia Wells book last night. So far, so good.

    My only real goal this year is to try to write a little faster. It’s been taking me almost a year to get a book whipped into good shape and I’d live to eventually get that down to 6 months. I know that might take me another year or so, but I’m hoping to be through my next book in about 7-8 months. That’s about all I can hope for right now with a full time job, a husband, a home, President of my local RWA chapter, yadda yadda yadda.

    I hope you have a fantastic 2014! Now get to it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. Denise D. YoungDenise D. Young

    Congrats on joining the ranks of indie writers! I think your goals seem like a great start–they’re challenging but realistic. I’m also dusting off my blog and trying to spend more time visiting other writers’ blogs. I look forward to learning more about your writing progress!

  4. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    Kathy – I wish you well going for those goals. I always find I do a better job of meting goals if I’ve set them like that. I’m impressed.

  5. renée schuls-jacobsonrenée schuls-jacobson

    I’m so proud of you, Kathy! You continue to dive into your craft with such enthusiasm! I’m excited to see you’re blogging again! I hope to start writing again soon. Lord knows I’ve got a book brewing!

  6. Marcia RichardsMarcia Richards

    Great goals, Kathy! Social In sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out. ROW80 is a great program. I did it for two years and it helped me define what my goals should be at that time. Now I’m doing my own private NaNo thing every other month and in between I’m using the Pomodoro technique (timed writing sessions). My business plan for this year includes getting my novel that I wrote during NaNo in Nov published in May. While it’s being edited I’ll start a second book. I’ll work that way throughout the year – write, edit, write, edit, etc. I’m currently writing a short story to giveaway with my newsletter subscriptions. Socially, I’m visiting blogs and having a more relevant presence on FB. if I can fit it in, I’ll look for opportunities to guest blog. That’s most of it. I wish you a productive year and tons of success, my friend!

  7. Julie GloverJulie Glover

    My goals include editing a novel, writing a couple of short stories, and reading many books. Your goals look great. Best wishes with the full list!

  8. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    Good to see you Kathy! You’ve got some wonderful goals and I am here to cheer you on girl! “Get more involved socially on the internet and better connect with the online community.” This I so identify with. I am so bad. But I haven’t been well and my site/theme died. Laird is in the midst of fixing it. Thus, there has been no Karen. But I promise to keep more in touch. {{Hugs!}} And stay warm! Jeez, you guys must be frozen by now. SoCal, like Florida is warm Kathy. I have no complaints. Take care! 🙂


Comments are closed