ROW Round Four… Already?

Wow, that was quick.

Round four of A Round of Words in 80 Days starts today, which probably means I should have posted goals yesterday, what with it being Sunday and all. Well, better late than never, and I have a lot of goals I need to work on this round, which will take us through December 26th.

Treat Writing Like a Business

I’m aware that this is not a quantifiable or measurable goal, but it works as a heading, and as my personal theme for this round. I’m done dicking around. Want to know how I know that? Because I’ve hired an editor to work on the first novel I plan to release, and for an amount of money that’s definitely out of “hobby” territory, at least for me. Based on recommendations and the sample edit he did for me, he’s going to be worth every penny, but this isn’t something I can do just for fun or personal fulfilment.

Am I insane? Probably. Am I nervous? Well, I almost threw up after I sent the deposit money for work that’s going to happen in February, so I’m going to call that a “yes.” But this is an investment in my education, in myself as a writer, and in what I want to be a business, even if I don’t expect to earn back this particular investment in the first book. I’m getting the ball rolling, and starting out in the most professional way possible. Everything else is outside of my control.

It’s not going to be easy; I’m a notorious procrastinator and my will power is almost nil. So here are the concrete goals:

  • Get into the work routine. Spend 2 hours every weekday (when both kids are at school, whatever time of day that happens to be) on writing. Minimum goal of 1000 words on new work, but productivity will vary when editing/revising
  • Look into getting a website set up, probably through WordPress. I’m willing to spend money on things that affect the quality of my work, but I’m still leery of spending money on promotional matters. 🙂
  • read one craft or business-related book a week for this round.
  • Set up bank account for business expenses, get a budget working to save money, and look into what I need to do to keep everything running smoothly.
  • No internet during work time. Use StayFocusd Chrome app to keep temptation at bay.


I almost didn’t participate in ROW80 because it seemed anti-NaNo. Not in its concept, but in the idea that “shyeah, I’d do NaNoWriMo if I didn’t HAVE A LIFE.” In reality, this challenge is flexible enough to include any goals, so I can do both. So during November, my goals will shift a bit:

  • 2,000 words a day, Sundays off
  • Finish re-drafting book #2
  • 50,000+ words total FTW

Reading and Other Responsibilities

I need to re-think whether I want to offer to write reviews on books, because I’ve run into problems recently that prevented me from doing other projects I’d offered to work on, like a beta read I was looking forward to. I need to make more time to work on projects for the people who support me here, and to read for enjoyment. Reading “Doctor Sleep” (the new Stephen King) helped with that. It was so good that I pretty much neglected the real workd for 22 hours, and it reminded me of why I love reading. I’ve read books recently that were hard to get through, but this one cured me of the blahs.

  • read one novel a week. If it’s not grabbing me and making me want to finish it in that time-frame, I might have to ditch it. Harsh, but there’s a lot out there that I want to read.
  • When applicable, finish beta reads within two weeks of agreed-on start date. Detailed critiques would take longer.

Other Projects

I only have one series that I’m looking to publish in the near future, but I have other things begging for my attention.

  • Post one chapter of “Resurrection” on Wattpad per week, if anyone’s reading. That’s going to become less likely once it gets to its “R” rating, but I doubt it would be huge even without that. It’s just something I’m doing for fun, and to practice sticking to a self-imposed deadline. The problem is that I don’t have time to schmooze over there. I’m reading a few stories and have others on my list to read (especially for people who have already been helpful to me there), but I can’t hang out there and try to collect readers, and I have a whole lot of other reading that takes precedence.
  • Write one piece of flash fiction per week, even if it’s not posted anywhere. Just for the mental exercise and a change of scenery.

So there we go. My goals, organized into four sections that should be easy to refer back to when I’m posting updates. If you’ve read this far, you’re either a very good friend or completely bonkers. Either way, thanks for listening.

If you’re participating in this round, let me know below so I can stop by and say hello! If not, what are your goals for the near future, whether writing-related or not?

Want to see what everyone else’s goals look like, or join in the fun? Click here!


About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with five cats, two dogs, and just the right amount of humans. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy), Into Elurien, and Vines and Vices. Writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. View all posts by Kate Sparkes

10 responses to “ROW Round Four… Already?

  • sknicholls

    I refuse to treat writing exclusively as a business. I am semi-retired for a reason, but I do need to keep better records for tax purposes on how I spend my time and money. Great post!

    • Kate Sparkes

      It’s true: the writing itself can’t be business for me, aside from the fact that I need to commit specific work hours to it. I will never write to trend, or write something because I think it will sell. Doing do would suck all of the joy out of it for me. But if I ever want to make money from my books (which I assume won’t be for at least a few years, and not on my first book), I do need to take it seriously as a business. Otherwise, it’s never going to happen.

  • L. Marie

    I love that you’re taking writing seriously, Kate. For what it’s worth, you’re worth the investment. Someday, you’ll look back at this and think, “Yeah. I’m glad I did this.”
    I couldn’t get to Wattpad, because my pop ups are blocked. I’ll email you to get a link to your story.

  • Dave

    Wow. Kate – I am in awe of your goals. Best of luck over the next 80 days in reaching them all. Nice thing is, even if you don’t, you’ll likely do way more than you would have otherwise.

    I like this A Round of Words in 80 Days idea. I just may have to jump on board.

    • Kate Sparkes

      I figured I should take advantage of having a few hours to myself every weekday for the first time in 8 years. Aim high, right? 🙂

      You should definitely join in. It’s fun and flexible, and some really nice people participate.

  • Alessa Hinlo

    Best of luck with your goals! I definitely need to stop messing around and start treating writing like a business myself, so I’m sympathize.

  • Dawn Montgomery

    I love writing flash fiction and it’s so hard to do! Good luck with your goals (they’re awesome, btw!). Looking forward to seeing it how it goes for you. 😀

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