The Enduring Importance of Midpoint Progress: My Second-Quarter 2021 Goals Check-In

Climbing stairs

The year is now half over.

At the time of writing this, I’m also half-vaccinated.

When it comes to goal-setting—and more importantly, goal-achieving—I consider the second quarter the most important one of the year.

This is because if Q1 got off to a false start, it allows for a course-correction with still three more quarters in which to attain ultimate success.

Meanwhile, if things had all along been going well, by the end of Q2, the momentum is already built up for a strong run clear to the end of the year.

For 2021, my Q1 went really well, so I was keen to keep on keeping on. How did I do? Let’s find out.

My goals for 2021 and progress over Q2 are as follows:

1) Writing life goals

  • Query my completed novel – In progress (Q1: In progress)
  • Read four key reference books in support of my next novel – 50% (25%)
  • Draft my next novel – Approaching 20% (~5%)
  • Start researching my next-next novel – Started yet paused (0%)
  • Read the first draft of my WIP’s sequel and make general/overall revision notes – 100% (completed in Q1)
  • New for Q2: Make a beat sheet for the next draft of my WIP’s sequel – 0%

Summary of progress: Querying is still in progress. I’m not planning to discuss my querying stats until such time that I either land an agent or choose to stop querying this project, so that is the extent of the update for now.

I finished reading another reference book this quarter, which puts me at 50%.

I’m quite pleased with my progress on my WIP. I’m not the fastest writer to begin with. Plus, despite the very lengthy outline/zero draft I produced for this story, it covered very little of the first 10% of the plot other than the actual inciting incident.

So I had to pants this part. And I’m an even slower writer when I’m trying to pants.

So I’m very happy to have gotten through that murky patch and to now be nearing the start of Act 2 at 20% (these percentages come from Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, which I LOVE). Beyond 20%, I’ve got all sorts of story mayhem pre-planned.

In terms of my next-next novel, I did start researching for it at the beginning of this quarter, doing so in the morning at 5:00am (the hour I awaken, whether I want to or not).

But I didn’t get too far into it before I decided to stop. It was all a bit too much all at once for me: pantsing through the start of my new WIP, considering varying angles from which to pitch my old WIP to agents, and contemplating ways to revise my old WIP’s sequel (even though I’ve yet to commence its beat sheet).

Trying to turn my brain toward a fourth story, even just its background research, was more than my brain could keep straight at the time. So I’ve taken a pause on that goal for now.

2) Real life goals

  • Get more exercise (closer to my pre-pandemic amount) – Maintaining current level (Q1: In progress)
  • Make a will – 0% (0%)
  • Miscellaneous career goals – 100% completed (In progress)
  • Finish de-cluttering my apartment (continued from 2020) – 0% (0%)

De-cluttering Checklist:

    • Living room

[ ] Bookshelf
[ ] Desk
[X] Armchair
[X] Magazine box
[ ] Couch

    • Dining room

[X] Table
[ ] Side chair

    • Kitchen

[X] Fridge
[X] Cupboards
[X] Drawers
[X] On top of cupboards
[X] Behind the oven
[X] Behind the fridge

    • Hallway

[X] Coat closet
[X] Shoe trays
[ ] Storage closet

    • Bathroom

[X] Shower caddy
[X] Medicine cabinet
[X] Cupboard under the sink

    • Bedroom

[X] Closet
[ ] Top of dresser/ornament shelf
[ ] Dresser drawers
[ ] Smallclothes drawers
[X] Bookshelf
[ ] Nightstand
[ ] Under the bed

Summary of progress: The best thing I can say about my quantity of exercise right now is that I’m still doing it.

In Q1, I discovered that I am anemic (my iron is “shockingly low” according to a specialist of internal medicine).

Q2 was thus my first three months of a projected year or more on iron supplements, and while I’m feeling noticeably better than I was—I now breathe at a normal rate while at rest and no longer have dizzy spells, a racing heart, and heart palpitations—it’s very much not been a linear recovery, especially when it comes to physical exertion.

This tweet explains it best:

All this to say that just maintaining my current level of exercise has at times felt downright Herculean, and increasing it is not something I’m physically capable of as yet.

But I will keep trying because I believe in the long run that pushing myself in whatever way I can will aid my overall recovery. Plus I used to truly love working out, and am hopeful I someday will again.

Otherwise, the only other progress I managed in my real life goals in Q2 was work-related. My “miscellaneous career goals” was basically to find a new job, which I did. But it happened in the complete opposite manner to what I was expecting.

I won’t bother going into details. But I’m truly floored at how the universe did, technically, give me exactly what I asked for. And yet.

I’ve learned to be very careful about how I phrase my wishes and requests moving forward.

In any case, not only is this goal now complete, this quarter has felt doubly devoted to my job since I spent the remainder of my free time serving as volunteer coordinator for the Historical Novel Society’s 2021 virtual conference.

Volunteer coordination is the exact sort of work I did in my previous job.

I don’t plan to repeat this pattern of double-work/overwork for the rest of the year.


(Image source)


4 thoughts on “The Enduring Importance of Midpoint Progress: My Second-Quarter 2021 Goals Check-In

  1. One quick suggestion: write a MEANWHILE will.

    Find software that is valid in your location (not all are), and go through the process quickly, as if it didn’t matter. The result will still be better than letting the State decide for you because you left no will, and it will allow you to think about your goals, and give you something basic when you go for the more-permanent will (until your life situation changes). Then count that as some percentage of that goal, which you’ve had for as long as I’ve followed you.

    Just a thought.

    Congratulations on the new job, however the universe lobbed it at you!


  2. I have also been putting off writing a will even after friends that have done it suggested I use LEGAL ZOOM as they did.

    In addition, I want to suggest you add another goal to your list to learn how to market your book/s.

    It doesn’t matter if you are an indie author or traditionally published, authors still have to market their books if they want readers to know about them. It is a fact that most traditionally published authors get little or no help to promote their work. The authors they market are often New York Times bestselling and the only reason the publishers spend most of their promotion money on these authors is to get the word out to the fans of these authors so they know about the latest book from one of their favorite authors.

    One of my goals this year was to learn how to market my work properly and I have read three books so far, a fourth that’s about half-finished, and a fifth one that I haven’t started. What I have been learning is how to properly use Amazon ADs to find readers interested in the stories I publish. Even after reading all those books, the only way I can learn to do it properly is to implement what I’m reading. I am in the process of that now.

    Of the three marketing books I have finished, I will only recommend two.
    “How to Market a Book” by Ricardo Fayet published by Reedsy
    and the one I have found the most helpful
    “Amazon AD$ for Authors 2021” by Deb Potter.

    Fayet’s book covers a lot more than Amazon. Potter focuses only on Amazon.


    • Thank you for the recommendations. Yes, marketing is an important skill for all writers to have, whether traditionally or indie published. I pay some attention to various articles and resources I come across on the subject, but could probably do more, regardless of the fact that I have no published books to market as yet. Best to have the information at hand before you actually need it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.