2019 Goals

TLDR: Writing. Lots of writing. Then publishing. Lots of publishing. Oh, and some cooking.

Before I get to 2019, I should probably briefly swing back to the last half of 2018 since I’ve been conspicuously absent from the blog this last quarter.

My biggest accomplishment this year? I wrapped up my 52 Stories in 52 Weeks challenge and wrangled three books out of it. Publishing a book has been dream #1 since I started writing in 2011 and it only took me, gee, seven years to get there. 🙂

But the time it takes is the time it takes. I’m not fretting over that. Two things truly matter:

One, I did it.

Two, it’s a stepping-stone to the next accomplishment.

Past that, when I haven’t been fighting seasonal allergies and norovirus, I’ve been up to the gills (wait, I’m a fish!?) in reading and writing. This year, I signed up for two lifetime memberships to WMG workshops–one for online workshops and the other for in-person workshops.

So far, these have been fruitful beyond words. The lessons and exercises contained within are invaluable and I love that I can go back any time to the online workshops and review certain concepts. The memberships weren’t cheap, but I’ve deemed them well worth it before I’ve even taken enough workshops to break even (which would be ten online and four in-person).

Investments, folks. These are long-term investments in what I plan on being a long-term career.

Okay, so enough about 2018.

Let’s look forward.


I have three goals formulated–two professional, one personal:

  • Write and publish four fiction books.
  • Write and publish one non-fiction book.
  • Cook something I’ve never cooked before every weekend that I’m home.

Let’s tackle #1:

Four fiction books. Not sure yet how these will take shape. It could be four novels…four novellas…four short story collections…a serial…or some combination of any of those. But I will publish four books in the realm of fiction, incorporating all that I’ve learned thus far.

On to #2:

One non-fiction book. During all of the learning I’ve been undergoing through the workshops and re-reading my collection of books on the craft of writing, I’ve become enamored with the process of learning as a whole and how to optimize that process. My plan is to write a series of blog articles on how I’ve approached learning how to be a better fiction writer and then expand upon those articles within a book that I wish had been available to me when I first started. Hopefully, other writers will have been looking for a similar book.

And #3:

Because goals shouldn’t be so one-note, right? I’m the one who does all the cooking for the family, which is fine by me. I love to cook and I’ve been trying my hand at a couple of different things this year I’d never tried–roast leg of lamb being one of them (it came out awesome, and quickly, thanks to some help from my trusty Instant Pot). I thought it might be fun to try something new every weekend that I’m home. There are so many different cuisines to explore, as well as modes (entrees, side dishes, desserts, etc.). I already have the first dish planned, courtesy of the The Great British Baking Show–an opera cake.

How about you all? Did you accomplish what you wanted to in 2018? What are your goals for 2019?


21 thoughts on “2019 Goals

  1. You’re very ambitious–but hey, you’re the guy who did 52 stories in 52 weeks; I wouldn’t bet against you!

    1. Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence, Berthold. I figure if I’m going to go for it, I may as well GO for it. ? Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year.

  2. Four books…eek! Happy New Year to you and your family, Phillip!

    1. Thank you, Jill. Happy New Year to you and yours as well! I hope the writing is going swimmingly for you too. ?

  3. Ambitious plans, Phillip, but if anyone can pull them off, it’s YOU. I think your plan to write a nonfiction book for writers about optimizing the process of learning is fantastic—count me in as a beta reader (or, dare I hope … as an editor?). I love your cooking goals, too; it’s so much fun to find a new favorite recipe, isn’t it?

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Candace! You’re at the top of my list when it comes time to editing that guy. I could use your expert hand with it. ?️?

      And yes, I love trying new recipes. I’ve apologized in advance to my wife for the mishaps… ?

  4. 2018 was a year of battening down the hatches. A tough year for various reasons but one that’s ending on a high. I leave my DayJob in March of next year, and various mindset changes are already taking root. My intention is to end 2019 as someone firmly journeying towards becoming a full time creative (working on more tangible goals over Jan). It will take me a couple more years, but the inspiration found around here has been instrumental in setting me on that path. Sharing what you’ve done throughout 2018 and these ambitious goals for you in 2019 had really shown me what’s possible with the right attitude. Looking forward to hearing about your next steps matey.

    1. Man, that’s fantastic news my friend! And you nailed what I’ve been discovering in this journey of mine–it’s all about attitude. I’ve come to be a big believer in the growth mindset and I couldn’t have gotten this far without it. I’m super excited to hear about where you’re headed and hope you share your journey on a blog or something else. Keep us all posted. Cheers!

  5. As I’ve said many times before, you are an inspiration, Phillip! Normally I would worry about “quantifying” goals … committing to 4 books, but as I read through 52 stories in 52 weeks, I know that your 4 books, whatever format they are in, will be of high quality. For myself, I don’t set resolutions. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who immediately does the opposite of whatever she publicly sets out to do 😉 Happy New Year! And enjoy your cooking adventures. Have you checked Cook’s Illustrated magazine for recipes? My husband subscribes to it and has found good recipes as well as good technical advice.

    1. Thanks for the good word about Cook’s Illustrated! I have not read it, but am always looking for good recipes and craft info.

      And yeah, four fiction books and a nonfiction book immediately sounded like too much, but not *too* too much, so I figured it would be a good stretch goal. Just enough to make me slightly uncomfortable. ??

      1. Greg really likes Cook’s Illustrated for the craft info. And it has great illustrations 😉

  6. Awesome, Phillip! I have writing and cooking on my 2019 list also – I’m terrible at the latter, currently.

    1. Haha. Practice makes perfect. ? It’s all but guaranteed I’ll cook up some duds, but like writing all those stories the past year, I’m also hopeful that a few gems will make up for them.

      1. I like your style! though I may well have to start from basic basics… a cookery course me-thinks!

  7. Those are great goals, Phillip!
    Mine’s to complete the writing challenge you inspired, haha!

    All the very best for 2019!

    1. Thank you, Mark! I’m so inspired by how you and Morgan keep ticking along on the 52 stories, despite the inevitable hiccups. I hope you have a Happy New Year as well and can’t wait to see what you do with what you’ve written.

  8. Phillip, congrats on your books and on setting some great goals. I’m going to cross-ref you on my (almost) daily Journal at hestanbrough.com and add your site to Writers Resources over at harveystanbrough.com.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Harvey! I’m honored to be referenced in your journal and your website. I’m a subscriber and it’s always a treat when your emails pop into my inbox.

  9. You know what I’m looking forward to learning in 2019? The fine art of sushi-making. I love it, and I buy a crap load of it. It’ll probably save my wallet if I just learn to make it myself.

    1. Oh yes! That’s awesome. My wife and I love sushi and started doing the same thing last year. We’re fortunate enough to live next to a Japanese market which has amazing sushi-grade fish. Also highly recommend this guy — https://www.amazon.com/Sushi-Bazooka-All-Making-Machine/dp/B002AVYQNY … It makes life simpler, and simpler is good when it gets the sushi to your mouth faster. 😛

      1. The first picture of that thing closed . . . is it just me, or is that Luke’s lightsaber?

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