A look back at 2019 with a peek at 2020

A look back at 2019 with a peek at 2020

Like most people, at this time of year, I like to take a gander at what I’ve done over the course of the old year, and look at what I’d like to do in the new year. I thought it might be fun to share what I have discovered with you. 🙂

One of the best things I did in 2019 was to establish a consistent writing schedule. Well, I did until the bakery closed for Christmas. As I write this, it’s January 2nd, and I’m at the closed bakery, writing while they make sub buns for a wholesale order. (I’m also eating my lunch that I brought from home … can’t write fiction and eat at the same time. LOL) Once they open up again, next week, I’ll be back in the swing of things, thankfully. <3

That consistent writing habit led me to write one complete book, finish a second, and bring a third to about the halfway point. If I could have edited and formatted after my writing time, I’d not have lost a full month of words, but I couldn’t. That’s something I need to work on. Since this is still a relatively new habit, I’m giving myself some leeway.

I almost always have a goal of six books a year, and to date have always failed. Technically, I did fail in 2019, because I did not write and publish six books. However, I did write five and a half and publish four, so I came close. One of those was a ghostwritten Regency, non-JAFF, so to some it might not count, but it was still a book. LOL

The JAFF books I completed and published were Darcy’s Secret Marriage, Darcy’s Caution, Darcy’s Christmas Compromise, and Darcy’s Predicament. The last three of these are the ones that came out after I began writing at the bakery. The one that’s halfway done is the fourth book in the Racecars series.

What this little bit of data tells me is that I am capable of writing the desired six books. Let me note, too, that only the ghostwritten story and the Christmas books were novellas. The rest fell firmly into the realm of the novel, including the race book. They were well-written, all of them, and largely well-received by those who read them. (We all know how overlooked the race books are except by those who actually take the time to read the stories.)

My goals, taped to a dashboard in my planner. Click me to visit zoeburton.com!

In 2019, I kept a very busy schedule. I moved the blog from three features to five, and managed to keep up rather well, all things considered. I began doing live broadcasts from Facebook and sharing them on my YouTube page. I began creating large print versions of my books. I was learning about advertising and content marketing and trying everything I knew to get new eyes on my books. One of my unstated goals is always to bring new readers into the genre.

On top of doing All The Things, I was president of my RWA chapter. It was a rewarding experience, but it also took away from my writing time. For a while there in the late spring and early summer, it felt like every time I sat down to write, something else got in the way, either from the chapter or another obligation. This is one of the reasons I embrace my time at the bakery every day. I devote that time to writing and only writing.

Anyway, this year I am cutting back. I did not run for president again, and ended up not renewing my RWA membership at all. I stopped even thinking about making and sharing videos on YouTube. My plans for making audio books, or even trying to pay to have them done, fell by the wayside. I’ve kept up Facebook live broadcasts and my blog, but anything else that is not writing books is out.


I don’t usually choose a word like some do, but this year I did. My word is “consistency,” because that’s what I need. I need to consistently write words and publish those words. So, that’s what I’ll be doing. In the end, I think I’ll be happier and you, my readers will be happier. I have lots of story ideas rattling around in my head and on various scraps of paper, so I’m not worried about running out of things to write. I know, too, that my readers will be waiting to eagerly devour my books, which makes my heart sing. <3

My one goal, in case I didn’t make myself clear, is to write consistently, five days a week. I’m hoping this year to hit that six-book goal. To do this, I’m cutting out a lot of stuff and focusing on the writing. What is your one goal for 2020 that you wish to put the most effort into?




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January 11, 2020 10:11 AM

My goal is to spend more quality time with my family. Happy New Year!

Linny B
Linny B
January 6, 2020 11:40 PM

Good luck with your goals in 2020!! Consistency and perseverance is the key. Happy New Year! Look forward to your new books.

January 6, 2020 10:20 PM

I salute you Zoe, always trying to achieve your goals. i know you will mak eit this year.

I didn’t make even a single goal until I read your post. Since you made some, I think i will make one…I just want to be home on time (like you be more consistent than being consistently doing OT 😉

Good luck to all of us, hope we meet our goals/resolutions this year!!

Jennifer Redlarczyk
Jennifer Redlarczyk
January 6, 2020 9:04 PM

Good for you Zoe! My goal??? Just keep chipping away at my long list of things to do including those that fell through the cracks. Lots of fun included. Happy New Year! ?

January 6, 2020 4:24 PM

I’m going to read my Bible more this year. Best wishes on accomplishing your goals.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
January 6, 2020 3:07 PM

I don’t know. I hope you can fulfill your resolutions!

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
January 6, 2020 2:36 PM

Since I don’t Facebook, I’ll have to follow you here on AuAu. It is always rewarding when the light comes on and you realize the pattern you need to make your heart sing. You have discovered what you need in order to write ‘consistently’ and every day. Now, if you could discover what the Bakery offers that your home office does not… you will be able to write at home. Something is apparently blocking you there. I hope you find it. Blessings on the new year of writing. I wish you all the best and hope 2020 is a fabulous year for you with ‘6’ books launched. Happy New Year, Zoe.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
January 7, 2020 11:20 AM
Reply to  Zoe Burton

I’m so glad you liked the flags. I thought you might enjoy them or if you already had them… you could re-gift them. Happy New Year.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
January 7, 2020 9:43 PM
Reply to  J. W. Garrett

I just saw something on the internet… Google ‘Calming Bed’ or ‘Cloud Bed’ for pets. It is supposed to help ease anxiety in animals. Just a thought about your dog. In fact they look so comfortable, I wouldn’t mind having one for myself. Oh well. Blessings.

Michelle H
Michelle H
January 6, 2020 11:43 AM

I will enjoy following your posts on your blog, on Facebook and here on AA this year. My hat’s off to you, for the achievements of 2019 and the very focused and healthy goals you’ve made for 2020. Even though each goal requires a lot of work, keeping the list short has a great possibility for success. And I believe in your ability to succeed. I haven’t read all the new books yet, but I’m looking forward to reading them. And of course, what will be coming. Happy New Year, Zoe… all the best blessings!

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