Looking Back at 2019; Looking Forward to 2020

According to my best-laid plans, one last book review for this year was in order. Coyote Peterson’s Brave Wilderness and Jim Arnosky’s Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher are both on the TBR pile, but the quarter has been a hectic one, and I’ve struggled to find the time to read anything but escapist fiction.

While illustration work on Raccoon Retreat nears completion, and I begin to plan for 2020, I thought I’d take a look back at the year’s activity in anticipation of the coming year’s plans.

What went well

Although I hoped to be able to launch Raccoon Retreat by, well, now, it’s still in production. But — it IS in production! I think it will have been well worth the wait owing to illustrator Christian’s thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

Early in the year I launched the Living Wild Side by Side website. I’d purchased the domain and hosting as a way to keep myself accountable and not whiff on completing the series — one of my weaknesses is coming up with Big Ideas, but then never following through. I feel this project is important, and I want to follow through!

The website is equipped with e-commerce towards purchasing the book(s) and downloading the lesson plan(s) along with the extension activities. It also includes my blog, and it is compliant with new privacy regulations around the storage and use of personal data.

Finally, I committed to blogging at least one time per month. I managed to hit this target all year, although inconsistently; it helped that in addition to working on the book series itself, I also decided to add in animal- and conservation-themed book reviews, as well as some limited community engagement. In fact, my most-read post last year was about coexistence perspectives from wildlife rehabbers!

What could’ve gone better

Launching Raccoon Retreat in the final quarter of this year would’ve meant working on additional extension activities and lesson plans. I didn’t commit enough time to either one, mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to shuffle an already tight schedule to fit them.

Likewise my blogging. As pleased as I was to hit my once-a-month goal, I didn’t do as much community outreach as I wanted to or hoped. Same with my Patreon. Because I wasn’t making enough time for new content, I didn’t have enough material to post, so I didn’t manage more than about a post per month. This turned into a revolving door of only two patrons -> not committing as much work -> not getting new patrons.

The biggest problem: my ADHD time blindness; because I struggle to estimate how long things will take (due in no small part to my propensity for distraction while working), it’s hard for me to build time into a daily routine. Having said that, I’m at work on a schedule that will work for my brain and benefit both my blog and my Patreon, so stay tuned!

What’s coming in 2020

  • I’m looking forward to completing and launching Raccoon Retreat.
  • I want to round out my lesson plan offerings for both Raccoon Rescue and Raccoon Retreat.
  • I want to draft Book 3 and put it into production by the end of the year.
  • I want to build toward lively community engagement with wildlife rehabbers and educators, as well as fellow authors.

What would you like to see at LivingWildSidebySide.com and/or Patreon in the coming year? Leave a comment and let me know!

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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