Looking Back and Forward

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? We at Thinking Through Our Fingers have had a tremendous year, from book deals, to agents, to tackling a new genre, to finishing a difficult manuscript. I asked my fellow contributors to share their best accomplishment as a writer from this year as well as what they look forward to achieving next year.


Rosalyn Eves—My writing high for the year was two-fold: seeing an actual copy (ARC) of my book for the first time and getting to meet my editor and the staff at Knopf this past November.

My goals for 2017: finish writing book 2 and survive the launch of book one in March!

Cindy Baldwin—2016 was a red-letter year for my writing! After unsuccessfully querying two other books, I managed to land both an agent and a book deal with a third. I’m now prepping to be a 2018 debut author and couldn’t be more excited!

I have lots of things I’d like to do in 2017: write more books, master tricky craft aspects that aren’t my strong point, etc. But the biggest thing that’s been coming to my mind as I’ve contemplated moving forward toward my debut is how much I want to focus on mindfulness and gratitude in my writing journey. Writing carries so much angst and neuroticism with it, and I know that debut years in particular can provoke a lot of anxiety. As I prepare for mine, I’d like to really focus on establishing tools that will help me deal with that anxiety moving forward.

Amanda Rawson Hill—I signed with my dream agent and wrote the book of my heart.

In 2017, I plan to finish an R&R, write my fourth novel, and be proud of myself whether or not I get a book deal.

Wendy Jessen—I just finished a revise and resubmit on my self-help/inspiration nonfiction. Lots of growing as a writer and as a person.

Goal for next year: self-pub some contemporary sweet romance novellas and get my YA rough draft. Or that might change depending on what happens with the aforementioned R&R and there may be some more NF in the works. Clearly, I have a solid plan.

Jolene Perry—I wrote my first middle grade novel, turned it in to my agent, and it’s now on submission 🙂

Next year, I want to get one of my YA horror novels on submission and continue working on my adult historical. This year, and who knows how many other years, are dedicated to stretching my writerly wings in any direction I please 🙂

Elaine Vickers—On the publishing end, my debut came out in 2016, which was every bit as wonderful (and stressful) as I’d ever imagined.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to all the same things again–first pass pages, ARCs, signings, conferences, trade reviews, launch party, etc.–with a little more experience but no less enthusiasm. On the writing end, I worked and revised in 2016 but didn’t draft a whole new story. I’ve got one I’ve been itching to write for months now that’s still just a skeletal outline, so my main writing goal is to get it written in 2017.

Dennis Gaunt—Lots of good things happened to me in 2016, including being asked to emcee the 2016 Storymakers conference. But my biggest news is that the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley book that I helped produce, became available.

Looking forward to 2017, I have a couple of books that I’m working on, and am dipping my toe into the fiction world for the first time.

Orly Konig—Highs for 2016: Finished revisions on debut and got to cuddle my ARCs. Sold the second book.

My goal for 2017 is to enjoy being a debut author and not get lost in the frenzy. Oh, and write the next book. 🙂

Tasha Seegmiller—Personally, I signed with an agent (Annelise Robey – Jane Rotrosen Agency) and revamped the book that got me my agent TWICE! I also got re-elected as secretary for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, oversaw the publication of four editions of a quarterly ezine (Write On!), and expanded the frequency of TTOF posts to five days a week. (YAY!!!)

Kristina Starmer—My biggest accomplishment in 2016 was to give myself permission to make writing a priority.

For next year, my goals are to revise my NaNo project and continue querying a previous work.

Ilima Todd—My writing-related highlight of 2016 was probably having a book released (my second) and signing with a new agent (my third) all within a month. Crazy times!

My goals for 2017 include finishing off a couple of projects that I’ve started and writing something completely new. I want to write a novel in a different genre/audience than I’ve ever done before. I’m excited!

Helen Boswell — This was a hard year for me for writing,  but I coauthored a paper with Tasha Seegmiller in American Biology Teacher titled, “Reading Fiction in Biology Class to Enhance Scientific Literacy.” It’s currently more important than ever that we promote scientific literacy, and fiction writers can help!

Goals: Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, and finish writing this damned book I’ve been working on for two years. Maybe get a standing desk to help, so I don’t have to keep my butt in the chair after all. 🙂

Annette Lyon—Probably the biggest thing for me this year was hitting the USA Today bestsellers list in July. I also went on my first round of submission with the book I got my agent with a year ago. I’m finishing (another!) round of revisions before we go on sub again early 2017. My hope for next year is that it will sell, of course. 🙂

Lauri Schoenfeld—My massive high this year is that I went through a complete revision of my novel—multiple times. And sending it off to my editor. This is a huge and new step. I’ve been working with this novel for five years.

Next year, I’ll be querying, finding an agent and writing a new baby. I haven’t written anything new for a while so I’m super excited about that stage too.

Jenilyn Collings—I suppose my high was: starting an MFA in writing for children and young adults.

My goal for 2017 is to finish the MFA program and query the novel I’ve been working on.

Emily R. King—My highs of the year were landing a fabulous new agent, Marlene Stringer, and selling my first two novels.

Next year, I hope to enjoy (and survive) the release of my first two books and sell a third (fingers crossed).

What was your high point for 2016? What goals have you set for 2017?

Whatever achievements you have accomplished or plan to attain soon, all of us at Thinking Through Our Fingers wish you a Happy New Year!


Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the U.S.A., she’s perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of SCBWI and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat. You can find Emily at emilyrking.com