Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: I Resolve to Evolve

As the clock strikes midnight and ticks toward a New Year (or now more realistically 10:00 p.m.) I start making resolutions for the upcoming 12 months. Years go by. The categories on that list remain the same. Health, finances, personal, spiritual, family, and professional. I’m embarrassed to say, many of the expectations are carried over, unmet. Still haven’t lost those stubborn pounds (actually, they’ve been lost and found again!). No condo or flush 401K. Haven’t retired to live off my writing income yet. The time I wanted to spend with my family, friends and beliefs has trickled away. Okay, I knew going in those were looooooong term plans (In my lifetime, please!). What has changed over time aren’t the end results I’m shooting for. They’re the specific and ever changing steps I need to take to get there, especially in the professional category.

Success for 2014, please, Alex.

In my November IWSG “Are We There Yet?” post I hashed over the meaning of success and the way we, as writers define it. Since my first professional goals were made back in the 1980s with the publication of my first book, many of those then dream destinations have been reached. Multi-published, multi-genres, awards, hard cover, book club selection, glossy full page ad, five figure advances. Some of them are still carrots dangling out of reach. Who would have thought back in the early ‘90s, my biggest fear of learning how to use a computer and post on that scary new venue called Prodigy would grow into my 2010 benchmark of conquering Social Media with a website, FB, Twitter, Goodreads and a blog. Or that in 2014, that mountain to climb would be self-publishing? My goals have grown up from vague dreams to targeted destinations and the person in charge of the direction . . . is me.

Call them what you like: resolutions, dreams, To Dos, goals, but if you’re making a plan for your career, don’t let yourself off the hook with generalities. Define what it is that you’re looking to accomplish before the end of 2014. Be specific! Run a 5K (NOT my goal, but it may be yours). Self-publish your backlist. Send proposals to publishers X, Y and Z. Break them up into manageable segments: Daily (write 8 pages, post on FB and Twitter), Weekly (write blog post, add FB friends), Monthly (sort tax receipts, query x-number of agents), By year end (set up accounting system, clean up your contact database), per book (schedule guest blogs, request reviews, write or update long and short bios, find excerpts). Taking smaller steps keeps you on top of what you intend to attain over the course of the year AND gives you that feeling of achievement to fuel the continued momentum toward your dream of success. Don’t look behind you. That’s not where you’re going. Don’t get stuck on what could have beens and what should have happened and didn’ts. 

Go boldly where this writer (and you as a writer) has never gone before. And make it so.

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  1. Love Picard's "make it so." You're right, Nancy. Only we can make our goals a reality. Sure we falter, but we have to always get up--if we want to achieve that goal. Best wishes on your goals for a brand new year.

  2. I love your thoughts on goals and reaching them. I get caught up in reading how much everyone else is doing and it gets me down... so much so that I don't do anything. My biggest goal is to remember that I'm doing my best and what I do is very different than what others do... I can't compare.

    I also love Picard. We are in charge of our destiny! All the best!

    1. Right, Melissa. Look ahead, not back, not sideways to see what everyone else is doing. Stick to your own moccasins and let them walk in theirs.

  3. Great pep talk, Coach. Ok, hands in, 1 2 3 Go!

  4. Nancy, as usual you have given me the inspiration to keep moving forward. Your encouraging post today applies to writers in so many ways. Thanks. 2014, here we come!

  5. Exactly! Be specific. Goals like "I want to lose weight" are too general. If we are to achieve are goals, they must be clear-cut and defined.

  6. First star on the right, and straight on until morning.

  7. I needed that kick in the pants. Be specific with my goals. It is easy to cheat when being vague.

    Leanne ( )

  8. "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda :)