A Fresh Year for Success

 

Sunrise

Photo by Charles J Huff

Let me start my first post of 2018 by re-purposing a quote from Anne of Green Gables. “This year is a new year with no mistakes in it.” Doesn’t that sound promising? We have the opportunity as writers to evaluate the previous year and decide how we can start fresh for success.

 

I don’t find resolutions to be very helpful. (Most of us never keep them beyond a month or two.) But goals with accountability are more likely to succeed. The problem is, I need to define my goals and stick to them. Which isn’t easy for me because my brain runs on several rabbit trails at the same time.  Add in life interruptions and my writing goals can flow right out the window with the breeze of surprise events.

This year I want to define my goals beyond simply writing more, writing every day and marketing. Rather, I need to break it down to specifics. My biggest mistake last year was letting myself get overwhelmed and freeze up rather than press on. I never quite reached the goals I set for myself. Having a book release was a new experience, and I didn’t handle it as well as I could have. (Think: Learning curve.)

The Write Editing blog had a great blog, 12 months of Writing Plans & Prompts. It inspired me. Here is the link: thewriteediting.blogspot.com/2017/12/12-months-of-writing-plans-prompts.html

Alycia W. Morales gave great reminders to relax and appreciate things in our writing life, but she also mentioned some specific ideas for blogging and querying that inspired me. You may read the post and get a different take. Like all writing it is subject to the needs of the reader. I needed inspiration to be more organized and productive. I want 2018 to be my best writing year ever. My second novel comes out in May so, I have more marketing to do. I’m working on rewrites and editing my third novel and attempting to finish the rough draft of my fourth. Not to mention writing blog posts and more articles. There are advantages to attending craft shows and events to promote and sell books.  My problem is my day job requires me to work every other Saturday. I can only trade so many Saturdays before my co-workers will no longer cooperate.

My new beginning

I purchased a new calendar to fill up with my writing goals for the year.  It is one of those At-A-Glance calendars. I chose the large 8 ½ by 11 sizes. It has larger squares for more notes, daily events and goals.

Now I have another quandary. My rabbit-trail brain needs to calm down. It must choose to do a few things each day rather than everything.  And to avoid confidence freeze and frustration, I must organize my days. Do less writing on the days I work. And finish the day’s goals before bedtime.

Realism and balance

I’m a list writer. I thrive on lists. I write lists at work and bring them home. Scraps of paper cover my dresser. Most of the lists are duplicates. (My mind is constantly processing to dos) I take all the lists and create a master list. It can get quite long. If I’d follow the guide of my calendar to create my daily to-do-list, I’d be less overwhelmed. Asterisks to remind me to check the family calendar daily for time conflicts would be wise too.  Consulting both calendars the day before even better.

A little help from my friends

My accountability partner often reminds me not set too many weekly goals. This year I intend to follow her advice. Consistent small steps will get me further than lightening sprints and then couch sitting.

Spacing out my prep items for events or conferences weeks in advance should make me less stressed. Pacing my word count to complete my novel and rewrites and putting those on my calendar to increase productivity. I think I’ll schedule non-writing days. It should spur me on to get my daily writing goals done so I can focus on whatever I am doing those days.

There is my plan for the brand-new year. It still needs beefing up with specific details. (i.e. event dates, word count goals, blog ideas.) Sharing these beginning stages with all of you has helped me get a better footing.

What are your writing plans for 2018?

 

 

 

Marketing Accountability

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Marketing tip # 5 Be accountable

I hate the idea of marketing. I’ve already mention how little I know.  One thing that is keeping me on task is having someone to be accountable to. She checks in with me every week to see how my marketing is going.

She is also doing research, searching for the best marketing options for me.  I don’t have the time or the inclination to figure it all out on my own. Erin is a godsend and I am grateful. She is a writer and aspiring novelist. But your marketing accountability person need not be a writer.

Your spouse, a family member or friend can be that person. It is so easy to let life interrupt your marketing goals. Knowing someone is going to ask about your progress and meet with you to achieve them can be the perfect catalysis.

Don’t settle for just anyone. Avoid the too helpful and bossy. They love to fix things. They’ll take over and make you crazy.

Instead find someone you feel comfortable with. And who understands your project and listens to what your endgame is.

Questions to ask yourself

Do you trust their counsel?

If they see you are going over budget and their suggestion is to trim it. Could you receive that sort of advice from them?

Do they respect what you do?

If your spouse, friend or family member doesn’t think being a writer is a real job why would you ask for their help? Look for people who admire your tenacity for taking on the hard task of writing a book. They will be excited to help you market it.

Are you open to criticism from this individual?

How the two of you relate can make or break your success. Criticism is not the same as counseling. Criticism may not come with an alternative solution.  Can you receive their criticism and evaluate the bones to find the truth behind the sharpness? If not, your stress levels are going to wreak havoc on your decision making.

 Do they keep their commitments?

I’ve known people who say yes to every project. But rarely finish any of them. The committee member who shows up once full of ideas. He never appears again until the celebratory banquet.

 Can they agree to disagree and work with you, anyway?

After carefully considering the counsel or criticism, you still decide to do it your way. will they walk away or stand by you? This is your show, not theirs. Your reputation and success are on the line. Can they stay supportive in the background and let your choice play itself out?

Once you’ve found that person treat them with the same respect and consideration you want for yourself. Together with the aid of your launch team you should create the right amount of buzz to push your sales consistently forward.

 

Do you have a marketing accountability partner?

 

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