Like most writers, at the end of each year, I evaluate to see where I did well and what areas needed more work. Here, I’ll share a dozen things that helped me on my journey into 2019.
PLANNING IS KEY: I’ve proven time and again that ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. Yet, I’ve failed to ever sustain a book launch properly, although I have oodles of reading material on what to do for a successful release. This year, I’m determined to plan better because good intentions without a plan in black and white fall to the wayside.
THE VIRTUE OF A ROAD MAP: I feel like Superwoman when I decide what I’m gonna write and publish at the start of the year. Of course, I never give myself enough time to get it all done. This is where writing a to-do list helps. It keeps me on track and encourages me when I look at the task list and realize that I’ve accomplished this, and this, and this.
FOCUS/DISCIPLINE: These are the characteristics that determine success or failure. Something many of us don’t get is that our first responsibility it to ourselves. We run around getting distracted by non-essentials, doing ourselves a disservice. I still struggle with this, but now do things according to priority.
BACKLIST GOLD: Your backlist, if you have one, is valuable. Keep promoting even when there are zero likes. Someone saw your ad anyway. Think of it like this, if you can’t apply a little stick-to-it-iveness to promote your work, who will?
A POSITIVE MINDSET IS CRITICAL: I’ve learned that if I want something, I should never say never, but find a way to do what I want to achieve. Negativity sucks my energy and keeps me from taking action. I’m learning to replace negative thoughts with positive ones each time they come. It takes practice and thirty seconds is all it takes for a free ride down negativity lane, so I’ve become more conscious of how I think and where I allow my mind to go.
MY DESTINY IS MY DESTINY IS MY DESTINY: There are things I’ve been meaning to do for years, but I haven’t done them. Not doing those things weighs on me and I’m frustrated until I do them. Is there something you know you’re meant to do but you keep putting it off? Stop frustrating yourself; walk in your purpose. Just do it!
FIND YOUR TRIBE: As much as we’d like to think we can achieve success on our own and on our own terms, the fact is no man is an island. We can’t do it on our own. We’re sociable animals for a reason. When the going gets tough, we need the support of people who understand what we’re going through. They commiserate, tell us the truth, and drag us out of the doldrums.
SELF CARE: My exercise routine went down a side road over Christmas, and I discovered all kinds of joint pain from sitting in one position at the computer for hours. Then there were the random eating hours. Plus the breakdown in the body care routines. Well, as one wise person said, we have one house to live in and can’t move elsewhere, so we should treat the temple of our body with respect. I aim to do more of that in 2019.
BE ADVENTUROUS, BUT DISCERNING: I’m an adventure/new project junkie. Someone just needs to invite me to collaborate on a project and I’m in. I’ve learned that not every opportunity is beneficial and you should too. Weigh your options and walk away if the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
KEEP PADDLING EVEN IF YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE IN YOUR BOAT: There are readers who will never support you unless/until your work becomes popular or someone, whose opinion they respect, tells them to read your book. Don’t be discouraged, despite what your sales numbers tell you. Continue writing for the joy of it, and the few, until that base turns into many. Keep your head down, your keyboard clicking, and do you.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: The business side of being a writer is no fun, so many of us avoid thinking about what’s going in and what coming out of our bank account. Despite how we feel about numbers, it’s important to know what we’re earning and spending each month.
CONTINUE TO EVOLVE: With the urging of another writer, I’ve started the process of going back to my older books and reading them. This, with a view to bringing them in line with my writing style today. My standard advice is for every scribe is to learn the craft when we first step out, and also to never stop learning as we evolve into better writers.