Monday, January 21, 2019

One Writer's Takeaways From 2018


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.

23 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Never stop learning is true, going back and looking at old works one can see. Yeah, don't want to go overspending. Sometimes just gotta do things to get them done. My leaky rowboat only holds me, but it floats a bit lol

nashvillecats2 said...

It's good to read post like this with tips about writing and planning. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Yvonne.

J.L. Campbell said...

Pat, yep, just gotta do the stuff that won't do themselves and get on with it.

Yvonne, happy to share what I've learned on the journey.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just do it!
Excellent tips on setting oneself up for success this year, Joy. Well done.

Liza said...

A lot of good recommendations here. I especially like "Keep paddling..."

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks, Alex.

Liza, yes. We need to keep that forward momentum going.

cleemckenzie said...

This is a great checklist to keep for any year! Thanks, Joy.

Chrys Fey said...

Continuing to promote that backlist is important. Great tips!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent post, Joy! I'm in that boat with you--all the way to the joint pain and writing until I forget to brush my teeth. That's not very good life balance.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I need to cultivate my tribe more.

KJ Scrim, Writer said...

Great advice. Thank you for sharing! :-)

Juneta Key said...

Great breakdown and tips!

J.L. Campbell said...

You're welcome, Lee!

Thanks, Chrys. Yes, our backlist is very important.

Elizabeth, yep, we need to go for better balance!

Support is critical, Diane. Go for it!

Thanks for reading, KJ.

Glad it helps, Juneta.

donna baker said...

I don't see where I can comment Sandra. Let me know if this gets through.

donna baker said...

I checked back and it showed up here. So glad I clicked on this. Love the advice. I am writing again; I wrote a novel thirty years ago. Went through the publishing process, finding an agent et al. It was all consuming so I gave up on the dream. I've written three chapters on the new novel and need to pick some brains. I'd love to find out more. like self publishing etc. Things are different in the publishing world since my experiences.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great advice, JL!

I just finished a memoir and now it's time to move forward. Positive thinking, lists of things to do, and DO THEM. LOL.

It's nice to feel fresh and ready for a new year, a new project, and new opportunities... All the best to you in 2019!

Mirka Breen said...

I don't do "year-end" summaries/evaluations, because I find that, at least in my life-path, major ARCs have not made sense with these calender year punctuations.
However, I will take from your excellent post the notion of keeping positive. In our line of work this is a must. :)

Shilpa Chandrasekheran said...

Great post and worth one

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice Joy! I'm hoping to make some progress toward publication this year - I'll definitely use some of your tips :)

Jessica Ferguson said...

Really good post. I plan to put the pen to it and create a plan. Thanks for sharing.

Gwen Gardner said...

This is sound advice. I’m finally gonna step up this year and get some things done. This is the year! Thanks, Joy!

Ryshia Kennie said...

I particularly like the idea of going back and reading your older works. I've been meaning to do that for awhile. I think I might just write that down as a goal. Somehow, if it's on paper you're more apt to do it. All great comments - thanks!

mark koopmans said...

Another wise post, with some great ideas/suggestions. Thanks for that, as always!