I’ve spend the last few weeks enjoying the holiday season by spending time with my family. It gets harder to do this now that two of my three kids are in college and the third is a social butterfly.
During the time when I wasn’t Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, or cooking, I worked on planning out 2019 for my author business. This entailed setting goals, listing how I would reach them in great detail, and what habits I needed to lose and which ones I needed to start.
I’m one of those people who make goals for myself, every year, without fail, knowing full well that I will fall short of the mark. I used to think that was okay. At least I had some goals, right? When I sat down to ponder how others were meeting and even exceeding their goals, I realized how we were different.
Not different, in that they’ve mad skills and I don’t. The difference was in my plan. These other authors had a plan. I didn’t. I simply set goals and thought that would be enough.This year, I believe I was listening to one of the Smarty Pants Author Podcast by Chis and Becca Syme, where I think Chris quoted Benjamin Franklin--"By failing to plan, you are planning to fail."
If you are an author, I highly recommend the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast.
Funny thing about that quote—I’d heard it many times. Just like so much of the writing and marketing training I’ve had over the last three years, I skimmed over it. I realized something else about myself that I hadn’t figured out after fifty three years (imagine that!). I cherry pick what I’m learning instead of trying all of the advice.
What I discovered is that one, I don’t really plan. And two, I pick the sexier aspects of the training or advice and focus on that, assuming I’ll return to the boring parts later. Well, guess what? I would get busy chasing the next ‘bird’ and never get back to the parts that I assumed weren’t as important to my author business.
News Flash! You may not use it all but it is knowledge and it is important. So, how am I going to rise up and write 6-8 books this year (the most I’ve ever written in a year is one novel and one novella)? By planning for success, instead of hoping for it, I plan on 2019 being my most productive year yet, (God willing).
This year, I’ve done some serious planning. I’ve addressed areas where I have trouble or tend to drop off and I’ve put in safeguards (intro my husband). I’m sharing my goals with others so that I’m held accountable. Some of the changes I’m implementing come from knowing my weaknesses.
I’m naturally a morning person, so my creativity is best before one in the afternoon. I’ve set my writing schedule between nine and noon, Monday through Fridays, using Saturdays as a catch up day, if something comes up that can’t be avoided. I've made my family aware so that they can help me respect this time.
The afternoons are for everything else; scheduling promotions, editing, formatting, marketing, social media, etc. I’ve utilized the Love Kissed Author Calendar by author Nicole Anderson by uploading it into GoodNotes and using my iPencil and iPad to track my daily progress with my new good habits that I want to create. Using the calendar with GoodNotes was an idea I picked up from author Monica Corwin of Fantasy Book Deals.
I’ve committed to hiring a high level editor which puts my money where my mouth is, in regards to my commitment to this as a career rather than a full time hobby. My readers will no doubt appreciate the improvements and hopefully I’ll gain some new ones along the way.
I’ve outlined, in great detail, how I will accomplish each task and I will refer back to my notes and schedule often. Life happens. I also set some personal goals for myself. It’s my plan to lose fifteen pounds and increase my overall fitness.Right out of the gate, a wrench was thrown into that plan when I tried doing a bunch of air squats without a warm up. I won’t be doing that again. (Ouch!) But, I won’t let it discourage me, either. My back will heal, and I can still continue with the strict diet I’ve started.
Blogging is one of the new habits I'm hoping will help me document my journey. I want to share my struggles and successes with others. I’m doing it for me, but maybe by sharing my failure and success I’ll be helping other newbie authors along the way. I consider that a win-win.
Another goal this year is to write a non-fiction book about the down and dirty of self publishing and how to make it happen quickly. My go-to guide will have everything in it that I wish I’d known when I started.
Every time I learn something new, you can be sure I’ll blog about it. The book could be a compilation of blog posts before I’m through.
To summarize my goals;
• Lose 15 pounds and increase overall fitness
• Write, edit, and publish 6 new novels, 1 novella, 5-6 audiobooks, 1 box set, and 1 non-fiction book.
• I plan to take one girls only cruise with some long time friends that I don’t get to see often enough. (March)
• 1 trip to Mexico with the entire family - hopefully. (May-June?)
• 2 - 3 backpacking trips with my husband and maybe our youngest daughter.
• Attend 1 - 2 author conferences. (November & ?)
Start a new pen name for Contemporary Romance
• Improve my writing. (working with a top-notch editor and studying the craft)
• Improve my marketing. (Reworking courses that I've paid for and skimmed through)
• Connect with readers more and more. (the most fun)
Pretty lofty goals, right? There’s more but I didn’t want to bore you with too many details. Follow along to see how I do. You might learn something or a few somethings along the way. Thanks for joining me on this author journey.