Whether you’re a full-time writer, or you’re still aspiring to write your first word, the end of the year is a great time to assess, plan and yes, even dream a little. Here are a few ideas to help you prepare for a successful, productive 2013, no matter where you are on the spectrum.
Set at least one goal – I have friends who set elaborate color-coded goals on electronic calendars with tracking software to keep them in check. I also have a writing partner who practically breaks out in hives at the mere mention of the g-word. So find your happy medium. If you’re already a working freelancer, goal-setting is more necessary, because you have to be able to navigate the work you have, the work you know is coming, and all the things you want to do to expand. So maybe your goal is financial – for instance to earn a specific amount monthly in 2013; perhaps it’s word-count – at least 6,000 words a month will practically have you writing a novel in a year; or perhaps it’s a distinct time commitment – thirty minutes a day on your writing, or 4 hours a week on your business. Decide what works best for you, your schedule and your comfort zone, and put something in place that you’ll strive for in the new year.
Be accountable – Goals are great, but they are better if you have someone or some system to hold you accountable. Figure out who that is, or how that can work for you and set it up. One friend DVRs her favorite show and doesn’t watch an episode until she’s met a pre-established checkpoint. Another friend had great goal-setting skills, but never felt any urgency to meet them. Hiring a personal coach helped her wrap her mind around the fact that those goals represented a more successful and abundant future, and possibly freedom from a job she was content with, but didn’t love. Know what drives you, and use that motivation to kickstart your accountability – remember why you want to be a [freelance writer, author, poet, virtual assistant, Tupperware lady, fill-in-the-blank entrepreneur] in the first place, and hit January running with the power of intention on your side.
Get on top of your finances – End of year is the perfect time to get organized, and if you’re currently creating income as a business owner, it’s extremely important to get your numbers in order. If you do client work, you’ll need to keep track of 1099s and expenses. Small business accounting can be complicated, especially if you work out of your home. If it’s feasible, consider hiring a good accountant, or at least educate yourself well so that you’re leveraging the benefits available to you as a small business owner, but also know what is and isn’t acceptable business practice. Consider QuickBooks or another electronic accounting program that helps you tag and track expenses, invoices, budgets and other financial aspects of business ownership. Be scrupulous and organized, and tax time won’t be nearly as overwhelming. If you’re really good, you can get your taxes finished as soon as you get all your documents, and either send them in asap for that refund, or hold off until the last minute, if you owe. Knowledge is power.
Be bold – “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Perhaps you’ve heard that before? Ask yourself that question. Now ask yourself what one thing you can do that is outside your comfort zone but could make a big difference. The first paid freelance gig I ever did came to me because I picked up the phone and called a local editor. (Most editors don’t like to be called – do your homework, too!) I was ready, and I knew the stories she edited were a good fit for my writing, so I made the call and it worked out. What do you want to do that you know you’re ready for? Do the research, be honest with yourself that you can indeed fulfill the scope of work, and then pitch. Rejection is often the name of the game in this business, but you can’t be rejected if you don’t ask. And sometimes the answer is “yes.”
Here’s hoping your end of year is filled with joy and light, and that 2013 brings success and abundance![author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bobbiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you! [/author_info] [/author]