How Then, Shall We Jump Start Our Writing Goals for the New Year?

We’re coming up on two weeks into the new year. Ack! Wasn’t it just Christmas? Didn’t we just do Thanksgiving? Soon we’ll be talking about fireworks displays.  I’m still seeing a lot of posts about how to plan to make this your best year yet. I confess, I read almost every one.  Because I love me some planning, yes I do. And then of course there are the requisite posts about how you really shouldn’t plan or create new year’s resolutions because you’ll just fail at them anyway.

To which I say, pish-posh.  How are you supposed to get anything done if you don’t know what you need to do? So here we are two weeks in and I actually think it’s a good time to review your goals.  January is either all bright and shiny and new for you or it’s a terrible slog, but either way the luster might be off some of those goals.  But, the world needs your voice. You need your voice to be heard in the world. It works both ways.  So, herein are some thoughts for how to reconnect and move forward with those writing goals.  17 of them, in fact. Because…oh never mind. You get it.

  1. Write faster.  I’m putting together a….hmmm, what shall I call it? Book? Mini-book? Maybe report. I loved writing reports in school. I’m putting together a report on how to write faster and better and you can get it if you’re on my list (see sign-up to the right). It won’t be out until February so between now and then write as fast as you can. Because its better to get something on the page than nothing. So I say.
  2. Create an activation trigger for your goal.  This is a simple action that will make it easier for you to reach your goal. So, in my case, since I want to write first thing in the morning, an activation trigger would be to shut down all my inboxes and other distracting tabs the night before.  But let the all-mighty and wonderful Michael Hyatt explain it to you by going here.
  3. Clean up your crap.  Bwahahahahaha. That’s the sound of me laughing hysterically because my office is such a mess. And organizing it is the one thing I can’t seem to get myself to do. But sometimes I start to feel overwhelmed and look around and think, no wonder. I know I would be able to think better if my space were cleaner. And I also know that money likes to come where there’s room. So I’m working on it. How about you?
  4. Study. I love learning new things. And there are certain areas that I need to brush up on, for sure. Like marketing and money. So I’m setting aside time to study those topics this year.  Years ago I read a book that stated committing thirty minutes a day to a subject is enough to become expert in it. I’ve never forgotten that. Learning marketing will boost your book sales, so if that’s one of your goals, have at it.
  5. Quit worrying about what other people think.  You said yes to the PTA bake sale because you were afraid the other mothers would think you a slacker if you didn’t, but now baking cupcakes for 500 is going to take up your writing time? Stop doing shit like that.  Who cares what they think? We do, I know. It is one of the hardest things to get over.  But your writing is more important than your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s opinion of you (and this includes Facebook posting/jealous, too).
  6.  Don’t do crap you don’t want to do. Okay, into each life some rain must fall. We all have things that we don’t want to do. Like cook dinner when you’d rather be writing. Taking the garbage out when its snowing. Cutting back on wine because you want to lose some weight. (Oh and none of these items are autobiographical. Uh-uh, no way.) But we do make ourselves say yes to plenty of things we don’t want to do. Case in point: I just finished knitting a pink #pussyhat to wear at the Portland Women’s March.  The idea of this is to knit hats to keep the women marching in Washington warm and also create a great visual image. Everyone on Instagram is knitting one hat after another and I thought I would, too. But after casting mine off I realized I really don’t want to knit another one. Usually I’d force myself. Because, I have to be the most perfect activist ever! But I have no interest in knitting another one. (I get bored really easily.) So just today I gave myself permission not to knit another one.  More time for writing.
  7. Stop with the perfectionism. It doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve the people you love, either. Here’s a fun little exercise: force yourself to write one bad page. One really, terrible, horrible, very bad page.  There. Doesn’t that feel better?
  8. Find a planner or some kind of system that works for you. I’m old-school paper when it comes to this. Don’t bother sending me a Google calendar notification cuz I don’t use one.  It took me a long time, but I recently figured out the best calendar for me is daily calendar. I bought the daily planner from Danielle LaPorte (affiliate link) and I LOVE it. They sold out but are coming back in stock on January 15th. Highly recommended. (News flash addendum: I’ve used and recommended the Leonie Dawson Your Shining Year workbooks and planners in the past. She’s having a 50% off clearance sale at the moment. Go here, which is an affiliate link, to see.)
  9. Meditate. Quit your bitching and just do it. I get many of my best ideas during meditation sessions.
  10. Write morning pages. I know you don’t have time, but do it anyway. Gets all your crap out of your head and onto the page and is another place I get brilliant ideas. You know morning pages, don’t you? Popularized by Julia Cameron, they are three pages of long-hand stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning. Sometimes mine are shorter than three pages, sometimes longer. Doesn’t matter.
  11. Automate. I think we used to call this delegating. Whatever. Look at what stupid things are getting in the way of your writing and figure out a way to make someone else do them. Miniature adults, i.e., your children, are great for this. Make them set the table and do laundry, etc. Yeah, right. Hopefully yours will be better at this than mine were. Failing that, hire an assistant. Or at the very least, order your groceries online and go pick them up (or send your teenager who just got his license and loves to drive to do it). We live in a miraculous world, people. Take advantage of it.
  12. Hire a coach. I have my eyes set on two this year. One for writing and one for business. And, ahem, if you are a writer looking for one you could consider me. (If you would like to schedule a connection session to chat with me about it, just click here and you’re all set.)
  13. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Gee, what a great title. Someone should use it for a book. Oh, never mind. But don’t worry about the stuff you can’t control, like the weather. We’re currently working on our fourth winter storm in a city that usually just gets rain. I get so distracted looking out the window, turning on the TV for news and so on. Dumb. Wasting precious time.
  14. Use things you love. For instance, I love writing with multi-colored pens.  The Pilot G-2 Gel Rollers come in a luscious array of colors and I use them on my planner and in my journals. A bit teenager-ish, but I don’t care. It’s fun.
  15. Read. Some writers don’t like to read when they’re writing, but I say, words in, words out. Reading inspires you, it instructs you and it teaches you. Read everything you can get your hands on and think how it relates to your writing.
  16. Get very clear about what you want with your writing.  Yeah, I know you’ve been figuring out goals and so forth, but are they shoulds or wants? This business we are in is not an easy one, and so I think you should do what makes you happy in it, not what someone else thinks you should be doing.  With all the things I do, I have to constantly remind myself that fiction comes first.
  17. Do we really need a #17? Kidding. Here it is: launch. That happens to be my word of the year, but I think it is apropos. Think of it as rising up or upleveling.  Because if ever there was a year to stand up and stand out and do your thing as fully and wholely as possible this is it.  Recalibrate your mindset so that you truly are going for it. Let’s do it together.

What are your writing goals for 2017 and how do you propose to help yourself reach them?  And seriously, I’d love to hear about your goals and your writing.  Let’s! Go here and schedule a time.

Photo by robchivers.

How to Make 2014 Your Best Writing Year Yet

Fireworks_firework_night_226231_lHappy New Year!

We're two days into 2014–how's it treating you so far?  Yeah, I know, it's a bit soon to tell. But I've been cheerful the last few days.  Why? Because I took time to review 2013 and work on goals for 2014.  I've spent a lot of time doing this, actually.   And I can tell by how happy its made me that it is a worthy endeavor.  Thus I will inflict it upon you.

In case you haven't spent time reviewing last year, go do that first.  (Doesn't matter that it's 2014, I figure that just as you have a year after a wedding to send a gift, you have until the end of January to review 2013.)

Now take a deep breath, get up from your chair, and dance around the room for a bit to shake all that old-year energy out.  Okay.  Sit back down, grab your journal and have at it.  Bear in mind a couple of things: you can answer as many or few as you want.  And sometimes I ask similar questions in slightly different wording because often coming at an idea from a different angle opens it up for you.

Questions and Prompts for Your 2014 Writing

What do you most want to create in 2014 in your writing life?  In your creative life? (Because one bears on the other.  They enhance each other, they don't take away from each other.)

What do you want to let go of in 2014?  (i.e., fear, procrastination, etc.)

What is your most important writing project in 2014?  Second most important?  Third most important?

How many words will you write a week?

When will you write?

What other genres might you try, just for fun?

How many things will you submit or self-publish in 2014?

Will you take part in a writing community (online or in the real world)?

How will you relax and rest?

When will you take time to daydream and think? (Vastly under-rated activities for writers.)

My biggest goal for 2014 is…..

At the end of the year, I'll be satisfied if….

The thing that will make me happiest with my writing is….

This year, I vow to….

If I could have one wish for my writing, it would be….

My perfect writing day would be….

My perfect place to write would be….

Okay, that ought to keep you busy for awhile!  And while you're at it, why not share one of your answers in the comments? 

Photo by kiplantt.

Overcomers Book Blog Stop

I am interested in overcoming adversity.  Also overcoming sloth, gluttony, laziness, and pride.  I think those are four of the seven deadly sins, no?  (Does anybody actually remember what the seven deadly sins are?)  I struggle with overcoming all of these bad traits on a daily basis.  Or at least weekly.  Overcomerbooksm

So when Nikki Leigh offered me the chance to be a blog stop on the Overcomers book tour, I said, hell yeah.  I can get on board the Overcomers wagon, despite the vaguely sexual ring to the title,  and write a post about it that will totally inspire people.  To begin with, let's define overcome.  Here are some of the words that I found on my Mac thesaurus (which is way better than the Microsoft thesaurus  by the way.  Waaaaaay better.  Just sayin'.):

beat, conquer, trounce, thrash, rout, vanquish, overwhelm, overpower, get the better of, triumph over, prevail over, win over/against, outdo, outclass, worst, crush; informal drub, slaughter, clobber, hammer, lick, best, crucify, demolish, wipe the floor with, make mincemeat of, blow out of the water, take to the cleaners, shellac, skunk.

Um, those are awesome words, verbs all, and I welcome you to use steal them and use them whenever you want.  I especially like the verbs trounce, thrash and vanquish.  I have learned to vanquish fears about getting my novel published.  Nice sentence, the verb really pumps it up.  But we are not here to discuss verbs today, we are here to discuss this new book.  Here's the deal: when you order the book you get over 85 free gifts. 

Just in case you don't have a clue what the book might be about after reading the post (and I can't say I blame you), I've compiled some interviews and excerpts for you.  We begin with some information from the book's introduction, written by publisher Lynne Kippel:      Lynneklipple-150x150



At one point in my life it seemed like
everywhere I looked, I saw tragedy. My brother,
both of my parents, and a dear friend were all
battling cancer at the same time. Other friends
were losing jobs and fearful about the prospects
of finding new work. The evening news was full
of financial scandals, plant closings,
kidnappings, and war.



As I sat in the sun on my front porch in March
2009, I wished I had a book to send to my
brother to read during his chemotherapy
treatments – something to remind him that he was
not alone and to encourage him to fight for his
life. I wanted a book that could give him hope,
inspiration, and encouragement on every page.



Due to a series of miracles, the book you are
now reading is my wish come true. In a very
short time a team of wonderful people came
together to create this book with just one
purpose: to encourage you, the reader, to
overcome whatever obstacles are lying in your
path to happiness.



As you read the stories in this book, you will
find real life tales of remarkable courage,
strength, and perseverance.  You will be
inspired, entertained, and uplifted. Some of the
stories will make you laugh. Some of them will
make you cry. All of them will make you proud of
the power of the human spirit. 



You will find this a book of diversity. There
are many authors, from many walks of life.
However, they all share a common bond. They
triumphed over tragedy and gleaned wisdom in
this process. While this is not a religious
book, there are stories full of faith, of many
kinds and flavors. It is funny how in your
darkest times, faith often becomes your
brightest light.



All of the contributors to this book want to
encourage you to hold tight to your belief that
a better day will come. It is their sincere
desire to pass along what they’ve learned
through their own trials, to make your journey
easier.



I hope that you wear this book out by
highlighting meaningful passages and bending
down the corners of the pages you want to read
over and over again. There is true wisdom in
these pages that can help you feel strong,
brave, and hopeful.



May you be blessed by this book and inspired to
overcome!



Lynne Klippel
St. Peters, Missouri
September, 2009

And just to whet your appetite, here is another excerpt from the book.  This one is from  Charlon Bobo.  I'll be honest here, I chose the excerpt because first of all I like Charlon's name and second I like her photo.  I think Charlon and I could totally be buds:

One Woman’s Empowering Journey From Fragmented
Child To Conscious Entrepreneur


Charlon BoboCharlonbobo1-107x150


As strange as it even seems to me at times, the
lessons of my childhood journey are applicable
to every aspect of my life, including the
everyday operations of my soulful business. As a
conscious entrepreneur, I pull from this
experience often to guide me. I’d like to share
with you the five key lessons of my pilgrimage.


1.   


Protective mechanisms are in place whether or
not I realize or acknowledge them.

I don’t always understand why a project fails to
materialize or a serious prospect seems to
change her mind. I do know there exists an
over-arching structure and order that conspires
on my behalf to bring about my highest personal
and professional growth. Whatever that wisdom, I
can trust it absolutely.


 


2.   


My ”story” doesn’t define who I am.


I am a vibrant business owner who grows every
day, and occasionally stumbles and falls on my
bum! Because I constantly create myself anew,
nothing from my past can effectively define or
imprison me. I consciously choose to “bring my
best game” to every day and know that’s enough.

 


3.   


Innate wisdom effortlessly guides me to the most
opportune time to take action.


When in doubt, I do nothing until ultimate
clarity presents itself. Although daily action
is a crucial component in accomplishing my
goals, I can also watch nature and use Her
guidance to positively influence my actions.
Nature provides a silent, fallow season – winter
– to turn inward to rest and restore. Using this
model, I reap the most benefit from my efforts.
Smart living requires me to balance action with
equal inaction.

 


4.   


My history doesn’t determine my level of
success.


I can accomplish any lofty goal I imagine
regardless of any perceived limitations. The
past doesn’t dictate my future. I gift myself
the pleasure and freedom to envision a life of
my design. Family-of-origin, childhood
circumstances, real or perceived impediments,
lack of skills, none of these compare to the
capacity of the human spirit to realize dreams.


 


5.   


I choose victimhood or empowerment every day
with my words, thoughts, and actions.



We do not control the actions of others and yet
we may be drawn into their drama. Like cast
members of a play, energetically we agreed to
these roles to teach AND learn. No matter my
external circumstances, my responses can only
come from one of two places: damage or
abundance. I choose abundance.


 


May you be profoundly blessed by reading my
story and take from it any value that forever
nourishes your soul.


From Overcomers, Inc.; True Stories
of Hope, Courage and Inspiration. To get your
own copy and receive dozens of bonus gifts go to




http://www.overcomersbook.com/booklaunch

Wise words, and there are more in the book itself.  So check it out.