Setting Goals

As 2010 quickly approaches, it’s time to rethink goals, especially when it comes to writing. What is it that you want to accomplish? What is your vision for this upcoming year? What steps, even small ones at first, can you take to help make those goals a reality?

Proverbs 29:18a says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” We must have a purpose to what we do. Personally, I have given my writing for 2010 to the Lord. I feel He needs to be the One to direct me in how He wants me to use this gift of words.

How about you? What goals are you setting for 2010?

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Keeping Current Events

I am noticing as I prepare for the release of my first book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z, that it is necessary to keep events current. With facebook, blogs, and author pages to think about, I need to make sure that I am posting regularly, and that I keep on top of upcoming dates.

Have I listed my book’s release date on all sites? Have I kept up with book signings, making sure I post correct dates, times, and locations? Is my photo current? Have I posted my book’s image?

It is important to keep all this up-to-date. You want potential fans to find your book. If necessary, mark a day on your calendar every week or every other week to specifically work on updates.

And it is also important to keep looking for new marketing ideas. I want to post a video to both youtube and Amazon’s author page. This is exposure time, and an author needs to get his/her book out into the public eye.

What are you doing to keep current your events?

Staying Ahead of the Holidays

If you want to write for magazines, you will need to think ahead when it’s time to submit your articles or stories. Most magazines work at least 6 months in advance. That great Christmas craft could be needed in the heat of the summer, and that fun Fourth of July picnic article could possibly be turned in while the temperatures are freezing.

It’s not always easy to have an advanced mindset, especially when temperatures or seasons are the opposite of what you’re writing about. But there are a few things you can do to help.

Surround yourself with your material. Try playing seasonal music or have pictures that represent that time of year. Immerse yourself in your research books to get the feel for that time period. Read newspapers or other magazines that can bring insight to the weather, clothing, and seasonal activities.

With a few helps you can be well on your way of staying ahead of the holidays so you can land some great magazine assignments.

Counting Down

This is the time of year where most people start counting down the number of days before Christmas. Time is short because there are lots to do before that wonderful day. As a writer, though, I don’t only count down to Christmas; I count down to Christmas vacation.

My kids get two weeks off from school. That’s two weeks where it is extremely difficult to write because the house gets noisier with them all at home. So when I think of counting down, I take into consideration that there are so many days left for writing with limited interruptions. Currently, I have 7 1/2 days left to finish 4 assignments if I want to have a more relaxed Christmas. If I don’t get them done by then, I will still have a little over two weeks to finish, but then I know my creativity will be stressed.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids and I enjoy my time with them. But someone is paying me for quality writing, so I must deliver in the best way I can; and that way is best achieved with as little distractions as possible.

So how is your countdown to Christmas?

Learning to Say No

As my writing career continues to grow, I have noticed that there are times when I have to be selective about the assignments I accept and pursue. Yes, I want to work, but I also have an obligation to my family. All four kids are still at home, so their needs and the needs of my husband have to come first.

I will only accept jobs I know I can do within a given time frame. My time to write is when the kids are at school or busy with some other activity. Too many jobs with overlapping deadlines lead to a very frustrated wife and mother.

I limit the amount of contracts I pursue. A number of my writing friends are empty-nesters. All their kids are leading their own lives. Since this is not the case for me, I need to make sure that I will have time to work on new projects. Once I accept an assignment, I’m locked in, and because I want to meet all my deadlines, I have to be realistic on how much I can handle.

Some may feel this will limit my growth, but so far it has worked very well for me. It keeps me free to concentrate on the work I do have, bringing in assignments ahead of schedule (which, by the way, has led to editors asking me if I can work on an assignment), and it keeps me from stressing about wearing too many hats. I do want to build my writing career, but not at the expense of my loved ones.

There are times when we need to say “no” to too much writing. Try to determine what works best for you and your family.