We're hours away to a new year. You can feel the energy in the air. I don't know about you, but I rather dig what this special time symbolizes.
The New Year is like a blank canvas awaiting our individual "masterpiece." A time to create with greater passion and purpose.
It's a fresh start. There's so much to explore. So much to discover. So much potential to be realized.
And as is customary of this time of year, it's a season to reflect on what actions we need to take to reach new heights in our careers.
That's right. It's resolutions time.
But before we embark upon those that are most beneficial for today's writers, let's examine why resolutions often fail from year to year in general, to increase our odds for success in 2015. Shall we?
- They're unrealistic. Remember when you vowed to write 1000 words everyday? Most of us can't even successfully master the requirements of NANOWRIMO, for one month. Especially when you factor in the rigors of a full-time job, family obligations, and personal commitments. Better to be realistic than overly ambitious. Start with small, manageable goals then work your way up from there.
- They're not clearly defined with logical steps. To vow that you will "one day write a book" won't cut it. Instead devise a specific game plan with concrete deadlines.
- They're not written down and revisited on a regular basis. Studies show that people that write down their goals are 3X more likely to achieve them than those that don't.
With this in mind, here are 10 Resolutions to "swear by" for 2015:
1. TO READ MORE
For most of my life, I've always been an avid reader. But, with the closing of several brick and mortar bookstores in my area, and time constraints, I find myself doing less. It's impossible to develop your creative muscles, fire the imagination, or understand the needs of an audience without reading books. It's really that simple.
2. TO SPEND MONEY ON BUSINESS ENHANCEMENT AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT
I'm amazed at how little most writers spend on services, classes and products that will help them to reap a greater return on their sweat equity. Don't let that be you. There's great truth to the adage, "You've got to spend money to make money." 2015 is a great time to update those business cards, take a class in photography, brand your blog with a logo, or expand your writer's library. The possibilities are endless.
3. TO ESCAPE THE FEAST AND FAMINE CYCLE
One of the biggest challenges of being a creative artist is having consistent, reliable income that allows us to meet our obligations and maintain a decent quality of life. Clients come and go. Publications cut budgets. And sometimes writers unfortunately encounter "dead beats" that refuse to pay for services rendered. Because of this you'll need to diversify your projects, screen clients better, manage your time more efficiently, and save money when and where you can. Say bye-bye to a life of Ramen Noodles.
4. TO KEEP YOUR BLOG UPDATED CONSISTENTLY
I've said this before, but repetition reinforces. An updated blog with quality content will help you to better achieve your traffic and income goals.
5. TO ENTER CREATIVE CONTESTS
Everybody loves a winner! And participating in and winning creative contests will increase your online visibility, your credibility and regard as a writer, and your bottom line. For contest opportunities, check out FanStory.com.
6. TO JOIN A WRITERS' ORGANIZATION
Writers' groups are great for connecting with other artists for moral support and shared interests. Additionally, many of them offer insurance, job listings and critique groups.
Depending upon your needs, level, niche and lifestyle, you can join an online group or one in your local area.
7. TO PARTICIPATE IN MORE COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS
One thing that I highly recommend is contributing to one or more of the popular anthologies on various themes. "Chicken Soup" series is one example. They are loads of fun, allow you to meet other authors around the world, and even to travel for book signings in some cases. Anybody out there have any experience in this area?
8. TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
It's no secret that for many writers chocolate and caffeine are an integral part of our weekly menu. Not to mention, the sedentary lifestyle comprised of countless hours sitting behind a computer. If we're not careful, we can pack on the pounds; which can compromise our health and contribute to certain diseases and ailments. Indulge a little less. Work out a little more. Minimize stress. 'Nuff said.
9. TO IDENTIFY NEW MARKETS
Doing so will help you to expand your portfolio, increase your areas of expertise, and potentially create more income sources.
10. TO STOP DOING WHAT ISN'T WORKING
This may seem like a no-brainer, but for some it really isn't. Don't be too stubborn to seek new strategies, to study the success of others as a navigational guide, or to re-assess your direction, if you're not making measurable progress.
In the words of Sarah Palin, "Don't retreat. Reload!"
Well, there you have it. Ten practices and principles to put you on the path to success in the year ahead.
Happy New Year
readers, followers and fans!
May 2015 be a year of fulfilled dreams and wonderful things!
Thoughts? Which resolution here will you likely be working on?