Friday, December 28, 2012

Make Resolutions You Can Keep

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If you are like me, you have goals, dreams and plans for the New Year. I encourage you to write down these resolutions or plans or goals. You want to make them specific actions so you can hold yourself (or your partner can hold you) accountable to carry them out.

Over 15 years ago in 11 days I wrote a diet book by Carole Lewis called First Place. I took such a crazy writing deadline because the publisher was determined to have the book inside the bookstores for January. If you look at bestseller lists, often in January there will be several diet books about losing weight. In our overweight society, many people resolve to lose some pounds in the New Year. They begin with such great resolve and commitment.

As I write these words in late December, the fitness center in my community has been empty—except for my consistently using it. Over the last few days close to the holidays, I worked out alone in a room full of equipment. In January, I expect someone will always be working out with me. Then the first week of February will arrive and the crowds will slack off because people’s resolve begins to lessen.

To become a proactive author, I want to suggest several resolutions or goals that you can keep throughout the months ahead. I encourage you to use these ideas to create your own goals. Make sure you make each one specific, measurable and action oriented.

1. Plan to consistently talk with others about your books or products. As the author, you should take the primary responsibility to market and tell other people about your books. There are dozens of tools and ways to do it. Your method should be a way that serves other people (helps them) and doesn’t pound them with “buy me” messages. The “buy me” message is a turn off and the service to others is an attraction. Can you take your book and create a teleseminar or take chapters from your book and turn them into magazine articles or blog posts? For example, I have my Book Proposals That Sell, which has over 100 five star reviews on Amazon and continues to help people. I have a free teleseminar on proposal creation but also an online step-by-step course on proposal creation. I’m teaching about proposals in a free workshop on January 7th but also teaching about proposals at the Florida Christian Writers Conference in late February. Notice the multiple ways I’m still talking with people about the same product and serving them. How can you create such an effort for your book?

2. Resolve to Persevere. Are you trying to publish something which is getting rejected? You are in good company. Just check out this article from bestselling novelist James Scott Bell called Rejecting Rejection. Possibly you have not made the right connection to get your work published. Are you consistently submitting your work? Often when I ask writers about this detail, I find they haven’t been consistently working on getting their book pitch to the right editor at the right time and the right place. I don’t believe that I’m a great writer. I work hard at improving my storytelling and writing—yet I am persistent and preserve. I’m determined to a fault. Nurture this quality in your own life in the weeks and months ahead.

3. Resolve to take better care of yourself. Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard at getting more consistent sleep, taking a daily multiple vitamins and a commitment to regular exercise. Also I attempt to watch my weight and eating patterns to be in balance. Am I perfect? No, but I continue to consistently work at these elements and build regular patterns into my life. For several years I taught consistently at a writers’ conference and until I made this commitment to myself, I didn’t know this facility had an exercise room. The last time I used the room every single day of the event. It is a goal that I’m determined to keep. Your goal will be different for your lifestyle and situation but do consider this area of your life.

4. Resolve to learn a new skill then practice it repeatedly. Maybe you want to develop your storytelling skills. Then I suggest you look at different conferences and plan a way to get to listen to an instructor. I’m going to be all over the U.S in 2013 and here’s where I keep my schedule. Or maybe you can learn from a how-to book or take an online training. I use all of these methods to keep growing in my abilities and skills. 

I’m expecting great things will happen in the coming months. How about you? Are you setting goals and moving in this direction? Take action today.

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