By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
I don't normally post a new article on a Friday but it is the first day of the year. Happy New Year, everyone. I'll be back next week at my normal time. As we turn the calendar to a new year, I reflect how 2020 was a strange year on many fronts. I'm glad to turn the calendar page. As a writer, what I like to do is think about the year ahead and make plans. Years ago I used to make resolutions but most of them were broken before I reached February. Now I make resolutions which I 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 25 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.
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?
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. With a pandemic this year, my weight increased but several months ago my wife and I began changing our eating patterns and working on weight loss. Currently I'm at my lowest weight in over 20 years and my blood pressure has lowered and other health benefits. It's all part of my resolution to take better care of myself and something I encourage you to do too. 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. 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.
5. Resolve to do more writing. It takes more than a resolution to increase your writing. You need a plan. Do it consistently and set a reasonable word count then do it day after day. No little elves come out and write your words. You have to sit in your chair, get your fingers moving on the keyboard and do it.
6. Resolve to do more reading. Writers are readers. Read widely and varied types of books. I read but also learn from listening to audiobooks.
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. As you look at the new year, are you creating resolutions you can keep? Let me know in the comments below.
Labels: 10 Publishing Myths, book publishing, goals, New Year, publishing, reading, resolutions, Terry Whalin, writers, writing