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Have You Prepared Your Writing Journey for 2021?

January 7, 2021
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I’ve been working hard on my own goals and the lists I tend to each year to prepare for the year. We’re already six days into the New Year, and I’m far from done with my list. Here are three things I think every writer, especially authors, needs to commit to their list in January to help 2021 move forward and grow their writing career.

1.) Did You Review ALL of Your Profiles?

One step every writer should take every single year is to review their profiles. Have you logged into your Goodreads  account, BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, and updated your profile information this year? Most people write their profiles once, upload them, press save, and never turn back.

Over the course of a single year, a lot changes. Our own journey evolves in a year; we release new books, we write in different genres, our experience grows. The journey of those platforms changes, too. Recently, Amazon updated their Author Central platform with a completely different look and more options. Some platforms add or remove features. To know we are benefiting fully from their capabilities, we have to make it a habit of reviewing them at least, at least, once a year.

Review Platforms At Least Once a Year

Mark some time on your calendar to review your platforms. Review everything. Sometimes I can’t fill out all the information, so I mark them in a grid to be worked on at a later date. Do the same if you find you can’t fully utilize a feature. Make a note and use it later.

Here’s a list of some items I review for my writing business. With all the books and all the changes, I’m still working through them. And this is only a partial list of items most authors use.

2) Have You Planned Your Goals?

There are resolutions for the new year… and then there are goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These SMART goals keep you moving forward. A resolution starts off well at the beginning of the year. We might do some exercise, change our diet, or read more, but everyone knows by February we’re back to our old habits because we didn’t create a plan.

This is your time to create a plan for 2021. Sit down and decide what you need to do with your writing business.

Write the specifics. For example, I want to write a book for my Awakening series about Dreams, then Life and Death.

Create something you can measure.

As writers, we can do word counts. “Write 2000 words per day” is a measurable goal.

Is it achievable?

For me, 2000 words are more than achievable. For someone with kids, a full-time day job, and other responsibilities, they may only be able to write 1000 words or even less. Pick an achievable goal.

Make the goal relevant.

If you want to succeed as an author, don’t choose a goal that isn’t relevant. As an author writing self-published marketing, urban fantasy, and spiritual books, I’m not going to include the goal of writing a recipe book. It’s relevant to writing, but not relevant to my author goals.

Is your goal time-bound?

My goals are all time-bound. I will start writing my book about life in death around April. As for publishing, that’s a different story. Usually adding a time means, I’ll set this goal and meet it by this time and date.

For writing, I tweak this a bit. Because I don’t know how long a book is, I say something like, “I’ll write 2000 words per day on this book until it’s finished.” There’s really no time-bound goal of finishing the book, no specific date. However, if I write 2000 words per day, I know I can write 60,000 in a month. Most of my nonfiction books haven’t reached that number, yet. The one I’m writing now may be the exception.

So I can create a time-bound goal that is achievable for a book by saying, “I’ll write 2000 words per day on my Dreams book and finish it within two months of starting.”

I know… a little flimsy on the timing. The problem for me is the start date. Sometimes life happens. A book may take a bit longer to write, edit, and publish, requiring more attention that takes away from other projects. My goal is still specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and relatively time-bound from the start.

I set potential start dates. For my dreams book, I want to start sometime in February. My goal is to finish the experiences book this month. If everything goes as planned, that will happen.

If you haven’t started your goals, sit down and figure out what you need to make happen and what you want to make happen in 2021. Create SMART goals to meet those needs. Don’t forget to be conscious of your own process, as I am with my time-bound flexibility, if you need to be.

Regardless, commit to those goals and work towards achieving them every single day. Nothing feels better than finishing a project and crossing it off your list to move to another.

3) Are you building out multiple projects?

One of the biggest problems writers discuss is the dreaded curse of writer’s block. It’s my belief that writer’s block both exists and doesn’t exist. It’s simply a lack of planning.

You can find yourself with writer’s block if you don’t have multiple projects in place. Not only should you have multiple projects, you should be working on multiple genres across fiction and nonfiction. Don’t fret. This doesn’t mean you need to be writing multiple books.

I have never experienced writer’s block. You can find more about my techniques in 100 Fantasy Prompts to Conquer Writer’s Block. One of those techniques is to write a book and switch off to another project.

Right now, I’m writing the third book of my Awakening Series. When I get stuck or need a break, what many might call writer’s block, I switch to a blog entry like this. I might work on my Patreon short story or weekly Fae Flash fiction.

I don’t consider my need to take a break as a symptom of writer’s block. The reason? Opening one of my other projects, I continue writing until my energy recharges.

We all need breaks.

We can work on multiple projects, but sometimes our creative minds need to stop spinning their wheels. That’s where nonfiction comes in. Sometimes we need the creativity instead.

Plan multiple projects for yourself. That way, when you experience the need to take a break, you can switch right to the other project, continue writing, and fulfill daily writing goals.

Remember those SMART goals?

Make a daily writing goal. I use word count. Some people use a time frame instead. Whatever works for you, do it.

Write, create, and continue your writing journey.

Pro Tip: Write your goals and/or project lists out on some form of hangable media. Post it in front of your writing space where you see it every time you look up. I have four sheets of paper taped to the wall (we rent and can’t hang whiteboards and such). Every time I look up from my computer, I see a giant list of book titles and ideas that I know I will work on. As I launch the books, I cross them off the list.

It will keep you in the right mindset, keeping those goals in front of you on a daily basis.

Good luck in 2021! Happy writing!

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