Mapping Out My 2018

Social Media (1)One day, it will be over. There will be two dates, either side of a dash—make sure that dash is not empty. Make sure it is full of life.
– Quote from a Fearless Motivation motivational speech, full speech below.

Remember back in 2016 when everyone was so excited for that horrible, crappy year to end, and how hopeful we were that 2017 was sure to be full of success and happiness?

I hope it was for you.

For me, not so much. I was certain 2016 had been so bad that 2017 would surely glisten, but instead 2017 turned around and said to 2016, “Hold my beer, kid.” Yes, last year wasn’t much better, if at all, than its predecessor.

So, just like last week’s post, this *should* be a writerly advice post. But, alas, it falls on yet another major holiday. So, instead, I thought today would be a great day, if not cliche, to talk about planning for the coming year.

I have been brainstorming what I’d like 2018 to look like for some time now, and I’ve really spent the last few days narrowing it down as best I can before I spread it all out in my Erin Condren LifePlanner…because it pains me to scratch things out. As I was mapping things out in my head, then began scribbling them down in a list, the amount of stuff I want to accomplish in the next 365 days is seems seemed incredibly daunting. I’ll admit, I’m still afraid I’ve given myself more than I’m likely to accomplish. But, if I don’t push myself, I’ll never grow. So I’m not backing down. I’m just breaking it down.

For instance, and I’m aware this isn’t new advice, but saying I want to write 85,000 words by mid-April sounds a lot worse than if I say I want to write 5000 words per week, which gives me a rough daily goal of 714 words per day. Considering that I can average between 1500-3000 words per day when I’m able to shut out all other distractions, now my goal feels more attainable.

When I said a while back that I wanted to write a blog post every Monday and an additional one every other Thursday, I realized that was a much tougher blogging schedule than I’d ever attempted before. I mean, well, let’s face it: I never attempted to keep to a blogging schedule before. But it’s important. I know that. So, I sat down for a few hours with Trello and a notebook and I started brainstorming ideas for what I’d like to blog about. Very vague ideas. But, now that I know what I’m blogging about throughout quarter one of this year, I’m not really afraid of my schedule. I’ve even got a sizable chunk of quarter two fleshed out, and I’m confident those posts will segue into ideas for quarters three and four.

Another goal I’d like to accomplish is a monthly newsletter. That’s 12-15 emails per year, if I add one for the occasional special event or book release. That doesn’t sound so daunting. So, I’ve been studying other indie authors’ newsletters making note of what I like and what I’m not so fond of, so I can make mine something I’ll be proud of. (Edited to add: I have officially launched a newsletter! Score one for Aila. Sign up at my website! Newsletters go out the last Friday of every month–but new subscribers will get a welcome email containing the first, raw chapter of my current WIP, Alabma Rain.)

Some of my goals are simple enough, but either slightly time-consuming or they cost money—which I don’t part with easily. For instance, I want need to print business cards, but I keep fiddling with the design…even though everyone I’ve shown them to thinks they’re lovely. My website is in horrible need of updating. I really should schedule in a day every single month to update my website. I should, so I shall.

In an effort to keep myself accountable to my goals, I’m going to start each quarter by listing the things I’d like to accomplish, and going forward, I’ll also recap how I did for the previous quarter. Here goes nothing:

  1. | Print business cards
  2. | Print bookmarks
  3. | Get signed copies of Technicalities and Formalities for sale
  4. | Write 65,000 words of Alabama Rain (at 5,000 words per week)
  5. | Update the website at least once per month
  6. | Send three newsletters
  7. | Keep up with the blogging schedule
  8. | Utilize Instagram no less than 5x per week
  9. | Update both cover and interior of Sex, Love, and Formalities
  10. | Attend the writing/book festival in Dahlonega, GA

Those are just for the first three months of the year. I’ll let you know how I do on March 29th. To be honest, if I accomplish 8 out of those 10 goals, I’ll consider it a successful quarter, because I have a ton of personal goals as well, including health goals—and not just weight loss. For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from frequent headaches. Some are mild, but some are crippling, so this year I want to do whatever it takes to get a handle on them without having to chew up fistfuls of painkillers.

As you can see, I’m going to be a busy girl. I figured if I had such a lengthy list of goals, that surely other writers were feeling a bit bogged down by everything they wanted to accomplish too. Thus, #WriterGoals2018 was born on Twitter. If you haven’t checked it out, I hope it will become a jumping off point for encouragement between authors as we step off of the invisible milestone of a New Year. With any luck, I look forward to seeing you there.

Whether in the hashtag, or the comments below, I am genuinely interested in how your goals are shaping up for the year. Younger me would choke on these words: but I make a pretty good cheerleader! Happy New Year, my friends! I wish you all the best and nothing but success!



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