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Saturday, April 25, 2009

 

A Recent Re-Focus

This past week, I realized that my writing was all over the place; I was not using my time to the best of my ability; AND I was just not happy with my results. Am I ever going to finish this YA novel I've been working on for the past four years? Am I ever going to send out all those picture book manuscripts I have? Exactly what do I want to do with my writing career?

So, after a bit of introspection, I realized that I need to reassess my goals and to figure out a new game plan. I have a bit of writer burn-out, and this can be dangerous. Here are some questions I asked myself to discover where I want to go with my writing career. I thought I would share them with you in case you are feeling the same way.
  1. What is my ultimate writing goal? To be a book author? Freelance magazine writer? Support my family on my income? Enjoy a writing life?
  2. How much money do I need to make right now to help my family?
  3. Do I have enough regular writing jobs to make this amount of money?
  4. How can I best spend my writing time each day to reach the answer to question number one?

After answering these questions, I realized that

  1. My ultimate goal is to be a children's book author. I want to have several children's books published and do workshops at schools for children. This will incorporate my love of education with my love of writing.
  2. I won't disclose this amount, however, what I realized is that I can sub only part time instead of full time. This, of course, gives me more writing time. So, I need to write to make up the difference.
  3. Yes, I do. I am spending so much time on the freelance job boards and querying magazines that I am not focusing on my four regular gigs each month as well as a couple repeats that I have every couple months. This doesn't mean I won't check out the job boards once a week or read my Premium-Green issue from cover to cover, but I don't need to be on the freelance sites every day for every job.
  4. I need to stop querying so many national magazines and focus on my children's book work and my regular freelance work. I need to stay focused

I did all this soul-searching on a walk, which is really helpful (and good for you, too!). I've felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders ever since. Even if I had 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week to write, I could not have finished all the projects that I was trying to do before I became re-focused. And I don't want to spend that much time writing. I love writing, but I also love my family, reading, a few TV shows, walking, and scrapbooking.

Frankly, I've discovered there has to be balance and focus. I hope in a month or two if you ask me how it's going, I can still say how focused I am. We all concentrate on goals at the beginning of the year; but then after a few months, they often fall by the wayside, or we realize they were unrealistic. It's okay to take some time and reassess. It might be the best thing you ever did for your career!

Happy re-focusing!
Margo Dill

http://www.margodill.com/

http://margodill.com/blog/ (Read These Books and Use Them)

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find myself having the same problem and just recently had to make up my mind and stick to my novel despite the fact, there are a lot of good freelance jobs with my name written all over them. It all boils down to fear sometimes, freelancing isn't the most stable of career paths. You can easily end up with your utilities shut off in our line of work. So we have tough decisions to make like happiness or electricity! Anyway, great article Margo!

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do write a little of everything myself. But I was able to take an early retirement from my fulltime job so that I can concentrate on my writing. Although I write articles, short stories, poetry, plays and book reviews, my main focus is on romance and mystery novels. But I see nothing wrong with trying out many genres and techniques until you find what really suits you.

Jacqueline Seewald
new release: THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale--check it out on Amazon, B&N online or request it at your local library!

11:43 AM  

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