I don’t know how your 2009 was but in our household, it’s been a true roller coaster ride. We’ve had a balance of good and bad because, as my dear grandfather used to say, “You can never learn to appreciate the good without a struggle or two mixed in.” And, good or bad, these are the things we draw from in our writing.
This is the time of year I usually get myself organized—getting rid of all the old stuff piling up to make room for new and exciting things to come. I thought I’d share my Top Ten Writing Goals for 2010. Ready?
(10) Weed out my ideas. I have a brain that’s constantly on the go. It never seems to rest. Now for some things, like caring for four kids, this isn’t such a bad. But for writing, this can be a disaster because you end up having millions of half-finished projects. Pick out the projects you really want to do—what keeps your passion up—then toss the rest. Weeds have a tendency to choke out the beautiful stuff so just get rid of them.
(9) Prioritize. One thing I realized this past year, especially when all four of my kids and me got sick, is that I can’t do everything. When you try to do it all you get nothing done. What are the important things in your life? What do you really want to accomplish? What is your main focus? Once you figure these things out, you put them at the top of your list and make those things your priority. Everything else has to work itself around those priorities.
(8) Organize. We all have our little tips and tricks we use to keep ourselves on track. In a household like mine, organization is a must. For me, I have a huge calendar stuck on my wall right beside my workstation. I write my daily/weekly/monthly writing goals with erasable marker. I need to see those tasks or they’re gone with the wind. Some people like using tools like Outlook Calendar where you get a little message popped up on your desktop of things you need to do. Others use a tape recorder or the always- reliable desk calendar. However you do it, keep important deadlines written down and make a way to check in each week with what needs to be done. OH! And be sure to get rid of the clutter. You can’t get organized with all of those receipts, empty food containers, old papers and other garbage laying around. (My desk becomes a dumping ground quite often so I have to swoop my area often.)
(7) Exercise. Okay, this may seem really strange since I have four kids to run around after but this is important. Exercise for me gets both the brain and body going. It gives me renewed energy and pulls all the different components of my being together so I feel complete. It goes along with feeling organized: Organizing the inside makes the outside seem easier to deal with and organize.
(6) More “Me Time.” Yeah, yeah…we’ve all heard people say this to us but I don’t do it. I’m going to make sure I take more time for myself whether it’s going out with my friends or going to a yoga class up the street or just going for a walk by myself. Essentially, I have three focuses: My children (especially helping them cope with their special needs), my writing, and the work I do in the SPD community. I love all of those things but those aren’t the only things that make up who I am so having that precious Me Time reminds me of who I was before all that stuff. It rekindles my inspiration and that’s so important.
(5) Being more realistic. I have a bad habit of taking on a lot more than I can chew. It’s not that I can’t say “No.” It’s more that I get asked to do some amazing things and I just want to do it all! Being realistic is a step above prioritizing. Here you’re reminding yourself of those things you put on the forefront and understanding what your limits are at a given time. Having the strength to say, “You know I’m stoked that you’d ask me to do this project but I am not able to give it the attention it deserves. Maybe contact me _____ and we can chat about it then,” is an amazing thing. You’re being honest about what you’re able to handle while still keeping that contact for the future.
(4) Penciling in set writing time. I’m a Writing Mama. That means I sort of have to work my writing time in around my kids’ schedule. There are days where I get zero done and others where I get so much done I actually get ahead of the game. I take each day as it comes and get that writing time in where I can. That’s the point though: get it in there. Even on days where I’m drop dead tired I’m going to squeeze just a bit of writing in. Often times I get a bit of energy just getting started (and it helps to make the mind shut of when I finally do get to sleep!)
(3) Marketing what’s out there. Okay, this is a big one for me because I’m normally a very reserved person who isn’t always comfortable putting myself out there. The year 2009 marked a wonderful year for me with some exciting projects I’d been working on for years finally out there. The thing is…now I’ve gotta make sure it stays out there. So one of my biggest goals is to market myself as best as I can. (Anyone with some pointers on this is welcome to leave a comment or write me any time. Seriously.) I’m going to be doing interviews (I actually have my first radio interview scheduled in early January. AHHH!!!), book signings and all that stuff I’d shied away from before. Oh boy…I’m nervous just writing that goal. LOL!
(2) Blog, Tweet, and other socializing stuff. I posted about this the other week here on The Muffin. Just like Margo said, keeping up with all of these things is very time consuming but it’s important for writers and authors to make some connections, and keep them, to keep our work out there. I’m not saying I’m going to be able to do these things every single day but I think I need to work them in somewhere. I have made some wonderful connections and some of them only “chat” using these methods so I’d better get on the socializing train…once I actually figure out how to use them. ;oD
(1) Branch out. My #1 goal for 2010 is to delve into areas I haven’t before. I have a couple of fiction manuscripts shelved, a screenplay I’m thinking about and another children’s book I’d like to do. I’ve always stuck to the nonfiction and Inspirational but I’d really like to see what else I can do. It can be a scary thing but it’s good to branch out but as long as I remember the other stuff on my list, I think it’ll be “doable.”
I think the only other thing I’d put on my list above anything else is to spend more quality time with each of my beauties. Mama had a busy writing year and there have been times where I’ve worked with kids on my lap, working on the computer beside me or with them playing around me—the downside of working at home with little kids. But I’m not going to feel guilty about putting work aside once in awhile to focus only on my kids. Besides, they remind me how to have fun and what’s truly important in life.
Okay, that’s some of the stuff on my list. What are your goals for 2010? We’d love to hear them.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Author of “I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD”
Author of “Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)” (Now Available!)
Author of “The Sensory Diet: Setting the Sensational Child Up For Success” (To be released January 2011)