The Writer’s End-of-the-Year To Do List

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Yes, it’s a To Do list. But it’s a simple To Do list. I mean, I’m the queen of “Just Get ‘Er Done.” Heck, there’s one on the list that you can literally do with your eyes closed. But for now, open your eyes and let’s get started.

Dump ‘Em

This might be my favorite end-of-the-year task, the ruthless emptying of emails in Ye Old Inbox. But here’s why I can afford to be ruthless: I answer all personal and/or business emails in a timely manner. It’s the “extra” emails that I promise myself I’ll get back to…the newsletters, the blog posts, the miscellaneous writing offers... that sit in Ye Old Inbox, gathering virtual dust.

So chances are good, I can live without that information. So can you! Don’t think about it. Don’t waffle back and forth. Don’t wonder if you might have a moment to peruse old emails on New Year’s Eve when you’re sitting in front of the fire with a nice adult beverage. You won’t.

Dump ‘em.

Update ‘Em

Yeah, I know. You always mean to update your links, that personal information, your entire blog. But you haven’t and now it’s the start of a new year. Take an hour or so and tidy up things in your online world.

If you haven’t written a blog post in seven months, then blogging might not be the best online presence for you. Think about a website instead where you can occasionally list news and events. And if you have a website, check your links to make sure they’re still working. Add current information, maybe even a few photos.

Scan your social media sites to see which, if any, work for you. Better to have one presence you enjoy and keep up with regularly than a half dozen where you do nothing. You want people to find you fresh and engaging, not stale and shabby. And where are they going to look? Online.

Update ‘em.

List ‘Em

Here’s where you get to close your eyes—not right this minute, people; you need to read all about goal-setting. But take some quiet time, a walk, or even a long, hot bath, and think about what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year.

And here is the most important thing to consider: Think about what YOU want to achieve. Don’t think about what your writer friend has done, or what that critique group member insists you should do. Where would you like to see your writing career going in 2017?

Got it? Great. Now think about what you need to do to accomplish that goal. Be specific and realistic. If you want an agent, then list at least three actionable goals that will help you achieve that main goal.

You’ll need to list specific goals for each main goal, but the time you put into this task will pay off. So close your eyes and contemplate. Then get to down to business with those goals.

List ‘em.

Send ‘Em

You don’t have to go full formal on thank yous. But the end of the year is a good time to send a quick email, expressing gratitude.

Did you work with an editor? A thank you with an “I’d love to work with you again in 2017” might be just the nudge needed to remind that editor of the great work you’ve done. At the very least, you can ensure that you’ll get an editorial calendar.

Know a writer who was especially helpful to you and your career? Bet he or she would appreciate hearing about your success. You just can’t go wrong with thank yous.

Send ‘em.

And so I'm sending you a big thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for all the lovely comments you've shared with me, thank you for all the support! Let's do it again in 2017, okay?

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--This list is short, and with each thing on your to-do list only 1 1/2 words long, they're easy to remember. They're also doable. Keeping it simple is always good.

May 2017 be a year full of joy and discovery and productivity for you, Cathy.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

An excellent To-Do List! One I might even be able to accomplish.... :o

Wishing you all the best for 2017, Cathy!

Pat Wahler said...

I love your list. It's short and relatively painless. Maybe even I, Queen of Procrastination, can manage to follow through.

Sending you my best for a happy, blessed, and productive New Year!


Charlotte Dixon said...

Love the post, Cathy. I am in the process of motivating me to work up a list of things to do :)

Suzanne said...

I love this time of year. Those days between Christmas and New Year. I look back and review, especially in terms of my writing. You've given me a fantastic list I can add to my end of the year review. And there so doable. Thanks, Cathy and Happy New Year.

Suzanne said...

Oops, posted without checking. Hanging my head in shame:(
Your list is so doable (They are, not there)
Is it too early for champagne. :)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

You've provided a wise and practical list, not that there was ever a doubt as you are both wise and practical. :) Methinks I shall first check links. That's one of my biggest failings---checking website stuff to be sure everything is still operational. And your advice about choosing a social media venue that is enjoyable is important, too. When we start spending too much time on sites because we "should" instead of "want to," an awful lot of joy is sucked away. Thanks for the good reminders.

Anonymous said...

Cathy, thanks for the gentle nudge!

Best in 2017!


Suzanne Lilly said...

As always, your wise and timely words of wisdom have guided me down the path of...ACK! fixing all the links in my website! Clearing out my inbox! Yikes. But yes, it definitely needs to be done. May all good things come your way in the New Year, Cathy!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Now, see? Don't we all feel better already?

Or maybe that's just me 'cause you've left such lovely comments. :-)

(And psst, Suzanne? You know about mimosas, right? ;-) )

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks for the great advice, as usual, Cathy.
Hope the new year brings you much happiness and grace.

Linda O'Connell said...

Great points, Cathy. As I was ready to dump 'em, I discovered dust on an old W.I.P. and amazed myself that I actually had written fiction. Thanks for the nudge to clean things up.

Mary Horner said...

Thanks for the great post, I've been struggling with emails I want to save and created some folders, but I never seem to go back and review them, so you've given me the courage to be ruthless and clear them out!

Sheila Good said...

Love this list! As I leave a difficult year behind; my new motto, not resolution- it keep it simple! Thank you. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

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