It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Monday, December 13, 2021

Yes, I know the holiday season is hectic and stressful with plenty of not-so-very-merry moments, but it’s my favorite time of the year when it comes to my writing path, career, or whatever I’m calling it these days. Because December is when I do a slow roll, take some deep breaths, and review…well, me.

And I can hear you saying, “That’s all well and good for you, Cathy. I don’t have time for that!” Well, this blog post is for you! 

The Website and/or Blog Assessment

Before the start of the New Year, it’s a good idea to do a little sprucing up around your writer online home. Not a major reno; this is no time for an overhaul. It is terrific for a quick check to make sure everything’s running smoothly. 

Do you have links to your portfolio, your books, writers’ resources, a bio? Basically, if there are links to anything on your landing page, check them to see if they’re working. You’d be surprised how often markets or even publishers disappear. 

Do you keep an online calendar? If the last date on it is from 2019 (or later!), then think about scrapping it. Maybe you just haven’t quite got round to updating your calendar, but what the new reader going to your site sees is someone who’s no longer relevant, and that’s not a good look, friends, even if you’re feeling that way. 

And finally, if you’re not so good at updating in general but you want to keep a blog for a very occasional musing or posting of infrequent news, consider taking dates off your blog. Undated posts on a blog keep you out there (without the guilt). 

So how the heck are you supposed to achieve all this updating and reviewing? You multi-task, of course, because this is not the sort of job that requires laser-focused mind power. Enjoy a holiday program with the family, for example, and zip through your website, deleting here and there. (Do not do your zipping and deleting at your kid’s holiday school show, even if you listen very attentively for the 18 seconds of a solo from your own kid.) And speaking of doing something while watching something else…

Cleaning Out the Inbox 

The trick to this review is to not actually review. Basically it’s clean up on Aisle 4 and by Aisle 4, I mean an inbox that has stuff you haven’t read (but thought you were going to read) and it’s months old.

Here’s my thinking: if I’ve gone all year and haven’t found/taken the time to read an email that’s say…over three months old, I’m not going to suddenly decide I can’t go another minute without it. So I just check, check, check and then delete, delete, delete. 

HOWEVER, if you simply can’t let go of certain newsletters, etc. then create a file folder for each category and dump them in there. You’ll never go back to them there, either, but at least they won’t be mucking up your inbox. 

Reviewing The Goals 

If you’re the sort who made specific (or even not-so-specific) goals back in January, this is the perfect time to check back and see how you’ve done because you still have a wee bit of time to get ‘er done. Even if you do a little shady finagling (like changing your Goodreads Reading Challenge so that you’ll accomplish it) to make yourself feel better. 

Anyway, the point is, maybe in the middle of a wonderful-time-of-the-year meltdown you holler, “That’s it. I’ve had just about enough!” and you storm out the door and you go to a park and take a nice, long, quiet walk and lots of deep breaths and you think about all that you have accomplished this year and you feel a little, maybe even a lot better, because you had no idea just how wonderful you are.

 And that’s why it’s my favorite time of the year, friends, and I hope it will be yours, too. (Maybe without all the hollering, but all the rest, happy reviewing, writing, and holidays!)


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I laughed out loud when I saw your post. Last week, I updated my blog calendar. This week, I'm updating the "books" page on my site. Definitely a great time of year to spruce things up.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Sue, and look at you, getting all spruced up!

(And P.S. I laughed out loud when I changed my Goodreads Challenge. I mean, how ridiculous is that? But I DID change it and felt wonderfully accomplished! Hahahhaa!)

Renee Roberson said...

I was just beating myself up today because it's been a LONG while since I updated the blog on my website. Now I'm intrigued by the idea of taking dates off the posts! My website definitely needs a bit of a spruce up, but it may have to wait until I get a bit of a break between Christmas and New Year's. I have to survive my current production deadline this week! Thanks for the nudge, Cathy.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yeah, I think undated posts work better for some professions, writer/author being one of them, Renee. I've heard of these people who are actually busy, busy, busy and just don't have time to post (as opposed to those of us who are a wee bit lazy). :-)

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