I mentioned last week that I spent an afternoon in late December setting a few writing goals for my 2012 writing career. As I looked back over the list, it turned out to be more than a few goals. I’ve seemingly created a complete strategic plan for the next 1-3 years of my writing life. Stick around for a while and you’ll find that this is my modus operandi. I dream big and bite off a lot more than I can chew. The dark side of this is that I’m constantly busy …juggling 8 million more things than are humanly possible. The silver lining is that I’m a prolific worker. Even if I don’t accomplish all 900 things on the list, I get a heck of a lot more accomplished than I ever thought possible.
So without further ado, the next 1-3 years of my writing life. I’ve divided this up by focus area to keep it a little more organized:
- Plan editorial calendar for newspaper columns. (The worst feeling in the world for a columnist is to feel like you’re phoning it in and generating sub-par articles because you didn’t plan ahead. I always try to start off the year proactively. 2012 is looking good with articles planned consistently through the end of May. There are a few holes to fill, but those last-minute stories are always easier when I feel on top of my game with the rest of the articles.)
- Finish articles on Thursdays. (My newspaper articles are technically due on Sunday evenings. Sometimes I even push this deadline to Monday mornings. In spite of all my planning in life, I’m a consummate procrastinator when it comes to deadlines. I usually spend every weekend stressing about finishing [or starting and finishing] my article(s) for the week. This makes family time less than fun. A stressed mommy is an inattentive mommy. In 2012, I’m committing to finishing my articles on Thursday. I can submit on Friday mornings and have the weekends be dedicated family time.)
- Expand client base and publication list for non-fiction writing. Including my regular newspaper gig, I have five clients for which I consistently write. I’d like to expand this list to include at least two new outlets or clients this year. How? See numbers 4-6.
- Focus expertise areas (My current areas of focus include performing arts, visual arts, mental health/suicide prevention, dogs and cats [scientific and human interest], Colorado history and architecture/engineering. Pretty broad, eh? I told you I’ve had quite the writing journey. Jack of all trades and master of a few. In 2012 I’d like to focus more closely on a few of these areas and expand my client base within my established markets.
- Research and pinpoint at least five targets for the three areas in which I’d like to focus my efforts.
- Query at least 10 publications/clients in each of these three markets
- Write proposal for next non-fiction book. (I’ve been mulling over ideas for two non-fiction books. There’s one in particular which seems realistic and in line with my goals of finding that balance between the writing life and the family life.)
- As part of the proposal, create a marketing plan for the book including a list of comparable/competitive books
BLOG AND SOCIAL MARKETING
- Blog 5 times/week for 50 weeks. I started off strong on this blog and then faltered when the going got busy. You can trust in the fact that posts are planned, and I’ll be cranking out the content and keeping you updated on the writing life more consistently in 2012.
- Continue to discover new writing blogs and let you, the reader, know about them. Two months ago I started WWW(W) – Writing on the Web this Week about Writing. I’d like this to become a weekly feature on Fridays. Not only does it give you a great place to find out about people and places in the writing world, but it keeps me inspired and makes the writing world a little more like a community one week at time.
- Figure out my place on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve experimented with Twitter and my Facebook fanpage, but I’d like to feel like those social outlets are useful to me rather than time sucks.
- Write 1000 words/day on fiction manuscripts (This is always the daily word goal, but things falter over the holidays and when non-fiction work gets busy.)
- Finish SBU* Draft #1 by March 15. (SBU = The Spaces Between Us, the working title for my “failed” NaNoWriMo project. Failed, but certainly not forgotten. Ivy and her post-WWII family are too interesting to abandon now.)
- Edit and revise SBU Draft #1 by June 30. (This also includes time for my first readers to take a look and deliver initial feedback. If this sounds fast to some of you, you can trust that I’ll be editing for months after, too.)
- Query at least 30 agents regarding SBU finished manuscript. (The second half of 2012 will be spent sending the manuscript out into the great big publishing world to see how it stands on its own two feet.)
- Finish revisions on Sliver of Souls* (This is the working title for my completed novel banished to the dark corners of my virtual drawer. The reason for resuscitating this previously abandoned project deserves a separate post of its own. For now, let’s just say that NaNoWriMo 2011 made me realize a few things about my first long fiction darling. More on this later in the week.)
- Start outlines, notes and binder for Book #3. No working title for this book yet, but the story has been kicking around in my head for about a year. Once the smoke clears on my writing and revising frenzy, I’d like to spend November/December throwing together the first round of notes for this book.
- I know that I said that the musical would be finished in 2012, but I never intended for Sliver of Souls to come back to life. Given this development, the musical is getting pushed to 2013. November/December will be a great time to revamp the scene outline and get organized for completion in 2013.
- Attend 2 writing conferences. Already signed up for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs in April. Now I need to find another one that fits my budget and my family scheduling. Any suggestions?
- Start writers group. My “writers group” is a virtual group scattered across the country. Much as I love the intermittent camaraderie that this far-flung group provides, I’ve been feeling the need for a local group that will challenge me and hold me accountable in the fiction world. I’m reaching out to my local contacts to see if I can find the “right” group that will gel and have common goals.
- Re-print business cards. Sounds simple, but there is so much thought that goes into the design and printing of business cards. I’ve been putting it off because I suffer from analysis paralysis when it comes to designing my cards. (What’s the right color? What’s the right paper? You get the gist…)
- Compile print/digital clips. My portfolio is very alive and very disorganized. I’ve spent the last few years writing, but not collecting and compiling in a user-friendly portfolio that represents my best work. With the above non-fiction goals, it’s time to get this marketing tool organized.
Let’s talk about you. Have you set any writing goals for 2012? Any great writers’ conferences you can recommend? How do you juggle family time, writing time and “other” time? Have you found Twitter and Facebook beneficial to your writing life?