I love the fresh start of a new year.
Of course, that also pertains to the fresh start of a new season or a blank notebook. I just am a planner (plain and simple). One of my favorite things is getting a new travel guidebook so I can PLAN our vacation! The beginnings of things (like 2014) just allow me to dream and plan and plan.
Because I know that about myself, I want to be deliberate in looking back at the past year and appreciating what I have accomplished, revisiting what I have learned and not just rushing past in my desire to plan plan plan. It’s easy to just remember the hard parts, but let’s look at what worked too.
In 2013 I:
- helped run 3 sessions of 30 Days of Lists – including our inaugural December edition
- finally created and launched the giant blogging ecourse I had been thinking about for years
- started (and got about 2/3rds through) the first draft of my second novel.
- launched 2 email journaling series
- re-ran Onward and Upward for the 3rd time (!)
- took on my first editing client and expanded my consulting client base
- went on 3 trips, including a week in Colorado during which I hiked for 4 hours one afternoon. Big news
- took on a very very part-time job (for Just Maggie Photography) and quit my full-time job (!!)
Looking back ….
Choosing BRAVE as my One Little Word (combined with signing up for Ali’s class) absolutely changed my life. That word acted as a mantra for me. It also held me to a sort of accountability, since I was publicly committed. This time last year ….. I was not NEARLY as brave. I didn’t have my one big big ecourse (which does a lot of things for me) and I still was afraid to take the chance and leave my day job.
The BUILD ecourse did better than I had even hoped for and everyone that I’ve heard from LOVES it. I mean, even the free email series is a hit. So glad I finally finally finished that (I’ve been thinking about building that ecourse for years)
I’ve been looking into options and weighing pros and cons and I signed up with Passionfruit in August to manage my sidebar ads. Not because I think I will become a powerhouse media point, I don’t actually think advertising will be a huge source of income. But more because I want to diversify income streams and open up the option to smaller blogs who are trying to grow. I’m finding fewer and fewer blogs that A) offering reasonably-priced ads and B ) offer a reasonable ROI.
I’m still trying to figure out a good weekly schedule now that I don’t have the day job. Problems include: my part-time job commitment is completely irregular so I could all of a sudden get 2 hours of work to do that I wasn’t planning on. Other problems include the fact that my brain stops working very well about mid-afternoon so I need to get all my writing/blogging/creative work done before that. I still would (obviously) rather have it this way than before. I mark my days by whether or not I have to leave the house and I LOVE it.
My “real” writing (novels) is … fine. Stalled. Not yet the daily habit I want it to be, but part of that is because I have had too many things I am committed to.
On a personal note, since I quit my day job I have allowed myself more time to actually relax, and read for fun. I read almost 80 books in 2013 (many of them close to 1000 pages each). That said, I think I could have read more and I want to.
Looking forward …
2013 was full of action. BRAVE steps. Big leaps. 2014 is going to be more about growing and nurturing what I already have rather than explore any unknown territory. I signed up for Ali’s class again. I could, of course, just re-use the prompts from 2013 but I love Ali and I love the accountability of being part of the class, so I’m all set for the new year. New Pinterest board started and all.
I reviewed my long-term goals that I wrote about 8 months ago … and I still love them all. I want to work toward those small handful of things, all of which involve just continuing and NURTURING what I am already doing. No big changes. No giant leaps. Still small BRAVE choices every day, but no 90-degree turns.
As I said, advertising is not a good income builder. I look at it more as an opportunity for smaller blogs who want some eyeballs. I’ve always thought that sponsoring blogs is a great way to connect with the author, and I will continue to make it an option (if not a priority). I do plan on expanding the options (in post links, highlighted posts, etc) to help out all the smaller blogs I can.
I love Onward and Upward. It has my heart. I’ve been thinking about how I can grow this. Do I want to continue to run annual live workshops? I could compile it all into a book. I could develop it into a monthly membership site? Any thoughts? Preferences?
I want to finish the 1st draft of this second novel and finish a second draft of the first novel (neither have titles yet). And then see where I am. Truthfully, I was just struck with another idea that I think may work better than the one I’m working on. So many choices! I actually really love writing fiction. Who knew? (P.S. My dad knew. He started telling me I could be a writer when I was super young). Like Megan, I want to reread a bunch of the GREAT books, and read more books from my favorite authors. I find I write better and more easily when I’m reading fiction than when I’m reading non-fiction.
I want to further tweak my daily schedule. Optimize, really. I want to try getting up even earlier, NOT checking email right away, and writing for at least 2 hours before I ‘start my day’ and all of my other work.
In general I just want to take care of myself in 2014. Enough water and veggies and exercise (thinking about getting a treadmill because I *die* in the sun). Enough rest to balance all the work. That NURTURE word again.
That’s the plan for now, at least. Who knows what can change in a few months!?