The past month has been a very busy one for me which is very good indeed. I started ghostwriting a blog on luxury sports car which has brought in some additional income and a regular client has been providing me with some regular work as well which brings me to the topic of this post. Now that we have passed the holidays and entered 2011, many of you are probably thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. The question is: when is the last time you made a New Year’s Resolution you kept?
Breaking Resolutions Causes Anger and Frustration
At one time I used to have at least one New Year’s Resolution every year, and it was usually to lose weight. It worked for a while but then I started slacking off and lost track of what I had intended to do. The result? I became angry and frustrated with myself, so I quit even trying.
The Process of Goal Setting
As writers there are things we need to do on a regular basis and those things should not be based upon the coming of a New Year but should be things we do every single day. This year instead of attempting to create New Year’s resolutions you will not be able to keep anyway (probably because you set your sights too high), define some achievable goals.
What do I mean by “achievable goals”? Many people make the mistake of setting their sights too high. As writers that might include any number of the following:
- Seeing your book in print when you don’t even have a publisher yet.
- Finishing the novel you haven’t started.
- Finding an agent or publisher for the novel you haven’t finished.
- Doubling your income from 2010.
- Expecting to double your current freelancing fees.
The key is to set short-term goals and move forward from there. For instance, you might set a goal of increasing your freelance rates by $.20 a word by the end of the year or finishing your novel so you can polish it by the end of the year–then look for a publisher and/or agent. When you set small goals that are easier to achieve, you do not suffer the frustration that is common when you set your sights too high and fail.
Be Consistent in Your Efforts
Another problem that is common with people in all walks of life is lack of consistency. This is essential no matter what type of job you do, but it is even more important for writers because it is so easy for us to give up when we don’t reach the level of success we expected. Writing is a very competitive field and as such we have to be in tune with what is going on and never lose sight of our goals. Unless you work consistently someone else will obtain what you were seeking to achieve.
Strive for Perfection
One of the most important things a writer can do is always work toward achieving perfection. You should never send a manuscript to anyone unless it is as perfect as you can make it. Don’t rely on spell check or grammar check but take the time to read yourself and even ask someone else (someone who can give an objective analysis) to read it as well. Polish everything you write until it shines before you send it to a publisher, agent or editor. There is no easier way to kill your chances of publication than to send a manuscript that is full of spelling and grammatical errors.