This year’s been a bit of a nightmare, hasn’t it? It feels like we’re living in the Upside Down. Between COVID, anxiety, financial stress, (and new responsibilities if you have school-aged children), you probably haven’t written as much as you’d hoped and your other goals have been disrupted. You aren’t alone.
Not having control over our lives in such an extreme way is hard, and naturally, it impacts our mindset. We struggle. We get discouraged and pessimistic. In fact, you might be tempted to just write the year off completely…rip the 2020 calendar down, douse it in gasoline, and light it on fire along with any plans and goals.
Please don’t do this.
Goals Are Important
Every January, we writerly types perform a ritual: sit down and decide what we want to focus on during the next 12 months. Will we write a new book? Build our platform and learn everything we can about the industry? Take the leap and self-publish?
We aren’t alone in setting big goals. The rest of the world does too, in the form of business plans, marketing strategies, and heck, even New Years Resolutions. Collectively we understand that goals motivate and achievement moves us closer to the life we want. Since we view the start of a new year as a fresh beginning it’s the ideal time to chart a course toward our dreams.
Dreams Are Important
Writing a book. Publishing a book. Building a sustainable writing career. This is our collective dream – yours and mine. A crap sandwich like COVID can’t erase the fact that DREAMS MATTER. Your dreams matter. And while it’s harder than it should be for all of us right now, if at all possible, we need to find a way to keep moving toward those dreams.
Unfortunately, our COVID challenges will continue for some time yet. But good news…right now we have a special seasonal ally: Autumn.
When Seasons Shift, So Can We
For many, September marks a unique point in time: when summer gives way to fall. As such, this month has always had a “roll up your sleeves” feel to it: kids go back to school, adults return to work if they’ve been on holiday, and we writers head back to the keyboard in earnest after ignoring our WIP a little (or a lot) over the summer.
Just as January prompts us to imagine and plan the future, our minds are hardwired to think a certain way when September rolls around. It is a time to buckle down, make preparations, finish important work, and embrace change.
Now for some (like my Aussie friends), September may not actually be “fall.” But no matter what month autumn hits, it affects people the same way.
An Opportunity to Regroup & Refocus
The symbolic nature of fall is powerful, and we can use it to our advantage. This time of change makes it easier for us to regroup, leaving disappointment over what didn’t get accomplished or didn’t happen in the past and shift our thoughts to what can still happen.
It’s not too late to make strides toward your goals. Where can you dig in? Can you be creative right now and write? If so, do. If you can’t (and that’s okay), think about other ways to refocus energy toward your writing dream: small steps that are doable.
Maybe you can…
- Research the next story idea
- Build a new cast of characters
- Read a book on writing craft to improve your skills
- Clean up your hard drive (Angela, this is your subconscious speaking…are you listening?)
- Take a course, watch a webinar, or search for articles to help you better understand the business of writing (building a platform, mastering Amazon Ads, how to set up a newsletter, etc.)
- Take on that monstrous TBR (to-be-read) pile!
- Make promotional images on Canva
- Investigate writing software or programs that have caught your eye (many have free trials, including our own One Stop for Writers)
- Go through your website. Update your bio and see if anything is missing. (Do you have an “About” page? Are your social links visible?)
- Make a list of topics you can blog about
- Investigate your book’s ideal audience
- Make a list of possible book influencers
- Trade critiques with someone
- Practice self-care. Be kind to yourself. Fill your creative well.
- Or something else!
We have four months left of 2020. Four months to dust off personal goals, adjust business plans, and create a modified to-do list. Let’s turn the page and push forward, doing what we can as time and energy allow.
The season of fall is highly symbolic and triggers motivation. Use it to your advantage!