365 GOALS


365 GOALS

Natalie Bright

 

As you start a new year of writing, consider what you want to accomplish. Make your goals achievable.

2019 IN REVIEW

In 2019, I changed my approach to goals for the year. I decided to hyper-focus on a few projects and get them finished. My brain is constantly bugging me with new ideas, and the problem is I listen. During the past year, I met about one-third of what I had hoped to achieve, but I can mark off a few projects as completed, which feels very good. In looking over the dry eraser board, here are the results.

  1. Rescue Animal Activity Book for ages 8-10. Artwork, layout, and published. I hired out coloring pages and formatting and had help with the layout. Got a bump in sales from an Amazon Ad.
  2. Nonfiction book deadline met. KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’ for TwoDot Books. Publication date of Fall 2020.
  3. Women’s fiction, western for the Christian market: Done. Writing with a co-author was a challenge, but I am so happy with this story and the characters. Maybe it’s the start of a new series? We’ll be shopping it around to find the best possible option for getting this book into the hands of readers.
  4. Goal: 6 newsletters. Actual: 4
  5. Goal: 52 NEW Prairie Purview blogs. Actual: 20. Priority for 2020 is to generate new material every Friday.
  6. Goal: 52 WordsmithSix Blogs. Actual: 45. I missed a few weeks.
  7. Goal: 2 short stories for Route 66 Anthologies. Actual: 1 story complete.

MAKE IT VISUAL. MAKE IT REAL.

Put it on the wall where you must look at it. What are you working on now? What is waiting on you to finish? What new ideas have you added to the Board? I use a dry eraser board, color-coded between genres or series. I don’t erase anything, but I add to during the year and check off projects that are done.

Whether Indi or Traditionally published, to be a writer means to be a self-motivator.  When it comes down to it, this business is all about STORY. Writing the best story that you possibly can. Butt in chair and words on the page.  The next phase involves finding readers. Selling your book relies on the reader-author relationship.

THE VISION

The big picture: 1. A good story. 2. Readers who can easily buy your work.

BREAK IT DOWN

Achieving the end results is why we set goals. To break down the overall vision into something workable. To channel our focus. Seems crazy when we consider the big picture: “I’m going to write a 100,000 word novel that’s going to have awesome characters and I’ll create a world where they’ll do great things and have a great adventure, and then I’m going to sell my book all over the world.” Yeah, right.

But when we break it down into achievable pieces, the overwhelming can suddenly become doable. For example:

  1. Write one blog every Friday.
  2. Write and polish one chapter of the WIP every week. (A 2,000-word chapter every week for a year equals 104,000 new words. That’s almost 2 books, and you now have a series!)
  3. Read one chapter to critique the group every other week. (26 chapters with a new set of eyes, and polished by years end.)
  4. Read one how-to-write book on craft or marketing every month.
  5. Build my email list by promoting my newsletter on social media once a week.
  6. Send a newsletter promoting my work 3 times a year.
  7. Post on Instagram 1 time per day. (If you hate Instagram, send Tweets)
  8. Post on Facebook Author Page 1 time per day.
  9. Learn about Facebook ads. Promote 1 title. Start small and assess the numbers. How can I improve?
  10. Moms, this one’s for you: Find a place, set up my workspace and shut the door for a few minutes every day.

Do one thing every day over the next year, that’s 365 things you WILL do related to your writing, your dreams, your goals.  It’s all good. It feeds your soul and that is why we keep going.

WHICH WAY TO GO?

Still confused as to the difference between Indie Author and Traditional Publishing? You’re not alone. Many are. One of the best summaries I’ve found is in the book WRITE IT FORWARD by Bob Mayer. We were fortunate to hear him speak in Amarillo several years back and talk about a producer of words. His talk was very motivating. At the back of this book is an Appendix, “Getting Your Novel Published Traditionally”, which explains the process and even gives you definitions of the various people who are involved. This book is all about motivating yourself to write.

All the best in the NEW YEAR. May you be a producer of words and achiever of your vision. Thanks for following Wordsmith Six.

Four Years from Now


 

Four Years from Now

Natalie Bright

Are you advancing towards your writing goals this year? We are fast approaching a new year. Have you thought about what you hope to achieve in 2017?

OLYMPIC SIZED GOALS

Joanna Penn, with TheCreativePenn.com podcast, challenged her listeners to think about their goals in four year increments. How can you define your writing career this year, while the 2016 Olympics occurred in Rio? In 2020, the Olympics will be held in Tokyo. Where will your writing career be by then?

This makes perfect sense to me because the wheels of publishing moves so very slow. It’s difficult to realize tangible measurement year by year, but when you look at your accomplishments over a longer period you can see some results. Consider financial goals, completion of a series, or rough drafts of several stand alone novels that have been inside your head. Can you accomplish those goals in four years time? Of course you can!

FOUR YEARS AGO

Four years ago, in the Fall of 2012, I cut my hours to a part-time day job and signed with a literary agent who shopped my middle grade westerns. I’ll never forget that same week I worked the Scholastic book fair at my son’s intermediate school. I noticed that historical titles were missing from the bookfair shelves. It was concerning because the year before there had been an entire section. I asked the librarian about it, and she explained, “They just didn’t send me many this year.” That was the year dystopian, vampires, and with the release of the movie, Hunger Games ruled. My cause for concern turned out to be reality four years later. The stories I loved writing had gone nowhere through traditional publishing route. During that time I hadn’t stopped writing though. In fact I completed three more novels, but it felt like everything had come to a screeching halt.

2016 Rio: What a Party!

In 2016 I made the difficult decision to mix it up yet again and researched Indie Publishing. Seriously, I feel so relieved to be back in control again. There have been so many changes since I first self-published a book in 2010. Moving onward.

Let us know what goals you hope to achieve in the next four years. We will see you right back here by Tokyo 2020!

Goal Setting for Writers


Goal Setting for Writers

By Natalie Bright

 

Happy New Year!

A New Year-A New Start

It’s a new year which means it’s time to think about your writing career and where you’d like to be professionally in twelve months from now.

For writers, I think visuals are important. Keeping logs on word count or article submissions provides a tangible, measurable accomplishment. Putting pen to paper is only part of the business of writing. Think about promotional and social media goals as well.

Be establishing long term goals, you are able to visualize the big picture of what you hope to achieve.  Can you see yourself as a successful, published author?

Goal Setting Worksheet

Our critique group uses a worksheet. Make your goals simple and specific, things that you can actually visualize yourself achieving. Making the New York Times Bestselling list is probably not realistic if you’re a beginning writer, however it’s a goal that is achievable in the long term.

3 in 24:

Finding time to write is something I struggle with every single day. No, the entire universe did not come together to prevent you from putting words on a page, but it sure seems that way. Identify 3 times in a 24-hour period to Write, and do it.

For example:

1. Wake-up one hour early and write.

2. Skip lunch with coworkers and write only new words on WIP Monday-Thursday.

3. Stay up late at least one hour on Friday, Sat., and Sun. to work on edits or blogs.

Study your list. Can you visualize yourself actually accomplishing these tasks? Can you see yourself with pen in hand or typing at the keyboard at the times and places you’ve chosen? Setting achievable goals equals success.

Realistic Attainable Goals:

Make a list of at least four goals you hope to accomplish within the next year.

Achievable goals would be defined as something you can definitely complete, to measure your progress and give you a sense of accomplishment that your writing career is moving forward. This could be things like writing and polishing an entry for a contest, or completing a submission for an anthology. Be specific; what contest? Don’t know of any? Find one and list it on your goals sheet.

Dreaming Big

Add to your worksheet one “dream big” goal. List something you hope to achieve that seems totally impossible. Go ahead and put the “NYT Bestselling list” here if that’s what you want more than anything.

Expect the Unexpected

Keep an open mind to opportunities that might come your way in the new year that you never expected. Sometimes saying yes opens doors to bigger and better things.  So I didn’t win a SPUR award this year, however I did gain a few publishing credits along with finishing another middle grade novel. All in all it was a productive year, which leaves me with only one option—work even harder in 2014.

What about you? Please tell us about your successes this past year.

Thank You

Write, submit, onward we go! Good luck and Happy New Years, and thanks to all of you who have followed Wordsmith Six during the past year. We really appreciate you.

Sending out our best wishes that you achieve your writing goals in 2014!

Authors Reviewing Authors


Middle Grade Mondays

Authors Reviewing Authors

by Natalie Bright

Writers write and writers read. And most successful writers I know read a lot, which brings me to the question of book reviews.

Should authors be reviewing other authors? The messages are mixed.

Some say no because if you’re going to do a book review, you need to be honest. If you have to give a bad review, why would you want to jeopardize relationships with other authors?  There are professional reviewers who can give honest, unbiased reviews of books. That is their job. The point being, do you want to write novels or post reviews?

The other side argues why wouldn’t you want to help a local author or friend? The gesture will be returned in kind, and everyone wins with the additional promotion. One author told me she only gives blurbs or reviews if she is absolutely blown away by the story and by the writing talent. Most authors post reviews for their friends and the question remains if they’ve taken the time to even read it.

Goodreads

I am beginning to rely on Goodreads more and more. It’s like a humongous book club where everyone loves stories and books, and those that don’t like a book aren’t afraid to say so. I read a lot, and I usually post reviews for stories that I absolutely love. For every book I love there are probably two or three that I couldn’t get past the first chapter, which makes me sad. Does that give me license to trash that author’s work? I don’t think so.

Most certainly eBooks have become an impulse buy and in my opinion, GoodReads offers varied and honest opinions to guide me in my purchases. My eReader is running over and that’s a good thing. It’s a wonderful time to be a book junky.

Subjective Opinions

The shocking realization that publishing is such a highly subjective business and that people are so varied in their personal tastes came to light for me through a contest which is why I’ve learned to take book reviews with a grain of salt. One of my very first middle grade manuscripts was submitted to two different contests with varying results many, many years ago.

The first had a $50 contest fee, and came back with scathing comments. This judge did not like my characters, the setting, with the added notation that this should NEVER be in print even as a manuscript. Seriously, one entire page, single-spaced, of why and how much he detested this story. My investment to learn about story craft came back as hate mail.

The second entry had a $20 fee and won honorable mention! The judge provided solid feedback and even included a copy of her edit checklist sheet. Because of this successful author’s gracious and helpful critique, I kept writing. This particular story is stashed away somewhere, and thank goodness I didn’t obsess over the other contest results too long. Negative energy only distracts me from reaching my goals and stops my writing in its tracks. Don’t let those subjective opinions get you off track to achieving your dreams.

Everything you write makes you an even better writer the next day, week, month, and into years. You’ll be amazed at how your writing changes from just over a months time. Some readers will like your work and some readers may hate it.

Keep writing, keep improving. There are never enough good stories out there, in my opinion.

Thanks for Following our Blog

Good luck and Happy New Years, and thanks to all of you who have followed this blog, WordsmithSix, during the past year. We really appreciate you. Sending out our best wishes that you achieve your writing goals in 2013!

www.nataliebright.com

Goal Setting for Writers


Goal Setting for Writers

By Natalie Bright

Why Set Goals?

For writers, I think visuals are important. Keeping daily logs on the words you crank out is certainly a necessary target. Other than putting pen to paper, there is so much more to this writing business. And if you want success, you have to take an active part in the entire process. (In a future blog, I’ll talk about ways to measure your progress.)

Be establishing long term goals, you are able to consider the big picture of what you hope to achieve. Will you be working on that same novel five, even ten, years from now?

Goal Setting Worksheet

Our critique group uses a worksheet. Make your goals simple and specific, things that you can actually visualize yourself achieving. Making the New York Times Bestselling list is probably not realistic if you’re a beginning writer.

3 in 24:

Identify 3 times in a 24-hour period to Write.

For example:

1. Wake-up one hour early and write.

2. Skip lunch with coworkers and write only new words on WIP Monday-Thursday.

3. Stay up late at least one hour on Friday, Sat., and Sun. to work on edits or blogs.

Study your list. Can you visualize yourself actually accomplishing these tasks? Can you see yourself with pen in hand or typing at the keyboard at the times and places you’ve chosen? Setting achievable goals equals success.

Realistic Attainable Goals:

Make a list of at least four goals you hope to accomplish within the next year.

Achievable goals would be defined as something you can definitely complete, to measure your progress and give you a sense of accomplishment that your writing career is moving forward. This could be things like writing and polishing an entry for a contest, or completing a submission for an anthology. Be specific; what contest? Don’t know of any? Find one and list it on your goals sheet.

How about a notation to subscribe to a market listing for magazines?  Your goal will be to actively study submission opportunities and submit X number of freelance articles during 2013.

What about your goals in social media and promotion? These are difficult to measure because the connections you make this year may not reap benefits for months, even years from now. I’ve had invitations to speak come from a contacts I made years before at a chance meeting.

You can define specific activities, for example, actively participating on twitter during the next year, setting up a Facebook fan page, or uploading your inspiration to a Pinterest page. Authors are utilizing Pinterest in unique ways and it’s loads of fun.

Dreaming Big

Add to your worksheet one “dream big” goal. List something you hope to achieve that seems totally impossible. Go ahead and put the “NYT Bestselling list” here if that’s what you want more than anything.

I’m excited to announce that my dream big goal from way back in 2010 was realized this past year in 2012: I signed with a literary agent. Don’t be shy or doubt your abilities. Dream away.

Best wishes on reaching your writing goals in 2013, and thanks for following WordsmithSix Blog.

http://www.nataliebright.com