Friday, December 29, 2006

The Year that Was

I thought I'd take this last post of 2006 to offer a few ruminations on the past year and some aspirations for the year ahead.

2006 was probably the year that ushered in more milestones in my life than any other before. Not only did I have my second child, I sold my first novel and achieved a new income high. What's interesting about these, or at least the professional aspect of them (I won't bore you with the baby stuff), is that in 2005, they were nothing more than goals, things I'd hoped to achieve, but really wasn't sure if I could or would. Hell, until about May '05, I didn't even know that I was capable of writing a novel like TDLF. As I've mentioned before, my first novel took me years to write and ultimately didn't sell. And while my income had steadily increased over the years, and I was doing very well by nearly all freelancer definitions, catapulting to a new level was (and continues to be) a goal that I was actually a little surprised to achieve.

So why am I blogging about this? Because I really think it speaks to the importance of goal-setting. Especially because you're the only one steering the ship of your career. Studies have shown that people who set specific goals are much more likely to achieve them than people who sort of float along in life, hoping that they'll come into good things, even if they know what these good things are and how to find them.

My goal for the past year was to sell my novel - in hardcover - to a house that would fully support it. Thanks to my fabulous agent, I met this goal. My goal for the previous year (2005) was to land an agent who would place the novel at a house that was a perfect match and push for said hardcover in the sale of the book. See how setting one goal led to achieving the next? Ditto increasing my income. Sure, my advance really helped my bottom line, but in terms of magazine work, in 2005, I ditched pitching FOBs because I realized they weren't generating a high time-money ratio. I also abandoned any toxic editors who sucked me dry, both emotionally and time-wise. And these two things allowed me to spend more time crafting feature pitches, writing those stories and developing strong relationships in 2006. All of which led to more money.

So...my goal for 2007? Well, I'll be spending a lot of the spring generating publicity and spreading the word for TDLF, so in that sense, I'd like to be as proactive as possible, even when it might feel awkward or self-promoting or whatever. I'd also like to complete novel #2, ideally by the end of the summer, so my agent can then shop it around before the close of the year.

We set goals for our weight, our exercise routine, our smoking habits. But this year, forget those extra ten pounds and try setting career-related goals. I guarantee they'll pay off...and you won't have to give up chocolate to see results!

So what are your goals for 2007? And have a happy and safe New Year!

9 comments:

Karen M. Lynch said...

My main writing goal for 2007? Have someone email me and say they were thrilled to see my byline in a national glossy ...

Lauren said...

Thanks for the kick in the rump. For a week now, I've been meaning to jot down my career goals for the New Year. I'm taking out my paper and pen right now . . .
--Lauren Russell

Susan said...

Since I've started reading your blog and others like it, my New Year's resolution is to write more strategically. Instead of wasting time on low paying pieces simply because they fall into my lap or I feel obliged to add another clip to my portfolio, I plan on focusing on those clips that excite me creatively or could lead to bigger assignments. Thanks for the inspiration!

larramie said...

Success breeds future success, it's that simple. After achieving a personal goal of writing my first novel (occupying a place of honor in my bottom drawer) in 2005, I wanted to learn about the business of writing in 2006. And what an education I received! With that knowledge/advice/inspiration -- much of the latter from this blog --, my identity as a writer unfolded. Now there's a definite purpose to my work and I intend to follow it in 2007.

A very Happy New Year to all.

And to Allison: May you succeed well beyond those set goals. Just make a wish, your dreams are waiting!

kristen said...

great finding your blog. you've got me thinkin'.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks for the great advice! I'm definitely going to try to be more specific this year with goal-setting.

Congratulations to you on all your accomplishments this year! Happy New Year!

Sara Hantz said...

For the first time ever I've actually put fingers to keyboard and written out my goals/resolutions for the year. These I've divided into 3 areas: Writing, personal, motel (not many for this one mainly the other two). I've also put in place a monthly review so I can monitor and evaluate my progress and revise accordingly!!!!

Alison Ashley Formento said...

I'm printing a copy of this post to help boost me through the year. I'm a bit behind you, but with similiar goals: Finish my novel revisions so I can submit to agents and then.... Well, hopefully a sale to a great publisher!

Here's to writing goals and chocolate in 2007!

Signed,
Alison with one "l" (Thanks much for posting my link)

Mommy Kerrie said...

congrats to you! my husband says i need to focus on the kids, and i say when i write i'm a better mother. i don't need to get rich or famous (although rich would be nice) ... i just want to write things that inspire and give a laugh in a sometimes-mundane day of a parent. you are an inspiration to me!