by Kelli A. Wilkins
Happy New Year!
It's January and everyone is talking about making changes and setting goals for themselves. And why not? We have brand-new calendars hanging on our walls that are filled with unexplored days yet to come.
But do you find yourself gazing at your new calendar and wondering, "How is it 2017? Where did last year go? I had all those plans…"
If so, don't stress out. Not everyone accomplishes every goal they set for themselves. Take some time to look back at what you achieved last year and start thinking about this year. Evaluating your writing goals and setting reasonable action steps now will help you get on target for 2017.
Perhaps you took time off from writing and want to get back in the swing of things. Maybe your writing muse went on vacation to Hawaii and hasn't come back yet. That's okay. It's fine to take a break from writing for a while-but not too long. (If you rest too long, you'll rust!) Writing exercises, journaling, and freewriting story ideas are great ways to revive your motivation.
Keep in mind that everyone's writing career and writing goals are different. Think about what you want for you. Do you want to finish the novel you started last year (or haven't started yet)? Send out a dozen short stories? Enter a contest?
If you write magazine articles, are there any major publications you're targeting? Start brainstorming ideas now, make a list of places to send queries, and check out potential markets for their latest submission guidelines. (It's also time to be thinking 3 to 6 months ahead and plan those spring and summer articles.)
Write fiction? Have you found any new markets? Signed up for online market newsletters? If you're published in one genre (say, romance or horror), are you going to expand your horizons and write a different type of story this year?
Is the writing part going fine, but you need to develop (or enhance) your online profile and/or marketing? Explore writing-related websites and blogs, Yahoo Groups, social media groups, and advertising opportunities for your work. Are your blog, website, and author page(s) up-to-date? Should they get a refresh (or a major overhaul) for the new year?
Make a list of all you want to accomplish in the next few weeks and months. Having a list of projects and priorities will help keep your writing objectives on track. For example, if you want to explore new markets for your short story, put "find new markets" on your list.
If you're determined to write a new book, make a timeline for research, character development, plotting, etc. Give yourself a deadline for when you want to start writing and stick to it. Decide how many pages or chapters you want to finish each day/week/month. Little by little, your book will take shape, and you'll be amazed at your progress.
No matter what your writing goals are, a little pre-planning will help you focus and allow you to flow from one writing project to another. Preparation also keeps you motivated and fends off writer's block, because you always have "the next thing" to work on.
When you write down your goals, start your sentences with a positive statement, such as: "I will finish the rough draft of my novel by June 1" or "I will submit six articles to magazines." After you've made the list, note what you need to do to get started. This could include setting aside specific times to write each day, getting writer's guidelines, or sending out query letters. Then, pick one project (the most time-sensitive one, or your personal favorite), and get to work. Spend time targeting your goals now, and you'll be on your way to success!
But keep a balance. Don't let yourself become so goal oriented that you burn yourself out, stress yourself half to death, and let the writing life take the place of your real life. (Believe me, I've been there and I've learned.)
Family, friends, pets, neighbors, and having fun are all important parts of being alive. Make time for your writing, but also make time for yourself and those you love. (Yes, it's perfectly okay to leave the husband parked in front of a movie and go write for two hours. But make sure when you turn the computer off, you focus on the present moment.)
Every new day is bursting with hope, possibilities, and opportunities to make this year really great. Set some goals for yourself. Write as much as you need to (or want to), and then sit in the yard and watch the world go by for an hour. You're worth it!
If you're interested in learning more about the writing process and want expert tips and writing advice, check out my non-fiction writing guide, You Can Write-Really! A Beginner's Guide to Writing Fiction. The book is designed for writers who need a boost of motivation and simple instructions on how to get started. Each chapter targets a specific aspect of writing and includes tips and fun exercises.
If you're ready to write, order your copy here:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Loving a Wild Stranger was released in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
In 2016 Kelli began re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information.
Her writing book, You Can Write-Really! A Beginner's Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her years of experience as a writer. It's filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
If you like to be scared, check out Kelli's horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy's Curse.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/