Saturday, January 7, 2017

Take Control of Your 2017 Goals

Scott D. Parker

You can do anything you put your mind to.

Now that 2017 has begun, most of us have made resolutions. I know I have. Most of the resolutions we make are with ourselves: lose weight; start exercising; stop eating sugar; take up a hobby. Many of us fail at these resolutions by the time February starts. Why? Because we don’t have a plan and we don’t take control.

The same is true with our writing lives. Who here states that writing a book in 2017 is their resolution? Or here’s another one: who here states that getting a book in the Amazon Top 1,000 is a goal? Well, of the two examples here, which one is actually in your control?

And then it’s back to you. Bummer? Not in the slightest!

Next month, I’ll be starting my third year as an independent author. Yeah, I’d certainly like to sell more books in 2017, but that’s entirely out of my control. I can do things to improve my chances of selling more products, but that’s all I can do. Marketing is a tricky aspect of the book industry, one with tons of nuances, trials, errors, and lessons learned. But no matter how much you may tweak ads or decide where to run them, this part of the business still involves other people.

But there is one aspect that is completely and utterly in your control: Content Creation.

There are no barriers to create as much or as little content as you want. And here’s where math is your friend. Your life is literally so busy that you can only manage 15 minutes a day to write that novel you’ve dreamed about writing since you were a teenager? I bet you can write 250 words in fifteen minutes, don’t you? If you write 250 words a days starting today, in 300 days you’ll have your 75,000-word novel complete! (That’s 3 November). If you boost your productivity to 500 words a day, then you’ll be done with the same book on 6 June. Think about that: by the start of the summer, you’ll be done writing your book!

Yes, you can do it.

You just have to decide if that’s what you truly want.

It’s what I want. So I decided that 2017 will be the year I create more content. I have a word count number in mind, but I’m not going to state it here today. Suffice it to say, the number is generous. But as nice as a large word count may be, it is product that I’m more interested in making available. In 2017, I’d like to substantially improve the number of short stories, novellas, and novels under my name. That is a goal that has only one obstacle: me. But I’m completely on board with the idea. I rarely have arguments with myself.

The only obstacle I actually have is time. I have a full-time day job that isn’t fiction writing. It’s technical writing, but that doesn’t count. I have a family I enjoy spending time with, so I have made the decision to sleep less. Ever since the time change back in November, my work days see me rising at 4:30am. Yeah, really. Sometimes, it ain’t easy, like on Wednesday when I snoozed a bit. You know what the end result was? Less time to write. Only 45 minutes before I have to start getting ready for work and my boy ready for school.

That sucked.

So, yesterday and Thursday, I was up at 4:30 and at the computer by 4:35. I got my hour in and the word count showed it. Do I still wish I had more time in the day to write? Absolutely, but I don’t. So I took control, found an area where I could write, and did it.

Control is the key. Thrive in the areas you can control, and let all the other stuff slide away. You’ll find yourself much more productive and, over time, much happier.

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