With the new year almost upon us, people start asking about new year's resolutions - are you making one? what is it? To be honest with you, I don't bother. To me the phrase 'new year's resolution' seems a bit airy fairy and too easy to ignore - that's just something you make up at the beginning of the year and forget about a week later.
What I do believe in however is setting goals. Every year I sit down and work out my yearly business plan and then each quarter and each month I write down the steps I need to do to achieve each of those goals. This year I'm even considering looking further ahead and writing a five-year plan, but there are lots of variables so I'm going to think a little bit more before I make a decision about that.
So what does my business plan look like? I break it up into categories.
- Administration - things I need to do to keep my business running. One item is of course writing my quarterly plans in order to achieve my yearly plan, but it may also include applying for grants or researching opportunities.
- Associations - this relates to the volunteer work I do for associations like Romance Writers of Australia. I like to include any tasks here so I make sure I take that workload into account when I'm making my plan
- Finance - things like keeping my accounts in order and writing up a budget go here
- Legal - Sometimes I'll need a contract reviewed or I want to check out more information about copyright etc
- Marketing - all the ideas I have in relation to marketing and promoting myself and my books. Marketing can be overwhelming so I find choosing a couple of things to focus on helps. I'll write down all the things I want to do and then budget and time constraints will narrow down what I'll focus on
- Submissions - any competitions I want to enter or any books I need to deliver to my publisher
- Training - what aspects about the writing industry do I want to learn? This year I focused on marketing and also learnt Scrivener, but I also include conferences I want to attend here too
- Writing - finally the most important part. What am I going to write this year? It's easy to write down the novels I'm contracted for, but what else do I want to write? Do I want to brush off that fantasy novel I wrote a few years ago? Do I want to write a couple of novellas? Should I do a collaborative series with some other authors?
My planning and goal setting really helps me achieve what I want. This year I also have a wall planner with all of my manuscript due dates, novel release dates and my editing schedule colour coded on it so I can see at a glance the work I need to do. With four books being released and two due at my publisher, it's going to be a busy year!
If you've got tips on how you achieve your goals, I'd love to hear them. Leave me a comment below!