T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing Passion

#new year resolutions

Monday Motivation: Who do you want to be?

Most New Year’s resolutions are about things, changes or achievements. More money, less weight, healthier body, new car etc. These goals are often woolly, lacking in the kind of definition which will make them achievable. What we need is a clear vision of the end goal. For many people, the simplest visualisation might be a photograph of the new car or the holiday destination. These visual aids are very useful, but there is another, sure fire way of fixing your end goal in your head.

Rather than focussing on an object, it is far more powerful if you can visualise yourself at the end of your journey. What will it feel like when you are driving that new car? What will you look like when you have lost all that weight, or got that holiday sun tan? How will you look and feel when you are holding your newly published book in your hands?

There are many visualisation exercises to be found online but essentially you need to do two things. First of all, REFLECT. Don’t dwell on the past year or your past life too much. Future success will depend on the decisions you make now, not anything that has happened in the past. What you should do is to reflect on who you are now, and where you are now. Once you have established these things you have a clear starting point from which to set your compass and stride into the future.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going, so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. -Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The second essential task is to look at who you want to be. Picture yourself as you will be when you reach your goal. What will you look like? How will you feel? Put as much effort into this as you can. Paint the picture as clearly as you can and reinforce it with all the relevant feelings and senses you can think of. Emotions, colours, smells, tastes, sounds, relationships etc.

I dream my painting and then I paint my dream – Vincent van Gogh

Having reflected on who you are, and visualised who you want to be, have confidence in yourself and get started. Check in regularly on your vision of who you will be. Anytime that indecision sticks its nose in, use this vision to remind yourself why the future you is so much better than the current one.

Of course your progress needs to be measurable. Unless it is recorded and specific milestones reached along the way, it will be very difficult to keep faith in the journey. In the next post I will take a look at using diaries or journals to measure the path.

Writing Goals 2015

During 2014, there was a lot I wanted to write. Unfortunately, life interfered in some unexpected ways and my plans withered. This year I’m determined to start off with a different head and set firm but attainable goals to further my writing career.

I could of course set some goals and keep them to myself, but that gives me too much wiggle room to make excuses to myself for not getting anything done. If I publish my intentions publicly, then I can be held to account over them – and, hopefully, I can also be encouraged and supported along the way.

As a Life Coach I have a strong feeling for meaningful goal setting. We often overuse the term ‘journey’, but it’s a meaningless word unless we have a destination to aim for. Once the destination is chosen, we can plan an effective journey to get us there. All my goals are meant to be challenging, achievable and measurable.

People often talk about ‘SMART’ goals, which are supposed to be:

  • Specific – A positive, inspiring statement of intent.
  • Measurable – Both the end goal and the steps along the way.
  • Agreed – Congruent with your personal values and believes, and also written down or published in some way. (The ‘A’ can also mean ‘Action-oriented’)
  • Realistic – Use evidence-based planning when setting your goals.
  • Timed – Have a start date, an end date and step goal dates along the way.

I need to treat writing as my full-time job. To that end, and based on my past efforts, I’ve decided to set the following goals for the coming year.

1) I will write a minimum of 500,000 words during 2015

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But I know it’s achievable, and I’m breaking it down into the following steps:

  • Four planned novels of 80k words minimum each, which gives me 320k words in 12 months.
  • Two planned novellas of 50k words each, bringing my total to 420k words.
  • The remainder will be composed of short stories of 10-15k words each and blog posts, on which more below. 

2) Maintain and develop blogging habits

  • Post 1-3 blog posts per week across various sites, both my own and as a guest blogger on other sites.
  • Investigate podcasting and then build this into my blogging schedule, with an initial podcast to be uploaded by 1/4/2015.
  • Produce promotional videos and upload them to YouTube.

3) Develop more effective use of integrated social media streams

  • Refine my current use of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gaydar and Recon to promote the T.J. Masters ‘brand’.
  • Add Instagram and integrate into my existing streams.
  • Update and promote my author profile on the Dreamspinner Press website. This is a great tool, which I haven’t made the best use of yet. I’d also like to interact more with other Dreamspinner authors via the publisher’s Yahoo group by contributing to discussions there, rather than just watching from the sidelines.

4) Solidify the core ‘brand’

  • Monitor, update and refresh my websites
  • Monitor indie sales via Amazon and All Romance E-Books.
  • Add Smashwords as a sales/promotional point.

5) Finally, the following aims aren’t defined in terms of solid goals, but they are all things I’d like to explore over the course of the year:

  • Audio book offerings
  • Foreign market translations
  • Contributing to the UK Meet and EuroCon
  • Non-fiction writing (Social media guides and a blog-to-book project)
  • Print on Demand offerings
  • Cross-fertilisation with other author blogs and social media.
  • Making better use of writing technologies and software – e.g. Dragon, Livescribe, a digital voice recorder and Scrivener.

I’ll be setting myself definite steps along the way to mark progress. For anyone interested in seeing how it goes, I’ll be updating regularly on here, possibility with a monthly review of my progress.

For anyone who still thinks that a target of half a million words in one year is crazy, just do the maths! That works out to less than 42k words per month, less than 10k per week, and just under 1400 words a day. On a good day, I can quite easily write 5-7k words, so I do believe that it’s achievable. This is my job, after all, and I need to work at it.

For now, I can express all of these goals as three simple New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Write every day
  2. Read every day
  3. Engage every day

Happy New Year!