I did a bunch of planning for 2020 videos on my YouTube channel in December, which was actually super helpful in figuring out why I was floundering in 2019. It wasn’t a bad year, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was challenging. I also didn’t accomplish a lot of the goals I set… which, honestly, I probably overdid it anyway, but it was even less than I thought.
But I thought I’d talk about my process in figuring out the floundering to figuring out the goals I eventually ended up with for 2020. I could do a video, but honestly, I really just wanted to talk with y’all. The end of 2019 was very busy for me.
I started recording audiobooks and because I got the plague in November, my recording deadlines nearly killed me. But I did it and I’m moving into 2020 with a fresh start and no looming deadlines. Okay, there are deadlines, but no looming ones. LOL.
Setting guideposts for yourself
I think it’s important to set guideposts along the way to see where you’re headed and where you’ve been. This is why I do quarterly and monthly goal check-ins in addition to annual ones. My big overarching annual goals can be (and frequently are) overwhelming. I almost can’t see the end of the year with them. But I know that they are achieveable, because I’ve broken them down into bite-size, manageable chunks.
What you’re going to need
You didn’t think you were going to get away with simply reading this, did you? Noooo, play along with me. Goal setting is fun.
- The first thing you’re going to need is a notebook or paper… Just something to write on. It doesn’t need to be fancy. In fact, you probably don’t want to use the fancy stuff here. There’s going to be a lot of scribbling.
- Second, something to write with.
- Your biggest dream and your strongest willpower
I know, that’s super basic, but hey, we’re starting from ground zero here. I suppose you could do this digitally, but I’ve always had better luck brainstorming on paper. There’s something just… tangible about writing out a braindump. I can hear the scratch of the pen or pencil. I can feel the texture of the paper and the rustle of my hand brushing against it.
How to start planning your goals
You’re looking at that blank page and already considering running the other direction, aren’t you?
That’s okay. I feel that way a lot.
We’re looking at one-year goals, but for me, they feed into a larger picture. I set Five Year Goals and dreams that I’d like to see happen and that’s how I pull out the smaller one-year goals. It’s hard to explain how I do that. I think it’s just something that I picked up over the years.
But the idea is the same. Where do you want to be in one year? Do you want to finish your first draft? Publish your first book? Or maybe you’ve already published your first book and you want to publish the sequel.
Write down everything that comes to mind
Remember, this is a brainstorm, so it doesn’t matter if you can feasibly do it in one year or not. This is just to get you flowing and your brain working. They don’t even have to be real goals. Just things you want to accomplish.
After that, you’ll figure out the threads and common themes in what you wrote. That’s how I pull out my goals. That’s how I figure out my word of the year and the overarching theme that I want to keep in mind all year. I take a highlighter and color code according to what category or theme it falls under because that’s always fun to do. For me, a lot of my goals this year tie into financial stability. For reasons.
For me, 2020 is all about balance and conquering my fear.
Because in 2019, there were a lot of things I didn’t do because I was afraid, or I didn’t have time.
Some of you that have been around for a bit may remember… About five years ago, I was a full-time writer. But the publishing world is strange and unstable on the best of days. There came a point when the books weren’t selling enough to sustain me. And I had no backup plan.
Always have a backup plan.
I ended up going back to work outside the house
For two years, I didn’t really write, didn’t really hang out much online… I wasn’t really happy with my life, because I wasn’t able to be creative. I had a huge debt I had to repay due to a situation that wasn’t in my control or I never would have felt right being online again. I worked like crazy.
Finally, I got that debt paid off, nearly two years after I incurred it. I started writing again, but my income level from my books had dropped a ton. Like from full-time income to gas money every month.
I could have been crushed by that. I could have given up. But I love writing books. I love readers reading my books. Every time I get an email from a reader that has enjoyed my books, it makes me so giddy. I can’t even describe the joy I feel.
I want to freelance full-time again…
…But with that backup plan in place. Not because I think I’ll fail, but because there are things in life that I can’t control, and the state of the publishing industry is one of them. Plus, I’ve found that there are other creative things I like to do that I can also use in my business.
The bottom line here is I still want to run my own freelance business and be financially stable doing so. So that’s my overall goal for 2020. Obviously, there are facets to that. But that’s where I want to be by the end of 2020.
So figure out where you want to be at the end of 2020.