I’m taking a look back at 2015.
Along with that, I’m taking a look ahead to what I want to happen in 2016.
In 2015, there were good things and bad things. In both my writing and personal life.
For the first half of the year, things went well. I suppose this could be said for most of us.
I was working lots in the writing world, between being managing editor of a magazine and doing other freelance work. My other “love” job is the work I do for That White Paper Guy; a bit of administrative work, a bit of social media and a bit of writing. It’s all good.
Using an old cliche
See, life was good. Then it got worse. By the end of July, things went bad. Actually, to use a cliche; they went from bad to worse.
I found out my editor’s gig was about to end. The magazine I worked for, Our Homes Sault Ste. Marie, was ceasing publication. And the next day my brother-in-law passed away.
I ended up with house guests (not that I’m complaining–I love them all!) and went into extended holiday mode. One might say for practically the whole summer and on into September. Shhhh. Don’t tell.
I finally gave my head a shake, decided I had to find some more work to replace what I’d lost and just as I was coming out of it, my brother passed away.
That sent me into another few weeks of company, mourning and then I think a bit of depression. We were just 11 months apart in age and even though I’m a full grown adult, it was a hard blow. He’d been with me my entire life.
By December, I was ready to pull out of it. I still have this underlying sadness but I suppose I always will. I’m still here and need to get back into things. But alas, the holidays arrived. There went that idea.
Looking ahead to 2016
And so, here I am at the beginning of January rethinking where I’m going and where I want to go.
Do you by chance have an easy plan for how to do this? I suppose the first step is to cut the excuses. It is what it is and it’s now or never. You only live once. Use it or lose it. Life is full of cliches, isn’t it?
I’m one of those people who is inspired by the new year. It makes me feel refreshed. Renewed. And if I set some goals and don’t complete them all, that’s not a bad thing. If you never have goals, you aren’t going anywhere.
So as I work towards a new set of goals, I’ve been reading articles all over the internet and ingesting more information than I can wrap my head around.
I’ve been devouring online courses, mostly on SEO and copywriting. (Check out www.udemy.com and www.moz.com) Now, I think I’m a bit obsessed with SEO and plan to study it even more. I’ll need to try put it to work on some personal sites maybe. Or find a client.
Making a new website
To that end, I’ve got a pre-paid VISA in hand, a gift from my dear husband to pay for web hosting for my new professional writer’s website. I’ll probably go with bluehost.com for hosting and I’m building my own WordPress site with a free theme. It’s actually quite easy once you know how.
I may even get my writer’s group to critique my site if I can get it all done by end of January.
Get support from those who understand your world
- I think it’s pretty important to have support for everything you do, whether it’s making a new website, writing a book or just going to work everyday. Support is good.
- The people in my writing group are the people who are most invested/interested in my life as a freelancer. They totally get it and that makes them an important part of my goals. I think when one of us is successful, the rest of us are a little more inspired to believe it CAN happen for all of us. Support networks are good. If you want to read more about how important other professionals think support is, check out this recent article on the AWAI website.
- I’m also awaiting the arrival of my new Passion Planner which is going to help me focus, set goals AND be creative at the same time. Because of course, you know, I’m also a scrapbooker and run a scrapbooking business too. I suppose if the planner doesn’t do all those things, I can make it look pretty and artsy. Do you use a planner?
- I’m also ready to start reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s a book I’ve heard recommended by scrapbookers, writers and everyone in between. It remains to be seen if I declutter. Along the way, I’ve got a whole list of self-help books. I “read” that if you read 10 pages a day, you’ll read something like–well, I forget how many books it was, but it was a lot. So send me your best business self-help book titles.
And now blogging
I was actually a little shocked when I realized I’d only done six posts in 2015 on this blog. After all, I was blogging when blogging wasn’t cool.
It felt like more.
I’ve had a blog since 2001. You didn’t know that? See, that’s BAD SEO. I’ll work on that. Anyway, you could go to the original blog at www.pollieponders.blogspot.com to see how I started. But really, don’t bother. The blog was pretty amateurish. It was almost like a newsletter but I had a little fan base. I think I moved it over from Yahoo Groups or maybe I moved the blog content to Yahoo Groups. Either way, I was doing stuff that was pretty new at the time and if I’d put a full-hearted effort into it and really worked at it and marketed it, I might be pretty much famous now.
It’s time to make more money
So now, here I am, seeking more money. By doing the work I like to do. Like writing. Except now I not only want to write; I want the money jobs too. And there IS money in writing. I’ve been writing for long enough, you’d think it would be easy. But I have to change directions a bit and now we’ve got so many more things than just sitting at a keyboard and writing. As a writer, you have to keep up with social media and web presence and SEO and hashtags and stuff like that. Do you find it challenging to work as a writer today?
There’s just so much information to take in.
Finding the time to write
I’m sure I can find enough people in the world who will agree that I’m a decent enough writer, maybe even a pretty good writer. And in my online search for information, I’ve discovered the demand is only growing for businesses to have good writing on their sites and in their promotional copy.
I can do that. If you’re a business, I can do that for you.
I can also do your social media, help with email tasks etc. And I can do it in your voice. No posting embarassing content because it’s not something you’d say. I figure out who you are and what works for you. And with an in-depth look at SEO, I can provide valuable tips on getting your name out there. So if you’re a business looking for a writer, let me know. I can help.
My 2016 goals
- Find a couple of great writing gigs. Ideally something I’ll be able to continue to do over a few months near a beach in Mexico in a few years. But if they happen to be short-term clients, that’s fine too. I believe knowing HOW to write and HOW to tell a story is as important as knowing the subject.
- I’ll keep on hosting scrapbook retreats.I host day and weekend retreats and organizing such events is a passion. These events are like playtime for me. Not because they are easy–though they are to me–but because they are so darned fun. So I’ll keep on doing them. And writing about it too. So if you need a writer who knows about things like hosting and planning events and basically working in the hospitality and retail world, that’s me. See how it all comes together?
- Be a professional blogger.I’m not there yet but you know what? I like this blog. It’s like a personal journal. When I said I only did six posts last year, I need to confess; I only PUBLISHED six. I have a whole bunch more I wrote and never published. Some, I never will. Some, I may go back to. Either way, the blog won’t be on my professional writing site. But I’ll keep it around. What do you think?
- Get really good at SEO. Continue the fascination with Twitter. Make my Pinterest make sense–to me. In a professional way. Take fab photos for Instagram. If I could go back to school, I’d study Social Media. For now, I’ll still study it but it’ll be through online courses (mostly free for now) and tutorials and by following other social media experts. If you’ve got any recommendations, send them my way.
And so that almost caps up my goals. Except for this…
I want my year to be like this.
And even if I do all the stuff on this list, I hope I surprise myself.
How about you? What are you resolving to do in 2016? Be sure to tell me in my Comments section.