Three weeks ago, we started our summer goals blog series by laying out our writing goals–or at least, by talking about a few of my own. And with the understanding that every author lives a very different life and faces very different challenges from the next–an therefore my goals should not necessarily be taken as anyone else’s without first affirming they make sense to that author’s circumstances–I listed them:
- Write, and
- Structure my writing … loosely.
(These goals make much more sense in context, I promise.) And two weeks ago, we discussed energy and energy budgets, looking into how we wake up each moment with a finite amount of the stuff and have to use it and conserve it much as we do other finite resources. I made an argument that we ought to take care of our bodies as much as we do our work and our minds–and that all three of these are actually part of the same struggle. This argument that bled through to last week’s post, in which we concluded that if we don’t keep our bodies healthy, our writing will suffer.
Which brings me to today’s topic:
What to Do When You Achieve Your Goals
First of all, congratulations! Meeting your goals is a big deal! Secondly, we have to pose the question: what next? This is the hardest part of the authorial process, coming up with a plan for your next step.
It’s easy to get lost here, in the in-between, because it’s just so easy to enjoy the afterglow, the freedom to binge on Netflix and Masterpiece Theatre. It’s easy to allow the well-deserved relaxation period to last just a little too … long.
If I have one recommendation for what needs to happen next once you’ve achieved your goals, it’s that you be proactive. Don’t surrender to inertia. Watch the clock, and time your “down” period (or periods, as may be). Draw up lists. Weigh the options: is it time to write a sequel? Or should you start with a new original idea?
Don’t kick yourself if you’ve reached a point of burnout, either. Being an author isn’t all about writing books, in the end, and there are plenty of things you can do–as an author!–that don’t involve writing. If you are looking for a break or a change of pace, consider switching gears and spending some weeks or months focusing exclusively on perfecting the aesthetics of your book–and of course, on marketing it. It’s worth blocking out a few days on your yearly calendar for this sort of thing anyway, but it fits beautifully as a next step after you’ve reached your writing goals.
Set up some book readings and signings at your local indie bookstores and libraries. Network with your fellow authors and other industry professionals who can help you further along the path to self-publishing success. Attend a conference. Keep writing fun by keeping all of your options open–and by choosing the ones that help you define and redefine your own goals. It’s okay for the “next step” to be a bit messy and vague, for a while–as long as you find your forward momentum.
It’s never wasted time if you consider all of your actions a part of one single whole!
You are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|