Reward Yourself for Small Victories
When I say reward yourself for small victories, I mean to reward yourself for things you can control. While it’s fun to celebrate if you have a great month of sales or get on a bestseller’s list or win an award, these are things we can’t control. We can’t make people buy our books and we can’t make judges vote on our books. I think it’s important to celebrate those things because you want to enjoy the good times when they come, and it will help you appreciate the good things that happen.
But I think rewarding ourselves when we accomplish the small victories is equally important. I think when you do that, it’ll be easier to stay motivated. If you’re relying on external sources to validate who you are as a writer, then you run the risk of wanting to give up. If you’re focused on what you are doing, then it’s easier to keep going no matter what else is going on.
Below, I’m uploading some things that I hope can help track your progress this year. Let’s say you get on a regular writing schedule and start making it a part of your daily/weekly habit. That’s a small victory that should be rewarded. Say you actually met your daily/weekly goal. Reward yourself for that. By breaking things up into smaller pieces, I think they become easier to attain.
Some examples of rewards might be watching a movie with a friend, drinking your favorite cup of tea/coffee, reading a book, or going out to your favorite restaurant. These are unlimited possibilities with this one. I think the small victories should be frequent and given small rewards. The larger goals are the ones that should have larger rewards. (For example, I finish a novel and publish it. Great. Now I can buy the dress I’ve been eyeing for a while.) That’s what I mean by the larger the goal, the larger the reward. :)
Keep on Learning
No matter how much you’ve learned, there’s always more to learn. I know this sounds basic, but I think there’s a danger of thinking you’ve learned everything you can so you stop striving to improve. This business is one that keeps changing, and it can be overwhelming.
There are various sources out there to choose from as you seek to increase your knowledge of the writing and business side of writing. Pick up books from people in the business you admire. Read blog posts. Watch videos. Listen to podcasts. Read magazines. Go to conferences. You don’t have to do all of these. Just do the ones you’re interested in. You don’t need to be all over the place.
Some Resources I Am Using in 2014 To Keep Learning (if anyone wants some ideas):
I love magazine articles because they’re short and can be read when you only have several minutes to spare. Some sitting on my desk are Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Success, and Writer’s Digest. (The first three deal with business principles that can help you think like a small business owner instead of a “just a writer”.) There are other magazines out there, but these were the ones that caught my interest when I was in Barnes and Noble the other day. I also found Entrepreneur and Fast Company at Office Max. You can also find articles to read online at the links I posted above with the mention of the magazines.
Two books I have on my desk are How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb.
Blogs I love to read are Kristen Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristen Lamb’s Blog, and The Creative Penn. I have read and enjoyed their books for writers in the past. I also see there are some online workshops that might be of interest. (We no longer have to physically go to a conference if we don’t want to.) I also enjoy The Creative Penn’s podcast which you can find on the link to The Creative Penn that I listed above.
If anyone has any favorite books, magazines, podcasts, blogs, etc to share, please do. The more resources we know about, the better. I know my list is a small one and that there is a ton of great resources out there. :)
Some Templates To Help in 2014 With Keeping On a Routine
I am going to upload a Word (.doc) file and a pdf file. With the Word one, you should be able to go in and tweak on it to fit your needs. But with pdf one, you can’t. I decided to also make a pdf because some people don’t have Word and I thought it’d be easier for them to get the pdf instead.
Now, I have word count goals, but you might have a time goal or project goal instead. These templates aren’t meant to be set in stone. They are just to give you an idea of what you can do. And maybe they’ll give you some ideas of templates you can make up. They are free to print out and use as you wish.
Routine Organizer for blog (Word document)
Daily Word Counts Template (Word document)
Weekly Word Counts Template (Word document)
Book Publishing Planner in Word (this was modified from the one Stephannie Beman gave me)
Book Publishing Planner in PDF (modified from the one Stephannie Beman gave me)
*A quick shout out to Stephannie Beman who got me thinking about even making up templates to track my goals and progress to begin with. Thanks! :)