As 2017 winds down, I’m in full “Year in Review” mode. So it’s perfect timing for me to participate in Day 2 of Lisa Jacobs’ New Year for a New You annual review!
Here are my answers to today’s questions (and, if you’re curious, you can also read my answers to yesterday’s questions here):
What was time wasted this year?
I have to admit that I wasted a lot of time on social media this year. Some of it was due to boredom and frustration, some of it was foolishly spent on political arguments, and some of it was just out of mindless clicking (procrastination). One of my personal goals for 2018 is to steer clear of social media as much as possible, except for very specific purposes (i.e. posting for business, engaging with friends, or checking in on groups that are actually valuable to me).
What was money wasted this year?
Honestly, although many of my author peers find great success with them, I would say that purchasing tables at events like zine fests or book fairs have been a waste of money. I have never made back the money I spent on these events in book sales, so unless the goal is simply to connect with people (which occasionally it is!), I don’t find these events to be a good return on my investment. To be fair, sometimes I do go to these types of events with the goal of getting people to sign up for my mailing list or to hand out freebies that will make them check out my website later on, and that can be a good use of my time and money. Even so, I feel there must be better events I can spend money on, so I’m going to try to find more unexpected events where I can sell my books, rather than sticking to book-focused events in 2018.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year?
Despite the fact that I chose “FOCUS” as my word for the year, staying focused with my biggest challenge! There was a lot of insanity in the U.S. this year that heightened my self-doubt, and made it very difficult for me to stay on track and on task. I aim to cut out the distractions much more ruthlessly in 2018.
If anything, what would you change about how you handled that challenge?
In 2018, I will stop letting social media dictate my mood. As an author, I *am* the media, so I should be broadcasting MY message and dictating the mood to *others* rather than the opposite way around.
Are you ending the year with any unfinished business?
Yes. Unfortunately, I still need to finish a book I started in April, so that I can start pitching it to agents and publishers. But that’s number one on my January To Do List, so I’m not frustrated by this unfinished business.
Are there any outstanding goals you’d like to let go of?
No, I think I will roll over most of my outstanding goals to 2018, as some aren’t as urgent as others but I’m still eager to complete them.
What was your worst setback in 2017?
One of my worst setbacks involved my finances, and that also made my 2017 quite rocky. Trying to create more stable employment for myself is an ongoing struggle as a freelancer, so I’m sort of used to this problem, but ultimately I’d like to get to a point where I don’t have to live so hand-to-mouth. This may involve moving (again), so I am working on a few different plans for 2018.
Which bad habits or unhealthy patterns did you engage in that you’d like to give up once and for all?
I keep trying to stop myself from going straight to my computer first thing in the morning, either to check my email or social media accounts, but sometimes it just feels necessary. I am working on creating a more healthy morning routine for next year, something that I can stick to while also not feeling like I am firefighting every time I check my email.
I’d also like to give up alcohol in the new year, to see what kind of effects this might have on my exercise routine and mood. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I do usually have at least one glass of wine every night, so I’m curious to see what cutting this out will do for me.
What or whom held you back this year? Did anything make you shrink into yourself or feel defensive about your dreams?
OMFG, I could make a list a mile long for this question! But at the top of the list, ultimately it would be ME. I know that blaming others for holding you back is silly when I’m the only one that truly determines my actions. But there are also external circumstances, and being too poor to afford a lot of the things I wanted (or needed) to do this year was another big thing that held me back.
How did you hold yourself back this year? Which beliefs/ideas/excuses stopped you from pushing forward?
Although I had three books traditionally published this year, I still felt like a bit of an imposter. I didn’t think I could ask for certain things, as a “new” author, even though I have now been writing professionally for over a decade. And I didn’t have an agent to back me up, so I felt like I couldn’t push issues like royalty payments with my publisher. So, in 2018 I am going to find a good agent to represent me and my work, and let them handle these kinds of issues. After all, that’s what they’re good at!
Additionally, I am going to recommit to my 2017 word, “focus,” by adopting a synonym for 2018: HEART. Oddly enough, I just listened to Whitney English (the founder of Day Designer) give a talk on her concept of “HEART Goals vs. SMART Goals,” and I like this acronym a lot more, so hopefully this will help me with intention setting.
In case you’re curious, HEART stands for:
What about you?
What kinds of challenges did you face in 2017?
Be sure to check out Lisa’s post for more info on the New Year for a New You annual review, and share some of your highlights in the comments below!