Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Goal for 2009: To Not Do Everything.

Okay, okay, I'm back. No, really I am. It's impossible to do much writing while traveling with a seventeen-month old during Christmas season. Poor excuse? Listen. We were in the U.S. for a month (visiting three different states), then came back to Paris (with my mother and, for a period, my husband's parents), then we were off to Stuttgart for the New Year (in a house with six other kids, all of whom gathered around the computer, asking questions and wanting to surf the net every time I opened it), and then we went skiing in the Swiss Alps for a week (with two other families and their kids; all the kids and me got vomitingly sick for exactly two days). Finally, on our way home, we stopped off at Freiburg, Germany to visit my husband's elderly uncle for one night. Oh, and when I got home, I developed strep throat and spent three days eating nothing but pudding and applesauce.

Anyway, now I'm home and ready to plant my butt in The Chair and start making some writing waves in 2009. The difficulty is trying to figure out how. There is a dizzying amount of information in the writing world about how to succeed at freelancing, but my God, you can't possibly do everything that's suggested. Well, I guess some people do but I don't know how. How do you maintain a blog or two, a website, read and comment on other people's blogs, Twitter, churn out multiple, well-researched queries a week (with expert quotes), and complete the writing assignments given to you? The pressure to do it all is overwhelming. But what to do if you only have a few hours a day to write? (And sometimes not even that!)

The answer, in my case, is to not attempt to do it all. I just can't. So, for the past few days I've been thinking long and hard about what I really wanted to accomplish this year. In the end, it boiled down to this: 1) be published in/get acceptances for national magazines, and 2) make as much money as possible. I also wanted to finish a book I'd started, begin a website on intercultural weddings, and develop a personal website, but I guess if I have any resolution for 2009 it is to Realize that I Can't Do Everything. It is my habit to take on way, way too much and then get really stressed because I can only accomplish a fraction of what I wanted to do. But not this year. Nope.

So, in support of my primary goals, here are my secondary ones. In attempting to achieve my first goal, I plan to:

  • choose 10 target magazines;
  • thoroughly analyze the past three issues (or more) for each one;
  • check editoral calendars for each;
  • come up with 3-5 potential articles for each;
  • throughly research each idea, including getting expert or "real person" quotes for my query;
  • send out one query a week beginning after I have analyzed at least two magazines.

For my second goal, I plan to:

The "business plan" I wrote for myself is much more detailed than this, and I've given myself deadlines for each of the goals. It's still quite a lot but breaking down how exactly I mean to achieve my bigger goals makes it seem much more managable. And for those things that I've left by the wayside...who knows? Maybe the universe will show me how I can accomplish those things as well as, or instead of, other goals. But if not - I'm not going to worry about it. I mean, I can't do everything.

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