We're going to talk about goals this week. First, I want to take a look back on the goals we set for ourselves for 2010. In later posts we'll discuss failure and why it's sometimes okay, and then we'll close out the week talking about how today's reflections can help us set new goals for the coming year.
Why look back on this year's goals now instead of January, when the year is complete? Because you can't set next year's goals without an idea of what you accomplished in the current year. It also means you have a month and a half left to make progress on this year's goals you haven't reached yet, so looking back might light a fire under you.
Now let's look at specifics.
My 2010 Goal Progress
- All Freelance Writing Page View Goals -- At our mid-year check-in I mentioned that we hit our first traffic goal (a certain number of pageviews at least three months). We also had a master goal to reach at least once this year. I'm happy to say we reached that goal in October, and even exceeded it.
- My Overall Income Growth -- Sadly it's looking like I won't quite reach this goal. I was hoping for around a $20k increase this year. But unless my typical pre-Thanksgiving rush is a huge one this time around, it's unlikely. I can't say I'm really disappointed. I just made different decisions along the way, deciding to put more time into books and e-books and new site launches (things that will take time to bring in income) rather than sinking time into additional client work. That said, I'll still see a nice increase -- I do every year. So with that, having more major projects finally moving along, and being able to enjoy more time off, I'm actually quite happy on this front.
- Business Site and Blog Re-launch -- This goal was reached pretty early on. The business site was re-designed (I did a custom design on my own for that one), and I integrated a business writing blog. I don't post to it anywhere near as frequently as All Freelance Writing, but it's doing its job of bringing new visitors to my business site.
- Increasing All Freelance Writing Subscribers -- As I mentioned in our mid-year check-in, I abandoned this goal. I quit tracking RSS subscribers. Why? There were far too many random numerical swings with Feedburner this year where subscribers of a certain type were suddenly not counted, then they were again, etc. It became too much of a headache. So I don't get hung up on that anymore. Subscribers here have always paled in comparison to organic traffic from natural links we get elsewhere, and I wouldn't change that. Maybe in the future we'll put more emphasis on subscriber counts, but with the way we've been growing rapidly without that emphasis, it just isn't a priority right now.
- Releasing 2 Web Writer's Guide E-books -- Um, no. You can count this as a total failure as of this point. I'll definitely have the Query-Free Freelancer's 30 day marketing bootcamp e-book out by the end of this year, but I'm not holding my breath on WWG series e-books. If I miraculously pull more time out of thin air between now and the end of the year, I may release one (the previously-planned planner). But there won't be two. Two e-books total maybe; not two in the series.
- Increasing my Productivity -- Last year I was facing issues with a mid-morning slump. I can say I've gotten much better about that, even if not by sticking to the original plan. Every once in a while I still slump a bit around 10am, but just knowing I only have two hours left helps me get through it. After all, I don't want to be stuck working late. I still work late every once in a while when there's a big project or I just want to get something done so I don't have to deal with it the next day or next week. But that's rare. I respect my schedule and my down-time, and I've learned to make that sacred. And really, having that time to rest and pursue other interests is enough make me more productive in work.
While I didn't see it in my original post, I also wanted to have the first draft of The Query-Free Freelancer (print book) finished by the end of 2010. It is not yet complete. But I did recently set a new writing schedule that's somewhat ambitious -- writing four books in eight months. That starts with the QFF nonfiction book and then moves into a novel series in the New Year. I've been writing 2500 words per day during each of my four work days of the week, and so far so good. If things continue along that line, I'll have that first draft finished by year's end.
Then in my mid-year check-in I briefly mentioned some of my other plans for the site. Many of these were pushed off until next year due to other site launches I was working on. But here are those plans and progress:
- Launching a Solo Freelance Theater Series -- This didn't happen. Yo and I started on another joint episode of the audio play series, but due to time constraints the production was pushed back. That episode will likely go out in the new year as a sort of re-launch of the series. At that point I still fully intend to launch a solo series. Freelance Theater just doesn't bring in enough traffic yet to make it a priority over some other things.
- Launching the Web Comic Series -- This will also be a 2011 launch. I've been hung up on the character development stage (it's been a while since I've done any sketch work and this style is still new to me). When I'm happy with the base characters, we'll have a weekly or bi-weekly series here. I don't expect to have time to finish that between now and the end of this year, as most of my non-client time is going towards the QFF book.
- Releasing Animated Shorts -- These will be based on the Web comic, so they won't launch until that has been live for a few months.
- Launching a Podcast Series -- I have some ideas laid out for this, but haven't finalized plans for the format I want to use. If or when this happens, it might be rolled into the Freelance Theater branding, but I'm not sure yet. Again, it's something I want to do here, but not a priority over basic content, e-books, and some of the other site launches.
- Launching a Newsletter / Mailing List -- Still a possibility for the new year, but not something I want to pursue right now. Yes, I know some marketers would have my head for not wanting a traditional email marketing list, but that kind of direct marketing isn't really my style and I do very well sticking to my own methods. So I may drop this plan entirely or come up with a content-heavy newsletter in the New Year. I'm leaning toward the first right now.
- Releasing the First Chapter of The Query-Free Freelancer Book on AFW -- As you may have seen in a past post, I decided not to pursue a traditional publisher for the QFF book (although I intend to for my fiction). I'm taking the indie publishing route, and in fact will be launching a site related to indie publishing in 2011. So the original plan to release a chapter and mini-proposal publicly don't make sense anymore. The first chapter will indeed be released, but not until the entire book is written, edited by me, and edited by another editor first. The book will be serialized here on the blog, starting shortly before the book's release date.
- Finishing my First Screenplay -- This project is on the backburner. I wasn't able to get in touch with the primary source I want to interview. I also need to work in a research trip (which happens to be where the source is located). So some time early in 2011 I plan to make that trip, and if I'm able to work with that source at that time, I'll resume work on the screenplay afterward.
- Revisiting Novel Outlines -- You might remember that I have three novels outlined (and one partly drafted). I documented two of those outlines on the blog a while back while testing different outlining methods. But I won't be writing one of those novels this year. Those were all planned as one-off projects (at least one had some series potential, but wasn't designed with that in mind originally). Instead I decided to pursue a mystery series. I intend to have three books in that series drafted next year. Yes, I know that's ambitious, but I believe in challenging myself. The first will be outlined before the end of 2010, so I can pick up with the writing on January 3rd, shortly after finishing my nonfiction book draft.
- Launching IndieLounge.com -- This project was postponed mostly because of hosting issues that would make merging my original indie music site into the new one rather complicated. Those issues are mostly worked out now, and I've started rough design changes. It will launch in the New Year rather than this year.
So there are some goals reached and a few failures along the way. Overall I'm very happy with this year's progress. I'm even moreso because of all of the things I've accomplished this year that were not on my goal list. Some of those things include:
- Launching my new personal hub at JennMattern.com
- Prepping the launch of IndieLounge.com (which will come out some time early in the New Year)
- Prepping a new mystery novel series (more info about that coming at my personal hub)
- Getting BizAmmo.com back on a normal posting schedule (hired two writers to help)
- Re-launching NakedPR.com as solely a social media blog (used to be PR and social media) -- re-branded it as SocialRealist.com
So yeah. It's not as though I did nothing else in the interim. But that's much of the fun of goal-setting for me -- see what new goals and plans spring up along the way.
Now it's your turn. How are you coming along with your 2010 professional goals? Have you reached most of them? Did you forget about them almost as soon as you made them? Do you plan to set new goals and resolutions for 2011, or do you prefer to play it by ear? Leave a comment and share your goal-setting stories with us.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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