Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No ifs, ands, or buts

Get motivated in 2013!

It's time to set aside the baggage of 2012, and move on. What do you want out of 2013? How badly do you want it?


The nice thing about January 1 is that you start with a clean slate. The year is fresh and clean, and you are in the driver's seat. This means the choices you make should be in your best interest.


Sounds easy, doesn't it?


However, a new start comes with all the challenges of the past year and the dreams of the present year. On January 1, I like to look ahead to the entire year because if I focus day-to-day only, I lose sight of the big picture.


To stay focused, I make a list of yearly goals that are within my power to accomplish. For instance, I would have a hard time achieving world peace, but I could easily mend fences with a neighbor or colleague.

Setting reasonable goals assures greater odds of success and personal satisfaction.

My goals are related to writing and the business of publishing. Each year I want to keep the momentum going and continue to build a strong portfolio of books and enlarge my reader base.

Those goals are too broad. With limited hours in each day available for writing and marketing, I must be realistic. I must focus on what is possible.

In 2013, I will release a romantic suspense and a mystery. I will also write another book. For writers, this is the status quo. Keep writing, keep marketing, and keep doing everything else you normally do.

The same goals apply to career women and men or self-employed people or even stay-at-home moms. Doing tasks quicker, better, and faster is everyone's goal.

Except, we are all very good at making excuses. We say "if only this or that" or "I could have finished, but...". Sound familiar?

My solution is personal accountability. Because my schedule varies from day to day, I write out weekly writing goals and check them off as I get them done. If events preclude me from working on a certain day, I know I have to make it up later that week to stay on track.

Another way to be accountable is to share your goals with peers. They will encourage you to succeed and meet your goals. And it is very easy to return that favor.

Though I know someone who writes standing up, the general axiom for writing progress is to keep your butt in the chair. Easy enough for tasks you like, but harder for those that present challenges. I've been known to file papers and clean my entire desk before I write one word of a synopsis. But if I keep my butt in the chair and my mind on the task at hand, I will get it done.

My wish for myself and for you for 2013 is to set aside those if's, ands, and buts, to keep our butts in the chairs, and reach our goals.

Maggie Toussaint

ps the holiday sale on Murder in the Buff ends soon. It's available in all formats. Check it out at your favorite venue.

31 comments:

  1. Good luck with all your writing projects this year, Maggie! All the best for 2013. Marie Laval.

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    1. Hi Marie,

      Wishing you all the best with your goals for 2013. Thanks for visiting Mudpies!

      Maggie

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  2. Excellent advice. Don't make lofty goals, because you can't control things like "be on a best seller list." Even 'write 2 books' can seem daunting. But "write 500 words a day" is something you can control.

    Happy New Year!

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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    1. Hey Terry,

      Thanks for stopping in. And I've been so busy blogging and promoting the blog today that I haven't gotten my word count in. Will get to that next!

      Maggie

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  3. I agree, Maggie and Terry. It's important to set the goal of writing each day and not allowing ourselves excuses--which is so easy to do! I'm also planning to exercise each day. I think it helps me generate ideas.

    I just noticed that you posted TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS as a read. I hope you enjoy the novel. I know the sensual level is high. Let me know what you think.

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    1. Exercising. I always have this last on the list. I know better, really I do, but it never moves up. It's the red-haired stepchild of my world.

      I loved Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards. The reviews should be up at Amazon and Goodreads.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment! Maggie

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  4. Great post, Maggie! Very inspiring and good luck to you on your goals for 2013.

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    1. Hi Diane,

      Thanks for the visit. I hope you have a great year in 2013.

      Maggie

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  5. Maggie,
    Excellent post and perfect timing. Excuses, I'm with you. They're done. It's now time for results. I'm working up my goal list now. A couple:
    -Finish my manuscript and turn it in.
    -Sell a new book and fingers crossed, a trilogy.
    -Start a new fund raiser with Habitat For Humanity.
    -Writing Scholarship.
    -Annual International Food Bank Food drive.
    -Three workshops and a minimum of four other smaller speaking engagements.
    -NYTimes Best Selling Author

    :) That's my 'big picture list,' but I have a ton of smaller ones. I look forward to sharing another year with you, and I wish you continued success. You're an amazing inspiration! *Hugs*
    God bless,
    Diana

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    1. Hi Diana,

      I'm always in awe of your goals and your follow-through. You are amazing at promotion and writing. and I like the way you aren't afraid to own your goals. That's fantastic.

      I appreciate your kind words. Have a great 2013, and I'm looking forward to seeing your name on the NYT Bestsellers list.

      Maggie

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  6. My goal is small. Get back to writing a few words, at least, everyday.

    My motivation needs a swift kick in the butt.

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    1. Lorrie,

      Small goals are the best, but the trick is to set a doable increment. I will write 200 words a day, or whatever your goal is. That way, when you get to the end of the week and add up your word count, you can grade yourself on follow-through.

      I hope you are successful! Wishing you a bright new year!

      Maggie

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  7. I just finished a class for my MFA and we had to create a 1 year and 5 year plan for our writing lives. You've given me a nudge to take that 1 year plan and see how I can break it down into monthly and then weekly goals. Thanks!

    Here's to a 2013 that's successful for all of us!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Prisakiss,

      Taking classes and workshops is a good way to get the process started, but then taking that next step is where folks often lose ground. They have great intentions, but they don't follow-through. They don't hold themselves accountable.

      If I've said anything here to help you to that next level, that level of action, I'm pleased.

      Wishing you all the best! Maggie

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  8. Very good. I like looking ahead, too, instead of looking back so much. Yes, we should recap our year just to remind ourselves of our progress--not so much as looking at our failure. Looking ahead to a new year is fun, I think, especially is I have something new to be released. So far, that's happened to me almost every year I've been writing.
    I also like your statement about personal accountability. That's one fault I need to change--stop blaming others, the weather, the world market, or whatever on my lack of progress. Take the blame, and fix it--that's my new motto.
    Odessa, Texas has MOJO for their athletics slogan and/or mascot. I asked some relatives out there once, what does MOJO mean? What is it? Not one person could tell me.
    P.S.--where do you get your cute photos for your blog.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Celia,

      I love reading your comments. You always take the time to digest what you've read and write a personal response.

      Both my kids took gymnastics as tots, and the balance beam was a real challenge. If they looked down or back, they lost their balance. The only way to get to the other side was to look ahead. I was reminded of that the other day when we pulled out old family moving of them inchworming across the beam.

      But it's true. Your feet go in the direction of your gaze. Looking ahead is the surefire way to be the first to claim your future.

      As for mojo, it's a slang word that has more than one meaning. I used it here to mean lucky charm and self-confidence. Here's a dictionary with more about the word mojo: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mojo

      Thanks for dropping by and asking the question! Maggie

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  9. I meant to say we were watching old home "movies" and I missed the error.

    I also forgot to answer the question about pictures. I get my images from the site microsoft free clipart. I'll enter a search term and go shopping through all the items displayed. Sometimes I get lucky and find really engaging shots - like the ones for today.

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  10. Maggie, thanks for sharing your process for setting realistic goals and keeping them. I'm always looking for a little extra motivation to get things going :-) Wishing you much success in 2013!

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    1. Hi Jan,

      I see you all over the internet. You inspire me!

      I need goals and reminders, like a horse with a carrot, to keep moving forward. If left to my on devices, I would live in my recliner with a stack of books.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!

      Maggie

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  11. Maggie,

    I think taking those goals a little at a time is a great approach. I'm also a great believer in checking things off as you accomplish them. It gives a wonderful sense of accomplishment!

    Good luck with your writing goals in '13. I wish you much success.

    DebraStJohn

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    1. Hi Debra,

      So good to have you visit. I always enjoy reading your comments. I wish you success in 2013 as well. Happy New Year!

      Maggie

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  12. Usually I set writing goals and business of writing goals. One of the latter is to hire a virtual assistant because marketing is taking up too much of my time. 2012 saw more releases than I've ever had. If I want to keep up the writing pace, I need to delegate more of the promotional aspects. Being a control freak, that's hard for me.

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    1. Hey Nancy,

      A virtual assistant? Hmm. That sounds like a great idea. But I almost shudder to think of telling another soul all the things I'm already doing marketing-wise. At some point I'd really like to talk with you about how this is working out.

      I wonder where one finds virtual assistants? At the virtual bar??

      Maggie

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  13. Maggie, that sounds so good. And so EASY. LOL You are much more organized than I am, my friend. I need to be more motivated, I know, but boy sometimes, I just feel tired. LOL I'm going to come back and re-read this though, because it made me feel like I could control some of this, and motivated me -- now I just need to hold on to that motivation!
    Cheryl

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    1. Cheryl,

      You hit the nail on the head. The key is recognizing what we can control. If we focus too broadly or on things that are out of our control, our motivation plummets.

      Focus on what you can do. And I know you can do A LOT!

      Hugs, Maggie

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  14. Great article! I've got my goals set and ugh! I feel like the pokey puppy today - time to make a cup of tea and hit the keyboard. Cheers!
    Cynthia

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    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Setting up your goals is a good first step. Remember to find a way to either hold yourself accountable or to reward yourself for achieving your goals.

      Wishing you a bright 2013. Maggie

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  15. Maggie, what a great inspirational post. I think it's good to set goals early in the year and then go for it. I have to keep my goals realistic and I one of them is to keep the momentuem going. That's important.

    Smiles
    Steph

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    1. Momentum is so important, Steph. I've seen that time and again. When life gets in my way, I lose ground marketing. Sometimes that ground can't be made up.

      Loving that new widget on your blog. Congrats again on your BIG contest win!

      Maggie

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  16. For 2013, I'm determined to get a book contract! I haven't had one since 2009! :-(

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    Replies
    1. You can do it, Cecelia. I know you can! Dig in.

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