It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
Patricia Sargeant discusses developing a New Year's Theme for the year ahead, and how sticking to a plan is going to be integral to your success.
Is That Part of the Plan?
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions anymore. More often than not, it feels as though I’m setting myself up for failure. Ha! Instead I do New Year’s Themes. Sadly, I can’t point to a lot of successes with those, either. Ha ha! My theme for 2017 was Discipline. That didn’t quite work out as well as I hoped. My theme for 2018 was Productivity. Again, that was well-intentioned, but it fell a bit short.
Still, with hope beating in my heart, as October rushed into November, I started looking for my 2019 theme. As fate would have it, at the end of November, I met a friend for coffee to discuss her first-ever annual holiday women’s day out luncheon. It was a networking event for career women. She’d asked me to be the keynote speaker and the theme was Empowerment. I was quite excited.
As friends often do, we chatted a bit before getting down to business. My friend’s first-ever event actually sold out. In fact, she’d added extra seats because she surpassed her target registration. Way cool. When I told her I was proud of her, she laughed and said that she was relieved she’d met her attendance goal. If she hadn’t, she would have had to dip into her savings to pay the event vendors. She said she could hear her husband’s reaction if that had happened. He would have said, “Is that part of the plan? I don’t think that’s part of the plan.”
I stopped laughing.
That question—“Is that part of the plan?”—resonated with me. It put into perspective how I needed to approach my career. For 2018, I thought I had a plan but, in retrospect, I didn’t. I wasn’t following a plan. I was following my panic. In that moment, I could clearly see how scattershot my approach to 2018 was. I allowed myself to be distracted by every new and shiny object with even the remotest possibility of helping my career grow. Without consideration of a formal plan, I convinced myself to go to “that event” and to write “that blog” and to try “this project” all in the hope of finding something—anything—that would build my name recognition. I wasn’t being strategic. And in the end, I wasn’t being productive. Remember, Productivity had been my 2018 theme. But productivity doesn’t mean producing a whole heck of a lot of stuff. It means creating as many substantive—high-quality—works as you can.
Having said all that, my theme for 2019 will be—drum roll, please!—Working My Plan. In addition to distributing two new titles and reissuing two contemporary romances, my goal is to grow my readership. It’s a measurable goal. Therefore, before I commit to any projects, agree to any events or accept any assignments, I’m going to ask myself, “Is that part of the plan?” If the answer is no, then, regrettably, I’ll decline the opportunity in deference to working my plan.
Season’s greetings and best wishes for a well-planned 2019.
Patricia's latest release, Campaign for Her Heart, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.