The Goal is What Exactly?

Good lord, it’s slow around here! I’m sitting for eight hours or more with absolutely no work coming in save for yesterday’s ongoing routine. And thank God for it – it will be the first check I receive in 2008 and it will make this lean time a lot less lean.

So what am I doing? Searching for opportunities. It’s a rare gift having time to market, and I’m taking advantage. So far, I’ve sent out 10 brochures this week, contacted two wayward clients, and have brainstormed on where I might find other work. I’ve taken one of those gawd-awful “tests”, but since this was an area I’d not worked in before, and since I established in writing that my test won’t be used and I’ll retain copyright, I was okay with it. Besides, there’s nothing happening here – why not spend the time learning a new niche of an old industry?

I’m financially strapped, but so far the gifts have been paid for in cash only. Charging it would defeat my goal of paying down my entire debt – business and personal – and I’m seeing real progress this year.

So, what are you doing this week? Are you allowing yourself to relax and enjoy the pre-holiday madness? Or are you, like me, going crazy from lack of work and that same sinking feeling that the new year won’t deliver on those projects you’ve been courting? I have three irons in the fire (four if you count the one I suspect will never come about), and if any of them come through, I’m in great shape. Well, one already did, so I’m able to untense a few muscles, but not many (because we know that without the contract, the deal isn’t a deal). If two come through, I’ll be overworked (happily, joyfully, I’ll work 12-hour days if need be!). If all of them work out, yikes! From these fingers to God’s ear, know what I’m saying?

I read Anne Wayman’s post over at The Golden Pencil yesterday about goal setting. I love her take on it. Please read it – but in essence, Anne says that setting goals because you feel you have to isn’t the best approach. Set them because you want to, and after you’ve done some soul searching and contemplating.

It’s true – we see a new year, a new beginning, and we run to it like lemmings without a true sense of direction. Let’s set goals! Let’s strive for greatness! Let’s become famous! But without knowing what it would take to make us happy, what the hell good is a goal, anyway? You want to make a million dollars – great! Are you doing that in one year or one month? Are you changing your entire marketing and writing perspective, or are you going to expect to sell 300 times the articles you’re selling now?

Anne makes a point about knowing how to set realistic goals. She says it in context to the beginning writer who may not know how to do so, but do any of us really understand how to formulate sensible goals for ourselves?

If you have any ideas, post ’em here. How do you set your goals, and how has that worked for you in the past?

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  • devonellington December 18, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Remember the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions we work on every year?

    This year, instead of being linear and totally business-oriented, the questions are more holistic, yet still build on the questions from previous years.

    I left it up on Live Journal until the end of the year:

    Regarding work, I just landed so many assignments, I don’t know whether I’m coming, going, or standing still. But it’s all good, and it’s giving me ideas. I need to rethink and redo my brochure. I want to do a big mailing at the top of the year.

    I’m behind on cards — I’m only up to the “L’s” — but I’m determined to get them done.

    Off to the library to do research — i’ve got a shot at a slot in another BenBella anthology!

  • Lori December 18, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Geezuz, Devon. You make me dizzy with all you’ve got going! :)) Congrats on all the gigs – that’s fantastic!

  • Jessica Anne Elizabeth December 19, 2007 at 5:51 am

    So you know how I had a 4-5 week slump where I made $90? — I just got 3 rush projects – 1 was 300 or so articles and I just turned in the last one — from Thursday to today *about 5 full days*, insane huh? About 200-250 words…anyhow, I’m not so worried about taking 3 weeks off and paying bills next month. It’s weird everyone else is slow when I’m busy and vice versa, I have a lot of clients too that have tons of projects but will wait till I return MID JAN, so I’m excited I’m coming back to a lot too — I hope things pick up!!

    Also consider doing some side income (I am majorly marketing my PLR packs in 2008 — I’m adding to an existing ebook and republishing and creating a huge set of HOW TO / 101 type of books on diff. types of writing, and then publishing them altogether in one book and selling on lulu (probably 150-200 page book) – WOO HA. I’m busy lady, and I’m editing my 30-40 pages of my book I did get done in a few weeks in November –and I’m launching a magazine JANUARY/FEB and am coordinating every aspect of it for the site I helped to co-find

  • Lori December 19, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Amen for your good fortune, Jess! I’m glad someone’s reaping the benefits right now! :))

  • Jennifer December 19, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I just did a post on my goals for the year (and left you some link love too!). What works for me in goal setting is keeping things easy. I have a strong perfectionistic streak and if I fall short of my goals, I tend to get frustrated and stop trying. If I find I’m falling short of my goals and giving up, I just make them easier–that keeps me in the game.

    For example, I usually can count on myself to write a certain number of words per day and that’s how I estimate turn-around for client work. This past two weeks I’ve been doing half that. I’m not sure why; maybe it’s the holidays or maybe the work I’ve been doing just turned out to be a little more time-consuming. Anyway, last week I was stressed out because I wasn’t meeting my goals. This week I adjusted my goals to half my normal output, finished the job today, and feel totally relaxed about everything. It’s all a mind game, really.

  • Leigh December 29, 2007 at 1:01 am

    I have been contemplating my writing business lately, and I don’t know if I have the heart for it anymore. I took a FT job for the health insurance, which Lori knows I definitely need and use CONSTANTLY. I work in HR, which means I am a glorified baby sitter most of the time (“What, you didn’t hand in your time card?” “Have you signed the new harassment policy? Why did you take a 2-hour lunch?”)

    I’ve tried to keep up with my writing, but I can’t seem to find the clients who will pay my rates. I have narrowed down my niche, written down who my ideal client is, and I am still falling short on the marketing side of things.

    The sad thing is, I realized yesterday that I’d only have to write three articles per day at my current rate to break $100K this year – I just can’t seem to make myself do the marketing.

  • Lori December 31, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Leigh, don’t kick yourself. You have to do what’s right for YOU, and at this moment, a full-time job is what’s right. Benefits, remember? This freelance stuff is tough enough without worrying about health insurance.

    Thanks for the link love, Jennifer. 🙂

  • Leigh January 2, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I know, insurance is important. Especially since it use it pretty much every week. I had a doctor’s appointment on 12/18, blood drawn on 12/19, radiology tests done on 12/20, another doctor’s appointment on 12/26, etc. It’s definitely a must-have for me.

    Funny story…(funny now, not so funny last week). I was all riled up and flustered over a mistake I made at work, plus people were driving me crazy in general. I had to go to the bank to put money in our payroll account. So, I drove to the bank, deposited the checks, and then stopped to eat. I ate, drove back to work, and realized after I parked that the tube from the bank drive-through was in my front seat! Then I had to drive back to the bank and explain that I stole their tube.