What You Did Right This Year

What I’m reading: Swimming with Crocodiles by Will Chaffey
What’s on the iPod: Trash Tongue Talker by Jack White

The appliances are in. We spent Tuesday entertaining delivery people and installers. After that, we rested for two days. Today, we plan for cabinets. I’m actually getting used to the process; it’s a routine now. That makes it much easier to live in the unfinished state. It’s a new challenge, and each little victory is exhilarating. Plus I gave myself permission to do bare-bones decorating this year. I’m going into this holiday in one of the best moods I’ve had in a long while. There are benefits to having plywood floors and holes in the kitchen cabinet spaces.

I spent the last few days in kitchen mode — Tuesday was lost to the appliance delivery people. All. Day. We were able to wave goodbye to the last installer after 3 pm, so I didn’t get any work done. I did, however, have time to make my first meal –my paella recipe with smoked paprika — on the new stove.

Yesterday I talked with a new client, got a proposal out, and then made it an early day so I could get to my holiday shopping. Last night I had time to sort out the kitchen (things were moved and needed new homes) and do a smidgen of holiday decorating in the dining room.

I had a chance to think about 2013 from a work perspective, too. It was lean this year, owing to surgery, recovery, weddings, funerals, and the like. I’m okay with it, too. I could drive myself nuts about not hitting the same levels I did last year or I could chalk it up to life getting in the way. Life, indeed, interrupted this year.

For all that we do to earn a living – the struggles, the missed goals, the choppy marketing — we do plenty of things right. But you don’t hear about that, do you? Well, today you will. Here are some of the things I’m sure you did right:

You marketed. Sure, you did. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have worked at all, right? Even if your marketing is of the hit-and-miss variety, you tried. And you probably vowed to continue marketing, maybe even writing it down in the form of a plan? If so, give yourself a thumbs up.

You challenged yourself. Maybe not a lot, but if you got up and attempted this job every day, that’s a challenge in itself. Maybe you tried a new magazine or a new social media outlet. Maybe you looked for work in a  new way or wrote about something you’ve never written about before. Whatever you did, you tried.

You didn’t fall for gimmicks. Or if you did, you realized it and walked away. There are way too many people out there using alienation, controversy, or phony limitations as marketing ploys or as ways to get you to work for less than you deserve. Your radar probably went up at some point and you began questioning the truth. Good for you.

You took each job seriously. Even if it scared the bejeezes out of you, you sucked it up and tried. You didn’t waffle on deadlines, you didn’t walk away from the job without telling the client, and you held to your commitment. You may not have succeeded on every first draft, but dammit, you delivered that first draft every time.

You didn’t underestimate your value. Even if you took that gig that paid too little at first, you realized just how much more you’re worth, and you adjusted going forward. You raised your prices when the work outpaced the hours you had in a day. You held firm to your price when you realized the potential client wasn’t valuing your skills. And you turned down the job or the pay or the client that didn’t fit.

You persevered. When you fell, you got back up. Clients said no, you moved on to the next client. You didn’t let the small stuff stop you. Instead, you learned from it and took that lesson forward with you. No matter what’s happened, you’re still in that chair every day working toward your goal.

Writers, what else have you done right this year?
How has that changed from last year?

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  • Anne Wayman December 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    made deadlines
    took time for myself when I needed it

    (getting new appliances installed sounds like work to me, even if it isn't writing work… congrats!)

  • Lori December 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    You've got that right, Anne. It was more work than I thought, and I didn't do the installing.

  • Paula December 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Have I mentioned I'm extremely jealous of your Wolf stove and new kitchen?

    This year I did some things right, but the best was undoubtedly "firing" the chronic Late Payer. And guess what happened? I can't take credit for it, but a friend of mine who was their go-to freelancer, writing multiple articles per issue for their three magazines, quit by informing them she could no longer take the utter disrespect the owner and publisher have for writers. Guess what happened next…their two top editors quit. One had a new job lined up, the other finally gave up and quit. (She just landed a new job and I loved seeing a stream of congratulations for her on LinkedIn!) The guys with no respect for the editorial process had to take charge. Last I heard they were looking for a couple unsuspecting editors to take over. I hope every candidate sees through their false promises.

  • Cathy Miller December 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Okay, I'll play the glass half-full game. One of my favorites 🙂

    Things I did right – 1) followed through on my SlideShare experiment-looking forward to adjusting my approach for even more leads/projects, 2) gained 3 new clients that look like they may become anchor clients, 3) made some new connections that may result in strategic partnership in 2014 (hope springs eternal)

  • Sharon Hurley Hall December 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Things I did right: got new clients; raised my rates; forgave myself for what I didn't achieve.

  • Lori December 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    That you did, Sharon. 🙂 Sounds like a pretty terrific attitude.