The wishbone has been broken, the Christmas cookies devoured, and the champagne bottles emptied. If you’re like most writers, this means getting down to business as the year starts anew. To get more serious about your career, you may have come up with a New Year’s resolution like the other 45% of Americans. Monetary and self-improvement resolutions top the list as the most common. However, you only have a 50% chance of sticking to your resolutions past the 6-month mark.
If you want to make it through the year with your resolutions intact, this means setting strong planning and writing goals for yourself. As a writer, this isn’t always easy. Mistakes will be made and hairs will be pulled, unless you try avoiding some common missteps in the first place.
Setting Vague Monetary Goals
Every writer wants to make more money. However, making more money is not a specific goal—and the bar is set too low. A mere $5 extra in your checking account will mean you met the goal, but with only enough money to buy a fancy cup of coffee. You should instead come up with a manageable, specific, and realistic monetary figure.
To do this, think like a brick and mortar worker. These employees receive an annual 3% raise on average with individuals in high tech or specialized fields receiving a 5% increase in pay. To stay on par with your peers, choose a 5% pay increase. Don’t forget about inflation though. Inflation rates vary from year to year, but a 2% increase should account for cost of living increases. The grand total should be a 7% increase in your income. If you made $30,000 last year, then your goal should be to make $32,100 this year. Even a 10% increase to $33,000 is manageable if you are gung ho about making more money.
Once you have determined your earnings increase, break it up into tangible bits. For example, $3,000 broken up over 52 weeks is about $58 a week. Overall, you should shoot for $635 a week or $127 a day for five days each week. In WritersDomain terms, that’s between 8 and 9 (4-star) standard articles a day.
Failing To Keep Track Of Your Earnings
You may feel a sense of accomplishment after setting clear monetary goals. But as swiftly as your plan emerges, obstacles will threaten your success. From a poorly timed case of rotavirus that ravages your family (and your sanity), to blizzards that swoop in and knock out your Wi-Fi, life happens. But that doesn’t mean you should throw your goals out the window after one, or even several, setbacks. You can’t get back on track though, without a good record of your goals, your earnings, and your weekly setbacks.
If you do not have Excel, OpenOffice, Sheets, or another type of spreadsheet software, then now is the time to get it. Or, if you like to store your data on the cloud, then Google Sheets, Sheetster, or Bullsheet might work for you. Download a template like this family budget planner. Track both projected and actual income and add expenses. This way, if you can’t make up for lost income one month, you can increase earnings the next month or reduce expenses that throw off your savings or debt reduction plans. Pay special attention to the entertainment, gifts, and daily living categories to cut expenses.
If you are eager to track daily earnings, weekly goals, or more complex profits and losses, then take a look at some of the free financial management templates that are offered for Excel.
As you start to track your earnings, print your spreadsheets and place them in a dedicated binder. This will help you track earning trends from month to month and year to year so you can better attain your goals.
For example, if your daughter always catches the flu around the same time in February or if she forces you to schedule a birthday bash extravaganza, then schedule a few days off during the month once you spot the trend. If Christmas chaos forces you to take the last week off in December, then schedule in a mental health holiday too. Calculate income losses for the “vacation” days and increase earnings a small amount over the remaining 50 or 51 weeks.
Forgetting To Nurture Your Passion
Most of us started writing as a way to turn our passion into a career. Meeting monetary goals and watching 5-star articles stack up in the queue are surely hallmarks of a successful wordsmith. As the saying goes though, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Writing second-person informational articles and coming up with inspiring ideations daily isn’t likely to turn you into a psychopath wielding an ax. However, it may cause mental fatigue and a desire for creativity.
Make sure to nurture your passion and work creative aspirations into your writing goals. A haiku a day, a short narration once a week, or 10 new pages a month for your murder mystery novel are all good writing goals. If you’re unsure where your creative center lies or if inspiration has failed to come calling for some time, then try heading here for some interesting, and sometimes odd, writing prompts. Try your hand at a post and you may find a kindly redditor eager to expand on your tale. Be mindful to spellcheck though, because the grammar police are always watching on Reddit. If collective writing is not your thing, then try some of these prompts to get your creative juices flowing.
Keep all your texts and go over them at the end of the year. If you stick with your goals, you might find your true creative voice emerging. And your improvement as a writer will be clear. After all, practice makes perfect (or at least better).
The New Year undoubtedly comes in with a bang each January… But your writing goals may often be left in the attic with the mistletoe by the end of the month. Don’t fret! This year can, and will, be different as long as you set clear monetary goals, keep track of your earnings, and nurture your creative passions.
This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.