Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Declutter/Enhance: A Different Approach to my Writing Life
Last year was a productive one for me --- I think because of something I decided to do early in 2012 --- to change the approach to my writing career.
My intent was to declutter my writing life while enhancing it. The plan was to focus on what I enjoyed doing or what improved my bottom line and eliminate activities that created anxiety rather than fulfillment.
With only 24 hours in each day, I knew something had to give.
First, I scaled back on book reviews and author interviews. While I love to read and discover new authors, doing so took away from my personal writing time, so I took on fewer freelance assignments. Understandably, my income from that revenue stream decreased, but my personal writing time increased.
With my newly “discovered” time, I submitted to more markets. While I had my fair share of rejections, I also enjoyed a measure of success. I also entered more contests and happily won a few --- including one big one in the spring.
Next, I cut back on social media time. My blog posts decreased from 184 in 2011, to 117 in 2012. Strangely, my page views during 2012 more than doubled, and for a few months, they almost tripled. The largest increases in page visits occurred after I won first place in the Global Humor Category of the Erma Bombeck writing competition and when I was interviewed in the St. Louis Review. The drawback is that I haven’t visited blogs of my friends as much as I’d like.
Lastly, one of my goals for 2012 was to be a more engaged member of the writing community. This meant participating in readings, speaking to groups, and tapping into the spiritual side of my writing life. While this wasn’t a money-making venture, it has been gratifying. I’ve renewed friendships with writing friends and met some amazing new writers. One surprising benefit has been activities with my parish writing group. Although we are small, we share some lofty ambitions, including writing scripts for our parish’s 190th anniversary heritage celebration in 2013.
Overall, I believe my declutter/enhance approach has worked, and I plan to continue along the same path in 2013, with a few modifications. I will still blog and visit blogs of friends, although not as often as I’d like. With rare exceptions, I am taking a break from book reviews and author interviews. I plan to get outside more, spend time with friends and family, and see more of the world -- which should give me even more to write about!
Later this week I will post the fruits of my 2012 writing labors, broken down by: Professional Activities, Nominations/Awards, and Publications.
For me, this new approach has been a positive experience. How about you? Have you made any changes that have benefitted your writing life or personal life?
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