My 2013 New Year’s Intentions
Yeah, yeah – I know you’re all celebrating Valentine’s Day today. But since my husband and I are epically bad at getting each other gifts, and because I’m celebrating one year of self-employment and making a full-time living as a writer as of February 3rd, I want to share my New Year’s intentions with you instead.
This is the first year I’ve tried setting intentions for myself, rather than resolutions or goals. In the past, I’ve been the queen of New Year’s resolutions – my record being a whopping 27 “SMART goals” spread across six different categories. But here’s the thing… Whether I set 27 goals or just a handful, I’ve never once succeeded in sticking to a New Year’s resolution for an entire year.
I’m sure there are dozens of different things you could chalk this failure up to – from burnout to the inability to set priorities that still feel relevant after an entire year. But no matter. This year, I want to try something different – to set intentions, rather than specific goals, that’ll guide my decisions and priorities throughout the year.
I have no idea if this will wind up being any more effective than setting traditional New Year’s resolutions, but either way, here’s what I’m going to be focusing on until next February 3rd:
Learn to be a good parent
So… Funny story.
I’m a big believer in setting deadlines for specific actions and then telling the people in your life about your deadlines, so that the possible shame of failure compels you to stay on track (classy, right?). I’ve been kicking around ideas about starting this site for at least six months, but on November 11th, 2012, I made the commitment to a few friends and business contacts that I’d launch this site on January 1st, 2013.
The very next day, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, ETA July 2013.
Let me tell you, I have never been so tired in my life as I’ve been throughout this pregnancy. If you see things on this site that look a little rough around the edges or that aren’t quite up and running yet (*cough* email series full of helpful writing advice…), that’s because – despite my best laid plans to launch a fully-functional, fleshed-out website – I’ve been working my buns off just to stay on top of my full-time job, let alone my side projects.
I promise, all of these goodies are in the works, and I’ll keep you posted on a few upcoming site changes that are on their way. But really, my bigger intention here is to manage both my business and my job in a way that allows me to be a good parent as well.
I’m beyond fortunate that my chosen career allows me to work from wherever I want and that my income is sufficient to allow my husband to stay at home with the future alien baby (he’s over-the-moon excited about being a stay-at-home dad!). But it’s not just the logistical side of things I’m concerned about when I say that it’s my intention to learn to be a good parent.
I’m baffled by the idea of how you take a helpless infant and turn it into a responsible, mature adult (and I’m told there’s no manual given to new parents to clarifies this process). But honestly, I’m not going to figure it out hiding behind a computer screen. Because of this, my New Year’s intention is to be present with my child, to be open and vulnerable to the process of learning to parent, and to try my best to keep the joy of adding a new member of our family at the front of my mind.
(And yes, I hear you experienced parents out there laughing… I’ll get back to you on whether or not this intention is working after months of midnight feedings and a thousand diaper changes!)
Become a better writer
I’m a good writer, but I’m not a great writer. You’ve probably noticed a handful of grammatical errors or mistyped sentences on this site already (truly, it’s amazing that people pay me to do what I do!). But as with most things, recognizing that you have a problem is the first step towards solving the issue!
For my New Year’s intention, there are two specific areas I want to focus on:
- Deepening my knowledge in my chosen specialization area, and
- Making more time in my schedule for proofreading.
As you know, I do most of my writing work in the SEO and digital marketing fields. And really, when it comes to these two areas, there’s always something new to learn! Too often, I don’t make time for ongoing education because the pressure of impending deadlines forces me to write on topics that I already know. For this reason, one of my intentions this year is to set aside time that can be used to study up on some of the more technical aspects of my field in order to improve the depth and quality of my writing.
At the same time, I need to focus on reworking my schedule so that I have more time to thoroughly proofread content before it’s published. I’m fortunate to have a great team of editors and clients who double-check my work before it goes live, but I shouldn’t be relying on them. If I’m going to be the professional writer I want to be, proofreading and editing needs to play a bigger role in my regular schedule.
Help others launch their freelance writing careers
Finally, if I stop and think about how fortunate I’ve been to be able to take a skill I happen to have and turn it into a career that gives me more flexibility and more financial freedom than I ever dreamed of, I seriously start to tear up (and I don’t think that’s just the crazy-ass pregnancy hormones…).
I’m grateful to the clients that have given me work, to the mentors that have helped shape my career and to my fellow writers who give me ideas, encouragement and more. I’m fortunate to have had amazing teachers who have helped me to develop my writing skills and to have an incredible group of family members and friends who have never once told me, “Sarah, maybe you should take the safe route and just get a normal job…”
(Yep – now I need a tissue!)
Truly, the only way I can imagine even starting to repay the debts of gratitude I owe the people in my life is to pay it forward by helping others to launch their web content writing careers. I really believe that if I can do this, anyone else can do – there’s nothing that makes me more special or more qualified than the thousands of other would-be writers out there today.
So, how is this “helping” going to happen on this site? Well, a few things are already either up or in the works:
- The “Paid Writing Websites List” gives you an up-to-date look on opportunities to find paid writing work. If you sign up for this list, you’ll also get access to my email series full of helpful tips that’ll be launching in March 2013.
- The “Freelance Writer Rate Multipliers Guide” gives you a few specific strategies for escaping the content mills and making more money per article as a web content writer (UPDATE: Version 2 of the guide is being released tomorrow – pick up your copy today if you haven’t already!).
- I’m in the process of coaching a Write Your Revolution reader who reached out to me on how to set up his writing business and get his first client. I’m recording the entire process as we go and will keep you posted on how I’ll be making this documentation available to the WYR community in the next month or two.
But at this point, everything’s on the table in terms of future helping opportunities, including:
- Guides on other web content writer-specific topics
- Writer training courses
- Article critique services
- Individual business launch coaching
- Exclusive job listings that will hire from within the WYR community
If you have any ideas on how I can best help you in your web content writing career – whether it’s a topic you’d like me to cover or a service you’d like me to make available – I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Here’s to a happy, successful and productive New Year for all of us!