All Change: Review of my year and going forward into 2013

I’m not normally one for life reviews and goal setting and, as I’ve got older, this has become an even more pronounced trait. It seems that I tend to drift with the wind, being led by my ideas but rarely paying attention to my intuition; I’ve come to realise that this probably isn’t a very helpful thing to do. So, with the best of intentions, I have decided to review what happened in 2012 to see if I can learn from where I’ve been, in order to set some goals for 2013.

To say that the last few years haven’t been easy would be understating the enormity of the change that has taken place in my world. I went from a very comfortable marriage to being adrift in a cold and lonely sea in 2008. I cast myself overboard so I can’t complain, since then I’ve knife and forked my way through sorting the essentials of daily life, setting up a business, getting the Hysterectomy Association on track and finding myself in a much nicer relationship. It also turned out that money became a huge issue as I went from having plenty to seeing none, often wondering where the next rent payment was going to come from.

The strongest theme to have come through 2012 is that of finally stabilising, albeit with a few minor hiccups along the way. How life has stabilised has come through a series of ‘unexpected events’, as such things often do, the biggest of these has been the sea change in the way that social media is used, and this has had a profound impact on my business.

I started working with clients on how to use the Internet more effectively back in the late 1990’s; a large part of this was recommending the early adoption of social networking type activities to engage with their audiences. Back then though the majority of the world had yet to catch up and I often felt as if I was singing into the wind. Suddenly though, it the world caught up and I’ve been riding the wave over the last two years.

The most enjoyable part of my business life in 2012 has been the development of a six month professional development programme for businesses using social media. Although the tools I’ve created are generic, the process each business goes through is far from standard and it’s a joy to watch so many people finding their feet in the world as it is today. The web development side of business has also progressed in ways I’d never have expected; Steve and I have found ourselves with a few dozen clients, more in the pipeline and a hosting/support business on the side.

Personally, my year has been one of acceptance. It began when I had the email from wordpress.com telling me what my year in blogging had been like. Given that I was telling other people this was what they needed to do if they wanted to be successful at promoting themselves online, I was ashamed of how little I’d achieved. Writing about it in 5 top tips to help me blog more effectively was the spur I needed to begin working out how I’d actually change the whole thing around.

However, it took me another blog post about how to change a life before I began to gather together the thoughts that would actually help me to work out what to do next. And … it wasn’t until 11th March that I finally had the breakthrough I needed and wrote The Art of ReInvention or how to start again.

Realising I was already the author I’d dreamed of becoming was a bit like being hit over the head with a large codfish, it was my ‘duh!’ moment. I stepped out of being the Linda I’d been before and stepped into being Linda the Author; my blog came to life and I joined in for the ride. I’m pleased to say I put my suggestions into practice and my blog has flourished beautifully, with loads more posts added, lots of lovely followers, a fab commenting community and thousands upon thousands of visitors.

2012 was also the year I stepped into another role, that of publisher, when I began to use my own publishing company on behalf of other writers. So far, just one book has been published and it’s called ‘Be An Author: What would it be life if you write your book‘ by Anne Orchard.

Running a writing competition has got to have been one of the most stressful experiences ever. My concerns ranged from ‘will anyone enter’ to ‘who’s going to judge it’.  The hardest part was telling the poetry entrants that I was cancelling their contest due to lack of interest. I gave all the entrants the choice of staying in the competition for possible publication or a refund of their entrance fee; I was surprised and pleased to see that almost all opted to stay in. Eventually, it all came together beautifully and the top ten winners were announced; my last task from this particular competition is to let the overall short story winner know, and publish the anthology.

There have been a few lessons learned along the way as well; some of them I’ve explained and others I’ve kept quiet about. The biggest of these is one that has only recently revealed itself, but to explain how it happended I need to be honest about where it’s come from.

I’d like to suggest that almost everyone has something they can be proud of and I’m no exception. My big thing has always been that I walk in the same shoes I suggest other people wear; I’ve always been quite adamant about this. In the last month I’ve had to accept that I too am fallible (surely not, I hope I hear you exclaim!).

I love to make things as automatic as possible; I can’t bear doing the same thing twice and I will go out of my way to give myself as easy a time as possible. To be fair, I am running two businesses and writing on the side and need to maximise what I can do in a day; but that’s no excuse for ignoring people.

It started back in September when I was going on holiday for a couple of weeks and wanted to keep up with the strict blogging schedule I’d set myself; I’d been trying to blog every week day since March and had managed to do it most weeks. The reality was I really needed a break and didn’t want to be working every day I was away. I set up scheduled posts for the whole of my holiday and left. When I got back I failed to follow up properly on what I’d been doing, and the people I’d supported through my Author Interviews didn’t get the level of input earlier interviewees had received. I then failed to blog to my schedule through October because I was so busy catching up with business from September. When November and December came it seemed easier to schedule a months worth of posts each time, but in doing so I lost the engagement I treasured. Not good!

The same happened with Twitter … and December in particular has seen ‘me’ absent, even though I’ve been doing what I say others shouldn’t, which is only broadcasting a set of scheduled tweets!

Having said all that, I have learned something very valuable along the way, a lesson I plan to take into 2013 with me.

The future is bright and I’m committing to a series of actions and goals; in twelve months time I shall revisit this post to see how I’ve done.

  1. I’m in the process of revising LinkedIn Made Easy for the third edition; that should be completed by the end of this week
  2. I’ve set up a Kickstarter project for a new hysterectomy book and will launch it later in January
  3. I plan to complete Social Meme – the online version of my social media professional development programme – and market it too … whoo hooo!
  4. I shall get all of my current books converted into all formats – finally!
  5. I have several books I want to write but the first one will be the Hysteria 2012 Writing Competition Anthology
  6. A new Hysteria writing competition will be launched on 1st April with a story and a flash fiction contest

My ways of working will need to change. I am bothered by those who fail to engage in social media; to find that I’ve been just as bad has been quite galling. To address this, I’m no longer going to attempt a blog everyday and will focus on just three things here on Woman on the Edge of Reality:

  1. Thursday Throng author interviews
  2. Weekly marketing hints and tips for authors
  3. Fiction writing

This means that everything will happen or it won’t, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I will continue to run the competition updates and weekly words (when I get some inspiration). I will also probably use scheduling more judiciously, for the author interviews perhaps, as the materials for these come in months in advance anyway.

The effort I put in to my engagement, such as replying, seeking out and commenting on other people’s work should step up a gear simply because I’m giving myself the time to do it.

So that’s 2012 in review for me and some loose plans for 2013. What are you planning to do … if anything?

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18 thoughts on “All Change: Review of my year and going forward into 2013

  1. susanscottsa says:

    Great article Linda which I must read more fully but just to say well done for deciding on your 3 areas of focus which sound so great! And as you say the other 6 goals you’ve set yourself!
    Am much looking forward to reading your book on my Kindle! Am reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch which I’m much enjoying but it is hardly a quick read. Am not implying that yours is! What with Christmas, New Year and all, family to feed etc so little time for reading! All best wishes for 2013 and may you achieve all your goals set for yourself.

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    • Linda says:

      Thanks for the compliment Susan and I’m really hoping that with all the build up that you actually enjoy my book – being hot on the heals of Middlemarch may not do it any favours 😉 Happy New Year and I hope 2013 is BRILLIANT for you too.

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  2. Madison Woods says:

    Whew! You had and still have a lot on your plate. I, too, had to back off of the daily blogging. Now I do it at least 3x but most often 4-5x/week and I don’t beat myself up for it if I skip a day or two more than I’d planned.

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    • Linda says:

      Yep, it was a difficult decision because I’d committed to trying to blog five days a week on woman on the edge of reality and also three times a week on the hysterectomy association. But, finally realising that I’d over committed to that was the kick up the butt I needed to tell myself I needed to slow down. So I admire the fact you came to the same decision too. 🙂

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      • Madison Woods says:

        I still haven’t learned the lesson of not committing more than I’m capable of delivering yet. I keep doing it time after time, and the thought of breaking commitments is very disturbing to me, not something I take lightly. Thus, I end up grinding myself to the ground trying to uphold them all 😦 I like to think I’m slowly beginning to get better at not getting to that predicament to begin with. but the progress is at a snail’s pace. At least I’m getting to where I recognize earlier the trouble I’ve given myself, lol.

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      • Linda says:

        At least you’re progressing, even if it is slowly Madison, I know many people who never move an inch and wonder why things keep crashing down around them. Besides, it we didn’t take on commitments, imagine how bored we’d be – I think taking a leaf out of Joanna’s book might be beneficial for me too 🙂

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      • Madison Woods says:

        Yes 🙂 Her book has brought me back to thinking in a way I haven’t in years. It’s almost as if I’ve missed myself. *sigh* I’m glad to be back. But I do need to take on less commitments so I can focus more on the ones most important to me. That’s one of my resolutions for the new year. Learn to say no – to MYSELF. LOL.

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      • Linda says:

        That is the BEST piece of advice I’ve heard in a long time Madison, and thanks for sharing it so succinctly – Perhaps at the end of this year we can both chat and review whether we were actually successful in saying No to ourselves 🙂

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  3. Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) says:

    This sounds like a great transition, Linda! I think when we have so many projects on the go (either in terms of number, or all the little and not-so-little tasks and ideas within each of them) we need to regularly review where we are, and in what direction we want to head! To be honest, I’d wondered how on earth you’d fitted everything in.

    Hooray for your deep breath and introspection and fresh approach, and I hope it all works out either as you hope, or even better than you planned. 🙂 I’ve done the same review-and-plan for both businesses so that I really, truly enjoy everything I’m doing, even if it means publishing less.

    Good luck with it all! 🙂

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    • Linda says:

      I think I managed it by drinking gallons of tea, working evenings and weekends and most early mornings too – to be honest though, I’ve realised that burn-out is a real hazard we need to avoid. I think I feel a blog post coming on Joanna!

      Good luck with your changes too – ultimately I think such reflection can only be beneficial for everyone – the author, the reader and the general public. 🙂

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  4. TooFullToWrite says:

    Great post Linda. I really need to be more disciplined with myself and it starkly brings into focus how good your plan is, thanks to the work and attention to detail that you have put into it. My problem is that I loathe the review process so much because it is always painful to go through in my full time job (I work in Sales, with delusions of grandeur that one day I will be recognised for my writing instead). However, like you have done, I will have to knuckle under and develop a strategy for myself. So far it amounts to continuing to post a Flash Fiction piece and poem every week on my blog, along with working on Short Stories, Scripts and a novel, along with reading copious amounts of books and a fair few blog posts – I think that just about covers it, don’t think I can spread the jam any further but it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be so creative – I’m hoping to slip in some music in there at some point too! I wish you a plethora of success and happiness in 2013 and relish looking forward to reading/commenting/chatting in the future – have a good evening.

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    • Linda says:

      I do understand where you are coming from David, I have avoided doing the whole five year plan thing for so long but in the end, it just seemed the most sensible way to go. Ultimately, we can add lots of new content to our blogs but unless we go out and talk to other people too (like you are doing with me now) there is little chance anyone else will see it, or be interested. It’s that combination of sharing what we love to do AND reaching out to others through the engagement process that eventually makes it all come together beautifully. It’s great to have a lovely community to share with and I really love chatting to the people I meet and reading their stuff.

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