Every year on New Year’s Day, I’m shocked that a new year has arrived. It’s always a surprise that I’ve somehow managed to pull myself through another year relatively unscathed. I’m one of those middle-aged people who sometimes still begin writing the year with 19, even though we’re now in our 19th year of the new century. I like to blame my faux pas on no longer working in an office where I have to write and/or sign the date on documents every day. I can find an excuse for anything!
I’ve already written about my New Year’s Resolutions. In that post, I indicated I wasn’t going to do a review of how successful I was in following my resolutions last year. Spoiler alert: They did not go well. But 2017 wasn’t all bad. I did learn some things. I thought it might be nice to list those things. So, here we go:
If done right, blogging is a ton of work. I now average 2-3 blog posts a week. Sure, that’s a lot of figuring out what to write and actually writing it, but it’s more than that. Blogging alone won’t get you anywhere. In order to build that author platform, you need to follow other blogs, read those blogs on at least a semi-regular basis, comment and like them, and share them on social media. Wow! I’m tired just typing that up. The WordPress app has been a lifesaver to me with this.
Instagram is actually kind of fun. I held off joining Instagram as I didn’t want to have yet another social media platform to maintain. I’m not sure why I finally took the leap, but I’m glad I did. It’s actually a fun app, and it’s not that hard to maintain. I try to post one picture a day. Additionally, I go on the app three times a day for five minutes to scroll through the posts of those I follow and like and comment. C’est tout!
No one will take you seriously, if you don’t take yourself seriously. This has been a big lesson for me this year. I accepted a position as vice-president of a volunteer organization. Although it’s a volunteer position, everyone in the organization, including the other board members, expected me to be available all the time because ‘I can write whenever’ or ‘Writing is just my hobby.’ Um, what? I’ve had to ‘own’ being a writer. This has caused me quite a bit of anxiety. For some reason, I didn’t have a problem proclaiming myself a lawyer before the ink on my law degree dried, but calling myself a writer is still difficult even though I now have published twelve books.
Time management is an essential skill. I’ve always thought I was great at organization and time management. But that was before I was trying to balance the different jobs of being a writer, being a board member, and running a business. I never realized balancing a gazillion tasks at one job was a different skill set than balancing different jobs. Now I know. Boy, do I know.
Author marketing is constantly changing. One of the difficult aspects of being an indie author is handling all the marketing yourself. This is made even more difficult by the fact that marketing strategies that worked last year no longer work this year. In addition to performing marketing tasks such as drafting ads and filling out a gazillion online forms, authors need to continually research marketing strategies as they are ever-changing. Talk about annoying.
What did you learn this year? Feel free to share in the comments.