Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year and A New Perspective: I'm a Professional

Every year I reflect upon my accomplishments before I set forth new goals and ideals for the new year. I shared my methodology for developing new goals at the beginning of 2010. And I pretty much follow this method every year.

This year I sat down to write my list of twenty-five accomplishments for the year and wrote over forty! Why so many? Because I wasn't just reflecting upon my work/writing accomplishments. No. I was reflecting upon my life and family accomplishments as a wife, a mother, and a friend.

I'm proud of all that I accomplished as a writer, but I am also very proud of my personal accomplishments. It's been an interesting year filled with challenges. My hubby had a hip replacement surgery, I taught my daughter to drive, I said goodbye to my father-in-law, I hosted friends and family for visits, I traveled from here to NYC with my daughter on an epic road trip to tour colleges, I recommitted myself to building a community in my new city in Alabama, and I explored new places.

This was a great year.

As I sat down to renew my focus for 2011, I realized that with all the different hats I wear, I can no longer limit myself to just one set of 5 Top 5 Priorities. No. I am officially a full time writer with many goals, priorities, and commitments. I am also a mother, a wife, and a friend. These two areas of my life need to be separated and treated differently. Therefore, I see myself as a career writer who needs to organize her life accordingly.

And so I made two top 5 priority lists for this first quarter. Each list will be reviewed every quarter. And even better, my darling hubby agrees that I need help with the household duties because I am "working" now. Now I have two master schedules. A schedule for writing and handling all the marketing/business/volunteer duties alongside my household schedule. And the family minions, Darling Teen and Darling Hubby will help with household tasks.

It has happened. By taking myself seriously as a writer, and by gradually increasing my workload and my commitment to my dreams, I have become a professional career writer. Sure, I don't get paid (not unless you count the quarters I pay myself), but I am a professional. And the proof is in the way my family and friends view me. I'm not just that lady who hauls her teen to voice lessons or who does laundry. Nope. I'm the "writer in the family."

And I like it.

Self-respect. Taking myself seriously. It means being taken seriously by others.

Try it this year. Respect your goals, your ambitions, your hopes, and your dreams. You might discover that others in your world do the same.


Pam said...

Great post, Christine. I just read your post from December 31, 2009, too. I think I will get myself a copy of "Life Makeovers" and follow the plan. I tend to focus on what I need to do without giving myself any credit for my accomplishments. No wonder I feel burned out so much of the time. Thank you for the inspiration.

Christine said...

Hi Pam: I love Life Makeovers. Every year I pull out the book and go through the first few chapters. I am going through it again this year as a refresher. It is so easy because it is one little snippet of advice per week and easy to follow. I credit that book with getting me focused and on my way to writing my first novel. Every year I add more to that plate and grow as a result.

Let me know if you get the book and what you think about it. I think it is important to take care of yourself so you can be the person you are supposed to be in this world.


Ellen Brickley said...

I'm tempted to pick it up myself. I really like how it seems to focus on part accomplishments. I tried writing a list of 25 accomplishments myself and was very surprised how quickly it wrote up! And if asked, I would have said I achieved very little this year.

Melissa said...

Sounds like a book I need! :) Thanks for reminding me that all accomplishments count. I too tend to forget that just being a mom of three kids and surviving the daily routine is an accomplishment all in itself. Definitely adding the "take myself seriously" to the list. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

I queried two books in 2010 so I think that was an accomplishment but the biggest one, to me, was finishing the fence in my yard.

For this year, I'd like to land an agent but I don't think that's up to me. That's up to them.

And I think when I finished my first book, that's when I became a professional writer. I take it very seriously and hope to become a professional author. Lots of hard work there. I am not afraid.

Christine said...

Ellen: I think that's awesome that you wrote down your accomplishments for the year and realized that you did do a lot! Way to go!! I highly recommend the book. Each week there is a new focus. I incorporated a lot of it into my life and it really made a difference.

Christine said...

Hi Melissa: You are a mom who works hard and keeps things up and running! Wow! Great accomplishment. I remember one year I put down that I drove my daughter everywhere. That was my accomplishment because if I hadn't driven her, she wouldn't have participated in so many cool things.

Christine said...

Anne: I am in awe that you built a fence! Wow. And querying was a great process for you. Now you have requests. I did put down "get an agent" on my goal list only to give myself ownership over taking the steps to achieve the goal. I don't think I queried enough last year. I pitched a lot. But querying? MMMM. That's got to get more routine.

Stay tuned :-)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Taking yourself seriously is very important! Because it really does bleed over into how others see you. And you will get paid for your writing eventually. :)

I always felt like I needed to explain my writing, like I needed to defend myself and say that I wasn't just sitting around at home while my hubby went to work. I no longer feel that way, but I did for the longest time. It's natural - and yet you have every right to expect to be treated like a professional! The paycheck is a relief when it comes, but it's not the mark of whether or not you should take your work seriously -- or whether or not others should either.

Good luck in 2011, Christine! :)

Christine said...

Hi Lynn: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit the veranda. I'm reading your second book right now and LOVING IT!

I appreciate your kind words. You are someone who I look up to and see as a beacon in this industry. Your gracious and professional attitude is how I want to be now and when I am published.


Jen Daiker said...

Such dedication Christine, it's amazing. I love how you take time to sit down and evaluate where you are at and where you want to be. It's really nice to see.

Having moved to Houston three years ago I have had to re-evaluate myself completely and it's been a tough road but I think making Top Priorities would really make a difference.

Thanks for an awesome post!

Christine said...

Hi Jen: I used to live in Houston. That was an adjustment for me as I moved from Canada. But I ended up making some fabulous friends and enjoying my stay. I love the LIFE MAKEOVER book. It is the catalyst for all my life moves in the past 5 years. It certainly helps me focus in on what needs to be accomplished and it helps me celebrate what I have accomplished, too.

Happy New Year!


Gwen Hernandez said...

I agree that how you see yourself is key to how others perceive you. I've only been at this two years now, but my family can see how serious I am and how much work I put in. And when I take my work seriously, so do they.

I always liken what we do to commission-based sales. You have to put in a lot of work up front before the paychecks start coming in, but no one would say a salesperson isn't working if they're making calls all day long.

That usually gets people nodding. Good luck with you 2011 goals!

Christine said...

Hi Gwen: I love the commission based sales analogy for writers. We're making a lot of calls before we get the nod from the buyer. Excellent!

And you are a force to be reckoned with, Gwen. I see how far you've come in two years and it blows my mind.

You will succeed in this business with your work ethic, dedication, and commitment.

Happy New Year!


Carol Burnside said...

You are absolutely correct about taking yourself seriously. Others in our lives will follow our lead.
Not only is that important, but when you do sell, it won't be all that hard to be a published author because you'll have been acting like it all along. Set goals. Give yourself deadlines and make your best effort at attaining them all. Good luck!

Christine said...

Hi Carol: Welcome to the Veranda. I think the goals and deadlines are imperative to becoming a career writer who is successful. And I want to be ready when that call happens :-)

Hope you meet and exceed all your goals this year.

Happy New Year!