Every year I sit down and I rebuild my goals based on a book I read six years ago, LIFE MAKEOVER, by Cheryl Richardson. You can read about my process here and here. I have a professional and personal list of goals and priorities to help guide and shape my daily life. This map is a guide, one I can veer from if necessary, but it helps me remain focused regardless of how many potholes and bumps I encounter along the way.
On Monday I posted my 2011 Writing Goals and shared which ones I had accomplished and afterward I received some lovely comments from dear readers and fellow bloggers. Ellen, Katherine, Karen G, Stephanie Jones AKA Alicia Pace, Angela Blount (blogging as Red Peril). I appreciate their kind words about how I influence them as writers, but I'm not accomplishing all my goals in a void where only I spur myself on.
I lean on others during the dark days. The days when I wonder if I am wasting my time. The days when life interferes in big ways. The days when life picks at me in small ways. I would not be where I am today as a writer without Sharon Wray, Karen Johnston, Pam Montovani, M.V. Freeman, Sia Huff, my Goal in a Month x 4 online group -- with a shout out to Amy Atwell for forming this amazing circle of friends--my professional mentors, and generous authors like Lynn Raye Harris.
There are larger circles surrounding me which give me professional support. My local writing chapters in Alabama and Georgia provide a wealth of information about this crazy industry. The Romance Writers of America organization undergirds my writing world. I appreciate the lessons I've learned from countless others throughout the years during conferences or in virtual classrooms which have been made possible by the RWA.
One day I hope to give back to the larger writing world as a published author. I hope to provide true mentorship and encouragement and pay it forward. Meanwhile, I continue to do my best as a hardworking, unpublished writer to motivate and in some way inspire others to reach for the stars. For in reaching for the stars you will soar.
On Friday I'm posting my professional goals for 2012. I know that no matter life brings I can be confident of one thing: my circle of support will not allow me to give up. Last year the core of that circle uplifted me and held me to my standards despite my health issues, my daughter's mono case, the April 27 tornado cells blowing through Alabama, the loss of my beloved Dowager Feline Clancy, the disappointments, the countless hours driving to colleges with my daughter, and the sad news about a dear family friend's terminal illness.
So you see the greatest gift you can give yourself as you prepare to tackle the year and reach your goals is to give yourself a strong circle of positive and supportive people who want to see you WIN and who will help you pick yourself up and dust off the dirt whenever life sticks a boulder in your path.
If not for the encouragement of others, I would not be where I am today as a writer. And these others, these wonderful women who believe in me and my dream, won't let me walk away from my desires.
Encircle yourself with dream makers.