In January 2015, the authors of Embracing Romance will be featuring some of their plans for the upcoming year. But how do plans become a reality?
A few times a month, I work with a healthcare system in the areas of performance improvement and strategy. Mild mannered stiff in a suit by day, romance author by night. You’d think the two jobs couldn’t be more different, except surprisingly they’re not.
Most people hear the word strategy and think about war or big business. But, strategy is everywhere. Well, not everywhere – but it should be. No matter what you do – if you’re a stay at home domestic goddess or an award-winning, best-selling author – YOU NEED A STRATEGY.
New Year’s Day is coming up. Which means it’s that time of year where we all make resolutions. How many of you vowed that 2014 was your year to get in shape? If you didn’t raise your hand, you may just be lying or else you’ve been blessed with a fabulous metabolism.
Every year I say the same thing – this is the year I’m going to get in shape and become a swimsuit model. Please note my sarcastic tone. Only, it’s a rare treat that I start the next year any lighter than I ended the last. So, what happened? Where did I go wrong?
First, we’re talking resolutions when we should be focusing on goals. You know, that whole long journey starts with a single step idea? You can’t have life-altering change without hitting some milestones along the way. So, set goals instead of resolutions this year.
But just having a goal isn’t enough, you need to have a strategy. Make more money, write that contemporary you’ve been thinking about, read 200 books, make all your deadlines – those aren’t strategies. They’re goals, but without the strategy to make them happen, they won’t.
The first step is setting the vision – coming up with the big picture. What do you want to happen? Do you want to be a better author? What does that entail? You want to increase your readership? How do you do that?
Next, set objectives for yourself. If you’re looking to increase the number of subscribers to your blog, ask yourself what you need to do to make that happen. Do you need to increase the number of posts, do you need to feature more guest authors? Create the objectives that will feed up to that overall vision. If you’re trying to be a better author, how do you do that? Maybe your objective should be to attend more conferences, or find a critique partner.
Come up with the initiatives that will make your objectives happen. What conferences are you attending – put down their names. If you want to write more books, then perhaps one of your initiatives should be making a weekly or daily word count. Maybe you want to write twelve newsletters a year? Maybe you want to guest post on a dozen different blogs?
So, at this point you have a pretty good plan. Your strategy is developed. But, you’re not finished. How do you hold yourself accountable to this strategy? You need to take your objectives and put numbers around them. If you’re trying to increase sales, and you’ve developed a strategy to make that happen, then you should track your sales. If you’re not making your goal, then ask yourself why not. Maybe your plan isn’t working and you need to change it up. The most important thing you can do is make it something you monitor at least once a month, if not more frequently. Think about weight loss – you’re not going to wait until December 31st to weigh yourself to see if you’ve lost weight? You’re going to weigh yourself weekly. Try and create metrics to hold yourself accountable by and track your progress.
Now, you have a strategy that is capable of real change. Take it and put it on paper, show all your friends and family. Transparency is one of the greatest motivators, secondary only to peer pressure.