‘Tis the Season To Assess, Plan & Celebrate

Here’s a tool I didn’t even realize that I use. I’m not giving it a fancy acronym, because I feel like that would diminish the usefulness of this simple list of necessary questions:

Assess
Every fall I begin the process of assessing how I’ve done throughout the year and by the time the holiday’s roll around I have a pretty clear idea of exactly what I’ve accomplished. How about you?

Did you achieve your goals?

Did you exceed your goals?

How much money did you make?

How much did you make compared to last year?

Which of your income streams were strongest?

What unpaid projects proved the most fruitful?

Which unpaid projects helped your career grow?

And how much money do you hope to make next year?

Professionally speaking, how much time do you have to give, and where will you give it?

Plan

I don’t go through a rigid or formal planning process even though everyone says you should. Once I’ve assessed how I’ve done in the recent past, I find it fairly easy to tune in to my instincts and trust the direction that they point me instead of being overly mental or intellectual about what I’m going to plan next. How about you?

Which past successes can you build on?

Can you get and review feedback from those you serve?

Can you informally poll or bounce some ideas off of some trusted colleagues?

Who do you want to partner with in the coming year?

Into what specific projects will you invest the lion’s share of your energy?

Celebrate
Once I have looked at last year and thought about what to do next, I am ready to begin to envision next year. I realize that some people have five year and ten year goals, but I tend to keep those flexible rather adhere strictly to a plan that will probably end up altered anyway. I know where I’m going, but next year first.

And now I’m ready to celebrate my past accomplishments. Not just last year but the whole ride. How about you?

Who can you thank for their assistance?

What will you do to thank yourself?

How will you celebrate privately?

How can you create an annual celebration with others?

I work hard all year. It doesn’t do anyone else any good for me to pretend that a writing career isn’t hard work. It’s incredibly important to work hard and consistently over not just months but years! And it’s also important to celebrate. This year, I’m not just celebrating my accomplishments, but the accomplishments of my friends. My book publication, their book publications or deals, and our shared success.

It’s a lot to celebrate. But I am definitely up to the task!

How about you?

And stay tuned, I’ll be announcing some big success stories between now and the end of the year.

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5 Responses to “‘Tis the Season To Assess, Plan & Celebrate”


  1. 1 Mary Jo C. October 28, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Great post, Christina! Lots to think about – and celebrate, I realize!

    I’m a list girl, myself, so this will definitely guide my plans and successes for 2009.

  2. 2 Tamara October 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Excellent list, Christina, and right on time. It’s far easier to reflect in late-Oct/early-Nov than deep in the heart of the holidays. (Same goes for holiday shopping, and heck, the economy could use a little action.)

    Best wishes
    Tamara Kaye Sellman

  3. 3 Cara October 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    As an inveterate list maker myself, I like your assessment strategy. In writing, as in life, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves by what we didn’t accomplish, rather than our actual successes, no matter how small.

    Last year at this time, I had no writing credits to my name. Already this year, not only have a number of my pieces appeared online, or are slated to appear in print anthologies next spring, but I have made great strides in finding my “voice”, and equally importantly, have made connections with fellow writers and editors.

    With my writing group still going strong, dozens of writings in the pipeline, and a writing support system in place, I’m looking forward to what I can accomplish in 2009. It only gets better!

  4. 4 Luci October 29, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Being right-brain dominated, this is sort of shocking to my system. However, being creative isn’t enough. Dealing with the business side of writing is incredibly important. I’ve begun to treat my blog and other writing projects as ‘small businesses’ in a way, and what you’ve written gives that part of my brain direction and focus. So, thank you Christina and I look forward to Wordstock.

  5. 5 Sarah October 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for posting this list – it should be really helpful!


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