Episode 18: Mid Year Musings

Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we have been celebrating Matariki, the Māori New Year. This has inspired me to reflect on how the year has been going so far and what I hope to accomplish in the next six months.

In today’s episode I encourage a moment of reflection to check in with yourself and ask:

  • Are you on track to create a writing life you love, and are you meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself?
  • Are you spending your time and energy doing those things most essential to your writing success? If not, what do you need to change?
  • Do you have clear financial goals in place, and have you been doing the work to break down any money or success blocks standing in your way?
  • What self-care practices do you already have in place, and what might you need to schedule in to protect yourself from author burnout?
  • And most importantly, are you enjoying the journey?

You will definitely want a pen and journal for this episode!

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Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Episode 18: Mid Year Musings

Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. So this week, I want to talk about mid-year goal setting. And the thing that’s brought this on for me is that here in New Zealand, where I live, we’ve been celebrating Matariki, which is the Maaori new year. So it’s a big deal in our country, particularly this year as it’s the first year that an indigenous holiday has been made into a public holiday. And so we’ve had lots of celebration around this. And for me, it’s got that wonderful vibe of January 1st, the new year, and wanting to reflect upon the past and achievements and goals going forward. And it’s timed perfectly for the middle of the year as well. So this has been that opportunity for me and that time for me to really start to think about what I want to achieve in the next six months. And I think this is a really good time for everybody, regardless of where in the world you are to reevaluate how the first half of the year we went, and what your writing goals are for the second half of the year. And if you’re on track to achieve them.

So this podcast is really about taking those steps towards creating that writing life that we dream of. And so right on one of my very first episodes, I talked about the importance of having a writing why. Being really, really clear on your why for wanting a writing life. Why do you want to write books? Write poetry? Dedicate any time in your life to writing? And what are your bigger plans? Is it that you’re doing this because it just lights you up inside and it takes you to your happy place, being able to write down your thoughts and feelings and contributing to the world through your written word? Or is it that it’s so much more than that, that you actually want to make a living around your writing? You want an income that will sustain you and your family and allow you freedom from having a day job, whilst doing something that really brings you joy?

And so one of the things that I’ve been reflecting on is how much I’ve been making a commitment to my writing this year so far. So for me, it’s been a little bit of an interesting year, in that I started a new day job, which has required from me a lot more time and energy than I was originally going into this year expecting. And so it’s actually taken me away from my writing in a lot of different ways. As I’ve been learning the ins and outs of a new job and dealing with how to balance an increased workload, I’ve found that I’ve actually had to push back a lot of my editing and publishing slots that I’d already had planned for this year. And so I’m already considerably behind schedule what my original goals were.

So this is the perfect time, really to rethink about what is important and how I’m going to move forward for the rest of the year.

And so one of the ways that I usually do this, and I particularly do this at the end of December, moving into January, I get really excited for a brand new year and go and splurge on a new journal, a new pen to kind of write down all my goals and dreams and manifestations that I want to create for the year.

I’m kind of stepping back and doing exactly the same right now. And for me, a lot of this requires journaling and reflecting upon what really is important to me, and going back to my why; why I’m dedicated to doing this and why I want a writing career and writing life. And what that’s going to look like for me. And so some of the questions that you might be wanting to ask yourself right now as well, is are you making the commitments you need to, to your writing life, to create the life that you actually want?

Are you scheduling regular time to write? Or are you like me and you’ve really struggled with that this year, and it’s kind of being pushed aside for other things that are competing for your time and energy?

So as I stepped forward to this, I want to kind of make a renewed commitment to my writing and that I am endeavoring to write every day. It’s not something that I usually do. Uh, I usually tend to write in almost like binges, of, I might go maybe a month or so of writing every day and then I write sporadically for another couple of months. But I want to kind of renew that routine of getting some words on the page every day if possible.

Another thing to consider is if you’re an author and you’re writing books, how many books do you want to publish by the end of this year? Everybody’s on a different path with this. Some authors are very prolific and are able to publish regularly every few months or every month or so. Others, a book might take a year or even a couple of years and that’s okay too. But it’s getting really clear on how you want to end this year, and what finished works, if any you want at the end of it.

So for me, I like to put out at least two books a year. And I’m already behind schedule with that, so I will be very, very happy if I can get my next book out, before the end of the year and have my second book for this year at least at the editor by the end of the year. And that’s what I’ve got lined up for editing slots and everything like that. So as long as I can keep that commitment to writing every day, I should be able to get there.

We also need to quite often take inventory of how we’re spending our time. So, if writing is something that we want to create a career out of, then obviously we need to be spending the majority of our time or a decent chunk of our time anyway, doing the things that are most aligned with that, which is the physical aspect of writing.

Now if you’re in the world of indie publishing, like I am, then you know, that we wear lots of different hats and everything tends to come back to being our responsibility. So that marketing the newsletter, all of that kind of things does eat into a good percentage of our time.

And so we need to reevaluate whether we’re spending the majority of our time on the right things. So, yes, social media and advertising and newsletters and all that have a huge importance in keeping our author lives going and getting readers to our books and all that good stuff. But we can’t be spending all of our time on that and neglecting the actual writing.

And so, for me, it’s also re-evaluating am I spending the right amount of time on the right things? Or am I, like many of you probably, where I’m trying to do everything? And there is something to be said about the maxim ‘Simplify to amplify”. Sometimes just choosing a couple of focuses will get you further along your journey than trying to do everything.

So for me, I actually quite enjoy the social media. I don’t have as much time as I would like to dedicate to it. But it is a way that I’m able to connect with new authors and new readers and get my books in front of other people. I don’t use Facebook advertising or Amazon ads or anything that much at the moment, I’ve stepped away from that. And that’s purely because for where I’m at in my journey, I only have a couple of books and I feel like it would be of better use spending that time and energy utilizing those platforms for advertising when I have more books or books in a series. So for me, just at the beginning of my author journey, I guess, my focus is more on connecting with readers through my newsletter and through social media. And so that’s really where I want to be dedicating my energies.

I am however, adding a new goal for the next six months. And that I’m intrigued by and want to have a bit of a play with Tik Tok because I’m hearing, and I’m sure you are too, hearing of more and more authors who are having some success with finding new readers and getting more eyes on their work, through the forum of Tik Tok or even Instagram Reels. And I know it’s something that I kind of enjoy myself is just looking at the reels of other authors. So maybe it’s my time to step it up a little bit and give it a go for myself. So that is something that I’m going to be looking at investing some time and energy and learning and playing around with.

But at the end of the day, I know that I really need to refocus on the writing and publishing of books and building the backlist. A couple of weeks ago, I talked with the wonderful bestselling author, Carissa Andrews and she’s a real advocate for that rapid release and making sure you’ve got a really strong backlist if you’re wanting to make a career from your writing, which is one of my major life goals and part of my writing way is to do just that. And so for me, I really need to spend the next couple of years buckling down and getting my books out there. Whilst enjoying the process of it, because that is so important to me and not to burnout or to treat my writing as just a normal job. I don’t want to fall into that mundane mediocrity of it. I want to still always bring that passion to what I’m doing.

And so focusing on that backlist for me, and maybe for yourself, is really, really important. In the episode where I did talk with Carissa Andrews, she was sharing that we need to have, and I might have these numbers a little bit wrong, but it was something like 28 to 38 books in our backlist, if we plan on earning a six to seven figure income. Or 22 to 28 books in our backlist if we’re wanting to earn somewhere between 60,000 to a hundred thousand. And of course there’s always unicorns to that. Some people can earn those figures with much, much less, but it’s always good to kind of have in the back of your mind, worst case scenario, this is really how many books I need in my backlist to really build that momentum with my author career.

And that’s not going to happen if we’re not dedicating that time to writing. And so that is really a big thing for me. Time has always been one of those things that I have struggled with a lot, and prioritizing time. I have ADHD, but I’m still pretty good, I feel, at being able to organize myself to get all the things I need to done.

However, I also have a day job that I really enjoy, but it is well beyond the normal 40 hours a week, not just physically in the work that needs to be done, but also it takes a lot emotionally and mentally as well and can leave me quite exhausted by the end of the week. So writing is something that I really need to be more practiced with building in throughout the weeks that I’m not trying to leave it all to the weekend when I’m usually just feeling a little bit burnt out, to be honest.

So I think getting clear on your financial goals as well is really important thing to do, and something that I’m looking into a little bit more. So at the moment I have a day job that helps sustain my living costs, helps pay the mortgage, helps pay the bills, helps pay for my editing and covers and everything of my books as well. And so I’m really, really grateful for that. But because I have a day job, I have less freedom and time to really dedicate to my writing and different aspects of it too, like even this podcast. And so it’s looking at the financial goals of what I want to be earning as an author or authorpreneur, if I include this podcast. And then working backwards as to how I can get there. My eventual goal is that I can reduce my hours at the day job and have a nice, smooth transition into a full-time author career if I so choose to do.

And so one of my goals moving forward for the next six months is just to kind of get clear on evaluating my finances in my normal life and where I might be able to cut back and save a bit and re-invest, and all those good things, so that I can really start to work on building a solid plan for myself.

But also having those actual numbers in my mind, that actual numerical goal of what I want to be earning, monthly, yearly, will also help for manifestation purposes too, because it gives me something to focus on and to hold that energy for and to get comfortable being in. And this is something again that I’m going to go back to that my friend Carissa Andrews talks about a lot when she talks about the millionaire author mindset, is getting into that feeling of what it would already be like to be earning that kind of income from your writing. You’ve got to get comfortable with it so that you can create the energy around yourself to be able to attract that into your life. It might sound a little bit woo woo but it’s one of those things where we only really given in life what we can handle, and whether you agree with that or not, that’s kind of a premise that I tend to live by. And you see it all the time with like, people who come into huge amounts of money or lotto winners or anybody like that, that they might’ve gone from not having much money to having a huge windfall, and then within a year the money’s gone and they’re back in debt again. And it’s because they haven’t really had that chance to climatize to what it’s like to be able to hold that kind of energy, and money’s really just energy. And so we tend to create for ourselves what we’re comfortable with.

It’s just the same with the money value that we tend to feel comfortable with in our own mind. And we all have it. It’s like our upper limit of what we feel that we can earn comfortably. And that even if that dips down, we can kind of get back up to that space comfortably enough and easily enough because we’ve been there, we know what that feels like.

And so along with the physical goals of, I want to be selling these books and I want to be working on this type of marketing and advertising, and I want to be writing this many more books and building this back list, is also working on those money blocks and success blocks that most of us have, most of us have come across from our own childhoods.

And working on those in the next six months is a goal for me so that I can start to be more welcoming of that abundance into my life. And so part of that is being comfortable with allowing myself to have that kind of success, to earn that kind of money, to move away from that poverty mindset of the starving artist and into one of the abundant creative.

It might be that you are reflecting on the past six months and you might find that you’re just feeling a little bit burnt-out, particularly here on this side of the world. We’re in winter right now and so, you know, the shorter days, the colder weather, that can sometimes add to that feeling of exhaustion and like you’re pushing things up hill a little bit more. Not as expansive as most people tend to feel in like the summer months when the days are longer and the sun is shining, and there’s that world is your oyster feeling. It’s a little bit different, I find, for some people, myself included, during winter time.

And with six months of having learnt a new job in pandemic times, and all the anxieties that go with that. My day job is one that puts me at a slightly higher risk of COVID, unfortunately. And I’ve been, knock on wood, lucky enough that my family and I have not succumb to that. So that’s been really good, we’ve stayed remarkably healthy. However, it is a little bit in the back of my mind, that heavy kind of weight of anxiety all the time. And so moving into the winter months too, which comes with all those other lovely colds and flus, on top of everything else, it can, or for me at least, has been leading to just a little bit of burnout and exhaustion.

And so maybe you’re feeling that way too, for similar reasons or completely different ones. And so this is the perfect time, the halfway mark of the year, to reevaluate how you want to be feeling for the next six months, how you want to end this year and how you can move away from that feeling of exhaustion and burnout and what you can put in place as self-care measures to make sure that your writing life is sustainable. Because that’s really what we want. We don’t want to be really passionate about this thing called writing and writing our books and doing our poetry or any other artistic pursuit to find that the thing that brings us the most joy has also left us completely burnt out and unable to do it.

Burnout is one of those things that are so incredibly and unfortunately common for indie authors in particular, because we’re creative by nature. We want to do all the things. And there are so many things that we need to do because we really are in some ways A one man show. We have our thumbs in all the pies, we’re trying to wear all the hats, we’re trying to do everything.

And so it’s thinking about how we can make this life for ourselves, this career even, sustainable for the long term. What do we need to say no to? What do we need to say yes to? One of the things I need to say yes to more often is actually downtime. I don’t allow myself days off very often if at all. Or evenings off or weekends or anything like that. And that is really problematic and not sustainable. And I’m very, very aware of that. I don’t advocate for that at all, but I think many of us are very similar in that respect.

So it’s thinking about how we can say no to certain things and how we can say yes to the things that are important. And if you’re like me and you find it really difficult to actually take time off. Then that might be something that should be one of your key goals for the next six months.

I’ve followed Orna Ross on Patreon and she’s absolutely amazing. I’ve attended some of her zoom calls and everything like that. And she talks a lot about scheduling in downtime and the importance of that.

And I think it’s such a fabulous idea. Making sure that your downtime is scheduled into your calendar as blocked out. No work allowed. That you’ve planned for it and that you see it through and you actually take that time, spend it with friends or family, spend it doing non writing or working things.

It tends to go hand in hand with what one of my favorite authors, Julia Cameron, also suggests for keeping your creative juices flowing and that. So I’m sure many of you know of who Julia Cameron is. She’s the creator of the book and program The Artist’s Way, and she advocates for morning pages as a starter, which is such a fabulous idea. It’s that those few pages, first thing in the morning where you just tend to brain dump all that garbage in your mind and emotional rubbish and everything that’s kind of accumulated, onto the page. Not for anybody to see. But just to kind of clear the space so that your creativity can come through.

She also advocates for Artist Dates. And this is something that I’m such a huge believer in and think it is so important to do. Allow time for yourself to fill your creative well, in whatever way that means. So that might be that you just sit down, out in the garden one day and read a really good book, a book that really interests you. That’s not there for research purposes. That’s not there for helping you learn the craft, but is actually just a book that you can lose yourself in and get taken away by and enjoy. And there are so many positives to that, even though it’s something that can just be used to fill your creative well.

By almost osmosis you’re going to be learning the craft simply by reading something that really appeals to you, that’s going to filter into your brain and be there for when you’re writing your own books, as to what appeals to your reader and how to write in a way that will really engage anybody reading your work.

And we all know that writers are readers first, or we should be. We should be reading all the time. But reading for pleasure is very different than reading for research, and I think is equally as important, if not more.

You’re filling the creative well, it could be something completely different. For me yesterday, I had a little bit of downtime thanks to this wonderful public holiday that we’ve been granted to celebrate the Maaori new year, and so I took myself to one of my favorite bookstores and I spent ages just browsing, not looking for anything in particular. But just enjoying the wonderful, beautiful books and journals and art supplies and everything that were there on the shelves, inspiring me in different ways. And I did end up coming out I must admit, with a pile of wonderful, inspiring books and journals because that’s definitely one of my downfalls is being able to leave a bookstore or a stationary store without coming out with armfuls of things. But it was also so fulfilling in a way, it has me really inspired and it has me excited, and it’s one of those things that’s actually got me excited about planning for the next six months as well. I also have plans to go to the local gardens here in my city at the moment. Where they’ve got some beautiful, beautiful gardens that have different themes to them. There’s a surrealist garden, which is super cool. There is gardens based on the Renaissance or traditional English gardens. I think they’ve got like an Alice in Wonderland kind of theme going on in one as well. And just recently they’ve opened a new garden, which is with an ancient Egyptian theme, which really appeals to me. Ancient Egypt’s always been a huge passion of mine. And so just going for a walk through the gardens with my phone to take photos and nothing else is quite inspiring and fills the well for me. And is something that is really important to do. Find those things that light you up. It might be getting out into the garden. It might even just be going for a run or going for a walk or spending time with certain people that really light you up. Whatever it is find time to do that because you, you need that time away from your writing and from your writing life as well. You need to find those things that can contribute to your creativity and keep it flowing.

And that’s where other creative hobbies might also be of something that you need to schedule in for yourself. Finding that balance, of course, that if you’re wanting to make a career with your writing, you need to maximize the amount of time you can to actually be writing. But there is nothing wrong, and in fact, it’s probably really, really helpful to have other creative hobbies on the side that light you up, but are distanced from your writing in some way.

For some of you, you might be musicians as well and find that playing an instrument or being in a band or something, is that step away that keeps your creative juices flowing. I am really lucky that my day job actually demands of me to be doing art work in different forms, of painting and drawing and sketching, and all the stuff that I actually had put aside for many, many years. And now that it’s something that I have to do, I actually still feel a huge amount of enjoyment from it. And so it’s one of the parts of my day job that I actually enjoy the most is just putting on my headphones, listening to music and doing a great big blackboard drain or creating something that’s not with words, but with color or, something, just a little bit different. And so that brings me a lot of joy and I think can filter into my writing as well and just keeps those creative juices flowing, and that creative well full.

I think also, as we think about the next six months, we need to reflect upon the things that are working for us, the things that we are doing right that we need to continue. And if there are any areas where we need to pivot.

So for myself, I had been pushing up against a brick wall for whew many months now, trying to get out the sequel to my book, Unspoken Truths. And it’s partially written and it has been incredibly hard. And the story is very, very dear to me and I want to do it justice and it is going to be out there in the world. But just recently I’ve realized that now is not the time. And that I’ve been pushing so hard to get this book done, and missing deadline after deadline, that maybe I just need to pivot a bit. And with everything else going on, finding a new way to redirect my writing might actually be the best thing for me. So it’s taking a little bit of inspired action. And so I have put the book that I was working on aside temporarily. And I’m diving into a new novel, right from scratch. But one that I’ve been thinking about for many years and I’d purchased actually pre-made covers for a trilogy a couple of years back that I just knew that I had to have, and that I’d one day, write these books.

And so I’m pivoting a little bit in that it’s a slightly different genre for me. It’s much more light hearted and much more of a fun story. Not quite so serious, not quite so dark, but also much more fun to write, and for me at this time of life and with everything else going on, that’s absolutely perfect. Having something that’s just fun that doesn’t require a huge time spent on research, it’s more fantasy based, and so I can just world build rather than have to get everything absolutely perfectly accurate and correct. And so I’m having a lot of fun with that.

It’s also making me reconsider some of my goals. At the moment, I’m a wide author, so you can get my books everywhere, on all platforms in paperback and ebook. But with this little trilogy that I’m having a bit of a play with right now and enjoying doing so, I am considering actually maybe trialing going exclusive with these books. And so, because I’m at the beginning of my author career, oh, just a few years in any way, I’ve got that opportunity, well, we all have the opportunity at any point, but I’m more comfortable right now to experiment with these different things, some books wide, some books in KU exclusive, dabbling with a couple of different genres. I’m still trying to find my place in my author world and just tending to go with the flow a little bit, to see where this journey is going to take me. And where I feel most comfortable. And so sometimes I think we need to allow ourselves permission to play a little bit with what we’re doing. To pivot if we need to. Putting something aside doesn’t mean we won’t go back to it. But maybe right now, what you’re focusing on isn’t the thing you should be focusing on. If something really is too hard and you’ve looked at why it’s hard and you’ve tried to break down any thought patterns or barriers or blockages that might be holding you back, but it’s still just not flowing. Maybe you need to just rethink where you’re spending your energies. And so that’s what I did, and so I’m having fun. And I’m quite excited about this new direction that I’m going to play with for the next few months anyway.

Thinking about, as the year goes ahead too, how you’re going to be investing in your writing career and in yourself. Is there areas that you need to upskill? Is there software or hardware that you need to upgrade in your life? Would it be helpful for you to get a VA, a virtual assistant to help with different things? That certainly goes back to us often wanting to do everything. But learning to say no to some things and learning to delegate some things. And so if you’re in a position to do so, maybe now is the time to invest in a virtual assistant to help you out with certain aspects of your writing career. Or maybe if you’re still a little bit of a control freak, like I am and not quite ready to give up, or let anybody else handle any of those things, maybe investing in somebody that can help in other areas of your life, like a cleaner for the house, which is something that’s definitely been on my mind lately. That would certainly help me get into a bit of a writing space, knowing that the housework and cleaning, which is not something that I enjoy at all, was mostly done for me so that I could still enjoy the benefits of living in a nice, clean decluttered space, but without having to give up my time and energy and my good mood. So have a think about that too, ways that you’re investing in yourself, and where you need to uplevel in your knowledge as well. Maybe there’s something you need to learn. So I will be spending a little bit of time and energy looking into Tik Tok for social media and having a play with that. And it’s okay to have a play with these things. The aim I think is not to do everything at once, but choose one or two things to dabble in, to play with, to see if it’s going to work for you and your career goals, and if not, then discard it.

The cool thing about the indie author path, that I’m learning from talking to all the wonderful authors that I’ve had on this podcast and outside of this podcast, is that it is not a one size fits all. This journey is very individualized. It’s very different for every one of us. And so you need to trust a little bit in your own strengths, in your intuition, and follow the path that feels right to you. And sometimes we don’t know what that path is until we actually do dabble and experiment and play around a little bit with all these different, exciting things out there that other authors are doing. See if it’s a fit for you. Some things are, some things aren’t. And I’ve noticed that with myself, I’ve sometimes jumped on the bandwagon of things that people are like, oh, you have to do this, you must have a Facebook page and you must have a Facebook group. And in all honesty, as much as I actually quite enjoy social media, oh, I really, really struggle with the Facebook group. I find it quite difficult to get excited by and to engage in and to get engagement from. So not everything is going to work perfectly for you. Not everything is meant for you. Not everything’s a good fit for what your path is going to be. And so I think we really do need to use our judgment with that.

And so once again, it really is just about getting really clear on your goals and make sure that they align with your why, not anybody else’s. Why are you doing this? If it’s just to have fun, make sure that you’re having fun. And if you’re not, you need to reevaluate why not? And see if you can cut the non-fun things out of it or find somebody else that you can delegate those activities to.

If you’re doing something just because you’ve read somewhere or heard somewhere or somebody else’s said that this is the one and only way you can do it and you can be successful, but you’re not enjoying it, it isn’t necessarily going to stick and it’s not going to work for you. It’s really hard for us to commit to doing the things that we don’t enjoy. And I think the whole point of us deciding that we want to be in the world of writing, or we want to be authors, is because it is something that we enjoy. So we need to find ways to keep it that way. None of us should be doing things that we don’t enjoy. It doesn’t allow us to contribute anything of any good to our lives, to our world, to the people around us, if we’re miserable in what we’re doing.

So you need to really trust your intuition and commit to doing those things that feel in alignment with who you are, and where you want to get to.

I’m not going to talk much about setting goals, because I think we all know the concept of SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant time-bound, all that good stuff. You guys know it. And to be honest, I also don’t believe there’s a one size fits all with goal setting.

What I will recommend though, is sometimes just keeping things really simple, writing down every day, just one to three things, no more, you don’t need a lots of things, but one to three actions or things you can do every day, that will move you closer to your goals, is really all you need, and they can be really small things.

It might just be, find 15 minutes to write, to work on my novel. Post two Instagram posts. Or engage with five people on social media today.

You can keep it really simple. Every one of those things, if they’re aligned though, with what your goals are, are going to still move you forward and it’s going to keep that momentum going.

Make sure you’re also focusing on the things that you can control when you are thinking about you’re writing goals and how you want to spend the next six months. There’s a lot that we can’t plan for. And I think we’re all very aware of that in this day and age with the pandemic and everything like that, that has really shaken the world up for us and knocked us all I think a little bit sideways its unpredictability. And so try and focus on the things that you can control as much as you can. You’re not always going to know how people are going to receive your writing. But there are things that you can control, which is making sure that your platforms for building a reader base are aligned with your ideal reader whom you think will enjoy reading your books. So make sure that your newsletter, for example, goes out to people who really enjoy thrillers, if that’s what you write, and not romance readers. Making sure that as much as possible you are setting yourself up for success.

One of the things you can control, which is so important for motivation, momentum, and also if you’re like me and enjoy working in the world of the law of attraction and manifestation, is our feelings. And so you will notice this, whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, but when we’re in a good mood, it almost feels like life gets easier. Things get easier, things go our way. We have more good luck. Things just fall into place. When we’re in a bad mood, then everything seems to feel like it’s turning to shit. And more and more things go wrong and it can just spiral into this horrible mess of negativity if we’re not careful.

One thing I recommend is, trying as much as we can to keep our energy high, to find, as Carissa Andrews will say, that next best thought, that next best feeling to keep ourselves in those good vibes, those happy thoughts, that feeling of abundance that’s going to ensure that we are going to be open and receptive to opportunities when they present themselves.

I also recommend finding ways to track your progress and celebrate your wins along the way, even if they’re just really small. You got a chapter finished that you didn’t think you would before the weekend? Wahoo! Celebrate that. Let your friends and family know, put it on social media. Buy yourself an iced chocolate, I don’t know. Whatever lights you up to celebrate those small steps, because it all really does count in the bigger scheme of things.

Make yourself accountable too, when you set goals. Make yourself accountable, whether you decide to be as adventurous as setting a pre-order date on different platforms for your book release, or scheduling an editor, or telling your readers through your newsletter list, that this is when the book’s going to be out, or whatever you have to do to keep yourself accountable. Some people will reward themselves for, if I meet this goal I’m gonna take these two days vacation for a getaway or something like that, or maybe you’re better motivated by consequences. I’ve also heard of people saying if I don’t get this finished by this date or whatnot, then I will pay this horrible amount of money to this horrible organization that I really don’t support and really don’t want to give them a penny for. Find ways that work for you, that you can keep yourself accountable to your goals.

But be flexible in them too. Like as much as possible we want to commit to the goals that we set. But we don’t want to be held hostage by them because life happens. Sometimes there’s just things that go sideways and tragedies and crazy stuff. We all know that. And so set these deadlines, be dedicated to them, but don’t be stupid with it like if something else happens and you need to break a commitment, break a deadline, then you just gotta do what you gotta do. You’ve got to stay safe, look out for yourself, look out for your loved ones. Do what you gotta do.

There are small things you can do to, as you think about moving forward for the next six months. Are you surrounding yourself by people who lift you up, who support your author journey? If not, what can you do to make sure you are surrounded by more of those people? Choose carefully the people that you surround yourself with. Choose carefully the media that you ingest, that you allow into your life, the negativity in any form, the books, you read, the music you listen, to the news you read, all of that, the social media that you’re on. Make sure it’s aligned with building you up and making you feel good and not the opposite.

If you need to, use lots of affirmations, they do work. I am a huge believer in affirmations, they really do help to change your mindset and keep you in that elevated feeling of helping you to create the life and bring to you those opportunities that you want. Use visualization if that’s something that works for you, or meditation, or create a vision board maybe for the next six months of where you want to get to by the end of the year. Journal about it. Sometimes journaling about what you want your future life to look like as an author is such an incredible way of getting really clear about your goals. It makes you think about things in a way that maybe you hadn’t thought of. There’s some great inspiration that can come from doing so.

Another way of getting into that feeling of making your goals happen is to act as if. And again, this is connected to that idea of manifestation and bringing that energy into your sphere before you actually physically see the outcome of it. But just like I’ve talked about in another podcast, how I started calling myself an author before I was officially published, it does help to ground yourself in the mindset of what would somebody who’s achieved these goals act like now? Feel like now? How would they dress? How would they spend their time? What would they be doing? And see if there’s any of those things that you can bring into your life and do now so that you really ground yourself into that feeling of having what it is that you’re moving towards.

So if your goal is to make a certain amount of money before the end of the year, think now about how you would feel having that money in your bank account. Would you act differently? Would you have a little bit more confidence in yourself? Would that confidence show in the clothes that you wear? Would that confidence show in how you talked about your author career with other people? How you showed up on social media? Would it show in what your office looks like? Does your office need to be reorganized or decluttered in a way that reflects better what a person earning that amount of money from your books or a best-selling author would have an office looking like? As much as you can align your outside world now with where you hope to get to.

And I know this sounds just really like out there, but it really does work. At the very crux of it, we can take the woo woo out and it’s just about tricking yourself in your mind to believe that it’s a possibility. That you can have these things, that it’s not so impossible and not so far fetched to be that best-selling author or to be that author that sells this many books each month, or to make this much money each month. Once you accept that in yourself with your feelings and your brain and your mindset, it’s so much easier to actually make it a reality.

So just to kind of sum up, this is really just that pep talk for all of you who have maybe come to the middle of the year and are like, okay, where to next. Ooh, I’m feeling a bit down because I haven’t met my goals, or yay, I’m doing fantastic, but what goals am I going to set now?

And this episode is really just to get you reflecting on your author journey so far this year and where you want to go. And whether you are feeling on track, happy, in alignment with your goals, or if there’s some changes that need to be made. There’s no better time to do that than now. We don’t need to wait for the traditional new year, January 1st, to come up with goals and set new resolutions and new commitments, and that. I mean, you can do this any time of the year. For me, I think just being surrounded with all the festivities and celebration and the beauty and that, that is the Maaori new year here in New Zealand, has really just got me feeling that beautiful energy of new beginnings, new starts, new goals, realigning with my purpose and my why and getting my author career back on track. And so if you’ve been languishing a little bit and feeling like you have not been on track and doing the things that you really love doing as much as you have, then hopefully this has inspired you a little bit to start to reflect and think about making the most of these next six months of 2022. And making sure that you are all the time focusing on creating a life that you love. Because really that’s what it’s all about. None of us are getting out of this life alive, but all of us really want to be able to look back and feel fulfilled in some way. Look back with love upon what we’ve accomplished, who we’ve inspired.

We don’t want to get to our death bed with regrets. And so all I’m saying is we’re at the mid-year point, people, now is the time to reevaluate, are we going in the direction we want to be going?

And if not, how can we redirect ourselves to get back on track?

Here are some takeaways:

1. Take this time to reflect on your writing goals. Are you on track to achieving what you want to by the end of the year? Or do you need to make changes or pivot?

2. Ask yourself. Are you clear on your writing goals and have you made the required commitment to make them a reality?

3. Consider are you spending your time doing the things most essential to your success, for instance, actually writing your books? Do you need to rethink the best ways to schedule your time?

4. Don’t over-commit to too many goals. Remember the saying, simplify to amplify.

5. Get clear on your financial goals and make a plan to achieve them. This helps in both a physical sense and gives you something to focus on when manifesting.

6. Are there money or success blocks, you need to work on dissolving to move forward with your career?

7. Think about what self care practices you can put in place to combat or prevent burnout. Are you scheduling non-writing and downtime into your calendar?

8. How are you refilling your well? What artist dates can you take? Is there a hobby you can indulge in to help get those creative juices flowing?

9. Think about what you may need to pivot with your author career. What do you need to invest in? Say no to? Say yes to? What can you delegate?

10. Write down one to three actions every day that you can take to move yourself closer to your author goals. Every action creates momentum.

11. Focus on the things you can control, like your feelings and your mindset. Keep your energy positive and celebrate all your wins along the way. Big and small.

So I hope this episode has given you lots to think about and lots of things you can reflect on in your own journal.

If you did enjoy this episode, I’d really appreciate it if you could rate, review, and share with a friend. It really does help me to keep this podcast alive and ticking along. And it only costs you a minute or so. And if you’re wanting to support this show further, you can join my Facebook group Alchemy for Authors, or subscribe to my newsletter at www.subscribepage.com/manifestationforauthors.

Until next time, happy writing!