A new year often brings a surge in energy and optimism, and this year was no different. I shook off the holiday malaise, and found a renewed focus on my writing. Since it was the start of the year, it also seemed like a good time to get a little more organized with my writing.
As a result, I spent some time over the last few weeks developing a business plan for myself. I read a couple articles I had saved on strategic planning for writers, and looked online until I found a free plan template which looked as if it would fit my needs. The end result is not complete – not by a long shot – but it is helping to remind me of my goals and keep me focused.
As the articles suggested, I started with some big questions when creating my plan. First, I thought about my vision for my writing future. (Who do I want to be as a writer? How do I want to be described?) This was followed by my mission statement. (What I want to do as a writer? What do I want to achieve with my writing?) I also spent some time thinking about my values. (What traits are important to me, and what will I do – or not do – as I strive to make my vision come true?)
Then, it was time to think about my goals. These are the milestones which I will need to pass on my way to achieving my vision. I began with the larger, long-term goals. Though many people suggest creating five-year goals, that felt like too long of a time frame for me, so I developed three-year goals instead. After that, I created goals for the next year, the next quarter, and so on.
Based on my list of goals, I have plenty to do in the coming months! One of my goals is to get back on social media again, so you should see more activity from me in the coming weeks. Another goal is to be more consistent with posting a blog each week. I am still annoyed with myself for letting these activities fall so completely by the wayside in the last 1 ½ years. Yes, I moved twice in ten months, but I shouldn’t have allowed that to become such a long-term excuse. So…, new year, new commitment.
These are on top of my more writing-specific goals. Some of these you can probably guess – finish revisions on my current manuscript, get an agent, get my first book contract, and the list goes on. I have started taking some of the smaller steps toward being ready to query agents, and I will keep you posted on how that goes.
All of this has made me curious about something. Do other writers feel the same sense of renewal each January? Have any of you also spent time thinking about your goals and your vision for your future? If you have any tips or suggestions for how to approach this process, I am sure the rest of us would be glad to read them. Please leave your tips in the comments section below.
And in the meantime – back to my writing!
Since I just finished some revisions on the first story in my western historical romance series, it made me think about the early cattle ranchers in Colorado. I decided to see what the house of an early cattle baron might look like. Plus, what would would I hear if those walls could talk to me?
Alonzo Hartman was one of the earliest cattle ranchers in southwestern Colorado. He was a very young man when he arrived in Colorado. In fact, he was only about 18 years old and knew little about cattle when he was put in charge of the Los Pinos Indian Agency cow camp in 1869. This camp was a holding place for cattle driven up from Texas to feed the Ute Indians on a nearby reservation. When the Utes were moved to another location a few years later, Alonzo and his partner decided to stay on the cow camp land. They started a community (Gunnison) as well as a ranch which became one of the biggest in western Colorado. While Alonzo also diversified into other businesses in later years, he was first and foremost a rancher.
The included pictures are of the large house he built for his wife, Annie, after he became successful. The house was completed in 1894, when he was still a relatively young man in his 40s. The house was so large and ornate, it became known as the "Hartman Castle."
I find this house intriguing for several reasons. First, because it is the ultimate proof of a what a young, inexperienced person can accomplish with some cleverness and hard work. Secondly, because it must have hosted some interesting people over the years. Can you imagine the dinner parties Annie and Alonzo might have hosted over the years, and the influential guests who might have attended? While the house passed out of the Hartman’s hands in the early 1900s, it still exists today. How was it used, and who might have passed through its doors in the intervening years?
I will never know the house’s full story, but that is okay. Not knowing allows me to make up my own stories about what this house might say, If These Walls Could Talk.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.