Authors: Mid-Year Review and Planning

It's that time of year again.

No, not for barbecues, fireworks, lakeside loitering, and lightning bugs.

Okay, well maybe it's that time of year, too.

But it's also time for your mid-year review and I think this year it's more important than usual.

It has been a wild year, and I don't think many people will disagree with that observation. I've heard 2020 called a few choice names like, "dumpster fire" and "train wreck."

Regardless of what you call it, almost everyone has been touched by the myriad events: pandemic, civil unrest, political tension, protests, riots, murder hornets, earthquakes, dust clouds, and the list goes on.

What's important is that you should now be a little more resilient to 2020's bizarre surprises and ready for whatever the year throws at you next. Now, parents at home are learning how to cope with the kids being out of school, and more people are returning to work or finding new lines of work.

As a writer, it's crucial to build resilience and remember your goals. If you've followed me on social media, in the Author Transformation Alliance, or you've picked up one of my planners, then you know that I absolutely believe goals and functional planning are essential to writer-life.

Mid-year planning presents a unique opportunity: halfway through the year, after life has thrown six months worth of curveballs and our original plans have naturally evolved, we have a chance to recognize that evolution, redefine our goals, and realign with what we truly desire for our writing lives.

1) Reflect

Before we can build an effective plan for the rest of the year, we need to understand where we're coming from. Take out your notebook and jot down the answers to these questions:

  • Start positive. What were your achievements (big and small) during the first six months? What projects did you complete? Did you hit any milestones?

  • Which things did you intend to accomplish in the first six months but weren't able to?

  • Can you identify why you didn't achieve those things? (ie., 2020 has been a train wreck, but get more specific about how everything has affected you personally -- your life, physically, emotionally, spiritually.)

  • Can you think of ways to mitigate those challenges going forward?

2) Revise

Once you've accounted for your year so far, it's time to revise your plan.

  • What were your original goals for 2020?

  • How have your goals (and/or your timeline) changed?

  • Why have they changed?

  • Define your evolved goals. What do you want to achieve MOST before the end of the year? Be sure to give yourself no more than three "goals" or targets and order them by priority.

  • Write or print your goals in a way pleasing to your own tastes and POST them in your writing space.

3) Plan

There is still plenty of time to "conquer this year" and planning is how you do it. Before you get started, I want you to internalize this concept: a plan is not a roadway, already paved and prepared for safe and easy travel.

A plan is a guideline, a map, or a GPS navigator, a target, if you will. You will aim for a destination with an idea of how to get there, but you cannot predict roadwork, detours, traffic jams, or accidents. Does that change your plan? No. It just means you have to get creative about getting around the challenges you're faced with and it might take you a little longer to reach your end goal. That's okay. Do the best you can with what you have and never give up.

  • Sketch out the next six months--July through December--on a piece of paper and give yourself space vertically to write under each.

  • First, detail your #1 priority for each month. What is the one most important thing you need to focus on each month in order to reach your revised 2020 goals?

  • Next, sketch out the projects, deadlines, and tasks you'll need to complete each month. I highly recommend putting it on your wall near your writing area.

My six-month plan and updated list of 2020 writing projects

Get the full workbook

Head HERE to get the full workbook with a more detailed walkthrough of your year so far, a guide to help you revise your plans, and the six-month priority and plan outlines so you can print them off and put them on your wall.

Want video? Head HERE.

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