There's a great quote by Nora Roberts, "If anyone tells you there's a "right" way to write, they are a lying bitch." Probably one of my favorite writing quotes. Ever.
That being said, I'm starting off 2014 with some advice. But at no time am I saying this is "THE" way. I'm saying this is my way of looking at things and your mileage may vary. (This is true for all of my blog posts, so just mentally add the above statement to anything you read here in 2014.)
First off, how was your 2013? I know it was a rough year for some and an amazing year for others. Some friends of mine had serious personal problems but really had a great publishing year. That seems to be the way of life. We win some, we lose some. The thing is to keep moving when we lose, and enjoy--but also keep moving-- when we win.
I think the biggest "trick" to success is knowing where you're going and how you are going to get there. In writing, like most things, our final outcome is extremely influenced by outside sources. Luckily for us this is becoming the age of "indie"power, and if New York isn't calling for your book, you can go Indie and do it yourself. However, BIG caveat on that "by yourself". To make sure your book can run with the big boys and girls you really do need a professional editor (or two), professional artist, book layout, marketing...yeah, you get the picture- it's not quite so "Indie" if you are doing it with the goal of building a writing career.
But whichever path you're choosing-- or even if you're into something other than writing--you need a direction. Some folks (me included) just jump into things without a plan. I did it in college (switched to three different majors thank you very much) and unless I really watch myself, I do it now. It can be great to just jump in sometimes. Lots of folks never do anything they want because they won't dive in. But for the bigger goals, the "this really means something to me" ones- we have to have a direction, plan, focus...SOMETHING.
Let's say I ask you how to get to your favorite restaurant. You'll probably rattle off directions, a plan for how to get there. (If you're like me it won't involve street names so much as "turn left at that corner with the big tree"--aka don't ask me for street directions ;)) Well, your plan for your goal has to have some directions too.
If we want something, to be published, to complete a certain number of books, lose weight, get a new job, whatever--we need to know what it is we really want, what our end game target is, and what steps are needed to get there. And while I am all for day dreaming, writing these steps down is probably a good idea.
This year I am going to focus on my writing as a business (no, I'm not quitting my day job, I'm not THAT insane ;)) but I am setting aside time to focus on the business end of it. I am also developing a way to separate the writing Andreas brain from the business Andreas brain, and the editing Andreas brain. I've found that once I start seriously working on submissions my writing freezes. So maybe some hats, or special chair covers ( "Ahh! It's the "business time" seat cushion!") will help with that.
So that's my babbling for the new year- figure what you want and then map out all the steps to get there. Be ready to apply changes as needed...and they will be needed ;).
What about you? What are your plans, goals, directions for 2014?