Get Inspired! My Mentors’ New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers

Carol Tice

Fireworks bursting in a black night skyWell, this is it. Wrap it up with a bow — 2012 ends tonight.

It’s time to reflect on what we’ve done as writers in the past year, and look ahead to what we want to write in the coming year.

If you don’t set a course, odds are high you won’t end up where you wanted to go.

My goals are pretty simple: write more ebooks, and work fewer hours. And of course, continuing to figure out how to make Freelance Writers Den more and more useful and valuable to members.

I want to prune my freelance client list and focus it more on assignments that relate to the writing life, which has slowly become my core topic. I’m hoping to do more work like my posts for FreelanceSwitch and articles for The Writer’s Market.

Then, I want to make more time for creating my own products, including updating my original Make a Living Writing ebook and splitting it into several smaller ebooks.

I’m ready to explore the world of Kindle ebooks and ebook marketing more in the coming year, to see if I could create a passive income stream and/or grow my blog audience through that channel. Several thousand people have downloaded my first Kindle ebook co-written with Linda Formichelli, 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster, in just its first few weeks of release…so I take that as an encouraging sign that I should put out more ebooks.

I’ll also be looking at iTunes podcasts and YouTube videos as possible ways to bring new readers to this blog.

Finally, it’s seriously time to get more efficient. In the years when I was ramping up this blog, workaholism became the norm. I’m ready to kick the 8-to-midnight shift and weekend work time and get back to sane hours again, so watch for posts about how I’m doing that next year.

For a bit more inspiration, I asked a few of my friends and mentors in writing, blogging, and marketing if they’d share their outlooks on 2013 as well. It turned out to be a fascinating array of ideas — including some about our whole annual resolution ritual!

If you don’t know these folks, you might want to check them out. They’ve all inspired me and helped me move this blog forward in some way.

Peter Bowerman of The Well-Fed Writer“I don’t set goals, and I don’t make resolutions – never have. I let things unfold organically, when the time is right. Still manage to be pretty productive, despite this (in the eyes of most of our achievement-obsessed culture, no doubt) crippling liability… ;)”–Peter Bowerman, The Well-Fed Writer book and blog

James Clear“I’m setting a goal of never missing a workout in 2013. I’ve got a 5-month streak going right now, and hopefully I can keep it alive.”–James Clear

Tom Ewer, Leaving Work Behind“My New Year’s resolution is to diversify. I established a solid base for myself in 2012 and now I want to strengthen my position by establishing multiple streams of significant income (i.e. four figures or more per month) in 2013. I’m excited for my plans which incorporate freelance writing, information products, eBooks, blogs and perhaps even more!”–Tom Ewer, Leaving Work Behind

Linda Formichelli, The Renegade WriterI don’t really do resolutions, but my theme in 2013 is to live according to my values. I’ve been reading about the ‘values gap,’ where we say our values are one thing, but when you look at our actions, there’s a gap between our values and what we actually do. My values for me and my family are fun, compassion (especially for other writers, who I mentor and teach), and health. I’ve been finding some value gaps there, so in 2013 my goal is to be aware in the moment where I have a value-driven choice and to make the right decision.”–Linda Formichelli, Hero’s Journey Content

Ed Gandia, International Freelancers Academy“Most of us drastically underestimate what we can accomplish—myself included. So I’m taking steps to get out of that cycle. More than a resolution, this is going to be my theme for the coming year. Everything I do professionally will need to pass the “Is this big enough?” test.

“In my freelance work, I’m determined to stretch myself in every way—better clients, higher fees, more interesting projects. And in my work with other freelancers, I’m committed to working on bigger ideas, as well as delivering transformative results and more focused training.”–Ed Gandia-Founder, International Freelancers Academy

Jeff Goins, GoinsWriter“My resolution is to stop making resolutions and start making more decisions.”–Jeff Goins, GoinsWriter

Derek Halpern, Social Triggers“In 2013, I want to share more of what I know with everyone. Over the last 7 years, I’ve devoured hundreds of books, thousands of academic papers, and an ungodly number of blog posts. To date, much of this knowledge resides in my head. Thus far, over at Social Triggers, I’ve written less than 100 blog posts and created two training courses.

By the end of 2013, I’d like to have 6 training courses, another 100 blog posts, and most important, I want more than 100,000 people who can stand up and say, “Derek helped me with…”–Derek Halpern, Social Triggers

Danny Iny, Firepole Marketing/Mirasee“One of my “big goals” for 2013 is to broaden my thinking and focus – for my business, and for the scope of impact that I want to have on the world. So far, we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants, and growing incrementally – looking for what seemed to be next from where we were.

Going forward, I want to spend a lot more time and energy *creating* the opportunities for the greatest impact that I know my team and I can have.”–Danny Iny, Firepole Marketing

Headshot of Jon Morrow from Boost Blog Traffic “My resolution is to put someone else’s name beside everything on my to-do list, and if I don’t have anyone, I’ll find them.”–Jon Morrow, Boost Blog Traffic

Bamidele Onibalusi, YoungPrePro“My resolution for the new year is to create more passive income from my writing. Most of my effort has been devoted to working for clients and I only get paid for hours worked; I want to change this in the new year. I’ll be launching a product and two that will leverage the power of my writing to sell.”–Bamidele Onibalusi, YoungPrePro

Sean Platt“In 2013, the most important thing in my writing business is to understand the purpose behind everything I write. With only so many hours every day, the words I finish before each one ends are all I’ll have to show for that time – forever. Sometimes I write for assets, and sometimes for fun. Sometimes I’m trading time for money, and sometimes I write to know myself better.

All of these are fine, but knowing what I’m writing and why – before I mar the blank page – is essential to a bigger, better year.”–Sean Platt

John Soares, Productive WritersMy key goal for 2013 is a better work/life balance. I’ve made good progress on this in recent years, but I want to spend even less time working and even more time traveling, hiking, and enjoying my friends and family. I’ll achieve this by increasing both my hourly rate and my work efficiency.” John Soares, ProductiveWriters.  

Johnny B Truant“I’d like to be making enough money this year from my fiction writing that if I wanted to (I won’t), I’d be able to stop doing everything else I do to make money.”–Johnny B Truant


What are your freelance writing goals for 2013?

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  1. Terri H

    My resolution is to go back to the basics and live simply. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with writing but it can most definitely translate into that. I feel as though problems arise when we forget the basics and make things more complex than they need to be. My mother always said, “Everything is simple. We make it complicated.” Once I grasp living simply, I will be able to be happy, be more productive with writing and be more content with my where my life and career are going.

  2. Neil Heater

    As one of Carol’s moderators coming on board this past year, I have gained incredible insights into opportunities for a freelance writer. This coming year of 2013 I am resolved to change the image from a neophyte in this industry to more sophisticated writing gigs. Without giving an amount, except for in my head, I am aiming to reach a certain amount minimum of what I want to earn a month. I am convinced that this industry has amazing opportunites for those willing to reach out and step from the comfort zone. However, it is not just the money that motivates as it is, at 51 years of age, the potential to be who I believe I was always meant to be…someone that does with passion what they love to do.

  3. Katherine Swarts

    I could get the length of a full blog post from this comment just by noting every point that interested me in the “pros’ outlook” section. Peter Bowerman, I especially wish I had your apparent (and rare) instinct for priorities. For me, trying to “let things unfold when the time is right” is a quick shortcut to sitting back and waiting for life to do everything for me (including developing a mind that works in law-of-attraction harmony with life).

    It points up that while studying what works for others can be helpful, every individual has to put his or her personal finishing touches on whatever system is chosen. My own best approach, I believe, is to use the daily-planner system (assign daily tasks to time slots by way of a calendar that divides the day into half- or quarter-hours) and to limit most “long-term” goals to a six-week range (any further ahead and I tend to shove it onto the indefinite-procrastination shelf). My first New Year’s resolution is to get this system going in my life. The second is to break my addiction to finishing the list of “urgent but unimportant” things (mostly the whole e-mailbox and various types of reading) every day (day off and work day alike) while letting more important things wait at the bottom of the priority list. (Speaking of values gaps. Like most average Joes and Janes, I’m afraid to risk immediate gratification for bigger things in the world of achievement satisfaction–and am likely to OVERestimate how quickly the “small” time sucks can be dispatched.)

    Well, I warned that this might get long. (Did I mention that another time suck is “rambling” on the social networks?) I’ll close with a recommendation, for those of you who like the faith-based inspirational approach to priorities and balance, to read the following “How to Deal with Stress” post:

    • Carol Tice

      I was fascinated by how more than one of my mentors said they don’t really set goals. My mom was a super-planner person, and my ability to just sort of drift along going with the flow and seeing what happens is kind of low! I like to know where I’m trying to head…while still staying open to unexpected developments that might change that.

      So I have goals, but in pencil. 😉

  4. Kinya

    I am going to market consistently and repeatedly, even when business is well. I’m marketing right now. I’ve got a simple schedule that I am going to stick to, one that works for me and isn’t burdensome.

    I’m excited, because I’ve been selling myself short this entire time. No more of that. I know what I’m capable of doing and I’m going to just get out there and do it.

    I also want to finish at least one of my novels. I started three this year and I’ve been so busy working that I haven’t had time to put more into them. So I’ve got a schedule for working on those too.

    • Carol Tice

      If I could give one resolution to every freelance writer, it would be yours — make marketing a regular part of your life! You are bound to end up earning more.

  5. John Soares

    Great ideas here Carol, both in the post and the comments.

    Thanks for including me!

  6. Amandah

    Some of my goals/resolutions are:

    1. To kick my marketing into high gear.

    I agree with Kinya. I too have been selling myself too short and that stops right NOW!

    2. To be a ghostwriter for BIG NAME and independent publishers.

    3. To sell my half-hour TV sitcom and stay on as one of the writers.

    4. To network more and make solid connections.

    5. To finish my historical, ghost, romance fiction story and begin pitching it. Or I’ll self-publish it.

    6. To harness and breathe in the power of BELIEF and affirm over and over again: I AM a successful author/writer!

    *I too want to make enough money in 2013 and future years from my various writings. I have many ideas for YA, NA, children’s picture books, screenplays, and non-fiction. The latter could open up speaking engagements, especially for the teen/parenting market.

    Happy New Year! Let’s make 2013 a bountiful, joyous, and healthy year.

  7. Sandra

    I’m keeping it real simple next year with two macro goals: 1) Make more from freelancing and 2) Finish a manuscript.

    I’m launching a new marketing plan next month and dedicating a daily block of time to finish my novel. That’s it for me.

    • Carol Tice

      I’m with you — I like 2-3 big goals rather than a long list. Only a few things will be gotten to, is my experience, so gotta boil it down.

      I just heard from Srini Rao from, a little late to get into this post. But his goal for the year is one word: focus. That’s it. Love that.

  8. Erica

    Upgrading my own habits will boost my professional ones. It all starts with my own behavior. In keeping with your previous pearl of wisdom about keeping goals simple and within my own control, here is an abbreviated version of my list:

    1. Read less, apply more of what I read in the first place.
    2. Respect my copywriting (stop selling myself short and flogging myself when I compare my work to gurus)
    3. Respect my creative writing (start writing it again and let it be the inspired, organic work it’s meant to be)
    4. Read my professional development books (I buy them, but neglect to read them)
    5. Enter three writing contests (put myself out there more)
    6. Fill four journals with ideas, notes, quotes and anything else (fuel my creativity and let it all hang out)
    7. Get a life outside of writing

    It’s ambitious. And I’ll be planning my wedding while I’m at it. But I look forward to it and can’t wait to meet the new version of myself that comes out the other side.

    • Carol Tice

      I think if you eliminate #6 it will make it a lot easier to achieve #7! I mean, why four journals? Why put that pressure on? Why not journal when you feel like it and see what happens on that. Probably not as important as getting regular exercise and the other important ‘life’ stuff, especially if you’re about to get married!

      • Erica

        I chose four because in 2012, I filled two journals. They’re messy, colorful and filled with fearless creativity born of a pretty rough year. When I look through them again, I’m so proud of the progress I’ve made. I guess I want double that feeling.

        On the other hand, you make a very good point. It would be easier to hit goal 7 if I eliminate goal 6. They don’t really align. Kinda like wanting to lose 20 pounds AND eat more cheeseburgers.

        Thank you for the advice. I will definitely rethink.

  9. J. Delancy

    My diary shows that it takes at least two years for me to achieve any new year’s resolution, hence I’ve stopped making them. What I want is to continue to grow as a blogger and a freelance writer. Like so many others I dream of a ‘breakout’ year but the reality is that slow and steady personal improvement is the key to success.

    I wish everyone all the best in 2013.

  10. Cheryl Bryan

    Right now, a 5-word resolution is running through my head: “Stop planning and start doing!” It’s time to stop dancing around a writing career and jump in! That will start with setting time aside each week for focused marketing — and being more decisive. Indecisiveness has been a real stumbling block for me.

  11. Kimberly Houston

    Great post! I love reading about how people I respect and admire are planning for 2013. Inspiring!

    I haven’t made resolutions in a number of years, but I always do some kind of planning and goal-setting for the coming year, even if it’s kind of “loose” by other people’s standards. ; )

    I spent today planning 2013, but as an example of how I keep it loose, I give myself until January 31st to get my planning done for the coming year. December is just too packed with holiday frivolity, which I want to enjoy.

    A couple of things I want to do in 2013 are spend lots more time writing just for myself — I love to write essays, but there’s not much call for essay writing with clients. : ) And I want to commit a chunk of time each week to studying the great copywriters, like Gary Halbert (and implement what I learn to get more copywriting work).

    In addition to goal-setting and planning, I also try to come up with a “theme” for the year — in 2013 my personal “theme” is love, compassion and forgiveness, and my business-oriented theme is focus, action, and abundance.

    But that all comes after the fun and festive end to 2012! : )

    • Carol Tice

      I love your idea of using the end of January instead of December!

      As a Jew, our new year comes at the end of September, and I really love that time for planning as well — it’s fall, back to school, and time to think about the work I’ll get done while my kids are in school.

    • J'aime Wells

      I like the end of January deadline too! I’m more likely to stick to a goal if I have time to really work out HOW I’ll do it, and as you said, the holidays are (pleasantly) distracting.

  12. Anita

    I agree with what you said in one of the comments above about more intentional marketing. I intend to do that.

    I’d also like to reflect a bit more on what my husband asked his clients today: What do you want to leave behind in 2012? So far, I can tell you I’m leaving behind excuses that have kept me from taking risks.

  13. Sean

    Thanks for the mention, Carol! Great list.

    I’ve always articulated my goals as one year goes into the next. The big difference this year is that I set them quarterly. Way easier to execute and adjust.

    A very happy new year to all!

  14. Sarah L. Webb

    My goal is to connect with more people around the world who like/get something from my writing. I’ve quantified that with number of social media followers and blog subscribers- 4,013.

    I also like the idea of themes. My theme for the past 2.5 years has been “Be courageous.” I also like Linda’s theme of bridging the values gap.

  15. Alice Knisley Matthias

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for another year of great advice. Keep up the great work!


  16. Teressa Campell

    I feel like I have found a goldmine in your website. I linked through from after finding her site in a Google search. I can’t even remember what I was trying to find. What caught my eye was the information regarding writing for peanuts. I have recently started to pursue a freelance writing career as I work toward shedding my full time corporate position. Unfortunately, my first introduction to freelance writing was to write 10 articles ranging in word count between 300 – 700 words. I was so excited for being paid to write, albeit at roughly 1 1/2 cents per word. Then I realized that this was not going to work if I wanted to trade my current job for a full time writing career. That is when I found your sites and they gave me hope that I could make a living writing. So here are three of my goals for 2013:

    1. Stop writing for content mills.
    2. Make contact with at least 10 potential new clients a month (since I do have a full time job)
    3. Create enough income from my writing to be able to turn in my resignation.

    I can’t thank you and enough for getting me on track to launch my writing career. Oh and I also have to say thank you for the link through to Jon Morrow’s site — another great mentor!

  17. J'aime Wells

    Great post! so many people quoted that I respect, and such a variety of resolutions, goals, themes, and “none of the above.” It’s good to be reminded that one size doesn’t fit all.

  18. Peter D. Mallett

    I’ve read some inspiring posts in the last few days, but this post is the most exciting so far. I will be setting goals of course, but I am still working on them. Thanks for all you do (even if you want to do less). 😉

  19. Monica Carter Tagore

    Loved this post, Carol! I don’t make resolutions, but I do set a vision for the year sometime around my birthday, which is pretty early in January. I’m big into goals and have managed to hit some significant ones. But I’ve begun to notice that my work-life balance is a bit off, as I, like you, often work late into the night. Especially since adding a blog a year ago. So one thing I will be working on this year is still being productive, but being that way at a more reasonable hour as I go into the 11th year of running my writing (actually, writing and design) business.


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