The Big Year

The life of an author has its ups and downs. For the past couple of years, I knew I had not been giving 100% to supporting my career. There had been chaos, there had been heartbreak, I had just about given up. Then things began to change and as they changed, I realized I had to put myself back in the game or else I couldn’t be upset about not seeing results.

About six months ago, I made myself a promise. 2014 was going to be a Big Year.

The-Big-Year_Poster_2Okay, so technically, a Big Year is a birding term. It is a challenge hardcore birders often take to see as many species of birds as they can over a 12-month period. It’s done on the honor system and every year someone “wins” and gets to say they saw the most birds. It’s a huge endeavor that involves travel and expense and full attention to something most people don’t understand at all but the rewards for the birder can be amazing.

So it seemed as good a term as any to describe what I knew I had to do for myself in 2014. I had to have a Big Year. I had to go all in. Which means I will only say yes to things next year that fit into one of three categories:

1. Career — This is the biggest focus. In 2014 I’m going to write more, I’m going to promote more, I’m going to try career-things more. I’m going to travel to conferences again. I’m going to hustle. That means at least 5 new releases next year, as well as several paperback releases. I’m building my platform and I’m reaching out because I want YOU to read a book I’ve written. Then I want you to fall in love and read ALL my books.

2. Family — Unlike some of the birders who take their Big Year, I can’t sacrifice my family. So if it’s something for my family, it will at least be considered. That means a first time trip to Disney with the nephews, it means more date nights, it means pre-planning for birthdays, not just panicking three days before and feeling like the worst wife/daughter/inlaw/friend ever.

3. Fun — I gave up a lot of fun in 2013. I got other things for it, but I need the fun back. My Big Year is going to include a reading challenge and a picture-a-day challenge. It’s going to include petting very old cats more and taking walks. It’s going to include movies and laughing and all kinds of good things that remind me how life is worth living.

Preparing for The Big Year hasn’t always been easy. In the past few months I’ve shed some relationships and given up some endeavors that wouldn’t help me fulfill those three goals. And there are going to be things I’ll have to say no to next year that will make me feel guilty. But 2014 is going to be a Big Year. And I’m ready for it.

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