Freelance Writing Goals for 2012: Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying – The Choice Is Yours

The one lesson I learned from setting such ambitious freelance writing goals this year – and saw in black and white in hard numbers — is that success comes in stages. And, it all starts with planning. The older I get, the more I realize just how precious time is and the more stock I put in the time-honored saying:

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“If you fail to plan; you plan to fail.”

I can’t believe another year is upon us. This year just flew by. Now it’s that time of year where many of us look back and assess how we fared with this year’s goals (if we made them) and what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

Did You Reach the Freelance Writing Goals You Made in 2011? If Not, Do This to Significantly Improve Your Chances of Doing So Next Year

If you made goals last year for this year, how did you fare in achieving them? FYI, if you haven’t made a habit of writing down your goals, it’s imperative that you do so. Why? Because research has shown that you exponentially increase your chance of achieving goals when you write them down; you won’t believe by just how much!

This year, I had three freelance writing goals. Following is what they were and how I made out.

Goal #1: Get 50 Ebooks on Amazon. I’m on track to accomplish this; by this Friday the 30th (Saturday, the 31st at the latest), I will have 50 ebooks published on Amazon.

I had to revise this goal along the way (ie, publish ebook pullouts). But, that’s one lesson I learned this year with this ambitious undertaking – sometimes you have to tweak or change your goals in order to reach them. The main thing is to keep your eye on the big picture and forge ahead.

Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: A.

Goal #2: Start a YouTube Channel. I did this; currently there are 44 videos there. You can view Inkwell Editorial’s YouTube channel here.

The reason I only give myself a C+ on this goal though is I want more videos there that talk about freelance writing, freelance SEO writing and freelancing in general. All of my videos are for the “living in Jamaica” series.

But I have a presence there now and the videos do feature links that come back to this site, so at least I’m getting some YouTube traffic. I plan to post more videos on YouTube next year.

Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: C+.

Goal #3: Time Block Every Day. This has become a major part of how I start each day, and although I didn’t time-block every day, I’m conscious of what I need to be doing every second of every day. This was the whole point of this goal – to become mindful of every second of every work day so that I didn’t waste time.

Even when I’m goofing off surfing the net, I’m mindful of it – even if I don’t stop it right then. I may cut it short and/or work later or start the next day earlier to make up for lost time. So, mission accomplished!

Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: B.

5 Lessons Learned from 2011 That I Plan to Use to Set Freelance Writing Goals for 2012

I. Don’t Set Too Many Ambitious Goals at One Time: I have a lot on my list that I want to accomplish next year, but one of the lessons I learned this year is that you can’t have too many ambitious goals at one time – especially if you don’t have help.

For example, one of my personal goals this year was to run a full marathon (26.2 miles). I wound up doing two half ones because I just couldn’t fit in as much training as I needed to be confident enough that I could finish a full one this time (I’ve done one full marathon and six half ones to date). I can do half marathons in my sleep, so I just rolled with that.

II. Keep the Most Important Goals Front and Center: I’m a Type A personality so when I set my mind to something, I hate to change it. But, I had to decide what was more important – running the full marathon, or reaching my goal of publishing 50 ebooks on Amazon.

freelance-writing-goals-2012My Life Goals

Of course, it was the latter, because that is necessary to reach my long-term (ie, life) goals of:

The option of retirement at age 55;

A paid-for home by 50; and

Full (or almost full) passive income streams by 50 – which is a bit more than four years away.

III. Feel Free to Tweak Goals: As I discussed above, I had to tweak my goals, eg, publishing pullouts of my ebooks on Amazon, which I hadn’t planned to do.

This does not mean that you cheat, change or abandon well-thought-out goals altogether just because you’re finding it hard to reach them. If you do this, you’ll never accomplish anything; it’s just another form of procrastination.

That’s why it’s important to think seriously about your life, ie, where do you want to be in 3, 5, 10, 20 years. And, make annual goals that move you closer towards those dreams.

IV. Learn from Those Who Are Where You Want to Be: Many of us have all the info we need at our fingertips to succeed at almost anything we want to do these days thanks to the internet. But, we don’t take the advice and run with it. So, I’m paying more attention to this this year. See 2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2 below for more info on this.

V. Don’t be Afraid to Spend Money / Barter to Make Money: For example, when the opportunity presented itself to grow my Twitter account this year, I took it because it fit in with my long-range goals.

I had just over 3,300 followers on Twitter when I bartered my firm’s article writing services for another firm’s social media account management services. They took my account from 3,300 to almost 11,000 Twitter followers in less than 3 months.

And now, I’m getting ready to spend money to grow my subscriber list. Both of these things move me closer to reaching my goal life goal of creating more passive income (again, see 2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2 below for more info on this).

My 2012 Freelance Writing Goals

With all of that being said, following are my freelance writing goals for 2012.

2012 Freelance Writing Goal #1: Get all ebooks written to date on Barnes and Noble. I hope to get this done in the first quarter of the year because it’s just formatting. This will immediately increase my income. By how much? I have no idea.

But as the ebooks are already written, it’s like free money just waiting because all I have to do is give readers Inkwell’s ebooks in the format they prefer (eg, the Barnes and Noble Nook instead of the Amazon Kindle).

2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2: Grow Email Subscriber List to at Least 25,000. This is a very ambitious goal – one I plan to hire someone to help with. Right now, my list is about 6,000 between those I contact manually (a list I’ve had for years) and those who’ve signed up via the subscriber box on my website.

But, as “the money is in the list,” I know I need to get more subscribers in order to boost my income to where I want it to be. This year, I grew Inkwell’s product list (ebooks) – so “the goods,” so to speak, are there. Now it’s about getting more customers who are interested in those goods.

Bob Bly, a leading direct mail copywriter, paid his webmaster to grow his subscriber list (so I’m taking a cue from someone who is where I want to be here). And grow it he did – going from 2,000 to 60,000 subscribers in only 6 weeks! Learn more about how to build your subscriber list for free.

Bob explains how his webmaster did this in his free online report, “Online Marketing That Works (http://bit.ly/rBdHOj (pdf file)). See Section 5 starting on Page 15. I emailed Mr. Bly asking for the name of his webmaster to possibly hire him to help me grow my list. He said he’s no longer in business. So, the hunt is on for someone who specializes in list building.

Are You or Do You Know an Email List-Building Expert?

If you know someone who does this – send their contact info to me please (see Contact link on every page of this site). I want to get busy on this goal ASAP!

2012 Freelance Writing Goal #3: Triple Income from Minisites. I have about five minisites that I (inconsistently) update. I average between $300-$350/month from them — putting in just a few hours per week.

A couple of these sites have been languishing because I don’t do very much with them at all. But I see the potential when I do update them. They’re in good niches and even with just a tiny bit of attention, I surmise that they could fairly easily be earning at least $1,000-$1,500 or more per month.

Now that I’ll have more time because I’ve finished the 50 ebooks goal; I plan to spend time updating/marketing at least two of  these consistently next year. I might try to sell a couple of the others or just hold onto them to get to later. I’ll see how things are shaking out by the end of the first quarter with the two that I will start paying attention to.

2012 Freelance Writing Goal #4: Write at Least 12 Ebooks. That’s one per month, as opposed to the one per week (on average) I did this year.

The relationship ebook I wrote during the summer under a pen name – in one day no less! – has turned out to be one of my best sellers on Amazon. I was going to try to write more fiction next year; but to be honest, I’m not comfortable in that genre. I need a class.

But, writing about relationships comes naturally to me. I also happen to love the subject matter. And, with a degree in sociology, I just feel all-around more comfortable writing stuff like this; not to mention it allows me the freedom to write anonymously and develop a persona in a completely different niche unrelated to freelance writing.

Bottom line is, I plan to write half a dozen titles in this genre next year, in addition to continuing to add to Inkwell’s freelance writing, SEO writing, small business and internet marketing titles.

2012 Freelance Writing Goal #5: Market Existing Titles More. Inkwell Editorial has a hell of a lot products (ebooks) now, so the focus this year will be on getting the word out more about them instead of producing new ones. This means upping the ante with article marketing – one of my favorite (and most effective) marketing methods.

While my freelance writing goals for 2012 may seem extensive, it’s nothing I can’t handle – mainly because I will have hired help to accomplish two of the goals (minisites and growing subscriber list). Once all of Inkwell’s ebooks are uploaded to Barnes and Noble (again, by the end of the first quarter is the goal for this), that will no longer be an issue. And as I’m a writer, it’s what I do day in and day out.

BUT . . . instead of spending 6-10 hours or more per day writing new ebooks like I did this year, I’ll be updating a minisite, or writing an article to promote an existing ebook, or writing on that one title per month.

See? Completely manageable.

Making a Freelance Writing Goal List for 2012? The Most Important Thing to Remember

Keep your life goals front and center. Remove anything that doesn’t move you closer to your long-range goals. Again, this doesn’t mean that goals can’t be changed or tweaked, but if you’re constantly veering off into wildly disparaging directions year in and year out, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get where you eventually want to be.

Every goal I’ve made this year gets me closer to my long-range goals – which are basically about achieving financial security and creating passive income. You must have gazelle-like focus, as debt-freedom guru Dave Ramsey is fond of saying, to achieve goals. So stay focused.

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

Another thing I learned this year by setting such an ambitious goal like publishing 50 ebooks on Amazon in one year is that you can pretty much do what you set your mind to. And, many of us are capable of so much more than we challenge ourselves to do.

So, I’m psyched for this coming year. It’ll be another one of hard work, but as I said, I saw the increase in my income this year from putting the pedal to the metal so to speak. Hence, I’m revving up again.

I may falter, some goals may change and I will most certainly be exhausted. But, one thing each passing year teaches me is that life is over in a nanosecond; and as the character played by Tim Robbins in the movie The Shawshank Redemption* said:

“You can either get busy living (the life you want); or get busy dying.”

I’m busy living – and creating – the exact life I want.

Are you?

FYI, there are just a few more days left to take advantage of Inkwell Editorial’s Holiday Deals and Discounts.

*One of the best movies I’ve ever seen; if by chance you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and do so. It features excellent writing, brilliant acting and superb directing. You won’t regret it.

What are your life goals? What are you going to do next year to start achieving them? Have advice for others in this area? Please share in the comments section below.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!

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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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    1. @Genesis:

      I’ve said it many times, but I don’t know how moms do it day in and day out. Good luck with the new baby when he comes. Three boys — wow! My mom had 3 girls; she said they were easier than boys as far as she was concerned.

      As for your goals, considering the little ones you have running around, you’re going to be very busy. But, if you set your mind to it and stay on a schedule (can’t underscore enough how this helped me) it can be done.

      And good for you on being half way there with your blogs. I can’t wait to pay more attention to mine next year. I have a friend that I told about Google minisites and now she’s earning between $700 and $900 per month — kicking my butt in income! And, I taught her! So, I’m psyched to see what I can do once I turn my full attention to them.

      Again, good luck with the baby; may he arrive healthy and happy.

      All the best to you and your family this coming year.

    2. I also love that movie . . . sounds like it’s inspiring to a lot of writers! Your goals for 2012 sound great and I had to laugh at the not being too ambitious part, it’s not easy to tone it down!

      My goals are many and probably too ambitious considering I’m expecting my third son in March, BUT here are the biggest three:
      1. Write and publish one fiction book per quarter.
      2. Rejuvenate my blog and make it truly useful for wahms.
      3. Build my passive income (mini sites and Amazon affiliate sites) to the point where I can support my family without having to work. I’m already halfway there, so I know getting that next half is very doable.

      Have a great New Year!

    3. @Ken,

      Congrats on your move to Cali Ken. I hear it’s beautiful in that part of the state. I lived in LA for a while years ago, so don’t feel like I got the “real” feel for how beautiful CA is.

      Thanks for the kind words. I wish you much luck with your planning. I find that that really is about half the battle, ie, figuring out where you want to go. Another 40% is having the wherewithal to stick with it. The other 10% is just hard work, which is the easiest part in my opinion.

      Again, good luck in your endeavors in the coming year. Stay safe and have a good New Year.


    4. Yuwanda,

      Been a long-time follower, but this hits it on the nail. You are an inspiration and it is amazing the goals you have met this year. Planning is such an important step. Not only planning what results you want, but also planning how to achieve those results.

      One of our goals was to move across the country from Virginia to California. That officially happened this past week as we settled into our new place in Northern California. Couldn’t have done that writing freelance web content unless there was some planning. This year’s plan is for complete passive income through writing. Some of it will be ebooks, some of it mini-sites. Still a lot of tweaking to the plan to get to that point.

      Thanks for this article and thank you for being the inspiration that you are.

    5. @John,

      Paint me jealous. I love Morgan Freeman! I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him.

      When I lived in New York, I met tons of famous people. Robert Deniro stepped on my foot once in a restaurant! I was waiting tables at Jezebel’s, a famous little spot right in the theatre district and he came in often, along with tons of the broadway acting crowd.

      But again, never had the pleasure of running across Mr. Freeman. He’s going to be on Piers Morgan tonight. Gonna tune in; I just love to hear him talk (sexy voice) — he also happens to be extremely intelligent so wanna hear what he has to say about our upcoming elections here in the states.

      Anyhoo, thanks for sharing.

      FYI, did you finish your freelance writing goal list? Hope so — and do share! 🙂

    6. Yuwanda –

      About Morgan Freeman…

      I was in Seattle in 1995, and the afternoon before leaving I was down in the old historic district just wandering around when I spotted a crowd of people surrounding a film crew. I got as close as I could to see what was going on, and it seems like they were filming a TV commercial.

      Anyway, I did recognize one of the actors. It was Morgan Freeman, so I did get to see him close up on one occasion 🙂


    7. @Paul:

      Totally agree with everything you said about Shawshank. I know people who have literally never travelled more than a few hundred miles from where they were born. The idea of travelling like I do (ie, getting on a plane) — well they can’t even fathom that. So, I get where you’re coming from there.

      As for the Google AdSense sites, I disagree a bit. I operate a couple and you have to have a passion for the subject matter and of course provide value to the end user. Too many start these sites then abandon them because they dont’ see the return quick enough. I have one Ihave had for close to 3 years now, and although it’s tangentially updated, when it is, it is with relevant, in-depth info that “stands the test of time.”

      So youu’re right, of course a site has to bring value to the end user, but too many start out working from the opposite end (eg, thinking of money first). If I didn’t love the subject matter of mine, I would have abandone it a a long time ago.

      Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

      Thanks for weighing in and giving Tom some food for thought. I appreciate that.

    8. Yuwanda-absolutely, Shawshank is one of the best movies of all time. I too don’t watch many movies, but I’ve seen Shawshank at least 10 times over the years. The actors in it are great, but what I really love about it is how inspiring it is and how many parallels that prison life has to real life for some people. I remember when I worked at my local phone company (Qwest Comm) and I worked with people who had been there 20 or 30 years. Their idea of changing jobs was transferring to a different part of the company! It never occurred to them that there were other opportunities on the outside. After so many years there, they were “institutionalized.” Though the job paid well with good union benefits, I purposed in my heart to get out of there before the same thing happened to me, and boy am I ever glad I did! It meant taking a cut in pay for a while, but in the long run, it’s been well worth it.

      Tom-if I might add my two cents about Adsense sites. I don’t like them. I’ve not really tried to make one work, but I simply don’t like the overall concept. In many cases, they provide very little value to the visitor, and IMHO, that kind of business model is not sustainable long term. When I look at any kind of opportunity, the first thing I always consider is whether or not this offers REAL value to an end user. If it fails that first test, I don’t look at it any further.

    9. @Tom:

      My minisites are affiliate-based. I recently started advertising for ads on one, but haven’t had much luck. I’m hoping to change that now that I’ll be devoting more attention to it.

      The #1 piece of advice I would give when it comes to building minisites is to “love the subject matter” becasuse it does take time for the traffic (hence, income) to come.

      I’ll be publishing an ebook on minisite building in the first quarter of next year (am about 80% of th way done with it). Hope this little bit of insight helps.

      Have a great new year!

    10. @Paul:

      Believe me, I understand about deadlines getting in the way. You’re disciplined though, so I have no doubt that as soon as you find time you’ll get your list together.

      As for “BTW-love the Shawshank reference. That’s one of my favorite movies.” Isn’t it one of the best movies ever. Loved, loved, loved Morgan Freeman in it (and of course Tim Robbins too). I dont see a lot of movies cuz I just find it hard to wade through the junk. But, I could watch this one over and over again. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times, maybe more.

      Have a great new year, and I look forward to hearing what you’re going to be up to in the coming year.

    11. I’m interested to learn more about your approach to mini-sites. In 2011, I started a site with Google AdSense and this far it has earned less than $10. That’s disappointing by any measure. Are your mini-sites advertising based, affliate marketing based or what? I’d like to learn how to produce sites that can reliably produce $100/month. Do any of your Ebooks cover how to create money generating mini sites ?

    12. Hi Yuwanda,

      Thanks for the New Year’s inspiration. I’m a bit behind formulating my goals because the clients I got from this freelance writing gig you got me into last year have piled on projects for me this week with firm deadlines of Friday 🙂

      Seriously-I do have several goals for next year as well on the passive income side. I may however, be pushing your rule about being over-ambitious. But I guess I’m going by the expression about “if you shoot for the Sun, you’ll be going in the right direction and at least get to the Moon.” Okay, I know I messed up that quote, but you know what I mean.

      BTW-love the Shawshank reference. That’s one of my favorite movies.

      Happy New Year to you and your family!

      Paul Lindquist

    13. @John:

      Thanks for the well wishes on the goals.

      Are you gonna share yours? I’m totally keen to see what you’re gonna be up to!

      Hope you and your family had a good Christmas and are looking forward to a new year.

    14. @Adrian:

      Love the Ghandi quote. Thanks for sharing that.

      As for your age — it truly is just a number and you are doing the Ghandi quote justice — pursuing a Doctorate at 64 — good for you. You must use your brain — just like any other muscle, to keep it from turning to mush.

      And yeah, I am a control freak– and I’m learning to be ok with that! 🙂

      May all your dreams come true in 2012 as well.

    15. Happy New Year, Yuwanda, and I hope you meet all your goals for 2012 – I’m setting mine right now!


    16. Hi Yuwanda,

      Thanks for sharing and being honest in all things, as per usual. I enjoyed reading all of your plans, dreams, ambitions and realised outcomes.

      Now, what’s that sneaky word I just read? ‘Retirement’…Oh dear, how could you? You fully well know a writer, (particularly of your calibre) never ever retires. Now don’t use that word again, you hear me Girl!

      You mentioned being a Type A personality. Is that just another fancy name for control freak? lol
      I’m a control freak, (such a derogatory term, isn’t it) and so is my partner and my fourteen year old Son. You should be in our house when the three of us are discussing something. My Son’s mantra so far is, I’ll never give in…I’ll never give up. ‘Sigh’, so young with the world at his feet and so very ambitious.

      As someone once said or words similar, ‘Goals unfulfilled always remain as dreams’.

      Well, I have a lot of goals, and yes I’m achieving them slowly. But, ‘Sigh once again’, there’s not enough hours in the day. Last year I finished my University Master’s Degree in Writing, (three years online) and now in march I shall be commencing my Doctorate in Writing, (also online). In the interim, I am teaching myself all about Online and Offline Marketing, Consulting, Copywriting, Web Content, Web Video Marketing, fixing up my website, etc., etc. Also writing an eBook, beginning another novel and reading about Semiotics, Foucault, Barthes and Derrida, (French Philosophers).

      Did I mention about how many hours are in the day? Yes, Of course I did. Well, Yuwanda as you’ve said life can be over in a nanosecond and there is still so much for us to do and learn. My favourite quote is by Mohandas Gandhi –

      “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever”.

      I could keep on going, but time is so precious and within two months I shall have reached the age of sixty-four. ‘Sigh again’.

      Thanks Yuwanda and Best for 2012. May all of your dreams and goals be realised.

    17. Andy, you are an absolute doll. Thanks for the kind words.

      As for your goals being “mediocre”, I totally disagree. First, the fact that you are proactive enough to set them puts you head and shoulders above most. Secondly, I think that part of setting goals is being realistic about what you can achieve; otherwise you may give up and not do anything if you get too overwhelmed.

      So give yourself credit for what you’ve done so far. Revamping a website — uh, MAJOR undertaking. I had mine redone going on three years ago and I STILL have pages I’ve yet to migrate over into the new design.

      So good luck with your goals next year. Let’s compare notes at the end of next year to see how we did, ok?

      Have a great new year!

      Best 🙂

    18. Yuwanda – you’re an absolute star! Compared with your achieved goals over 2011, mine are very meadiocre. At least I’ve now (just about) totally revamped my website – ready for re-launch in 2012. I’ve also gained more writing credibility with a major UK charity, and am now lead writer with 4 colleagues, editing and improving cancer-care publications.
      My main goal for 2012 is to write one major ‘self-help’ medical book, and write and publish at least 5 mini E-Books on Kindle. Also to make my website much more informative and helpful to budding writers of all types.
      But I really love your Inkwell Editorial site, and all the hard work and positive thinking, links and motivational advice that goes into it. You certainly ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ and are a great role-model for all online and offline writers. Well Done – and best wishes for every success with achieving your goals over 2012.
      I’ll be following. Best Wishes. Andy Gage.