December is the new January.

For a long time that was a motto of mine about the final month of the year. This mantra meant that in December I should start setting myself up for a successful new year.

But in 2020, December is the new January simply means I want to pretend this dumpster fire of a year is already over!

Regardless of your attitude about December, there are four things I think every writer should do this month.

Review 2020.

As terrible as this year has been, I’m sure something good has happened along the way. Take time to reflect on those things and on the things you accomplished in spite of the tumultuous times we all faced.

Here are some questions your should ask yourself and answer as you reflect on the past year:

  • What did you accomplish this year and what do you think helped you to accomplish these things?
  • What goals did you not accomplish this year? Why didn’t you accomplish them? (Pro-tip: Don’t blame COVID-19 for EVERYTHING!)
  • What worked well (for your writing life and life in general) and how can you take these practices and habits with you into 2021?
  • What’s not working for you? (This could include habits, practices, your job, or even relationships.) How can you let these things go?
  • What did you learn about yourself this year?
  • What did you learn about your writing process?
  • How did you cultivate creativity? In other words, how did you go after inspiration instead of sitting around waiting for your muse to smack you in the face?
  • How did you develop your discipline? Remember, you’re not always going to feel motivated or inspired to write or blog. That’s why you need discipline.

Get organized.

Many of us are taking time this month to deep clean and declutter our homes. But we need to clean up our writing lives, too. Organize your writing projects. Put all of those pitches, queries and drafts in a place on your computer, USB flash drive, or external hard drive where you can easily find them.

And if you’re like me you probably have writing ideas in fifty-leven notebooks and notes on your phone. Compile those ideas into one file. (I’m talking to myself here.)

Get some rest and have some fun.

Give yourself permission to take a break. As a full-time freelance writer, taking time off can sometimes seem impossible. There are no paid vacation days for me. But I was very strategic this fall so that I will be able to take off most of this month and still have the income I need. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you don’t give yourself time to recharge, you won’t have any creativity (or energy) to put into your writing.

Set goals for 2021.

For the first time in my ENTIRE life, I’ve been struggling to set goals for the new year. Cancer and COVID have me leery of getting my hopes up about the future. But one of my mentors once told me we can either fight for our fears or fight for our dreams, but we can’t do both.

So, I’m choosing to fight for my dreams. I’m choosing to feel the fear and forge ahead anyway.

On Sunday, December 20 at 6 p.m. CT I’ll be hosting the 2021 #GoalDigger Workshop designed to help you set goals for next year, develop a plan for achieving them, and plan content for 2021, too. And because I know I’m not the only one filled with trepidation about the new year, we’re also going to address our fears and how to move forward in spite of them.

I’ll send more details soon to everyone on my email list. So, if you’re not on the list, sign up today.