Within the next two-plus days, the sands in 2020's hourglass will run out, an imaginary hand will twist its wrist and spin it, and the long year of 2021 will begin. For many, seeing New Year's Eve approach has to be a relief; 2020 has not been kind to them, and in the years to come they will flinch when anyone mentions the numbers associated with this horrid year in their presence.
For me, I count myself fortunate. Outside of brief scares, I have not been exposed to COVID. We thought my mom might have been exposed following a late summer outbreak here in my hometown, but she, luckily, turned up negative. Extended family members contracted it and have recovered.
And outside of my wife's stroke back in May and my heart condition rearing its ugly head on me over the last month or so, my family has come out unscathed. We are incredibly thankful for that, and our hearts ache for those who have lost loved ones.
In looking back, we were lucky. We listened to the experts and wore a mask from the middle of March on whenever we left the house. We social distanced, we washed our hands, we sanitized.
In short, we controlled what we could control.
And as I look ahead to next year, I have to continue that mindset. Control what I can control, don't sweat the small stuff. Insert whichever cliché you need, but those are two that I will utilize when it comes to my writing business in 2021.
What can I control?
My writing output, for instance. I'm not setting a word count goal, per se, like I've done in the past, but when I plan to have two books out in 2021 and one is practically already scheduled to come out in the summer, it means that the book I'm about to start writing needs to take priority during my daily writing time in order to have it ready for a near Christmas 2021 release. When 10 a.m. arrives, I need to be in my office typing away until 2 or 3 p.m. Not doing this will hamper that goal.
On the flip side, I have to remind myself not to get completely angry at myself should other things -- like one of my other writing lives, or an emergency -- pop up, and subsequently hampers the writing schedule. That falls under not sweating the small stuff; emergencies happen, and in my other writing job, things happen that take me away from the fiction. I just have to remind myself to get back to the writing as soon as humanly possible. And if that means getting a page done in the overnight, so be it, or promising myself to write more the next day in an effort to make up for it.
What else can I control? Improving my marketing skills. I've said it time and again: my marketing skills are positively dreadful, but I'm working to improve them. I've done quite a bit of reading over the last quarter, and my hope is to continue to tweak my marketing, and not relying on the same tired methods that haven't necessarily worked, or have tailed off in their effectiveness.
And one of those things, unfortunately, is to possibly look into Kindle Unlimited for the release of INCOMING PRIVATE SHOW, at least at the start. I know that those who have bought my books on Nook, Kobo, and iBooks are shouting, "No!" at me, but I have to at least try it out and see if it works for me, with an incredibly well-written book. And honestly, if it doesn't, once the 90-day exclusivity period it up, I can easily take it out of KU and upload to the other markets.
Other things that I can control? My health, the maintenance on my new house and the various tools I need, and whether I'm wearing a mask.
What are the things I won't sweat about in 2021? Book sales -- I have no control over whether or not people buy my books -- the weather, the Revolution or Arsenal winning or losing, and whether or not people get vaccinated. I'm sure there will be other things that come up.
In short, I'm going into 2021 with a great deal of optimism for myself, my business, and the world at large.
I hope you're doing the same.