Kicking (around) some goals

Here we at the start of not only a new year, but a new decade as well (“yours at no extra cost”). And that can only mean one thing: everyone’s nursing one hell of a hangover.

It also means people are making their New Year’s Resolutions about losing weight, getting organised, etc. This gives them something to strive for during the year (and an excuse to start drinking again when everything goes pear-shaped by mid-February).

Well, this year I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions. Instead I’m setting myself goals—some for my career, some for my personal life, and some I haven’t quite managed to categorise yet. I’m making them goals because some will take a lot longer than a year to achieve, and they sound a bit more serious, at least in my head. (But please, if I start using words like “strategy”, feel free to slap me.)

So what are my goals for the coming years? Well, rather than list them all in one hit, let me start with those related to my career. (And by that I mean writing.)

Become a part-time freelancer

If this blog had a revision history, you’d see I alternated between “part-time” and “full-time” a dozen times in that heading. (Not that I want revision history. Believe me, some early drafts of my blog should not be seen.) I’m sticking with part-time for now because it makes the goal that little bit more attainable.

So what do I mean by “part-time”? Well, if I can get enough freelance work that I only have to work at my “regular” job for two or three days a week, I’ll be happy.

(Oh, and by “freelance” I mean writing articles for newspapers and magazines, not writing copy for brochures, help manuals and the like. I’ve done both, and while copywriting is probably more profitable I know which one I prefer.)

Resurrect my humour column

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a humour column—for myself or anyone else.  And of all the things that have fallen off the radar in recent years, it’s one of the things I miss the most.

They won’t appear on this blog. Instead they’ll go back on the web site they were born on— (or as the case may well be).

For those of you who read my columns before they disappeared, I’m still deciding what to do with them (they’re all currently sitting on my hard drive). I might put the good ones in an ‘Archive’ section, and let the bad ones disappear quietly. What do you think?

Set up my editing business

While I’m still learning the ropes as a freelance writer, I seem to have a knack for editing work. Not so much the broad brushstrokes, but more the fine detail—micro-editing, if you like. And having picked up bits of work here and there over the years, I figure I may as well try to make some sort of business out of it.

So I’ll be creating another website for that. It will include my tips on writing (“cut the crap”), which will help me deal with the stuff I have to deal with at my “regular” job.

The good news is I have the domain name I wanted. Just need to get around to setting it all up.

Learn shorthand

Before you start yelling out “no-one uses shorthand any more”, let me tell you that I already have a fantastic MP3 recorder that I’ve used during interviews. (I’ve recently discovered my iPhone does a pretty good job as well.) But sometimes it would be easier to just grab pen and paper and start scribbling instead of taking out the phone, selecting the app, double-checking to make sure it’s working, etc. Besides, it will justify me spending a fortune on the Teeline book I bought recently.

Keep blogging

I’ve tried blogging a few times over the years, but for some reason it never quite stuck. But lately I’ve been inspired by people who’ve started blogs of their own and are still going strong, and I want to do likewise. Who knows? Maybe we can keep each other going through the times when that little voice in our heads says, “Why bother?”

That’s certainly not the complete list of my goals. It might not even be complete in terms of my writing goals. But I think it’s enough for now.

And I’m sure you agree.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Jen January 3, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Congratulations, Bill! I’ve been waiting for you to refresh this blog and put your goals out there. Now you’ve written them down and shown them to the world you’ve got a great new reason to keep on track. Letting yourself down is one thing. But the feeling that you’re letting other people down? That they’re expecting more from you? Ouchie! 🙂

    But you’re not doing this for us. You’re doing this for you. Believe me when I say I know what it’s like to begin exploring beyond the comfort zone. To seek something a little less familiar but a little more fulfilling. It’s scary and it’s daunting and you’re never 100% sure you’re on the right track or if you should just go back to the corner, shut up and put up with the crap you’ve been dealing with for years. Because, after all, the crap has done a very good job at paying the bills.

    But this life? It’s for living, I’m told. And there’s no living where dreams are left to die.

    Good luck. You know you have my support and that you can call on me whenever you need a hand.

    • Bill Harper January 7, 2010, 4:01 pm

      Thanks for the kind words (and the kind offer), Jen.

      As for putting up with the crap I’ve been dealing with for years, I don’t think it’s an option any more. Sure, it pays the bills. But it’s affecting my health, happiness and wellbeing, which are far more important to me.

      Here’s to fulfilling our dreams, eh?


  • Shaggygirl January 3, 2010, 9:56 pm

    Good goals. I think you are sensible to approach freelance part time to start with. Less pressure and a good way to build up.

    My Dad does editing as well. He’s going to retire this year from his normal job and just do editing work. He edits pretty boring stuff though 🙂

    We should keep each other honest and working toward our goals.

    • Bill Harper January 7, 2010, 4:15 pm

      Thanks, Shaggy. Some people work really well under pressure, but I’m not one of them. And the last thing I need is to rely on a piece being accepted so my family can eat. (That’s why I stay away from publications that pay only in contributor copies–they taste awful.)

      What kind of editing does your father do?

      And yes, let’s not only keep each other heading towards our goals, but celebrate them together as well.



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