On the whole, writers tend to be a self-motivated bunch. We write because we’re moved to, we need to. But occasionally, we find ourselves tired, uninspired, and in need of nourishment. On days like this, having a collection of inspirational quotes at the ready is a very handy tool, because in the space of just a few seconds, we can read something to fuel us again—words from another writer who has been where we are, staring down the page, finding the courage to begin.
Starting a book club sounds like a simple endeavor. The rules are simple: choose a book, pour wine, and talk about it, right? But if you’re planning to manage an office book club, there are a few more considerations (like looping in human resources!).
I’ve started three book clubs over the years, but I chaired this post the longest while working at a family foundation who supported humanitarian work in developing countries. During my first week, I asked the HR manager if there was a book club, and when she shook her head, I asked if I could start one. She thought it was a great idea, so I chose a book and sent an email around to the other 15 employees to see who might be interested. By the time I left more than five years later, the book club was still running, and our staff had tripled in size.
Blogging has changed so much since I first started in 2008. Back then, it was less about site design, SEO, and sponsorships. There are still plenty of hobby bloggers out there, but blogging is big business, and if you Google “blogging tips,” you’ll find hundreds of thousands of posts about how to be successful. There are more ways than ever to make a little money, or even a full-time salary. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, though, and for lots of new and even veteran bloggers, the scale at which the industry is growing can be overwhelming and even demoralizing.
In the corporate world—where goals, benchmarks, and achievements are highly valued—an annual review is one step in helping align our own ambition with our company's broader mission. It's typically led by the human resources department, and ideally, you sit with your manager to have a productive and reflective conversation about the year ahead.
As a writer, you're in charge of your own growth.
No one sets up meetings or looks out for your professional development, and it's up to each of us to manage our goals and expectations. This is one step towards professionalizing your writing practice, something I discuss a lot in the Write Where You Are course. The problem is, we rarely sit down to really think about how we're feeling creatively.
In addition to glasses of bubbly champagne and (hopefully) a kiss at midnight, New Year’s Eve also brings with it a desire to start fresh. January tends to be a time for cleaning our slate—disposing of baggage, literal and emotional—in order to usher in clarity, hope, and new ideas for the future.
But a few years ago, the constant list making felt off. Although I appreciate the satisfaction that comes from crossing a task off a list or making a triumphant check mark, I was also itching for something that felt more nurturing.
That’s when I stopped setting goals, and started choosing a word.