Two years ago I read a sentence from a little tiny ebook that I still can’t get out of my head.
The book was a collection of twenty-five famous authors and experts giving their best business advice, and each person had two pages.
Most of the answers were predictable and long-winded. Then I came to Seth Godin’s page, and he only wrote one line.
Make promises, and keep them.
So, in the spirit of making promises and keeping them, I give you my first ever annual review. In it I’ll answer a few simple questions.
- What went well?
- What could I improve?
- What are my aspirations and goals for next year?
- What did I learn in 2015?
What Went Well
- I posted every week in 2015.
I don’t know if I can even describe how much of a win this was for me. I am notoriously bad at sticking to commitments over long periods of time, and the fact that I stuck to this made me really proud of myself. Even though some weeks I had to put in crunch time on Sunday night, I still posted every Monday, and I felt really good about everything I posted.
- I discovered my writing style.
There are a lot of bloggers out there and at times it felt overwhelming comparing myself to others. A few people I’ve been reading lately are Mark Manson, James Clear and Zen Habits. I see my writing style as a “shock and awe” approach. I like to begin with a concept or statement that shocks the reader or makes them question something then I piece together a new possibility and leave the reader feeling fresh and inspired.
- I stopped thinking I needed to write a book.
This was also huge for me. I’ve been pressuring myself to write a book for years and I finally let that go a few months ago. What I realized is that this blog is what I love writing, and I write an average of 1,000 words per week, which is 52,000 words year, or a book of about 120 pages. I’m already writing a book, it’s just posted online one week at a time!
- I found a unique love of audio.
Since March I’ve been including a nicely produced audio with each post. I believe people pay more attention to audio. When we read articles on the internet we mostly skim them and hardly sit down and really take them in. Audio helps people slow down and focus on the words, and hearing me read it also builds a more intimate relationship with my audience.
What I Could Improve
- I was anti-marketing.
Although I don’t feel guilty about this, it came to my attention a few months ago that I was simply resisting a lot of important things I should be doing to get my work out into the world. For example, my email list is small (145 as of Dec 2015) and while I may resist many marketing methods due to my insistence on authenticity, there are many ways I can be building a list and keeping my integrity.
- At times, I let writing become homework.
There were way too many Sunday nights I spent frustrated I had left things to the last minute. I really don’t want this blog to ever feel like a homework assignment. I didn’t devote enough time to writing during the week so Sunday would come and I would have to hustle to get the post done.
- I stayed involved in projects I wasn’t a “hell yes” to.
I started a lot of new projects in 2015, and I fell in love with the idea of wearing many hats. As the year came to a close, I realized that it was starting to take a toll on my time. I started to feel like my plate was full and nothing new could happen. This blog has always been my #1 priority, and it feels good to know that hasn’t changed, but some of my other projects are now in question.
Goals and Aspirations for 2016
I’d like to share something vulnerable… I’m afraid of goals.
I saw goals as expectations that put a limit on my freedom but I forgot how useful they could be. It’s funny because I used to be a big goal-setter but lately I’ve swung the other way, and been on an anti-goal setting kick. That pendulum swung so far that I started resisting goals at all costs, and I’ve decided to stop that.
Make promises and keep them! This one is tough for me, but here it goes.
- I will write a short eBook.
It’s called “The Ten Commandments of Boodaism: A Manifesto For Living Life On Your Own Terms”. It’s the advice I would have wanted to hear in times of confusion and big life decisions. It will available for free to my email list starting March 1st.
- By the end of 2016, I will have 10,000 subscribers on my email list. I love the personal and intimate conversations that happen when I email articles to readers and I don’t want to count on social media as the only way to interact with readers.
- I will focus more on outreach. I’ve been anti-marketing because I wanted to focus on the writing, and I’m happy I did that. Now it’s time for me to continue the emphasis on quality and add the piece about reaching more people.
- I don’t do well with word count, but I like time goals.
Recently I’ve begun writing an hour a day, and in that hour I can be editing, brainstorming or writing, and it all counts. I spend so much time editing that word count goals don’t accurately reflect my effort.
- I still really love blogging.
I’m really happy with how much I’m still in love with writing articles. It’s still my deepest passion and my enthusiasm for it has only grown.
You have no idea how important you are to me. Writing is a way to build my own personal philosophy and sharing it with you is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I plan to do it for a long time.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this more than just me writing for myself. It means the world to me and I’m excited for a great 2016.
Thanks to Chris Guillebeau for the annual review inspiration.