Setting Intentions for 2022
Happy new year, Manuscript Workers!
If you’re feeling the same way I am, then you might not be feeling exactly “happy” about the new year. Maybe “wary” is a better word. Cautiously optimistic? I’m not quite there yet. I hope you are, though!
Before I get into the newsletter, I just want to let you know that the Book Proposal Shortcut for Busy Scholars is still open for enrollment until Sunday night (January 9th). The Shortcut is an efficient, self-paced program to help you complete a book proposal on your own schedule, so you don’t have to rush to complete it.
The Shortcut is a good alternative to the Book Proposal Accelerator (my other program) if you’re a person who prefers working on your own. It’s also a good precursor to the Accelerator if you want to get started on a proposal draft before going through the Accelerator’s group experience in an upcoming session. (Shortcut participants also get priority enrollment in future Accelerator sessions, so they get to beat the rush on enrollment day.)
Ok, back to the newsletter…
I spent the last few months of 2021 thinking about how I can do things differently in the new year. Perhaps you did too.
I have to admit that I tried to do too much in 2021. (You too again, maybe?) On top of running the Book Proposal Accelerator in January and June, I worked with 44 clients individually, did a full promotional campaign for The Book Proposal Book, ran a 5-day challenge, developed two new publishing workshops and offered them several times, offered my developmental editing webinar and course, and developed a whole new online program (the Book Proposal Shortcut). I’m not bragging about any of this; it was too much and I should have known better than to put it all on my own plate.
I do try to be conscious about setting boundaries and protecting my time, but I still succumbed to the “I’m so lucky to have these opportunities, it would be silly not to take advantage of them” mentality. This wasn’t entirely bad — I got to meet so many of you as a result of the things I did in 2021 — but by the time I hit my month-long sabbatical in October (a gift to myself) I was just completely burnt out.
Then, the month off did not result in recovery. It was great to have the time off, but I didn’t end up refreshed and excited to get back to work. One of my kids got sick and then I got sick and then the whole rest of the year sort of felt like a struggle with other personal stuff coming up and work motivation still pretty low and this f***ing pandemic not going anywhere. Have you experienced a “break” that felt like that? Maybe you just came off of one last week??
I recognized I needed to plan things differently in 2022 in order to not end up in the same situation again.
So what am I planning differently this year? I’m still doing the Accelerator this month and into February, and I hope to run it again in June and July. It’s become my signature offering and I love getting to learn about a bunch of new book projects all at once and help people develop their proposals and land contracts. A new session of the Accelerator always makes me feel a little bit refreshed and hopeful (I hope you feel that way too if you’re enrolled this time around).
I’m still going to be offering some one-off workshops in 2022, but I’m going to limit the number and not try to come up with any new ones, at least for the first half of the year. I’m doing a co-hosted workshop with Jane Friedman (my publishing idol) in March and a two-week stint as University of California Regents Lecturer at UCLA in April, and I think that’s about enough for the spring.
I’m still offering my self-paced programs—the Book Proposal Shortcut and my developmental editing course. Now that the curriculum for these is set up, they’re easier to keep running (so thank you to past me for putting in that work in 2020 and 2021).
The main thing that’s changing is that I’m phasing out one-on-one client work. Well, to be more accurate, I’m no longer booking paid work doing editing for individuals. I hope that by protecting my time in this way, I will actually have more time and space to stay connected with academic authors.
I would like the capacity to not feel stressed out when past editing clients and participants in my programs email me with updates or questions about their publishing journeys. I’d love to be able to answer questions promptly (because I know how much anxiety is behind them sometimes and how hard it is to even put yourself out there and ask) or even hop on a quick phone call without feeling like I need to charge for that time or like it’s taking away from other things I need to get done.
Some of my favorite moments with clients have been when they email me to say they’ve gotten interest from a press (or more than one) and I’ve been able to say “let’s chat for a few minutes and figure out your next steps!” I want to make space in my days to do a lot more of that in 2022.
The other aspect of my work that I find most fulfilling is developing resources and programs for prospective authors, which is why I’m always tempted to come up with new workshops, etc. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but I need to build in time for that too, rather than expecting that it’s just going to get done between the other things on my schedule. This is why my intention for 2022 is to put fewer things on that schedule.
I’ve got a couple ideas percolating about new ways I can help scholarly authors and I think they can be great if I just give myself space to think and work on them. I’m really happy with how the Book Proposal Shortcut turned out last year, and I’m excited to release more things in that vein in the second half of this year.
Anyway, I don’t know if these reflections are interesting to anybody but myself, but I wanted to be transparent about where I’m at and what I’m thinking about as this new year starts.
I hope that if you’ve similarly been feeling the pressure to do all the things, that you’ll be able to figure out what you can cut and how you can leave space for yourself to do the things that really fulfill you. And also preserve some wiggle room for when sickness, quarantines, and other genuine urgencies arise, as they are sure to this year.
I also hope you get to enjoy this week in some way and I’m looking forward to connecting with you in 2022!