What’s Your 2013 Focus?

Happy 2013Happy new year! I’ve been on a blogging break, and while it was refreshing, I’m excited to dive back in. Since we just celebrated New Year’s, I decided to start by to discussing our areas of focus for 2013. Many of us have spent time over the holidays evaluating our lives and our work, and coming up with goals, resolutions, thoughts or words to guide us through the new year. Have you done this?

In all this thinking and envisioning what I’d like to accomplish this year, I had an epiphany and I wanted to share it with you (in hopes that maybe you’ll share your epiphanies too). I frequently read books and blogs about business and leadership, but I’ve always read the leadership material from a rather distant standpoint, thinking of it as hypothetical because I don’t see myself as a leader. I knew there was plenty I could learn from reading about leadership, but since I’m not a CEO of a large corporation, I assumed “other people” are the real leaders, while I’m just trying to learn from them.

But I finally realized that I am a leader — in fact, most of us are leaders in some area of our lives — and that my focus for 2013 will be to embrace my identity as a leader. This means focusing more intently on cultivating necessary skills and actively practicing the behaviors of a good leader on a daily basis.

I had to recognize that whether or not I wanted to face it, I already have leadership roles in my family, my literary agency, and in the publishing community. The only way to do something well is to welcome it, explore it, learn about it, and intentionally practice it. So my focus word for this year is “leader.”

I debated whether to write about this publicly. It feels vulnerable to step up and say, “Hey, I finally realized that I’m a leader!” But then I realized that most of you would probably  benefit from thinking about the ways in which you are a leader, and asking yourselves if you, too, might find some direction in embracing your leadership role.

Even if you don’t resonate with the idea of leadership, is there something else about yourself you’ve been denying or keeping at a distance that you may want to embrace this year? Is there an identity you’ve been afraid to claim (for example: “writer”) that you are finally ready to inhabit?

What would you do differently this year if you were actively embracing that identity? How would it change your overall perspective and your approach if you allowed yourself to claim it?

I would love to hear your thoughts, including whatever it is you’ve decided to focus on in 2013. Share your resolutions, goals, or words. Let’s not be afraid to put it out there, and to encourage each other.

Happy 2013!

 

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  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    I wrote about my focus (my theme word) for the year on my blog today. My word is finish. I love how selecting a focus or theme word can help direct us through our days. And Rachelle, you are indeed a leader. All the best as you embrace the role!

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      I think my focus word needs to be “Love,” this year. Not at all sure how to go about this – admittedly half-hearted.

      • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

        Cherry, what a coincidence. The other theme word (besides finish) that came to my mind was love as well. I think that may need to be a word for every year!

      • http://www.CreativityUntamed.com J. M. Tompkins

        This is awesome, my word for this year is love as well. It came to me at the beginning of December and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. As each day passed and it was on my mind, I started to tell people I love them. It was weird, honestly. Because truthfully, I don’t think it’s too normal for a person to constantly tell people that they love them. Telling people every time I talked to them how much I loved them lead them to start doing the same. And now we are just constantly hugging and giving one another support.

        That lead to telling each other how wonderful we all are. “Thank you so much for writing me an e-mail today, you lift my spirits so much when you do, it means the world to me.” I am, and am receiving in response, saying constantly when I am moved by something, no matter how small it is.

        Now we are in 2013 and I know this my resolution for the year. There was a car commercial that stated “set a resolution you WANT to keep”. I thought that was a great line and that’s what I’m doing. I’m loving, because that’s a resolution I want to keep. And I am attempting to love with no strings attached. I am giving myself to those around me, but I am expecting nothing back. It’s hard, it really is (especially in marriage). But I keep telling myself that if I don’t set expectation of others (which I don’t have a right to do anyway) then I’m not setting them up for failure in my own eyes. I’m just loving them for who they are, accepting them for who they are.

        • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

          Wow, J.M., this is wonderful! What a great example of how we can live “love” out this year — an example I needed to hear. Thanks!

    • http://brandyheineman.wordpress.com/ Brandy Heineman

      That’s a good word, Cheryl. I’ve never been big on resolutions but the focus word idea appeals to me, and if I have a word for 2013, then “finish” is it for me too.

      • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

        Brandy, how neat that you were inspired to choose “finish” as a theme word as well! Thanks for sharing!

    • http://creativitylifecoaching.blogspot.com sherrie miranda

      I love it! Finish! Hope you don’t mind id I use it too.
      Sherrie

      • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

        Sherrie, I don’t mind at all. I love that hearing about it inspired you to use finish as well!

  • http://tiffaniburnettvelez.wordpress.com Tiffani

    My focus is just to write for the story and not for the market. I produce better work this way.

    • http://www.anime-planet.com/users/ebandza ebandza

      I think that’s a brilliant thought, as I’ve been struggling to find a starting point for writing I’m plagued with questions about what the audience wants. I get bogged down in technique and what’s the best way to present the story.
      After reading your statement I thought I should tell the story how it came to me and how I want to. Isn’t that what writing is really about? While I do think it’s important for my work to be presentable I should not let the other stuff bog me down.
      I thought to myself would I still write if I knew I weren’t going to be famous and make money. The answer was immediate without hesitation YES I would because I have never started off with that as my goal. Those were things never on my list to accomplish its not that I’m saying it wouldn’t be nice , but it’s not the point. So then what are my goals?
      1. To Share My Story and Ideas
      2. To Publish
      That’s It, nothing more and nothing less that’s all I want.

  • http://julienilson.wordpress.com Julie Nilson

    I’ve realized that I need to schedule my writing or it’s not going to happen. So last night, I sat down with my Google calendar and scheduled writing, reading, exercise, and other daily activities that I’ve been doing sort of haphazardly until now. I’m hoping that more discipline will help me get more done by focusing on one thing at a time.

    • http://infinitecharacters.com/ Connie Almony

      Did the same thing myself last night. Now I just need to look at the schedule … and not lose it :o).

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      That’s a solid plan of action. Keeping to a schedule will reap results.

  • Jeanne

    Wow, thanks for sharing this, Rachelle. I had to chuckle a bit when I read it because I have topics of interest that I read up on but don’t see myself as that thing (i.e. your leader role). And I do read it from a distant mindset.

    Last fall, when I had my first two finals in writing contests, I had two valued friends who “sternly” told me I was not a “new” writer anymore. I realized I needed to step into the shoes that fit the role I live in my “writer’s life.”

    Anyway, I digress. My word focus for the year is PERSPECTIVE. I have much to learn about maintaining an accurate perspective as I walk through my days.

    Thanks for sharing this post today!

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      That’s a tough one, Jeanne. Getting the right perspective is a major part of wisdom. It’s not easy to do when something stares us in the face, but well worth the time it takes to step out of the picture.

      • Jeanne

        Agreed. Definitely agreed. :)

  • http://dabneyland.com Dabney Hedegard

    Are you kidding me? You are such an inspiration to many. You bring us industry insight and help us hone our craft. You keep us up-to-date on the ever-evolving publishing process/trends.

    You can’t have so many *followers* if you’re not a leader. :)

    We’re blessed to have professionals like you who take the time to invest in us newbies.

    Happy New Year to you. May God continue to richly bless you this year.

  • http://lindsayharrel.blogspot.com Lindsay Harrel

    That’s awesome you realized that about yourself, Rachelle. My focus word for 2013 is “rejoice.” I want to really rejoice no matter what life throws at me. I’m hopeful that 2013 is going to be a big year of rejoicing…even if what I’m rejoicing over isn’t expected.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      My wife’s favorite passage is Philippians 4:4-8. Those words are challenging. Great goal, Lindsay.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      That’s a great focus, Lindsay. It’s been one I’ve been struggling with this year: rejoice and be glad. I wish you blessings of joy this new year.

  • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

    One word: agented.

    • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

      How are you going about your hunt?

      • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

        Lisa —

        I’m going about it in what I hope is the “right” way.

        – Submitting short stories and poems to anthologies to build my CV. (I had two of each published in 2012.)
        – Following agent’s and writer’s blogs. (Chuck Sambuchino regularly features new agents looking to build their client lists.)
        – Following agents and authors on Twitter.
        – INTERACTING with them.
        – Finding agents whose “wants” meet my “haves.” (I have a YA thriller and a literary fiction short story collection.)
        – Researching the agents to see exactly how to query them.
        – Querying.
        – Getting rejected.

        It’s the last bullet I plan to change this year.

        I hope this helps. Write back if you have other questions.

        • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

          Oh. My. Word. Just read your “A Lifetime Ago” entry on your blog. Absolutely FABULOUS! You’ll find an agent. Don’t give up.

          • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

            Thank you for the kind words. The support from the author community has WONDERFUL!

  • https://www.facebook.com/PierreJacquesBrault?ref=hl Pierre-Jacques Brault

    I realized I am a leader within the community and others lives but very much had trouble in saying “yes” in one way or another. “Yes” for me takes on many different forms: positive reinforcement, in the simple action of yes, in not being afraid. So my focus word this year is YES. It is not so much a resolution but as new way of being.

  • http://makingbabygrand.com Dina Santorelli

    Finish — and publish — my second novel, and finish the first draft of the sequel to BABY GRAND. Happy new year, Rachelle!

  • http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com Barbara McDowell Whitt

    Rachelle, as Dabney Hedegard said about your post in her comment, “You can’t have so many *followers* if you are not a leader.”

    My word for 2013 will be You, not I.

  • http://www.athoughtgrows.blogspot.com Julie Luek

    I think, for me this past year, there’s been less a fear to claim a title “Writer” and more of a fear to define what that means, FOR ME. I have spent so much time looking externally– to learn, glean, grow–that I neglected the voice inside me. Learning to listen to it for direction isn’t easy, but one of my primary goals for 2013.

  • http://elizaostrom.blogspot.com/ Eliza O

    So true – everyone is a leader in some way at some time! and I definitely am in the boat of trying to still embrace the author title. Maybe it’s difficult to embrace these concepts for ourselves because we always associate terms like these with those who have made huge successes of it or been doing it forever.

    My focus for 2013 is embracing the moment, I hope that it will help me make the most of all of them.

  • http://tommfranklin.blogspot.com Tom M Franklin

    Another way of looking at this is to choose a Word of the Year. I’ve been doing this since 2006 and like how the process of choosing a word helps me focus on what’s important to me and what I feel is needed in my life.

    http://tommfranklin.blogspot.com/2013/01/word-of-year.html

  • http://myquirkycity.wordpress.com Heather

    I love this. I think most of your readers would already have called you a leader since you are sharing information in a very helpful way. I have realized that I am one as well, as now I have students working for me at work, so I’m training them in my job (when I still feel like I’m being trained as an Intern). This year, for me, its about prioritizing with a goal of finding balance pursuing my dreams. Happy New Year!

  • http://Patesparables.com Stephen Pate

    In 2012 I finally embraced the title of writer. I actually did enough work to back it up. In this new year, however, I want to make the shift to a semi related but new title–an author. I hope to publish something in 2013. Thanks for all your wisdom, Rachelle. Blessings!

  • http://aarsi-reflections.blogspot.com/ Navdeep Kaur

    In 2013, I will be a better woman and a better Sikh. After the Sikh Temple shootings, I know that more than anything else, I need to be a spokesperson for the Sikh community. There has been too much hate directed at Sikhs since 9/11 because people often believe we are terrorists. I won’t wait for someone else to bring the awareness any longer; I am taking it upon myself.

    At the same time, I also find myself highly distraught by the rape incident in Delhi. After much contemplation, I have realized that the the best thing I can do for woman-kind is to stand up for myself.

    It only takes one person to bring change, and I will be that one person as much as I can. I am a writer with a purpose this year; I’m going to let my passion drive my work.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Your goal is humbling. Most of those I read are about self improvement. Yours is about surviving in a dangerous world.

      • http://aarsi-reflections.blogspot.com/ Navdeep Kaur

        Thank you. Your comment is humbling. :)

  • http://permissiontobereal.blogspot.com Shauna

    I’ll embrace myself as a (gulp) writer, but I’m still too wussy to declare it aloud! I’ll focus on FINISHING the intro and first three chapters! Baby steps, right?

  • http://www.intheshadeofthecherrytree.blogspot.com Zan Marie

    My theme is consistency so that I can finish FRIENDLY FIRE.

    Thanks for being a leader…even if you didn’t realize you were a leader already. ; )

  • https://ThatMatters2Me.wordpress.com Gayle Swift

    My focus for the year is WRITING–to embrace my passion, hone my craft and create words that entertain, educate and inspire. As an adoption coach and an adoptive mom, my driving passion is supporting kids and the families who love them. I choose writing as my fulcrum for change.

  • http://mommainprogress.blogspot.com Valerie @ Momma in Progress

    For 2013, I plan to focus on and enjoy the present.
    http://www.theconnectedmom.com/2012/12/one-word.html

  • http://rmabry.com Richard Mabry

    Rachelle, Of course you are a leader. Not only are the one to whom those of us fortunate enough to be your clients turn for advice, direction, and (all too often) consolation, but you’re a beacon for writers still looking for representation and publication.

    What am I? Still not sure. I fall somewhere in the areas described by one of my favorite bumper sticker-type slogans: “Lead, follow, or get the (bleep) out of the way.” My role varies from day to day on that one.

  • http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com Jaime Wright Sundsmo

    Mmm, I love your post. Albert Mohler (Pres. of Southern Seminary in KY) just wrote a book called “The Conviction to Lead”. I’m reading through it now and it’s phenomenal. As an HR Dir. it so important to have CONVICTION and BELIEF behind leadership. SO YEAH! Rachelle! I’m glad you realized you’re a leader :) I’m excited for you. Self-discovery rocks.
    Me? This year? I really need to learn Graciousness. That’s my word. I am a very snarky sarcastic individual and that has its place but can also border on being critical. So while I want to keep my sense of humor (?) I want to learn graciousness toward others. Yikes. Did I just publicly admit I’m snarky?

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Yeah, you went there. :P Growing in grace is an awesome goal!

  • http://Klockreations Tim Klock

    I don’t ordinarily make resolutions, or promises, for that matter. I know that in most cases, I’ll fail and let others and myself down. My HOPE is to get published in 2013. My GOAL is to look at 2013 like NaNoWriMo. I want to turn it into National Novel Writing Year for myself. I’ve been hesitant to begin my next novel. I recently finished my first. I’ve been waiting to hear on the first one. I’m just going to have to step out on faith & begin the next one.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Tim, I’d suggest you look into writing short stories for magazines and “genuine” contests. Having credits and an audience can only help in your quest to be published.

  • http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ Wendy Paine Miller

    Love how you lead!
    I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been confident in my role as a leader, as a writer, as a parent, etc. Then there are seasons…

    This brings me to my word for the year—root. (Pretty word. Pretty word.) That’s where I’m at, finding ways to root myself in God and His calling for my life.

    Having it all come back to that—seeing how it does whether I live in it or not.

    Oh, and I’m planning to cut down on my sugar intake.
    ~ Wendy

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      That post made me grin. There was an urgency about your goal then you said to cut down on sugar intake. I couldn’t help but imagine your fingers frantically typing on a sugar rush. :)

  • http://www.joannesher.com Joanne Sher

    A very thought-provoking post. And you know that saying about being the last to know? That’s you LOL.

    Seriously, my focus for this year is biblical fiction and bible-based devotionals. Scripture Stories – Timeless Truths :)

  • http://www.janthompson.com Jan Thompson

    Rachelle — I agree with everyone else that you’re a leader. For one, you have a tribe of unpublished and new authors following your every word, and hopefully taking your every advice.

    My writing focuses this year are to sharpen my self-editing skills, and to sort out my genres to determine which to self-publish and which to go the traditional route.

    Speaking of which, what do you think are the ramifications of a writer self-publishing one genre, but sending another MS in another genre through traditional publishers? Do you think that the writer is better off trying to get an agent first before doing anything? Just in case a mistake is made? The only catch with getting an agent is getting an agent!!! Self-publishing is practically instant (editors can be hired). Five minutes on Amazon KDP compared to maybe 5 months or 5 years going the traditional route. Thanks for your insight!

  • http://workingmymuse.blogspot.com Eric Stallsworth

    Great post. You are definitely a leader to so many of us as we come to read your words for guidance and inspiration.

    For myself, I’m planning on truly adopting the moniker of ‘writer’ – and living it. I’ve set some decent goals (learning to flesh out characters and world-building in my WiPs) for myself and plan and working hard towards completing them.

  • http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Everyone tells me I am a leader in this blogging community. Guess as the founder of the IWSG, a A to Z Challenge co-host, and author with a big blog following, I am. Never intended for it to happen. (Any more than I intended to be an author!)

    • http://www.sheilascribbles.blogspot.com Sheila Siler

      Alex, you are definitely a leader! I don’t know if I’d still be blogging with any consistency if it hadn’t been for your “leadership” and encouragement!

  • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    You’re certainly a leader, and have been for several years.

    My focus is composure. 2011 and 2012 were years that did not rest easily on my soul, and I have come to realize that a large part of happiness is setting aside the gusts of emotion – both bad AND good – and simply working.

    I’ll leave the drama in my books, and will, hopefully, inherit a balanced calm in return.

    Or not.

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      Great idea! Books are such a wonderful outlet for drama.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      When I stopped writing the last one (thanks again for all your help), I spiraled into depression. Perhaps the end of the play I directed, the book’s end and a few personal issues billowed. It helped me realize that writing keeps my emotions channeled so they don’t back up and overwhelm me.

      • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

        I’ve long thought that there is a degree of postpartum depression that goes along with finishing a novel.

        Sorry that it hit you at the holiday season – I hope that knowing that it’s a REALLY GOOD book helps.

        God Bless, Jim.

        • http://www.awomansview.typepad.com Lenore Buth

          Andrew, you’re right about the postpartum depression once one finishes and sends off that final ms. to the publisher. I know, because I just lived it again in December.

          Rachelle, of course you’re a leader. Thanks for all your good sense and encouragement.

          “Live exuberantly” is my focus for the year. I would have sworn I read that phrase in Galatians, in The Message version and even read it aloud to my husband. Later I couldn’t locate it, nor did Bible Gateway, but I kept hearing echoes. Now to translate that into writing, as well as living.

      • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

        True, that.

  • http://www.sheilascribbles.blogspot.com Sheila Siler

    This is my year of decision. I am going to decide if I am truly a writer or not. Perhaps I will only be a blogger and that’s okay too. I have finished my children’s novel and will be sending it out or self-publishing. What happens will help me determine my identity in the writing community.

  • http://thewritingplace.wordpress.com/ Carol Benedict

    My goal for 2013 is to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, in my writing and in my daily activities. In a word, I’m going to become “adventurous.”

  • http://www.eicherjerry.com Jerry Eicher

    I’ve been encourged by friends to also write material that doesn’t exactly sell, but that I enjoy writing. Closer to the heart stuff.

    Hence this poem I wrote on those sentiments.

    What is, quote he, this gathered throng?
    With darkness hued, and wings unfurled.
    They hover near, and though forgot, and pressed behind,
    They leap, they seek, they move.
    What shall, quote he, bring this to naught?
    What word or arrow hither tossed?
    But speak, said he, and speak thy might.
    Nor look afar where yon brand shall be.
    Mind not its twisted flight, though far,
    From any danger it may fall.
    It burns, said he, and is enough.
    A spark may die, but that it lived,
    Is better still, than never born.

  • http://ohsusannah.blogspot.co Celia Jolley

    Writers are leaders. If we have any readers, we are leaders. We learn to lead by being readers ourselves, then when we have something to say, we are writers.

  • http://theparanormalist.wordpress.com Renae

    Yes, Thanks to the zeitgeist, I’ve been thinking about the theme of 2013. Before the New Year’s frenzy started though, I was already embroiled in a huge life-theme of taking myself seriously as a writer. (‘Been at that for more than a year.) It’s been all-encompassing, to tell the truth.

    Your post, however, gave me a jolt: I want this year’s mini-theme to be abundance. My husband lost his job last February and remained unemployed until late December. In that period, I’ve been making everything (but my writing) smaller and more frugal.

    I don’t want to do anything stupid, but I do want to indulge and step out a little now that things are looking up.

    If you hadn’t talked about the creeping-up nature of your epiphany, I’m not sure I would have thought to articulate that desire and intention to enjoy abundance.

    ‘Just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to think outside the writer box. Which is ironic – what with you being an agent and all :)

  • http://mayrobinson.wordpress.com Mary Ann Young Robinson

    I believe we have all agreed that you are a leader to us. That’s why we want to know what you have to say.

    I know I am a writer…but, will I ever be an author? That, I can’t say, but I can say that I realize writing too much for what you think “they” want is crippling. This year I will write freely and incorporate some of what I have learned and keep learning.

    Thanks for what you do!

  • http://www.ericvonmizener.com Eric von Mizener

    If I were to pick a word for 2013, it would have to be that overused word “renewal”. After two calamitous years, I am starting anew. On many things. And while nothing is easy, it’s going to be wonderful.

  • Erich Kreppenhofer

    I love your blogs, your distinctive way of approach to the subject on your mind.
    I am a writer, I do not speculate if good or inadequate. I have worne both coats of leadership, and it is not how to advance, it is how to retrain your thought process and how you can shed the coat of habit you slipped into during a lifetime. I have commanded large groups of men, to rid myself of the habit of ordering I needed ten years of retirement. The thought process is reversed now, those who are sucessful in their area of expertise, like yourself, will have no hurdles to conquer, you just continue a upwards trend. Others like myself must take a intensive approach to proceed. How many writers claim writersblock, it is a fear to continue in a space where you cannot accept the unknown. Today I give small group sessions to change the mindset of men and women that have to retrain in a new job, a new area of existence, just like a writer starts out with a short story and eventually attacks the novel.
    Thats my five cents, it wont buy a donut but it may just instigate thoughts.
    Happy New Year and further great blogging!

  • http://Www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

    Rachelle, I love your blog and your readers. I always come away with a golden nugget of wisdom, inspiration or hope – and HOPE is my word for 2013. It’s based on the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.” I’m trusting God to give me hope. Hope for my writing, hope for my children, hope for my nation and hope for my dreams. God is the God of hope and I’m going to focus on that as 2013 progresses. By the way, I don’t think there is a person among us who is surprised that you’re identifying with being a leader. I’m so happy your trusting yourself in that role. God’s blessings on your year.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      I like “hope” as a word for perspective in all things. No matter what occurs, I know who holds the future because He cradles time in His hands.

  • http://www.skimhenson.com S. Kim Henson

    I choose a word of the year, thanks to Beth Vogt who shared the idea on her blog, in place of resolutions. Last year’s word was incremental and I got pretty good at living incrementally by the end of 2012. This year’s word is ponder.

    I also like the idea you shared, claiming a role/title for myself. Mine would be author. :) We’ll see how that goes.

  • http://claireleyana.wordpress.com/ Claire Leyana

    1. Finish novel and take first steps towards getting it publised.
    2. Write, write, write
    3. Read, read, read
    4. Learn about script-writing
    5. Work hard.
    6. Lose weight!

    Think my word might be, “Grow”

    2013 feels like it’s going to be a good year, or at least I’m going to make it a good one!

  • Jackie Ley

    Happy 2013 Rachelle. I think my focus word is ‘adult’. At the end of last year someone was explaining a basic principle of transactional psychology to me, namely that we all veer towards one of three roles, ‘adult’ ‘child’ or ‘parent’. I identified that I often tend to assume the ‘child’ mindset, being overly fearful of the judgments and censure of others and far too dependent on people’s approval. So this year, I shall work on growing up! This won’t mean ignoring wise correction, advice or even rebuke. It will mean not feeling threatened or intimidated by it.

  • http://www.triplecrownleadership.com Gregg Vanourek

    My word is vulnerable. Because it will help me be open-hearted and whole-hearted.

    Interesting–and great–that you are embracing your leader within. I think too many people self-select out of leadership b/c of misguided ways we tend to think about who a leader is and what he or she does. My Dad and I wrote a book on leadership and we prefer the term “leadership” to “leader” because the former is a mindset, approach, and activity whereas the latter is too much about a person and title, status, authority, power, etc.

    we add the word “steward” too. We can all be leadership stewards, charged with living and upholding our values and those of the organizations in which we work–and helping others do so too. everyone can be a leadership steward, regardless of title. In the best organizations (of all sorts, including families), everyone has an automatic license to lead, as long as the uphold the shared values.

    Thanks for sharing, and getting us all thinking (an act of leadership!). -Gregg

  • http://bobsbooksblog.com Robert Ritchie

    I am 65 and just now beginning to think leadership is overrated. Could you do a piece on the drawbacks of leadership? Something along the lines of warning, leadership is dangerous to your health. I am not retired and very active in a lot of thing, among them non-profit boards. My favorite role, which I would have disdained no too long ago, is to be recording secretary. I think it beats the heck out of chairman.

    • http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com Stephen H. King

      I hear what you’re saying regarding recording secretary vs. chairman. It’s hard to be the leader sometimes; some groups are definitely easier to lead than others. Usually the rewards are worth it–but not always.

  • http://uprootinganger.com Kay Camenisch

    Yes, Rachelle, you are a leader.

    I had the same epiphany a few years ago, and still frequently need to remind myself that I am a leader.

    Likewise, I discovered writing late in life, and though I love to write, am writing, and get positive feedback from what is published, I sometimes must remind myself that I am indeed a writer. It amazes me every time I get unexpected compliments about my writing.

    And I’m still learning in both fields.

  • http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com Stephen H. King

    Great to see you back, Rachelle, and what a great topic you start back in with! For me, “leader” isn’t a role I’ve had a hard time settling into. Most of us West Pointers kinda come by that naturally. “Writer,” though, was a toughie. My degrees are in electrical engineering, physics, business, and now a doctorate in education, and none of that says “this guy is highly qualified to be a writer.”

    Still, 2011 was my year to dabble in the world of writing. For 2012 I declared myself an “authorpreneur” and set out to figure out what it took to be successful there. I did fairly well, too–a few mistakes, overall, but a solid year nonetheless. Now, for 2013, I’m finally embracing the title. I’ve started freelancing, and validation came quickly from one of the companies I work with vaulting me right over a tier of writing into the level of top performer.

    I’m still keeping my day job, by the way. I’m not nearly ready to lose the identity of “Dean.” That said, “writer” is settling in on my shoulders quite comfortably.

    – TOSK

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      That’s great, Stephen. You’re a good writer and I’m glad to see you’re getting a chance to reach a larger audience. Woot woot woot!

  • http://susangreenwood.net Susan Greenwood

    Thank you for being vulnerable! This is so on target for me. I am pitching a book at a conference this month and I have been struggling with my “identity” as a leader in the field it relates to. I am considered a leader in my small area of life; but, to think to convince the publish world is another story.
    So, the bottom line, I must embrace my role as leader before I expect the world to.
    Thank you for posting this today!!

  • Jen Zeman

    I had an epiphany as well – I don’t want to be a fiction writer! I do enjoy writing and I have completed a YA contemp MS, but I’ve realized what I enjoyed the most was the challenge of actually completing a novel. I’m ready to embrace new goals that will still include writing (among other artistic endeavors), but it just won’t be fiction writing. And I’m totally okay with it! :)

  • http://www.laramsey.com Lori @LARamsey.com

    My word – persevere coupled with focus. I’m about to finish my first novel (formatting it now) – and will publish it soon (Yes, I’m an Indie author). My goal is to publish at least 4 novels this year. I published 12 short non-fiction books in 2012. I’m excited to be pressing on, onward and upward toward my dreams.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR Rachelle and all!

  • Roxanne Sherwood Gray

    Rachelle, I already viewed you as a leader, so I was surprised you were hesitant to embrace the title. Yet, I understand because I used to hesitate to call myself a writer. This year I’m upping my game and dedicating myself to writing, so my word is Commitment.

  • http://www.fromthemommyfiles.wordpress.com Maria A. Karamitsos

    Happy New Year!

    As I read your post, I realized that in 2012, I began “officially” calling myself a writer. While I’d been contributing to some local publications since 2001 and since 2006, have been the associate editor and senior writer for a local ethnic newspaper, I found that when people asked me about my vocation, I’d say, “I work for The Greek Star.” Funny how that works.

    Even though I finally acknowledged myself a writer, I still went about it quietly. Last year, I contributed chapters to two different books, and yet, I still couldn’t toot my horn about it.

    I did, however, tell just about everyone I met that I was writing a book, and on the subject of molar pregnancy, which of course, no one has ever heard of. I find it strange thinking about this that I could do one but not the other, even as people were publicly praising my work.

    Focus. Focus is definitely what I need to do in 2013. My book received a tremendous endorsement from the top specialist in the field, but is in need of rewrites. I let many things get in the way of that and am really far behind.

    I also have a screenplay to finish – I was approached in 2012 to adapt a short story I wrote into a screenplay for a short film.

    2012 was also the year I thought that, on a whim, I’d enter the Nanowrimo contest – even though I don’t consider myself a fiction writer. I wrote 10 chapters before I had to give up because there just wasn’t enough time in the day. Two kids, a house for sale and older parents in poor health will do that to you!

    Focus. Ah…yes…we are back to focus. This is the new theme for my life. I must focus. I must focus to accomplish these things in my life–to complete these projects and move on to new adventures!

    Thank you for your insightful posts throughout the year. I wish you all the best in the New Year!

  • http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com/ Connie Almony

    Whenever I take personality inventories I land right on the cusp of Introvert-Extrovert. I NEED a set amount of time alone, and I NEED a set amount of time with others. For years I described myself as “a homeschooling mother of a special needs child.” Though we have a rich homeschooling community where I live, homeschooling only your special needs child can sometimes be isolating—meaning I’ve had lots of ALONE time. I needed it. It was spent largely in Bible study and prayer.
    Over the past couple years I’ve felt a new calling. It’s time to feed the extrovert beast ;o). So, my word for this year—which actually started in September—is “connection.” I want to connect, listen, understand and relate. I want to hear stories, testimonies, challenges and successes. And I want to share those with others who are struggling and need encouragement to keep going.

  • http://jillhaugh.blogspot.com Jill Haugh

    In looking up the definition of “Resolution” I found many definitions I hadn’t anticipated. Since I feel somewhat overwhelmed at times, I chose this definition of resolution: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones. That pretty much covers all my bases: to slow down, breathe, do what I can do in the moment…
    There’s more on my blog if anyone has half a mind.

  • http://www.jeanneguy.com/ Jeanne Guy

    Yes, you are an inspired and inspirational leader, and now an admitted one. This is the first year I feel good in my skin as a writer. I’ve gone from wanting to want to write, to wanting to write – big shift for me. Thanks for your advice and encouragement. Keep those blogs coming!

  • http://suzannestock.org Suzanne

    Rachelle-

    I’ll look forward to reading more about where your focus on leadership takes you this year. (If you’re going to share more, that is.) Honing my leadership skills was huge for me at the end of this past year.

    My focus for this year is just that: FOCUS. I tend to be very busy and, as a result, easily distracted. I’m choosing to fine-tune my activities and goals so that I can be excellent at whatever I’m undertaking as a child of God, mom, wife, and writer.

    I wish you the best, Rachelle!

    Suzanne

  • http://WWW.LINDARAWLINS.COM Linda Rawlins

    Happy New Year Rachelle – Your post led me to think that we are all leaders in some way. When we are young we may be taught to Lead by example. Hopefully, we set a good example for our schoolfriends, peers, then coworkers, spouses and so on. The example we set may not always be the popular one or coincide with peer pressure, but it is noted in some way. We not only lead by our actions but also by our attitudes, opinions and behaviors. (compassion, humility, tolerance, respect, encouragement vs arrogance, criticism, and judging etc.) Do we set different examples in our homes verses the community? So it begs the question, in terms of our children, family, friends, coworkers,neighbors and community – what examples will I set today?

  • http://www.staceythureen.com Stacey Thureen

    Some goals I have for 2013 are to continue raising thyroid awareness. January is National Thyroid Awareness month and you can learn more here: http://www.staceythureen.com. Also, I would like to finish my manuscript, get agented, and run my first half marathon.

  • kiffy

    Happy New Year to all! I have 2 words for myself this year: No Limits.

  • http://evilnymphstuff.wordpress.com Daphnée Kwong Waye

    Hey Rachelle! Happy new year 2013! A leader of our own lives… it’s such a great epiphany and so true as well.
    For this year, I’m focusing more on my studies since it’s going to be my last year before I jump into university. Then I’m also not going to neglect my first novel-in-progress, which I hope to polish and publish.
    Best wishes for the new year :)

  • Ann Averill

    Everywhere I look in my Bible these days I come across the words, “Be strong and courageous.” Too often I am insecure and paralyzed by my need to please. I agree with Jackie Ley; this is my year to grow up and trust God with the stories he’s given me. Thanks, Rachael, for helping me realize that leaders must trust the one who sent them in order to carry out their mission.

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

    I have backslidden in thinking of myself as a writer. Even in the midst of writing more, producing better voice and phrases; the title writer is pushed to the back burner, left off the résumé, as I struggle frantically to fill my life with other activities and ensure that next sack of groceries on the table. Sank so low in early December that I was heard to murmur, asking a Higher Power to free me of the mandate to write. Yes, the Greek in me left off seeking wisdom and started begging for a sign – and I am neither Jew nor Greek.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      I’m going to chime in and then duck a possible shoe thrown at me. Cherry, you can combine your music and writing very effectively. Get dates to play, sell your books that you’ve self-published through CreateSpace along with CD’s of your music. Offer piano/speaker to local women’s groups and take the books. If you ever want some humor to add in, just hit me up on Facebook. You can rock this, Cherry!

  • http://www.waltmussell.blogspot.com Walt Mussell

    It’s a word alreadyt mentioned above, but it’s my word for this year as well: FINISH. I have two WIPs, one 2/3 drafted and the other 1/3 drafted, that I plan to finish before June is over. I’m taking the shorter goal first.

  • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

    I get why you’ve been hesitant to call yourself a leader. We’re saying, yes you’re a leader because you lead us, but I think you’re referring to leadership within the workplace and industry. I get that because I’m a pastor. My congregation would say, “Yes, he’s our leader.” That doesn’t mean that I am a leader of pastors, however. John Maxwell, Bill Hybels and my superintendent are. You’ve got the awards to prove you are a stellar player, Rachelle. I’m glad to hear you’re embracing being a team captain as well.

    This year, I’m going to embrace “Storyteller.” That’s what I am. I’m not a good writer, but I tell a good story. That will be my motivation to learn the craft this year. These stories are too good to be put on paper in an inferior manner. :P

    • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com Cherry Odelberg

      Yes, storyteller – great idea – and the goal of perfecting the telling / writing.

  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    My focus this year is on staying the course I feel I need to be on. That means continuing what I boldly stepped out to do in the latter half of 2011 and through 2012. Thus, my one word is “Persevere.” Like you, I don’t always think of myself as a writer and encourager, but God must think otherwise–so persevere on His course for my life!

  • http://chariseolson.com Charise Olson

    After a few years of very little fun, I am planning to have a lot more FUN this year. I’m over resolutions and the theme word thing didn’t work for me either.

    But I really like this idea of considering our roles in life and which ones we need to own or develop more..or perhaps even GIVE UP.

    • http://chariseolson.com Charise Olson

      I also meant to suggest (if you have not read it all ready) the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. It is the best book I have read about leadership in work and life.

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        I’d just mentioned John Maxwell. How funny is that. GMTA

        • http://chariseolson.com Charise Olson

          PJ- That’s great. I was working for a church and the head pastor required Maxwell’s book for all staff. It’s probably the single best thing I got out of that job!

  • http://barefooton45th.com Lesley

    What a great discussion, Rachelle. My focus word this year is gratitude. I’m hopping on the 1,000 gifts bandwagon and writing down 1,000 things I’m grateful for this year. I am inspired by the song Gratitude by Nichole Nordeman which suggests that when we’re grateful we trust God more, and when we trust God we come to a place of peace. I’m also focusing on my book this year, welcoming a new baby, and trying to read at least two books a month because I love reading and find it helpful for my writing.

  • http://www.jmbray.com J.M. Bray

    Rachelle,

    I highly recommend John Maxwell’s books on leadership. The concepts he shares are clear and applicable to anyone seeking to develop their leadership skills.

    This year will be a challenging one for me. Unfortunately they are not things I can discuss in an open forum…though I wish I could. I will keep writing, building my platform, and start to seriously seek representation. Beyond that, as esoteric as it sounds I am striving this year to:

    Be

    Honestly, I’m not sure exactly what that will entail.

  • http://www.rebastanley.com Reba

    This year I plan to focus on getting more readers. I have a new book coming out hopefully in the spring.
    Through 2012 I have learned a lot from blogging and I want to go back over those this week and plan how to put them into practice.
    The first order of business is a new website. :0)

  • http://showknowgrow.com Melinda Viergever Inman

    I’m focusing on being true to myself this year. I lost myself at bit last year in the criticism and the changing industry standards. I forgot I can’t please everyone all the time with everything I write. I’ve refocused on writing the message God has given me, in the voice he has gifted to me.

    P.S. I’ve always thought of you as a leader.

  • http://www.susirobinsonrutz.com Susi Robinson Rutz

    Because of your leadership, Rachelle, I have learned how to focus my blog for the coming year. Thank you so much for co-hosting the blogging webinar. I now understand that the purpose of my blog is to stir interest in my book. While I enjoyed blogging about my bible study insights, I now plan to (as recommended for a non-fiction author) blog my book. This information has helped me to move out of the frozen state of confusion and into a better place of confidence.

  • http://tjamesmoore.wordpress.com Ty

    Rachelle,

    I really appreciate what you’re suggesting in this blog – that we embrace the idea that we ARE a writer. This is new for me in 2013 and I got the notion that is ok for me to call myself a writer from reading Natalie Goldberg’s book Wild Mind (a book I got for Christmas). By acknowledging that I am a writer, that is, that I write regularly, I also give myself permission to think, feel, act like, and in fact be a writer. I think writers hesitate to bear the title of writer if we are not published, but the fact is we practice writing and are reasonably good at it at some level. That makes me a writer regardless of what or how I write.

    Happy New Year and thanks for giving us all the opportunity to share.

  • http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/ Heather

    My resolutions kind of clash, but here they are:

    #1 I’m going to re-focus on the reason I started writing in the first place. It’s a ministry, not a monetary value.

    #2 I’m going to work on marketing my current books every single day.

  • http://www.nataliesharpston.com Natalie Sharpston

    Thanks for putting yourself out there, Rachelle! Declaring yourself a leader is brave—even if you’ve been impacting us as a leader already. :)

    My word of the year is “connect.” Connect more intentionally to family, to God, to strangers… Connect the dots logically in my stories. Connect with readers. Hopefully I’ll even connect with you this year!

  • http://www.anime-planet.com/users/ebandza ebandza

    I hope everyone had a Happy New Year!
    I’m really glad I ran into Rachelle’s Blog, and I to was thinking something very similar during the new years and although she put it together differently than I did. The answer was yes there was an Identity for years now that I’ve been afraid to claim, and yes it is a writer.
    I’m standing on the edge and the challenge I have given myself for the New Year is to not surrender my dreams. I will no longer be afraid of failing, for years I have been failing by not putting the same effort and focus into my dream as I have in all other aspects of my life. The same determination which has helped me become so successful and do things I never thought I was capable of. This is the year I’m not holding back. I’m going to embrace my reclaimed creativity and I will write. Even if no one will read and even if I’m rejected I will do it for myself. What will you do for yourself this year?

  • http://www.susanbernhardt.com Susan Bernhardt

    My New Year resolutions are on my latest blog at http://www.susanbernhardt.com.

  • http://www.peterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    I wrote for 30 years before I started calling myself a writer.

  • http://www.kathleensallen.weebly.com Kathleen

    I don’t do resolutions either. I like the idea of a word and my word is SILENCE. I look at this several ways. Of course we need to listen to our own inner silence and for some of us (me included) we need quiet in order to do our best work. But I also look at it as being able to silence the inner critic and just write. NaNoWriMo has taught me that if I can just get the words down and ignore the inner critic/editor I’m much happier.

  • http://merceyvalley.blogspot.com/ Mercey Valley

    So if calling yourself a leader makes you feel slightly giddy or even fraudulent, now you know how we feel about calling ourselves a writer and then blowing our own horns for the sake of publicity ;)

    You ARE a leader. We all knew that :) If you weren’t, we wouldn’t be here hanging off your every word!

    My ‘epiphany’ for 2013 is to get to ACFW, and crossing the globe makes it no small task, but my God it up to anything (just like getting published). I’m saving and praying for more work to be able to get there. Reality says it’s the next step for me. I’ve written 11 novels (haven’t sought publishing until recently when I felt they were up to par and competative) and the feedback is getting better and better, I’m constantly at work on improving weaknesses, and aside from ACFW a professional edit would be my next port of call.

    The work doesn’t stop.

  • http://topoftheslushpile.wordpress.com Gemma Rolleman

    Thanks Rachelle, your honesty is very inspiring. I, on the other hand, do not think I’m a leader, so I’ll settle for leading myself this year. I happened to write my top ten 2013 New Year Writing Resolutions before Christmas, so if you feel like some humour take a look – http://topoftheslushpile.com/2012/12/20/new-year-writing-resolutions/
    Thanks again,
    Gemma

  • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

    My word for 2013 is “pre-plan”. Like everyone who’s posted, I’ve also given a lot of thought to how I’d like to move forward in 2013. Soul-searching done, I’ve got a plan and will execute against that plan. Too often I’ve set goals without thinking about the steps needed to get me to where I needed to go. 2013 will be different. I’ve set writing deadlines for myself, marketing numbers to hit… and have a paper-and-ink scoreboard to keep me focused.

  • http://www.fromhispresence.com Jamie Rohrbaugh

    Hi Rachelle,
    You said that your goal was “to embrace my identity as a leader.” That was very well-put and is exactly what I’m working on too. I became a leader accidentally by sowing into people. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, by sowing into people, I was gaining influence. Then I also started volunteering in my “tribe,” so I started to have a little freedom to suggest new ideas to my leaders. And through that convoluted trail, now I have been promoted to being a leader also.

    It was an accident to me, but not to God. So I’m going to sow into my “tribe” this year more than ever before, in every way I can think of. I’m going to teach them and love them and disciple them and feed them. (Free food is the best gift ever, right?) And they will follow me because they know my heart beats for them.

    I do have some tangible goals here: http://www.fromhispresence.com/2013/01/03/my-goals-for-2013/ but the leadership stuff is my passion. :)

    Thanks for posting about this. Love reading your blog.

  • http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com Freda Cameron

    Wonderful post and happy that you’ve realized your achievements.

    My husband and I both walked away from the corporate world to pursue our creative endeavors. It took courage to kiss the big salaries and benefits goodbye, but we had our financial ducks in a row for this time…he plays music and I write.

    My parents died young and I know that we’re blessed with only a certain amount of time. So my focus is to smile, be thankful and be responsible for my own life and happiness.

    Freda

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  • http://www.charlotterainsdixon.com Charlotte Rains Dixon

    I’ve been journaling for a month about what I want to bring in this year. My word for the year is fearless and what I want to cultivate is my identity as a book author, what with the release of my first novel in February.

    • http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com Freda Cameron

      Good for you! Congratulations on your book release!

  • Anita Capri

    Hello Rachelle, how ironic that you should write about leadership as your focus for 2013. I have been, as of September, a new VP at a French Immersion school just north of Toronto. I have always taken on leadership roles but for the first time I find I need to take this leadership thing very seriously. People look to you sometimes like you have all the answers and it’s not always easy admitting that you don’t. And this has been my epiphany. Sometimes we’re called to act as leaders even when we don’t really want to but there must be some reason why we are at the station in life that were in, right?

    And to think I took this on as my “back-up plan” to pursuing a career as a writer. Well, I’m not giving up on that dream so easily-not as a leader though, just as a writer!

    I congratulate you on your leadership. You have an extremely important role to play in more lives than you think-also something I’ve learned recently.

    Sincerely,
    Anita Capri

  • http://www.hopescribbles.wordpress.com Elisabeth Allen

    I can relate to your 2013 focus. 2013 looks a bit daunting from here with work, study, writing, etc. Surviving my schedule feels like a good idea – and thriving would be nice. What I want to do in the midst of the busyness is stay calm and focused on what God has given me to do at this moment while moving towards the bigger goals of deadlines met, essays submitted, manuscripts edited.

    And, by the way, thanks for leading so graciously.

  • http://www.henwoodtitles.weebly.com Brian Henwood

    I guess if I were to put my resolution into one word, it would be “commit.” My first novel centered on a very controversial subject. I knew what I wanted to write, I put my words to paper, and at the critical moment, I worried that I might turn off too many people – that I might offend too wide an audience.
    As a result, my ending never felt right (a sentiment echoed by a lot of critics) and it was too short. Refusing to face the music, I quickly moved on to other novels, writing two more unrelated stories almost immediately. These were much more fun and in my mind, better products.
    But the first “failure” never escaped me. So this last month or so I went back and rewrote it. I didn’t pull any punches, and I feel much better about it. After all the cutting and rework, it also added 7000 words. In the end, I think it taught me that if you don’t fully commit to your work, it will show.

  • Ruth McElwee

    Dear Rachelle,

    I only found your blog a few months ago but I have been so encouraged by it. You give so freely of your insight, wisdom and experience. I also appreciate how much you welcome others to comment and share. My word for 2013 is Participate.

    I have a passion to give to others through my writing and it’s time to leave the fears and insecurities behind. I will never know what “might have been” if I am not willing to take risks. It is trusting God that His purposes will be fulfilled.

    For a long time, I have called myself a writer but I feel challenged to consider the fulfillment of a dream to become an “author.” Thank you for being vulnerable and allowing us to be vulnerable as well.(That is a sign of a good leader-one who leads by example.)

    Sincerely,
    Ruth McElwee

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