Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Evaluating Writing Goals at the Start of a New Year

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Sometimes evaluating our professional writing life leaves us perplexed. We understand the value of analyzing progress, but how do we move forward? 

Do we continue with the same social media, marketing, promotion, and branding strategy as 2017, or do we explore new or enhanced methods that have the potential to raise our visibility? 

Can we be daring and risk failing to see if a different platform makes sense?

What upcoming writing conferences, online helps, and how-to books offer the best instruction?

How does a writer balance the work involved in developing content and meeting reader needs while devoting her heart to writing?

This month, I took a hard look at my professional life and how I could write a better book while reaching out to readers with solid content through social media. The following sites offered outstanding and relevant information/ instruction.

Here are my areas of focus for 2018, and it may help you increase your skills while reaching new readers.

1. Ensure goals take center stage. If goal-setting isn’t in your career path, stop reading now until you have a list of one year, three year, five year, and ten year objectives. Display these where I can study them on a regular basis.

2. Deepen professional blogging techniques at:

3. Develop the craft by scheduling specific time slots to read books, blogs, and taking online courses as well as attending conferences to sharpen the tools of the craft.

4. Use Pinterest for more than a fun retreat but more as a means of creating boards and adding pins that reflect my brand and genre.

5. Enhance my Instagram presence with purposeful images that reflect my genre and brand.

6. Deliver donuts or bagels to local bookstores. Be friendly!

7. Post more live videos and make them fun.

8. Detail responsibilities. I thrive on organization. Without it, I’m like a goldfish, always swimming in circles and never getting anywhere. Document and follow-up on tasks. 

9. Create spreadsheets to record monthly activities. Columns could include: money earned, mentoring, professional development, social media development, create videos, new platforms, conferences attended, conferences taught, speaking engagements, blogs written, books read, physical bookstores contacted, and other responsibilities that fit a writer’s career. Include due dates to help manage time wisely.

Your analysis of 2017 activities may not look like mine, but I encourage you to evaluate how you’re moving ahead and be prepared to make changes in the upcoming year. Our success in the world of writing is based on how we spend our time and if our efforts are productive.

How do you choose the tasks to evaluate and enhance your writing career?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. We all need goals and plans if we want to move forward.
    Self-examination is also a must.
    Your post gave me plenty to think about.
    Thank you, Dann!

  2. Stupid auto correct, I meant thank you, DiAnn!

  3. DiAnn, these are great tips. I need to re-read this and evaluate how last year went, what my goals are, and what my focus needs to be (second to my hubs and my teen boys, of course).

    I'm you have suggestions for topics/ways to make Facebook Live videos that are fun? I want to try these, but I'm a bit intimidated. ;)

    Thanks for the links. I'm planning to check out the ProBlogger one. I can always use suggestions to improve my blog and blogging.