All posts by Aubre

My Business and Writing Goals for 2015

This post is for me. Because as a freelancer, I need some really good reasons to jump out of bed in the morning. I figured if I write something down in a public place like the internet, I’m more likely to be held accountable for it. So here goes my goals/intentions/dreams for 2015. It’s not about getting interesting bylines like I’ve focused on in the past but more about landing some book deals. Bam.

Writing:

Write more short stories. (I have one appearing in an upcoming issue of American Girl!)

Finish my novel. (I’m working on a middle grade manuscript that I was encouraged to move forward with at the SCBWI conference last year.)

Pitch at least 3 non-fiction book ideas to an agent or publisher. (I have one billion ideas that I’m just sitting on — what the heck am I waiting for?!)

Business:

Write an e-book and self-publish it. (I’m working on one about how to make more money as a freelancer.)

Start an email list. (This will be a good way to promote my e-book.)

Update my website and portfolio. (I’m working with more and more startups on content strategy and I need my portfolio to reflect that.)

Since “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” according to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, I’ve included actions below to help make my goals a reality.

GOAL: Write more short stories and get them published.
ACTIONS. Research publications that are accepting short stories for kids. Brainstorm, write, and pitch at least 3 short stories to different publications.

GOAL: Finish my novel, land an agent, and score a book deal.
ACTIONS: Work on it for at least one hour every day. Attend the fiction workshop at the SCBWI conference in February where I will present the first 500 words of my middle grade manuscript and get feedback. Ask my writer friends to read my manuscript. Research agents and pitch my story.

GOAL: Pitch at least 3 non-fiction book ideas to either an agent or a publisher.
ACTIONS: Pick the three strongest ideas. Write non-fiction proposals. Research agents and publishers.

GOAL: Write an e-book and self-publish it.
Poll freelance friends about what they’d like to learn about most. Finish writing my e-book by working on it on the weekends. Research self-publishing options on Amazon.

GOAL: Start an email list.
ACTIONS: Add an e-mail sign-up on my website. Brainstorm newsletter ideas. Send out a newsletter. Monthly?

GOAL: Update my website and portfolio.
ACTIONS: Alter my home page slightly to include content strategy. Create case studies showing off content strategy client examples.

I tried the monthly goal thing in 2013 and it didn’t really work for me. In 2014, I wrote goals down in my Day Designer, which kind of helped. In 2015, I’m hoping that writing my goals down in one place I can easily revisit over and over will help me stick to them. Here’s hoping!

Image via The Color Run.

Where Should You Travel Next?

People are constantly asking me where they should travel next. It can be a hard question to answer because I often don’t really know what kind of traveler they are or what exactly they are looking for. Relaxation? Romance? Adventure? I find it easier to learn what kind of traveler you are based on which previous trips you’ve loved. Here are just a few recommendations with some photos from my travels:

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If you like Colorado… go to Alaska.
Every time I’ve been to Denver, it’s been fantastic. The air is clear, the sky is blue, the sun is warm, and the mountains are snow capped. How could it get any better? Just go to Alaska and you’ll find out. Imagine those snow-capped mountains and bright blue skies mixed with a massive ocean, lush forests, and unbelievable marine life.

329832_10100704707796807_6680556_oIf you like Paris… go to Vienna.
I don’t care if it’s cliché — I love Paris. I want to live there. And there’s one other city that had the same love-at-first-sight effect on me — Vienna. It’s another romantic city with gorgeous architecture and a very fancy vibe. In both places, you can waste the day away drinking wine outside, indulging in desserts, shopping markets, and going to the opera.

39705_10100099117240137_5422860_nIf you like Chicago… go to Toronto.
Toronto felt like home, and Chicago is the only other city that feels like home to me besides my adopted home of Madison, Wisconsin. Both Chicago and Toronto are trendy cities with a laid-back vibe, great food and shopping, and interesting architecture. Both cities also are divided into many different neighborhoods that are sometimes drastically different from one another.

210839_10100446648180347_987523559_oIf you like Nashville… go to New Orleans.
I don’t know why anyone goes to Vegas these days. Nashville and New Orleans are superior choices for party weekends. Both cities are exponentially better than their Nevada counterpart because of their incredibly unique histories in addition to the nightlife. Nashville is the ultimate home of country music and Southern food, and New Orleans is the capital of Cajun food and jazz. If you like one, you’ll like the other — they’re both a little gritty.

1456126_10102662437885017_944593874_nIf you like Budapest… go to Istanbul.
Eastern Europe is not as popular of a tourist destination as Western Europe. But if visiting the baths, spending an afternoon in a palatial coffee shop, and admiring the gothic Parliament Building in Budapest was just the kind of boundary-pushing you were looking for, then you’re ready to travel to Istanbul. The city is split in two — half of it is in Europe and half of it is in Asia. It’s crazy. The architecture will make you rethink everything you know and hearing the call to prayer while feeling the breeze off the Bosphorus Strait is something you’ll never forget.

 All photos copyright of Aubre Andrus.