You know how when your house is a mess, you feel a bit of a mess? Philosopher Carl Jung was on to something when he said start with your external circumstances to improve your internal circumstances.
In support of this idea (which you’ll see we cover in #3) our fall writer checklist and calendar provide the 5 ways you can reach your writing goals. You’ll start with your public-facing self, then inch closer to look at your personal writing space, to finally address you: your goals and your plans for fall.
#1: Update or Build Your Website
For writers with an existing website: your website is an extension of you. If your site is not kept up or out of date, it shows visitors that you are unkempt or out of date.
Even if in real life you are killing it (new book coming out, new publications, media appearances), if you haven’t updated your site, or it has dead links, no new blog post since 2020, or pages that don’t load properly, this communicates to your visitors that you as a person/writer are in the same state of disrepair. They may lose interest or worry, neither of which sets the right stage for you being a professional.
Your website is your online home, and you want it to welcome the world through its doors on your terms.
For writers who don’t have a website: if you feel serious about your writing (as in you intend to keep doing it and sharing it with others), now is a great time to start thinking about one. A website shows the world you are a mover and shaker and want people to know what you’re up to, who you are, and a bit about your work.
- If you’re a seasoned writer or even have a few publications, a website communicates that you care about making that connection with your readers and shows that you are a writer of note.
- If you haven’t published yet but are on that path, a website is not only a great place to point people to, but it also holds space for you and invites you to show up for yourself.
[Getting your website going will also secure your domain (the website address with your name in it). Every passing day is a day when someone else can swoop in and take it out from under you!]
Fortunately, there are many platforms where you can get a free or low-cost elegant site that is clean, functional, and has interactive elements like email marketing. (The days of having to rely on those free WordPress.com sites with ads all over them and ungainly layouts are behind us!)
The beauty of some of these free options is if you’re a tech-embracing kind of person, you can build them yourself and then bring on a professional developer to help you with the last tricky bits that may require some coding or deeper knowledge of how websites work.
Or you can have a developer build them for you, but the design is still going to be on the budget-friendly end of the scale. (Check out our “Basic Author Website Design” package to see what is involved).
Should you like or need something more custom, WordPress Elementor allows you to add functionality as you need it for a low annual cost or WIX offers a fully in-house site that has all the functionality one could need to sell books and engage with audiences or run a thriving business.
See the beautiful custom site Astrid built on WIX for our writer foster care child advocate and author Joan Ulsher.
#2: Update and Maximize Your Social Media Bios
The brief blurb you include in your social media bios is all you get to tell people who you are and what you do. Nailing your essential self and (where applicable) why people should buy from you in this “elevator pitch” is one of the harder writing tasks.
Plus, each social media platform has different word count limits, so you need to encapsulate your best self in a variety of short spaces.
This blog gives word count limits and best practices, along with a bio generator depending on your goals for your bio!
At regular intervals (perhaps quarterly), you’ll want to look at these platforms:
- Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: update your profile
Amazon (for published authors): update your “About the Author” section and make sure you upload a picture of you.
Instagram: update your bio with a custom link
For Instagram, since you’re only allowed one link in your bio, the link can be to your website, or you can use a wonderful tool that works like a “tree” to make your Instagram bio link work exponentially for you.
When people click on this custom link, it opens up a whole page of additional links that lead to URLs of more of your content, items or services you’re selling, other sources where you’ve published, your email address or contact page, and more.
#3: Tidy Your Writing Space
This quote is a wonderful reminder that we have agency to change or be in charge of our own narrative.
If you want to be happy, content, or productive, you can engineer your outer life to support that.
As Psychotherapist Jordan Peterson says, if you want to change your life, start by cleaning your room:
As a writer, you have a rich interior life, and your mind, memories, imagination, and creative impulses are all you technically require to generate material. But a writer also has human needs, and if our external house isn’t in order, it may very well affect the internal house.
A clean and well-appointed writing space will invariably turn out a happier and more adjusted writer.
One could also surmise that a happier writer writes better or at least more effectively (perhaps even if only because your eye isn’t catching little things in your space that bug you and drag, even if momentarily, your psychic energy down a notch).
Check out these things you can do to refine and comfy-ify your writing space.
#4: Support Others and Matriculate in a Writing Community
Supporting others is what keeps the circle of camaraderie and connection alive; when we help our peer writers and champion their work, they do the same for us. It feels good to help, and even a small effort is valuable.
- Buy or borrow a book. Your support can be as easy as buying a book, but did you know that in the U.S. and Canada when you check a book out from the library, the writer gets paid? Wahoo!
- Leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. 5-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are huge for writers; any review you can leave helps them measurably.
- Call or email your local bookstore or library and ask them to buy a book from a local author.
- Connect with fellow writers on social media. Conversation and interest in their work is always lovely and keeps the collegial fires burning.
#5: Motivate Yourself with Fall Goals
Naturally you have goals; you’re a writer, and your work fuels you. But your goals may become a little cloudy over time if you don’t check in with them once in a while. At intervals, it’s key to remind yourself of what they are as well as “converse” with them to make sure they’re tenable and relevant.
Goals are elastic and can change over time, and it’s smart to reinforce the larger goal along with calendar-based goals to keep yourself motivated.
A goal is quite like a psychic drawstring- pull it, and you sit up taller, your eyes shine brighter, your vision narrows around what is important, and you’re primed to do good work.
A visual representation of your goals, whether it’s a list, a calendar, or a weekly meeting with a coach or mentor on your agenda is the BEST way to keep your goals top of mind.
Our 4-month book-writing programs in the novel, memoir, nonfiction | business keep writers humming along with their primary goal of writing their book with continuous goal checking, mentor encouragement and guidance, and a calendar to make sure you’re hitting your targets. What a feeling it is to achieve something you set out to do!
One thing writers know for sure; using a Fall Writer Checklist is helpful to determine what are the 5 ways you can reach your writing goals, but it’s not everything you need to write successfully. Bumps, blockades, or hiccups are an inevitable part of every writer’s process. Before frustration or dispirited feelings set in, though, please know we’re here to help.
Our entire purpose is to make sure writers are supported with the tools they need, infrastructure, gentle but firm guidance, solutions, and strategies. When you partner with us and get personalized writing coaching, editing, and publication support, almost instantly, you will be getting your best work done.