January 1, 2013

Dear Guild Members,
Lucky 2013?

Well, we’ll see, won’t we? January is the time many of us engage in an annual goal-setting ritual designed to turn the tide of life’s events in our favor during the coming twelve months.

Not an easy trick. By the time I complete my intentions for sharpening my character descriptions, expanding those essential social media contacts, and tightening my daily writing discipline, I’m feeling like I need a spreadsheet to manage the matrix of goals I’ve laid out.

In the midst of my dilemma rode Eileen Chadnick, a career coach in Toronto. She espouses an alternative approach to our annual ritual, one that provides a path out of my developing morass. I’ll share with you my major take away from her article, “Twelve Questions to Get the Jump on the Year Ahead” (full article on the Guild Facebook site):

Think Themes, not Resolutions

As an alternative to defining a raft of resolutions, many of them unconnected, coach Chadnick proposes we define a personal theme for the coming year. A theme provides an overarching, more unifying sense of purpose and direction for action. And yes, we can have more than one theme, but for me, two would be max.

After crafting our theme, then smaller, more easily achievable goals that provide “small wins” to spur us on can be defined. Early in his career, Jerry Seinfeld, the subject of another recent Guild Facebook posting, set a goal of writing one new joke each day, marking off his successes with “X’s” on the calendar, providing momentum toward his theme of being a successful comedian.

Ms. Chadnick suggests using the format of “This will be the year of ----.” An example might be “This will be the year of using public speaking to carry the message of my book or blog across the valley.” Or “This will be my year of sharing my experience, mentoring Guild members, and perhaps schoolchildren.”

Whew! I’ve deleted my spreadsheet and feel better already. I’m sure each of you will have inspired thoughts for your personal themes in 2013. After all, we create our own luck, don’t we?

Wishing you all a year filled with all the joys of writing.


Jim McFarlin

James D. McFarlin, PSWG President

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