For many in the teaching profession or with school-aged kids, this back to school season marks the beginning of a new year with new goals. To make friends. To try something new. To learn a key skill. To grow in stature or wisdom. To rid ourselves of extra weight…or braces. To discover more of who we are meant to be by exploring our strengths and weaknesses.

With my youngest off to class tomorrow (8th grade), my husband getting his first students on Friday, and my college boy loading up his car this weekend, I’m looking forward to a new routine with school-year goals of my own. Of course, there is a bit of housekeeping to be done in a few key decluttering areas and mental clutter-busting too as I wrangle the straggler thoughts into submission on my schedule. But once the house and routines are back in order, I’ve got a few lessons I’m determined to learn this year.

1.) Grow as a writer. I started the Novel Marketing Podcast’s “5 Year Course To Becoming a Bestselling Author” as a way to stretch my craft. It’s time to get serious about the lessons each quarter and read (or re-read) those recommended craft books.

2.) Put my marketing efforts and plans into regular routines. Emails to my readers, blog and social media posts, pre-book-launch planning documents, launch team tasks, and seasonal promotion ideas are becoming a habitual part of my time. By scheduling the right blocks of time to knock these out in a few days each month, I can then spend more time romping across the page.

3.) Write more. ‘Nuff said. I have too many ideas and too few new words. Time to crack those knuckles and put that Turtle Power Hour to work.

4.) Connect with others. Back in my own school days, I had two types of friends: the “let’s talk in class because we sit near each other” friends and the deeper kind. Today, I’ve got the “our kids are on the same team” or “our kids are in class together” friends, the “we’re in the same writing group” friends, the “we go to church together” friends, and fewer of the deep “I know your heart and have your back” friends. Social media lends itself to surface, virtual friendships but my goal is to cultivate a few of those connections into something more as well as make time to spend with local friends in person.

What about you? If you were headed back to school (hypothetically speaking), what are your goals for this next season of growth? Are you more interested in academics, sports, the lunch room buzz, or the playground?

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