Lunar New Year

Happy New Year! ::blows party favor::  ::tosses confetti:: Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. New Year’s was over a month ago, so why am I late to the party? Well, even though I generally follow the Gregorian calendar, I find the end of the calendar year overwhelming with social activity, professional anxiety and familial insanity. So much so that I decided five years ago to move away from the tradition of trying to start the new calendar year with a fresh outlook and a list of resolutions destined to fall by the wayside come Groundhog Day.

Instead, I opted to use January as a time to recuperate and reflect. I exorcise the general funk that follows the holiday season and set about determining my goals for the year at a more relaxed, pressure-free pace. Just in time to celebrate the Lunar New Year. So now that I have my groove back, what are my goals for the Year of the Metal Rabbit?

According to those far more knowledgeable on the subject than I, the Year of the Metal Rabbit is a time for reflection and negotiation. It’s a year to catch your breath, meditate through the chaos and organize your affairs. Convention suggests using 2011 to pursue any wishes you want to come true, but be prepared to be patient and not force the hands of the clock.

With a hat tip to the elements, here are my freelancing goals for 2011:

1. Learn how to edit videos for more freelance opportunities
When I see works of digital prowess like this video from GenRocks, I can’t help but feel a tad envious. I’m sure she didn’t become the editorial wizard that she is today in a week’s time. And I certainly don’t expect to approach her level of skill that quickly either. But I believe with time, patience and persistence, my video editing skills will improve exponentially.

2. Pitch my copywriting services to 3 local businesses
Over the last few years, I’ve largely focused on writing projects geared toward articles, critiques and product reviews. But what can I say, I’ve been bitten by the copywriting bug and now I want more. So, 2011 will be the year that I approach at least three local businesses to offer my copywriting services. I’m developing a proposal for one company now, and I’m seeking all the advice I can get from copywriting veterans.

3. Buy new speakers for Sergio
Simple and straightforward. Sergio is the name of my trusty Mac mini. His current speaker system has been eking along for well over a year now with an electrical short that drives me crazy. Besides, it’s been seven years since I bought these babies. I’m probably due for an upgrade.

Hope & Change - Out of Work in America4. Pitch 10 articles on topics outside my niche
Although I’m devoted to becoming more involved in my local community, I—like most freelance writers—do have a desire to branch out into larger markets. I also have plans to pitch a minimum of 10 pieces on subjects that passionately hold my interests, but I wouldn’t strictly label as my niche.

5. Write a minimum of 4 blog posts per month
I know that sounds skimpy compared to other bloggers, but when I started this worldwind blogging adventure, I decided
I wouldn’t blog for the sake of practice or volume. If I have ideas, advice or an anecdote on a topic that I think will interest you, I set my hands to typing. (I also like to shine a spotlight on any noteworthy arts & culture events happening in my community.) But the last thing I want is to simply echo what every other freelancer is doing.

So I’ve decided that one post per week (or a minimum of four posts per month) is a reasonable goal that would allow me enough time and focus to improve as a blogger, as well as establish a routine without feeling the pressure to blog simply for the sake of churning out new content on a daily basis.

Overall, my decision to forgo a common Western tradition and adapt my routine to reflect my own pace and perspective has worked out well. By taking a step back and choosing a path that works best for me, I get to celebrate the New Year with the West, but also reset my psychological clock and approach my world anew in time to say “Gung Hay Fat Choi” with the East. If you find yourself stumbling a bit at year end, feel free to try it yourself. And if you discover that it doesn’t suit you, you can always create a new routine of your own.

Have you developed your own approach to setting annual goals?
What are some of your goals for 2011?