Focus: my goal for 2011; Growth: my experience in 2010

About a year ago, in December 2009, I was sitting in my living room with two friends.

I had no heat, two plastic chairs and a coffee table. I was chasing down the last of that year’s freelancing invoices to make about $16,000.

I was certainly still privileged for an endless list of reasons, but, to put it shortly, for a lot of reasons, 2009 was a miserable year for me. The three of us all had disappointing years. We all agreed that 2010 was going to better. Much, much better.

What I did do last year was reflect on 2009 and decided upon a theme: slow start.

I haven’t paid it much mind until now, but I think that’s a great task, summing up a year and trying to move in the direction of another for the following year. In that post, I suggested 2010 would have to be a year of ‘next steps.’

Basically, I need a thousand flowers to bloom so I could see which one I wanted to pick.

As expected, 2010 was a much, much better year. It was a year of tremendous growth for me, and, yes, next steps, as I’ll reflect upon below.

But now, with all of this growth, it is time to pick. Fitting the professional goals and the personal resolutions I’ve set, my theme or my overarching goal for 2011 is focus.

Continue reading Focus: my goal for 2011; Growth: my experience in 2010

My 2011 Professional Resolutions

Yes, I’m doing a resolutions post. If for no other reason than to hold myself accountable.

Looking at last year’s professional goals, which were much more about staying afloat financially, I think this year, the theme is laying the foundation of sustainability to grow a business and opportunities at journalism and the like.

I broke them out more specifically by month, as I did for last year’s personal resolutions:

Continue reading My 2011 Professional Resolutions

Personal 2011 Resolutions

I have my resolutions ready.

Last year, I put together separate personal, homeowner and professional goals. That was too much, so I’m trimming those lists by one — with a professional list and this.

I may have overshot my goals for 2010 in those categories, so I hope to succeed on more actionable goals in 2011.

  1. JANUARY: Record my experiences — That means journaling privately at least once a month and returning to chasing this List of mine.
  2. FEBRUARY: Firmly plant my home — That means finally transferring my driver’s license, car insurance and any lingering documentation to my Fishtown home. It also means getting to know other people in my neighborhood.
  3. MARCH: New meals Monthly — Every month, I want to make a new meal and update my family cookbook.
  4. APRIL: Basement clean out — I have some dated technology, personal belongings and other clutter in my basement that I want to either throw out, make use of or donate. I want a direction for organizing and making the most use out of this part of my house.
  5. MAY: Organized Health — The Broad Street Run just might be my annual push to get fit, after doing in 2009 and 2010. This year, though, I have to beat my 94-minute top time (which isn’t particularly good anyway). But I also want to join an organized sports league of some kind to force some continued health.
  6. JUNE: Upstairs direction — To finish the first round of updates to my home’s second floor, I need to paint a hallway, figure out what to do with my bathroom, organize a linen closet, finish a book shelf and maybe slap up some crown molding. All of that gets done.
  7. JULY: International trip — I didn’t make it out of the country in 2010. That changes in 2011.
  8. AUGUST: Road trip — I want to continue my goal of taking at least one road trip every summer with a buddy.
  9. SEPTEMBER: Philly transportation basics — I haven’t yet ridden the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines in their entirety, nor have I ridden the Girard and West Philly trolleys, nor have I ridden my bicycle across the Ben Franklin Bridge. I want to finish these all.
  10. OCTOBER: Stand-up Comedy — Yes, it’s something of a cliche and, yes, it was on my list last year, but this is something I want to say I’ve done.
  11. NOVEMBER: Take part in National Novel Writing Month — This is something I’ve talked about for a couple years now, so I want to put action to the talk and write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, with the help of some advice from a contact who just accomplished that feat.
  12. DECEMBER: Finish lingering scrapbooks — Lame to be sure, but on the advice of some elders, I started to put together a few collections of photos, receipts and the like for a couple trips of mine. I want these done and assembled by the year’s end. It’s perfect for when it gets cold.

I get the sense that a lot of these goals are about completed tasks that otherwise remain unfinished. Next year, I hope  I can move to focusing more on the List and taking on new goals, like returning to the guitar or French, or reading a new book each month or something of that nature.

2010 House Resolutions

Like my personal resolutions, I’m also setting up month-by-month priorities for my moving and developing my new worn house into a home.

  1. JANUARY: Finish my office and bedroom — spackle, patch and paint
  2. FEBRUARY: Finish the back bedroom for renting — spackle, patch, paint and fix closet
  3. MARCH: Massively overhaul kitchen — with help, total renovation
  4. APRIL: Move furniture and other extra materials from dad’s house to mine
  5. MAY: Update dining room — sand, spackle, patch, paint, new light fixture
  6. JUNE: Replace windows — with energy efficient models
  7. JULY: Siding, roof and gutters
  8. AUGUST: Living room — sand, spackle, patch, paint and decorate
  9. SEPTEMBER: Host a housewarming; Seal and clean front of house
  10. OCTOBER: Basement — organize, create workshop and laundry space, clean and partially finish
  11. NOVEMBER: Bathroom — complete renovation
  12. DECEMBER: Hardwood floors

Personal 2010 Resolutions

For the second year in a row, I aimed to both write and publish month-by-month resolutions. I find it’s a great way to create smaller goals that are easier to track, hold accountable and complete.

  1. JANUARY: Sustainable income
  2. FEBRUARY: Get a housemate
  3. MARCH: Get over my bicycle being stolen and prepare another, flat-tired and dirty bicycle for riding.
  4. APRIL: Move furniture and other extra materials from dad’s house to mine
  5. MAY: Host yard sale
  6. JUNE: Finish cross country journal
  7. JULY: Get family history online
  8. AUGUST: Go on a trip
  9. SEPTEMBER: Host a housewarming
  10. OCTOBER: Stand-up comedy open-mic
  11. NOVEMBER: Take stock of sports cards
  12. DECEMBER: Reflect and prioritize goals for 2011

My best clips of 2009

Happy 2010.

But first: yesterday I shared my best read posts of 2009. Because ultimately I’m a freelancer, I thought I ought to share my best clips of the year, if only to satisfy my concern that 2009 was all for naught.

See my portfolio here.

Meaning they must have met a good portion of the four reasons a freelancer would write a story, below I list the best one or two clips from each calendar month of 2009:

Continue reading My best clips of 2009

Professional Resolutions for 2010

Update: Today, Dec. 19, 2010, I’ve gone back and looked at my goals. It’s interesting to see a split and failure to finish most of these. Three of these resolutions I succeeded in meeting definitively and met in spirit a fourth; I outright failed at three, and two became un-applicable as the year wore on.

I also created personal resolutions and goals to manage on my new home in 2010, but with a new year, I want to set goals for my professional self in 2010.

After all, 2009 was a brutal year, so 2010 should be plenty better.

  1. Stabilize my incomeUpdate: I did that in January 2010 in an unexpected way. It’s varied wildly throughout 2009. One way or another, I want to focus it.
  2. A new, solid pitch at least once a weekUpdate: Did that until I got the above mentioned job. (to buttress other work and those fed to me)
  3. Contact a new client at least once a monthUpdate: Did that until I got the above mentioned job. In writing, editing, multimedia or other
  4. 100 RSS subscribers for this site, up from 60 todayUpdate: Nope.
  5. 1,500 Twitter followers, from the 960 today (I hope a plurality of them can offer value in connecting to sources, ideas and content) — Update: nope, though, at nearly 1400, I got closer.
  6. Distribute remaining 600 business cardsUpdate: Nope. I still have more than 400.
  7. Bring Technically Philly to profitabilityUpdate: By way of its parent company, we did do that, as I’ve come on full-time.
  8. Earn grant funding for real journalismUpdate: Yes, for both NEast and Technically Philly.
  9. Write regularly on this site Update: check! It’s a place to improve my web writing and connect with audiences. I want to perhaps write a little less but make the product more meaningful.

2009 New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve decided to do my New Year’s Resolutions by month this year for two reasons. For one, I can accomplish more with more specific, better timed goals. I also can look back at more concrete accomplishments than broad year-long hopes.

They are simpler but better appreciated, I think. I also intend to start them in the signified month, but, if they carry-over, to continue them throughout the year.

Below, see what I’m hoping to do, month by month.

Professional Resolutions for 2009

It’s a new year, so it’s time for resolutions. Here are my professional ideas, as I shared some more specific personal ones here.

Here are a few I’ve been thinking about:

  • Write: I want to write more here, journal more, more establish my freelancing career, get pieces into big newspapers and magazines and be part of meaningful journalism. Most important, I want to think I am a better writer, reporter and journalist a year from now than I am now.
  • Technology: I need to toe more into the obvious steps of tech, multimedia and web design. I want to invest time in using my point and click camera, editing video and audio and move this website maybe to a self-hosted version without the
  • I want to make $30,000: Making that pre-tax total would mean I made more than I did as a post-graduate intern and allow me to save a little bit of money. I could do this freelancing, but I also might look for some writing and journalism jobs.
  • Make a book out of WDSTL: I created a lot of content with the cheap travel video podcast while backpacking in Europe, so I’d like to do something more with it.
  • I want to say ‘I don’t know’ more: All of us get trapped into making educated guesses and generally trying to answer questions or offer opinions for matters we don’t know. I want to stop that. If I don’t know something, I want to
  • Frame clips and diploma: I have some great newspaper clips and that diploma I paid so much for, so I’d like to display them to show them off a bit and be reminded of how hard I worked for them.
  • Update portfolio: I have a print portfolio that I’d like to update.

Those are my clearest objectives for 2009. What are yours?