As 2012 hurtles to a close and your mind tries to make sense of yet another senseless massacre, or the fiscal cliff or your Christmas shopping, or a myriad of other things, somewhere in the midst of all that, you are probably telling yourself you need to make some goals for 2013. But how do you start?

HubPages suggests you start with knowing what you want. But do you? I mean seriously, apart from knowing that you want to succeed at writing, what do you really want? The following tips may be helpful:

1. Know your interests. What excites you? What are you passionate about? Decide what that is and then write about it.

2. Become a niche expert. When you unleash your passion, you acquire knowledge and expertise which will help you uncover your niche. Niche writers are like established businesses. Think WalMart for inexpensive goods, Best Buy for electronics, Hersheys for chocolates. Let your name be associated with something.

3. Network. You know this already, but do you do it? Online social media has made it easy for the introverted writer to expose herself to the world. HubPages refers to this as being an active netizen – a citizen of the net, that’s my interpretation. Social media sites abound on the net. Get involved in the most popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter etc., meet new people and make new friends. It’s all about that dreaded word – platform.

4. Write more. Short and sweet, but regular, blog posts will put you in better standing with the search engines than longer, infrequent postings. Writing more often will also improve your skills and help you build an audience faster.

Now that I’ve told you how to set your goals, here are my goals for 2013.

I will be the first to confess that I have been slack in some of the areas above, so I may have to repeat them for myself. Here’s my list in order of importance.

1. Publish my novel Coming Out of Egypt in 2013. I’ve been working on this novel for years and have just had the good fortune to have an editor request my full manuscript and synopsis. In the coming days I’ll be sweating away, getting it ready to submit.

2. Become a niche expert. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time, but because of work constraints I was not able to do so. Since I’m a health professional, my niche will focus on health and fitness. If I have the time for a second site, it will be weddings.

3. Increase my blog traffic. This I’ll do through more regular postings, article marketing, social media marketing and distributing a newsletter.

4. Get started on affiliate marketing. I already signed up with a few companies, but I have yet to earn commissions. I plan to be more vigorous in this area.

5. Read more. I cannot be an effective writer without reading.

So, there you have it. What are you goals for 2013? Please share them in the comment box below. And while you are thinking about your goals, take some time to reflect on all the blessings you received this year. Merry Christmas!

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