Like Glenn over at Yndigo, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Mostly, I think that most of what we resolve (to lose weight, exercise more, swear off the snooze button, etc.) falls into the category of “shoulds”: things we think we need to do even though we don’t really want to. It’s no surprise that most of these resolutions fail, because our hearts aren’t really in them. I’m more in favor of focusing on the things we actually want to do, because I think it puts the effort needed to get there in a much more positive light. So, where do you want your freelance translation business to go in 2009? I’ll start, then you can chime in!
In 2009, I would really like to:
- Avoid working for the sake of working. Be more discerning about the work that I take on. Turn down unappealing work and use that time to look for more appealing work. In general, spend more time translating things that I enjoy working on and less time translating things that just pay the bills.
- Translate another book. Back in late 2006, I translated a dictionary of terms about Native Americans and I really looked forward to working on it every day. This project fell into my lap (a hand-me-down from a translator who had originally agreed to work on it) but I would like to actively seek out more projects like it.
- Release a second edition of my book on how to become a freelance translator. Alas, this is one of those goals that was on the “absolute must” list for 2008, and here it is again! This year I have reason to believe that it will actually happen.
- Present something French-related at the ATA conference. I’ve presented sessions on open source software, freelancing, blogging and other topics, but never anything related to my actual translation work. This is the year, and session proposals are due in March. I have to get moving on this one soon!
One thing I’ve learned about major goals is that it’s very helpful (I’d even say crucial) to break the work down into small increments. When I published the first edition of my book back in 2006, I waited and waited for a big chunk of free time to come along, and of course that never happened. Finally I decided that I would work on the manuscript every day, even if I only wrote one sentence. Some days I really did write only that one sentence, but other days I had a burst of energy or inspiration and wrote eight or ten pages at a sitting. So, I think it’s important to set really small daily goals; contacting 100 new prospective clients seems daunting, but you could do one a day, right? If you did that every work day, you’d be done by May. Writing a 200-page book sounds pretty impossible, but if you wrote one page a day, your book would be in print by this time next year. Wouldn’t that be great!
And now, over to you! What goals are you looking forward to reaching in 2009?