Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Set Priorities for the New Year

Set priorities! Achieve goals, ignite career, sell books, enjoy life!

Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist
Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist

New Year resolutions are for other people. I set priorities that change as life changes to reach my goals.

Yes, it is coming upon that time again--the Holidays, eating too much and never-to-be-kept New Year's resolutions that do not work. 

When I first started my career, I made resolutions for everything from how many pages I would produce to how many query letters I would send out. Then I discovered resolutions were like promises--often made hurriedly to have something to recite at a New Year's Eve party or to my colleagues after the holiday--made to be broken. A popular new year resolution I hear people make, year after year, is to lose weight. Why? So you can fit into some long-out-of-style, ugly-by-current-standards outfit in the back of the closet? 

Read what people have said about new year resolutions.

Each day of the new year, I have a sub-set of my larger life or career goals, around which I set priorities for my day's activities. I continue this practice even as the year grows old. As a writer, I edit something or write a few new pages to be sure to further a project along each day. Usually, it is not my intention that day or any given day to finish anything, but I hope to push some work each day closer to the finish.

Set priorities to make sense of your life.

scales of justice
Setting Priorities
Resemble Scales 
Some Priorities Weigh 
More Than Others
Going through life without priorities must be like tumbling around in a vacuum cleaner with dust swirling all around your head. How does one organize dust? And who would want to? 

One priority I carry from year to year is learning. 

Without setting priorities, nothing much is possible, one reason for setting them and changing them as as life changes. I can't tell someone else how to live but I can tell you how I try to manage my goals and priorities. My goals and priorities include those elements that I know, enjoy and do not feel are a burden. However, I try to include the unfamiliar as a stimulant to increase my interest in the activity. The unfamiliar area makes me stretch my imagination and knowledge. Don't be afraid of research.

pic of making a lise
Setting Priorities and Goals
Helps Organize
Thoughts and Plans
I start with a detailed list of things I want to accomplish. From my detailed list, I extract a simpler working list, not written in concrete because I know I must remain flexible. Life requires flexibility. Setting priorities is an ongoing task that I edit and change as necessary.

One reason I write lists by hand on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil is that the writing exercise places me in direct contact with my goals and priorities, making the process a very personal communication with my soul. The contact I feel between me and my list produces a certain harmony of thoughts.

Many experts concentrate on steps to setting priorities. I try not to be too rigid. I use what I already do to try to help me accomplish my goals. Don't forget, priorities point toward a goal. A good place to start is with something you have completed and can build upon. The completed project can create a target audience and a niche for your efforts without your getting caught in a time bind.

priorities graph
Setting New Priorities
When Life Changes

Getting Older
Medical Needs
Domestic Status
Current Events
Personal Interests
New Project

Remember, there are reasons priorities must change. Some of the changes we can control and some we cannot. I started my journey through the land of priorities with my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, which came from a compilation of my columns that were syndicated in some Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers, and Black Conscious Syndication in New York.

Being a writer makes it easier for me to change with my changing circumstances because, as my father says, "You use only a few muscles doing what you do." My father was a  cattle rancher who worked physically all of his life. His statement was not meant to offend me. He was only making an observation and a comparison of his livelihood to mine. Of course, he assured me that he would not trade places with me, after he spent an afternoon with me in the basement of a small-town county courthouse. "If I had to do this kind of work for a living," he said. "I guess all of us would have starved to death by now."

I'm a writer. It is a natural goal to aim for finding my niche in the literary world, using themes from my current book and books that I am in the process of writing. I use these themes as guides for shaping my goals, setting priorities and marketing myself and my work. As new articles and other writing projects enter the scene, my  daily writing priorities change to suit the new situation. If I earn a commission that has a deadline, then my priorities shift to accommodate that new finish line. Once projects are done, then I have more shifting to do. That's why I suggest you stay flexible in setting priorities.

The main theme of my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, is race relations in America,. The issue of race relations has directed my writing and research, and has won recognition from the American Association of University Presses (AAUP) for its value as a book for understanding race relations in the United States. AAUP Books for Understanding is an ongoing project to spotlight university press books relevant to issues of the day, helping librarians, journalists, scholars and others find information. This designation garnered me a great deal of publicity I did not know how to use until I started looking seriously at priorities for reaching my goals. I was ready when the Miami-Dade Public Library System recommended the book for Native American Collections.

Race relations in America, which continues to be an issue in this country, is not just of interest to me and many others, but always of current relevance, no matter what the decade or the century. Raising questions on how we feel about our neighbors will always make great copy and could help us as a society to solve inequities as they pertain to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, age and all the rest. Because of my commitment to this theme, I have built a certain amount of my writing aspirations around human and race relations.

Montgomery Bus Boycott
Action by Rosa Parks Responsible
for Empty Buses During
Montgomery Bus Boycott
One area of interest to me is the pre-civil rights era, the period just before the 1960s broke into full action, the time when the racial waters were still being tested by people like Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat on a bus and comply with segregation law in Jim Crow Alabama and started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When the plan was still on  the drawing table, no one in the NAACP knew exactly how things would turn out. African American civil rights officials had no idea that their plan would bring the Montgomery bus system to its knees when black people opted to walk in the rain rather than ride the segregated bus. But it all worked better than planned and still makes great copy
Many groups gained rights over the centuries and, through these efforts, we can better understand how the struggle for equity in human relations can be achieved. This topic gives me fertile material with which to work and build priorities. In fact, this struggle led me to the worldwide arena--The United Nations--to study and write. This became a priority shift as I realized there was so much about the world I did not know and needed to in order to write competently about global issues.

It is my desire that you find your fertile material, too. Certainly, race relations in America have changed and improved within the last century as laws have been written to prohibit Jim Crow behavior that discriminates against people, which was permitted between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Jim Crow laws were a body of legislation designed specifically to undo positive legal strides black people made during Reconstruction after the Civil War. When this period ended in the 1870s, Jim Crow laws, also known as Black Codes, affected other people of color and people who were different from mainstream Americans.

Some people do not change very easily and before they die they pass attitudes along to their young. As I explore this subject of human and race relations, I relive events and times that still seem fresh to me. However, I have found new understanding and new language to express my feelings on issues still flowing close to my surface. Without preaching, I want to help others grasp the significance of the layers that make up race relations in America.

Below is a look inside Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's
Chapter Three, Summer Days
Essay, "Dinner At Aunt Shorty's" Page 69

Sunny Nash - Ezine Author Expert
A tidy landscaped brick walk led to a shallow expanse of steps that framed a wraparound porch with floral-cushioned wooden furniture. A tall oval-glassed front door opened between columns supporting a balcony, behind whose small-paned French doors, was an upstairs sitting room where Aunt Shorty had kept an office when she was--as she called herself--a frontier businesswoman, operating her own profitable restaurant for more than thirty years. Low chandelier light reflected off matching china, crystal, and flatware. More elegant than pictures in any magazine I'd ever seen, the linen tablecloth, embroidered napkins, glowing candlesticks, and fresh flowers were arranged precisely. My grandmother wasn't nearly as impressed as I. Earlier in Bigmama's life, before she lost her fortune and was forced to sell her three hundred acres of prime Grimes County farmland for a fraction of its value, she'd had money and the good life, too.

Set priorities! Achieve your goals, ignite your career and enjoy your life

by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't
Shop At Woolworth's
by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s can be purchased at all major bookstores, domestic and international.

Chosen by the Association of American University Presses as one of its essential books for understanding race relations in the United States, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s by the award-winning author, Sunny Nash, is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida.

Please read my subsequent posts to see how I am developing a line of social questioning on the topics that surround race relations in America using my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's.

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s
 by Sunny Nash

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