Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Close Out Plan

For years I worked for a car manufacture, working closely with dealerships. Every year, in December these dealerships would have a big sale, lots of promotion and good deals (you’ve probably already seen the commercials advertising these sales, I know I have). This push has to do with the way their financing is structured. I won’t get into it too deeply, I don’t want to bore you all, but basically it costs so much for them to carry these cars into the new year that taking a large loss on the vehicle is usually more cost effective than keeping it through to January.

I’ve always thought there was some genius to this idea. These close out deals allow them to get rid of the older models, the more difficult models that are holding down their financing, and gives them the option to bring in more newer and productive products in January.

We’re all used to creating new years resolutions, but how often do we actually put a deadline on them, or focus on completing them? In some ways these close out plans are the reverse of those resolutions most of us make in January. Instead of creating new action items and putting energy towards new projects, the goal is to finish something, to move something off the plate to make room for something new.

A few years ago I had a thought. What if I could apply this to my own life? Is there anything that I can get rid of, to make room for something new and exciting next year? That’s when I decided to start my own December Close Out plan.

For the last two years I’ve used December to focus on closing out some of my own projects, just like these dealers sell off cars. I usually have a chunk of time off during the Christmas holiday, which makes December a perfect time to play out this plan. In the last few years I have been very successful doing so. I’ve finished stories, sent works to publishers, new and old, and started new series. All as part of this end of year cleanup program.

This year I’ll be doing the same. I have a few projects I want to complete, some that have been hanging around for way too long. I want to complete a short story and get it to my publisher that I’ve been thinking about for months, I want to finish the first draft of a WIP I started in February and I want to finish revisions on another work and submit it to my publisher before the end of the month. If I can get all these projects that have been hanging around, out to the world, I’ll be able to devote more time to some other ideas I have in the pipeline come 2014.

So what do you want to finish before the new year begins? Want to finish cleaning out that back cluttered bedroom (I have that on my list)? Want to finish putting together that scrapbook you’ve been working on for three years?

What do you want to complete this year, so you can start 2014 on the best foot possible? Leave your goal in the comments, so we can all cheer each other on to these accomplishments.


Tina Donahue said...

Excellent idea, Willa.

I'll be finishing up the first book of a new series for one of my publishers. Hope to get it done before Xmas so I can take a few days off to relax. :)

Kayelle Allen said...

In my writing life, I'm finishing the last touches on a trilogy that will come out mid January. This has been a lot of work, and while I've enjoyed it -- I am very ready to say goodbye and begin the next project!

I moved my office from a small closet to a downstairs basement room with about 10x more space. This week I finally finished unpacking everything and making sure it all worked where it was. I've gotten into a routine now, and it helps me be productive. Very good feeling to have room to grow.

jean hart stewart said...

Have been fixing up the house I recently moved into. Nothing left but the outdoor lighting, and that's scheduled for this week. All will be done for Xmas. I'm getting serious about my latest writing project, doing the research etc, and have actually started the blasted thing.

Fiona McGier said...

Since I quit my crappy retail job in early November (yea, less stress! Boo, half the income!) I'm "only" working one job now. Kids have requested pajama pants for Christmas, so I've got 5 pairs cut out and ready to sew. I usually make at least 5-6 kinds of Christmas cookies and I've only got 1 kind in the freezer as of now. And my WIP hasn't been getting much attention while I do publicity for my current new release, so the characters who've been patiently waiting are starting to yell in a most un-patient way!

I'll have 2 weeks off subbing when school is out, so I hope to catch up soon. But any other big projects will have to wait until the long, boring days of January, when I'll be so aghast at my credit card bills that I won't be going anywhere. Then I'll have time to work on other stuff.

But it sounds like your idea works well for you. Good luck!