Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

Making Plans for 2021: A Leap of Faith

If I learned anything in 2020, it was to be flexible. None of my plans for the year happened the way I thought they would. In fact, most of those plans evaporated in a series of heartbreaking emails on March 11. So, like many of you, I had to reimagine my career. The truth is that I hadn't set long-term goals; 6-12 months was as long-term as it got. That's on me. I had to ask myself some tough questions about my future, questions that took a few months to answer.

The bottom line was that I wanted to diversify my career. I didn't want to be overly reliant on any one activity, whether it was public events or book sales. And that meant I had to learn new skills and upgrade the ones I already had.

Thanks to grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and from the Illinois Arts Council, I was able to attent two virtual writing conferences, expand my public speaking marketing, and upgrade technology. I took online courses in Amazon advertising and the technology of virtual meetings. I joined two writing organizations and led my first virtual writing group session. Along the way, I made new plans:

Friend Grief - I'm returning to my series on grieving the death of a friend: revising and updating all six books, reworking them into one. That was my original idea, a single book with a working title of It's Not Like They're Family. It will also include something I'd resisted for months: stories of people whose friends died from coronavirus.

Fag Hags - The audio book release in October was a highlight of the year. Promotions for that, along with the print and ebook versions, continue. There are stories that did not make it into the book, and I'll be sharing those in different ways.

Public Speaking - I survived the angst of doing my first virtual presentations in the fall, so now I feel good about offering my talks via Zoom and other platforms. When things open up, I'll be thrilled to offer them in person.

Online Opportunities - The first opportunity I've been working on is turning my books into online courses: one for Fag Hags, the other for the Friend Grief series. I have plenty of content for both! I'm currently researching various platforms (Udemy, Teachable, etc.) and determining the audience(s). The second is opening a store on my website. The logistics are a bit daunting, but it's doable. What will I sell? You'll have to wait to find out! And third, I will be expanding my freelance writing - essays related to my books. That was something that got lost in the shuffle of 2020, but I'm ready to go back to it now.

I have to admit that before last year I hadn't given much thought to some of these projects. Online store? Virtual presentations? Why would I want to do that? The answer was 'why wouldn't I?' These are just different ways to reach more people and share the stories in my books. And while it may not be the business I thought I had a year ago, it's the business that makes the most sense to me.

There's one other project that's rattling around in my head. It's huge. It would fill the rest of my calendar at least through 2022. But I'm not ready to talk about it yet. If you want to be one of the first to find out what it is, and keep up on everything else I'm doing, click here to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

I'm not sharing all this because I feel particularly confident about the future. But more and more I think about the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday we will be celebrating soon: "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."