The new year is just getting underway — 2009 is the best ever for our writing careers.

And for many, that means thinking about your writing in a brand new way.

In my forthcoming book, Save the Cat! Strikes Back, my favorite chapter is the last one. It describes the summer I became a “professional writer.” The idea that it is a profession seems to offend some people. These are the folks who believe that creativity should not be subject to the same rules as every other venture in life. And I admit, I was like that too, until the summer I gave up being a “bullhead” and began figuring out how to channel my creativity in a way that might be pleasing — and useful — to someone other than just me.

As part of that transformation, I discovered how “keeping business hours” — a set time and place and goal for my work — instead of being restricting, is actually freeing, and far more productive than I ever imagined. I also learned how maintaining a positive attitude, and finding a silver lining in every pitch meeting, phone call, contact, and hiccup in my progress, kept me on track to the ultimate positive outcome.

But my most important discovery was “Focus.” This is the idea that I have a specific goal — and even pick a specialty that I make it my business to master.

By choosing a specialty — e.g., I write rom-coms, or horror, or action — it becomes easier to find  you, and see you as someone offering a service. Of all the important tools in achieving any goal, this is the key to finding your focus: knowing how others “see” you and trying your best to deliver better every time out.

What’s your service? And how is your focus on getting better at it getting you results?

By focusing on what you want to achieve this year, you raise your odds of doing it.

And I will be there with you, rooting for you every step of the way!

p.s. Thanks again to Screenwriters Online and Tony Greco and Mark who made me look so brilliant in the chat room in last night’s event. And stay turned for Monday when we announce our biggest, and most fun, contest yet!