We all have ideas of what we consider will be success as a writer. Some of us simply want towrite, others to entertain, others to earn a living, others to be wildly successful But whatever your writing ambitions, you need a plan. Consider these points:
1) A dream is not a goal – recognize the difference between your writerly dreams, and what would really satisfy you. Ask yourself why you write – would you be surprised to find that the answer isn’t necessarily ‘to get rich’ or ‘to be famous?
2) It's not just time – you need a plan - despite what you may have been told about writing every day, there are lots of successful writers who hold down full time jobs and squeeze in their writing at weekends. Their secret? They plan their work and work the plan.
3) A dose of reality – if you’ve considered #1 above, you know where your ‘success satisfaction’ lies. Now decide what sort of writing will take you there.
4) Writing is hard, lonely work - why are you doing this to yourself? What can you do to ensure your precious writing time is your own without becoming a hermit? Consider setting up a ‘support network’ of other writers (the Internet is a great resource for this!) There are lists where writers share triumphs and setbacks and encourage each other – but who understand that the writing always comes first...
5) Whittle away the fat - identify your writing goals. Having a road map for your writing career will help prevent you from going off at tangents that steal time, energy & creativity and prevent you from reaching your writerly destination.
6) Knowing what you want to achieve - and drawing up a plan gives you an overview. This overview allows you to list the actions you need to take. These can be broken down further into ‘Baby Steps’ which let you utilize even small segments of spare time to take your ambitions a little further ahead.
7) Setting up your goal calendar which outlines the tiny steps forward and shows where the giant leaps and bounds can happen.
8) Be open minded - so many different types of writing work – novels, articles, copywriting, teaching, editing, speechwriting, speaking….oh my! Keeping an open mind about opportunities and where they might lead you will help you pick the best writing and promotional opportunities for your career.
9) Career planning 101 - now that you know where you’re going don’t forget to pencil in some time to evaluate each stage to make sure you’re on track, or if you need to adjust your plans or change direction. Stuff happens!
By Glenys O'Connell