January. It’s the time of year where everyone creates ambitious New Year’s resolutions and makes plans to ensure the new year will exceed the last. Yet when statistics show that few people manage to follow through on these resolutions, it can be tempting to pass off the opportunity to plan and visualise the year ahead as waste of time. Or is it?
Though many successful writers seemingly become an overnight success story with the release of a debut novel or feature in popular magazine, the reality is far less glamourous, requiring years of dedication, hard work and careful planning. Just like any career, creating a plan for the year ahead can be of great benefit your writing life and help put you on track future writing success (hello, New York Times bestseller). Here’s five reasons why:
Planning allows you to identify goals
Arguably one the key benefits of planning is its ability to help you identity goals for the coming year, whether that be a finished draft of your first novel or improved publicity and audience engagement. Once you’ve got a clear vision of what it is you’d like to achieve, you’ll be surprised how easily this will translate into a clear plan to help you accomplish them.
Begin by setting your long term goals – those big picture, long-term dreams that you have for your writing career. Where do you see yourself one, two or three years from now? With these set, you can start creating mid-term goals – concrete, well defined goals that you’d like to accomplish over the next few months. Finally, what would you like to achieve now? Perhaps you’d like to start setting aside X number of hours a day to your writing with no distractions? Or start blogging more regularly? These are will become your short term goals – the simple, easy things you’d like to achieve over the coming weeks. Concrete, actionable goals are the foundation for any form of successful planning.
Planning = direction
Planning ensures you have a clear roadmap for how you’ll go about achieving your goals. Spend some time planning how each one can be achieved and the individual steps involved. The result? Not only will you have a clear course of action to follow but you’ll also be well prepared for what comes next. You’ll have that novel written in no time!
Planning helps to avoid roadblocks
Planning increases your ability to handle any problems that may arise throughout your writing journey and, better still, help you uncover potential roadblocks even before they occur. Why? Planning encourages you to carefully consider each step of the process and the actions you’ll need to take for each; time and thought that you wouldn’t otherwise invest. As a result, you’ll likely discover any bumps or potholes in the road before they arise and can easily put strategies in place to avoid them.
Planning grants perspective
Planning your goals and mapping out the direction your writing life will take will give you a clear perspective of what’s important and what you’ll likely achieve by a set date (i.e. the end of the year). This will help you to focus on what you’re aiming to accomplish and provide with the motivation to prioritize your writing. Keep your goals in perspective and you’ll be well on the road to future success.
Planning increases confidence
As a writer, it’s easy to become daunted or overwhelmed by the thought of having to write a 50,000 page manuscript or learn a completely new skill such as social media. Such goals seemingly become a mountain too tall to conquer. Yet having a plan in place, complete with strategies to overcome any potential problems, will increase your confidence substantially and increase the likelihood that those goals will be achieved.
Sound useful but unsure where to start? Come along to our Writers Plan day workshop on January 19! You’ll be sure to walk away with a clear, concise and exiting plan for your future writing life.