Mar 182010

If you develop a writing plan, you’re more likely to stay motivated and disciplined to write.  These steps to developing a writing plan are from author Laura Cross, of NonfictionInk.

Before the tips, a quip:

“Half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up to get it.” ~ Sidney Howard

You can be the most organized writer in the world, but if you aren’t prepared to make a few sacrifices for your writing, then you’re less likely to achieve your writing goals. Here, Laura Cross – author of The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent: Everything You Need to Know to become Successfully Published – describes in detail how to create a writing plan. And it’s up to you, fellow scribes, to follow through…

4 Steps to Developing a Long-Term Writing Plan

Writing down your goals and creating a plan (tasks you can accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis) will keep you focused, allow you to see results, and provide a solid strategy for achieving your writing goals.

1. Define your writing goal(s). Your goal should be specific, measurable, and have a deadline – such as “I will complete my nonfiction manuscript by the end of October.”

2. Determine what tasks are necessary to achieve your goal(s). Create a list of all the necessary tasks associated with achieving the goal(s). If the goal is to develop a book proposal package to pitch to publishers the tasks involved might be: analyzing similar books on the subject, conducting market research, creating a promotional plan, writing an author bio, building an author platform, designing a chapter outline, writing a sample chapter, investigating nonfiction publishers in your genre, crating a query letter, etc…..

3. Organize the tasks, and develop a strategic plan. Writing goals are easier to manage when they are broken down into small chunks: three-year, one-year, monthly, weekly, and daily. Start with your big goals and break them down to smaller and smaller tasks.

4. Make sure your detailed plan suits your lifestyle. If you maintain a full-time job and have two small children and a dog to care for, it may be difficult to fit three pages of writing in each day. Set yourself up for success by creating a practical plan. If you write one hour a day (after the kids go to bed), five times a week – or five hours one day a week (on Sunday when the kids are at grandma’s house) – that’s five pages of writing each week; within a year you will have completed a 250-page book.

Example of a Writing Plan

Long-term goal: “I will be recognized as the expert in my field by the end of 2012.”

Goals for this year, which will help achieve the long-term goal: “I will self-publish my business book by December 15.”

Monthly tasks necessary to attain the one-year goal:

  • January: I will gather initial research and create a book outline
  • February – March: I will research my topic in depth, interview sources, and obtain photos and permissions.
  • April – June: I will write the content.
  • July: I will have the manuscript professionally edited and proofread. I will set up my publishing company and begin pre-marketing for the book.
  • August: I will make final revisions. I will obtain an ISBN and bar code, register copyright, and apply for LCCN.
  • September: I will hire a designer to layout the interior of the book. I will hire an artist to create the cover for the book. I will list my book for pre-sale on Amazon.
  • October – November: I will hire an indexer to create an index for the book. I will submit the book for printing.
  • December: I will launch the book release.

Weekly tasks necessary to attain the specific monthly goals:

  • Week 1: I will investigate and evaluate comparable competitive titles
  • Week 2: I will collect initial research via the Internet
  • Week 3: I will brainstorm my topic to divide the material into sections
  • Week 4: I will create a detailed outline with sub-topics and separate chapters

Daily tasks necessary to attain the specific weekly goals:

  • Tuesday, June 8: I will write five pages of content.

Studies show that people who write down their goals and develop a strategic plan to achieve them are more likely to succeed. So, make a commitment to yourself and your writing career – develop a plan and put it into action. Before another year flies by, you could be a published author!

If you have any thoughts or questions on developing a writing plan or being an organized writer, please comment below!

Help for Writers and Bloggers

In 75 Tips for Making Money Blogging, I share how I've been making money blogging since 2008.

Do you want to be a writer?
73 Tips for Firing Up (or Just Firing!) the Muse.

Laura Cross is an author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, freelance book editor, and writing coach specializing in nonfiction books and script adaptation.

  5 Responses to “Developing a Writing Plan in 4 Easy Steps”

  1. I suppose this is what I have been painfully needing. I’ve been dealing with goals (only a very few), but still get overwhelmed. I am definitely trying this strategic plan. Thanks Laurie and Laura :)
    .-= Diar A.´s last blog post ..Being a Writer, the Artist’s Way =-.

  2. Hey Lori – glad the article “hit the spot”. I’m the same with my writing process. Without a structured plan I’ll wander off the path. Thank goodness for iCalendar!
    .-= Laura Cross´s last blog post ..Five Questions With… “How To Open and Operate a Financially Successful Personal and Executive Coaching Business” Author John Peragine =-.

  3. Hi Laura (and Laurie),

    I know this will sound cliche, but I really needed to read this article today. I need a lot of structure to stay on task and this advice hits the mark.

    Well done!
    I thank you profusely. Also, thanks for your blog, Laurie. I’ve recently found you and am happy to have crossed paths — and to meet other L-girls.
    .-= Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s last blog post ..Righting Time =-.

  4. Thanks for this info, Laura — it was SO detailed and concise! It’s one thing to say “be specific when you’re setting out to achieve your writing goals”, but a whole ‘nother thing to actually set it out for us. I appreciate that very much.

    Good luck with your literary agent book — I’ve been meaning to blog about it, and will soon. When I do, I’ll send you the link.

    Keep in touch, and don’t hesitate to send me more articles like this if you feel inclined. I’d love to feature you again!

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..How to Repair a Bad Credit Rating After Paying Credit Card Debt =-.

  5. Hey Laurie – Thanks for including my article on your blog. Your site is always such a great resource. I look forward to engaging with your readers.
    .-= Laura Cross´s last blog post ..Five Questions With… “How To Open and Operate a Financially Successful Personal and Executive Coaching Business” Author John Peragine =-.

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