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