Since it's January 1, I thought this would be a great time to talk about Nugget #1: The Five-Year Plan.
Every writer should have a five-year plan. You have to know where you're going and what you want to achieve if you're going to get there and achieve it. Think of your five-year plan as your road map to reach the destination you've projected for yourself.
What do you include in your Five-Year Plan? This could vary for everyone depending on where you are in your writing journey, but it could include:
- Your targeted annual sales for the next five years
- How many books you want to publish each year (including their titles. Use "working titles" if you haven't yet named a manuscript.)
- How many drafts you want to write each year (including their titles or working titles)
- Total number of words you want to write (make sure the number of words you're targeting makes sense given the number of drafts you want to write and the number of books you want to publish. For example: If you plan to write three novel-length drafts, you will need to write a minimum of 180,000 words)
- How many books you want to read on the writing craft (including the titles of those books if you already know them)
- How many writing classes you want to take (and the names of those classes, if applicable)
- The number of conventions you want to attend, including which ones and the dates.
- Any contests you want to enter
- Your five-year bio
I've been planning for the past couple of months to devote all of 2014 to writing. Everything I've done since the end of October has been to prepare myself for one solid year of writing. There's a few reasons for that, some personal and some professional, but this change in plans made me pull out my the Five-Year Plan I worked up in May and revise it. This is what my 2014 plan now looks like:
As you can see, I have a MAJOR writing year ahead of me. Will I reach all my goals? I don't know. All but three of my planned drafts have been started. I just need to finish them. And all but two of the books I plan to publish have been started or are in some stage of editing. But I know one thing for sure. If I don't map out my goals, I definitely won't reach them, and I won't have anything pushing me to keep surging forward when I would rather take a day off. Goals give you that. They give you a guide and motivation to keep going when you would rather watch TV.